Work will start later this year on a redesigned 4th St. garage, following approval of required variances by the Bloomington Board of Zoning Appeals. It will be built on the existing footprint with 7 stories, 537 spaces and ground floor commercial space. The estimated completion date is August 2021.
The city also has dropped its appeal in the eminent domain lawsuit it filed to take the JuanSells.com building at the south end of the block.
The variances granted by the BZA at its March 19 meeting included allowing the parking structure’s entrance driveway to be wider than would ordinarily be allowed under city code, and allowing the driveway to be closer to Walnut Street than the code allows.
The downtown garage was closed in late 2018 because of structural flaws. It was subsequently demolished last year.
Monroe County is in the process of selecting a consultant to overhaul the county's zoning code.
At their Dec. 18 work session, Monroe County Commissioners heard from Larry Wilson, the county's planning director. He said that staff and the county Plan Commission recommended hiring Clarion Associates for the new County Development Ordinance (CDO).
Clarion recently did the City of Bloomington's Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). The firm also has done work for Indianapolis/Marion County, Fort Wayne/Allen County, and hundreds of other communities nationwide.
Wilson said that $105,000 remained from the previous CDO appropriation. The county previously hired Calfee Zoning, but that firm was unable to complete the project and reached a settlement with the county to end their contract.
Commissioner Julie Thomas, who also serves on the county Plan Commission, said she preferred the other finalist, Clearzoning, because she thought their writing was clearer. "But I'm happy to go with the majority of my colleagues," she added.
Wilson reported that Clearzoning, which is based in Michigan, had no experience with projects in Indiana, and would need to learn Indiana statutory requirements.
The three-member Monroe County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on the contract at their Jan. 8 meeting. The seven-member County Council would then be asked to appropriate funds for the work at their Jan. 14 meeting. Wilson told commissioners that he hoped the bulk of the CDO could be completed in 2020.
Click here to watch the Dec. 18 working session on CATS.
The Bloomington City Council has scheduled a series of meetings to work on the draft Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), a major overhaul of the city's zoning code. A new page on the city's website will track all council action on the UDO.
All meetings will begin at 6 p.m. at city hall council chambers, 401 N. Morton, and will include opportunity for public comment. Click here for the memo outlining the council's UDO process.
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019
Staff presentation on Chapter 1 (Ordinance Foundation) and Chapter 2 (Zoning Districts)
Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019
Staff presentation on Chapter 3 (Use Regulations). This section includes regulations related to duplex/triplex/quadplex development and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in core neighborhoods.
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019
Staff presentation on Chapter 4 (Development Standards & Incentives) and Chapter 5 (Subdivision Regulations). Chapter 4 includes regulations related to the affordable housing payment-in-lieu process.
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019
Staff presentation on Chapter 6 (Administration & Procedures) and Chapter 7 (Definitions)
Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 at noon
First deadline for council to submit amendments
Council will consider proposed amendments at meetings on the following dates:
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019
Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019
Second deadline for council to submit amendments: Monday, Nov. 25 at noon.
Additional UDO meetings might take place on the following dates:
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019
Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019
Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019
The Chamber's Advocacy Team has been tracking this process since it began in early 2018. Our current advocacy efforts are focused on zoning that eliminates barriers to address this community's residential housing shortage. We're also advocating for greater transparency and clarity in the city's affordable housing payment-in-lieu process.
An 11-county study of workforce housing needs has been released this week, assessing the regional housing market and proposing strategies for addressing challenges.
The 339-page Indiana Uplands Regional Housing Study includes the Bloomington/Monroe County community. Reports for individual counties also can be downloaded on the housing study's website.
Six main strategies are identified by the report (pp 318-337):
ROI is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, and is funded through a $25.87 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.
The Bloomington Plan Commission has scheduled three additional meetings to consider amendments to the draft Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). All meetings start at 5:30 p.m.:
1) Duplexes, Triplexes and Quadplexes (Amendments 4A and 4B). In a six-hour meeting on Sept. 5, commissioners heard from 37 residents during a public hearing on the "plexes." In the draft UDO, plexes are a "conditional use" in core neighborhood zones, meaning that the project must go through the city's approval process in order to be built.
About half of the speakers were concerned about the additional density that such units would bring to the city's core neighborhoods, and argued that they shouldn't be allowed at all in those parts of the city. An equal number of speakers believed the city needs more housing stock of all kinds, and that this is one way to achieve that goal.
OUTCOME: Plexes will remain as a conditional use in core neighborhoods (in the UDO draft), after a Plan Commission amendment to make them permitted use (by right) failed on a 4-5 vote. Voting for by right were Brad Wisler, Nick Kappas, Flavia Burrell and Neil Kopper. Voting against were Beth Cate, Joe Hoffmann, Jillian Kinzie, Susan Sandberg and Karin St. John. Watch the deliberations on CATS here.
2) Accessory Dwelling Units (Amendments 5A and 5B). Plan Commissioners considered these amendments on Sept. 10. In the draft UDO, ADUs were allowed by right. Amendment 5A – making ADUs a conditional use – passed on a 5-4 vote. Voting in favor: Joe Hoffmann, Susan Sandberg, Beth Cate, Jillian Kinzie, and Karin St. John. On an 8-1 vote (with Susan Sandberg opposing), Plan Commissioners also approved Amendment 5B, which increased the number of bedrooms and the permitted size of an ADU. As amended, ADUs will be allowed with up to 2 bedrooms and a maximum 840-square-foot size.
OUTCOME: In the UDO draft, ADUs will be a conditional use with up to 2 bedrooms allowed and an 840-square-foot maximum size. Watch the deliberations on CATS here.
3) Payment-in-Lieu (Amendment 7). This amendment was brought forward by Commissioner Flavia Burrell, responding to a recommendation by the Chamber. The intent was to make the process of determining a payment-in-lieu more transparent by requiring approval from the Common Council. Staff objected to that process, however, so on Sept. 10 the Plan Commission amended out the approval requirement. The resulting language is vague and does not specify how the city determines the payment-in-lieu amount.
OUTCOME: Amendment 7 passed without the requirement that the Common Council adopt administrative procedures for calculating, collecting, accounting for and spending payment-in-lieu funds. Watch the deliberations on CATS here.
Click here to see the city's UDO update site, with details about other amendments, links to the full UDO draft and ways to submit written comments.
At its Aug. 29 special meeting, the Bloomington Plan Commission 1) passed one “clean-up” amendment to the draft Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), 2) asked staff to develop six amendments for consideration on Sept. 5, and 3) directed staff to prepare another 11 UDO amendments to consider on Sept. 10 or at subsequent meetings.
Here’s a roundup of amendments that planning staff will be drafting for the Sept. 5 meeting. They were proposed by Planning Commission chair Joe Hoffmann and unanimously supported by the rest of the commission. The substance of the amendments will be debated and likely voted on at the Sept. 5 session, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at city hall council chambers.
UPDATE: It's likely that on Sept. 5 commissioners will only be deliberating on amendments related to duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes. The first set of draft amendments are now posted on the city's UDO update site.
For Sept. 10 or later meetings, here are amendments that planning staff will be drafting, based on Plan Commission requests (the name of the commissioner who proposed each amendment is indicated in parentheses):
Draft amendments are expected to be posted on the city's UDO update site before the Sept. 5 meeting.
The following were considered "clean-up" amendments and were passed unanimously by Plan Commissioners at their Aug. 29 meeting. The amendment allows duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes as permitted uses for new subdivisions and undeveloped locations of the city, while keeping these "plexes" as conditional uses for other areas. The most recent draft had inadvertently designated all duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes as conditional uses.
With an overflow crowd in the council chambers balcony, the Bloomington Plan Commission held its first public hearing on the city's Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) adoption draft on Monday, Aug. 26.
During the public commentary part of the meeting, 37 people gave input on the UDO draft. Almost all speakers addressed issues related to housing, evenly split in support of higher density or opposed to denser housing options in single-family neighborhoods.
(The final speaker asked that goats be removed from the UDO's definition of "medium livestock," which now also includes burros, sheep and swine. She suggested several changes to better accommodate keeping goats within city limits.)
Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, spoke in support of changes that encourage building more housing for all income levels. "As local businesses attempt to recruit and retain staff, one common challenge is a lack of housing that's affordable for their workforce. We also need to provide more housing options for the younger generation, people in their 20s and 30s who are starting to put down roots here. This UDO helps achieve that goal."
She also advocated for a more transparent process related to the proposed payment-in-lieu option for affordable housing. Read Mary's full remarks here.
At their next hearing on Thursday, Aug. 29, Plan Commissioners will be asking staff to draft amendments based on feedback from the public. Those amendments will then be considered at their Sept. 5 meeting. The public can weigh in at both of those meetings, or can submit additional comments by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the Aug. 26 meeting on CATS here. Get more info on the UDO process here.
The City of Bloomington has scheduled next steps in its efforts to overhaul the citywide zoning code.
The latest draft of the Unified Development Ordinance will be posted on the city's UDO website on Monday, Aug. 5. On that same date and site, an online comment form will be available for public input. [UPDATE: Here's a link to the new UDO draft.]
The city's Plan Commission will hold three hearings on the latest draft in the city hall council chambers, 401 N. Morton. Those hearing dates are:
The Plan Commission can amend the UDO and will vote to approve a final draft after this latest round of public input. Then, the Bloomington Common Council will have 90 days in which to vote on the UDO. The council will also provide opportunities for input.
After the UDO is adopted, the new zoning will apply to new developments or additions to existing structures.
Click here for the latest updates on the UDO.
The process of overhauling the UDO began in February 2018. The Chamber has provided input throughout the process. Our most recent comments focused on ensuring that the procedures specified in the UDO are consistent and standardized.
The process for updating the city's Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) began in February 2018 and is still moving forward. Most recently, the latest round of public comments on the consolidated draft - including input from the Chamber - are posted here.
Victor Lopez, the Chamber's advocacy intern, reviewed the 25 pages of comments. Nearly 80% of the comments from this round of public input discussed residential neighborhood concerns. The topic of single-family housing dominated the comments. This focus is reflected in a May 30 Indiana Public Media report: "Bloomington's UDO Sparks Controversy Over Single Family Zoning Changes."
The Chamber has provided input throughout the UDO process. Our most recent comments focused on ensuring that the procedures specified in the UDO are consistent and standardized.
The UDO's next phase is to move to the city's Plan Commission. That commission is expected to review the UDO draft later this summer. Following approval from the Plan Commission, the city council would have 90 days in which to act on the UDO. Stay tuned for additional updates!
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy