Home > Tag Archives: Bloomington Plan Commission

Tag Archives: Bloomington Plan Commission

DLN – July 14, 2015


Last night the Bloomington Utilities Services Board gave the go-ahead for a one-point-two-million-dollar painting project at the Redbud Water Tank and the Dillman Road Wastewater Treatment Plant; The problems with implementing Bloomington’s zoning rules for commercial businesses came up last night at a meeting of the Bloomington Plan Commission; The Indiana Department of Revenue will conduct what it calls Tax Amnesty 2015 for two months beginning on September 15th; Indiana‘s new laws for youth drivers took effect at the beginning of this month.

In Southwest Indiana, Jim Schroeder is preparing for his 8th trip to Haiti. Jim has formed a club with over 70 members across southern Indiana who raise funds for his unique missionary program. IU student reporter Olivia DeWeese brings us this story, which comes courtesy of American Student Radio and the IU Media School.

If you’re lucky, you get a chance to get out of town a few days each summer. But just because you’re taking a break from work doesn’t mean you’re taking a vacation from being money smart.

Anchors: Chris Martin, Araceli Gomez
Today’s headlines were written by Jordan Guskey and Sierra Gardner
Along with David Murphy for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Olivia DeWeese
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Ryan Stacy and edited by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.
Our engineer is Harrison Wagner
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford

The College Mall Is Getting A New Look; I-69 Interchange Site Grading Approved


The Bloomington Plan Commission has approved a redevelopment plan for the northeast corner of The College Mall. The proposal includes the new Wholefoods Market that is moving into the current Sears property. It also includes a Panera Bread outlet along 3rd Street and a B.J.’s Restaurant along College Mall Road. The owners of the mall, the Simon Property Group, had revised parts of the proposal at the request of Plan Commission members and staff. Eric Greulich, a city planner, outlines the main features of the development. He says that the new plan will incorporate a pedestrian network with a sidewalk and a tree plot sight connecting multiple areas.

In order to accommodate the additional buildings and make the mall more pedestrian friendly, the proposal will reduce the total number of parking spaces by about ten percent and add more greenery. At the Panera Bread site, Commission member Susan Fernandez voiced concern over pedestrians who would have to cross a drive-through lane to get to the customer entrance. Rod Bosper, a spokesman for the Simons group, responded that the new proposal was a safer proposition.

The Commission later approved the proposal. Also at the meeting, the commission heard a proposal to remove soil and grade a 28-acre site at the northeast corner of Fullerton Pike and state road 37. This intersection will become an interchange on the new Interstate 69. The Bill C. Brown Trust, the owner of the property, wants permission to do this work so it can sell the soil to the contractor building the interchange. Steve Smith, representing the owner, explained that the attendant leveling of the property would also make eventual commercial development more easy, as the owner anticipates. Commission member, Pat Williams, raised concerns about doing this grading work on a site with Karst features.

The Commission later approved the grading proposal unanimously.

Plan Commission Mulls New Parking Garage


The Monroe County government is still waiting for a verdict on their plans to build a parking garage after more than two hours of debate Monday night. The eight-story garage would be next to the County jail on Morton Street. It would have 268 spaces reserved for county employees. The County needs approval from the Bloomington Plan Commission, which heard the case for a second time last night. The plans for the garage would require the plan commission to allow for eight exceptions to downtown building codes, including a 30-foot height variance. Although the garage has been reduced from nine floors to eight due to criticism during the February hearing on the project, there are still portions of the facility that reach 90 feet. Additionally, the project does not meet code for providing retail space on the first floor because the ground floor would be used as an emergency evacuation facility for the county jail.

County Commissioner Patrick Stoffers told the Plan Commission that approximately 250 county employees currently park in the Monroe County Convention Center parking lot, and that the county pays fifty thousand dollars a year to then shuttle employees to work. In an effort to reduce the size of the parking garage, the city offered to lease spaces in existing garages to the county. The County turned down that offer. City Council Member Steve Volan, who spoke during public comment, said that using county funds to build an additional garage was irresponsible.

Much of the public comment concentrated on the benefits of having high numbers of pedestrians downtown. Local Architect Mark Cornett said that downtown is increasingly becoming a “drive in, drive out” community, giving the example of a coffee shop located in Smallwood that had to close because students were bypassing the retail level and taking the elevator directly to their cars.  Already this year downtown development has caused Bloomington’s City Council to reexamine relationships between the plan commission, an appointed body, and the elected officials who serve on the council. Throughout Monday’s meeting, commissioners, staff, and the public spoke about last month’s approval of the large Graduate Hotel on Kirkwood Avenue, the relocation of IU Health Bloomington Hospital, the potential expansion of the convention center, and repeatedly called Smallwood Apartments “a mistake.” The city plan commission’s jurisdiction over what the county can build on its downtown land displays another conflict of authority, and multiple times throughout the meeting talk came up of county operations leaving downtown Bloomington. Commission member Chris Smith reproached the elected officials in the room for being behind in the creation of a growth policies plan, or GPP.

Speaking in favor of the parking garage were county council member Cheryl Munson and Larry Jacobs of the Chamber of Commerce. Along with Volan, city council member Dave Rollo also spoke against the project. And members of Decarcerate Monroe County objected to the ground floor blueprint, which they say looks unchanged since a jail work release proposal was dropped from the development plan. Because comission comment indicated the project would not pass if it were voted on, Commission president Jack Baker made a motion to continue the hearing for an additional month. That motion was passed 7-1, with commission member Jane St. John speaking against the trend of passing developments that do not reflect the community’s values.

The garage is scheduled to be considered again at the next Plan Commission meeting on April 13th.

Daily Local News – February, 16, 2015


The influx of proposed developments in Bloomington is raising concerns at the city’s Commission on Sustainability. Last week, Rebecca Swanson gave a report to the Commission and listed five projects that she called “eye openingly large.” She included the recent passage by the Bloomington Plan Commission of a 30-foot height variance for a hotel on Kirkwood Avenue.

Last week local residents participating in Global Divestment day joined an estimated 450 events in 60 countries to bring awareness to the connection between climate change and the use of fossil fuels. Correspondent Alycin Bektesh has that story for today’s WFHB community report.

Volunteers Susan Buchanan and Sarah Weisand share their experiences working for the Volunteers in Tutoring Adult Learners (VITAL) program at the Monroe County Public LIbrary. Also, volunteer opportunities from the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network.

Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker, along with the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network
Our engineer is Chris Martin,
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Alycin Bektesh
Executive producer is Joe Crawfrd.
For WFHB, I’m Doug Storm.

Decision unclear on building apartment behind 4th Street business


The owner of a local restaurant building was left wondering September 8th whether he’d be allowed to build apartments behind the business. The Bloomington Plan Commission did not come to a clear decision about the project at India Garden on East 4th Street. Some members of the Commission cited concerns about other recent developments downtown. Commission member Pat Williams said the timing is problematic…

Play audio for more.


Daily Local News – March 4, 2014


The Bloomington Plan Commission voted February 24th to fast-track approval for a thirty-five home subdivision in what is currently an urban forest along the B-Line Trail; Senator Joe Donnelly received the announcement on February 28th that a state of emergency in Indiana has been extended to March fifteenth, due to extremely cold weather affecting propane supply; Indiana University plans to partner in the creation of a Chicago-based Digital Lab for Manufacturing; The Indiana Chapter of an organization called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is fighting the passage of Senate Bill 229.

St. Monkey: A New Book by IU Prof. Jacinda Townsend
Jacinda Townsend grew up in South-Central Kentucky and has published short fiction in literary magazines such as African Voices, Carve Magazine, The Maryland Review, and Xavier Review. Her work has been anthologized in publications like Surreal South and Telling Stories: Fiction by Kentucky
Feminists. She is currently a professor at Indiana University and resides in Bloomington with her two kids. On a recent episode of the WFHB show Bring it On Townsend talked about her new book, St. Monkey, which is set in Eastern Kentucky during the 1950’s. Now we bring you a portion of that appearance, for today’s WFHB feature report.

Thinking about college? Ashley talks with Patt McCafferty, Director of Financial Aid at Ivy Tech Community College, about the importance of filing a FAFSA.

Anchors: Casey Kuhn, Nick Tumino
Today’s headlines were written by Lindsey Wright,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Rob Powell.
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County. Our engineer today is Rob Powell,
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – February 11, 2014


This week on The Strike Mic, an anonymous source offers speculation on the recent news that Indiana University will no longer offer a summer tuition discount for its Bloomington campus; Work will begin on the new interstate that will traverse Bloomington and Monroe County as soon as weather allows; On February 10th the Bloomington Plan Commission approved a plan for a new building downtown that would include a convenience store.

Hoofin’ it to San Diego
Edgewood High School’s Student Newspaper “The Hoofbeat” 6th edition is hot off the presses this week. News Director Alycin Bektesh visited with the newspaper’s student staff and their advisor Joel Sanders yesterday to bring us this WFHB feature exclusive.

Did you know 18.6 billion dollars are spent every year on Valentine’s Day? Ashley and Sarah break down where all that money goes and offer some ideas to help you stay romantic within reason.

Anchors: Casey Kuhn, Nick Tumino
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Alycin Bektesh.
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County
Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.
Our engineer and editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Firm Plans to Build Alongside Bloomington B-Line Trail


Last week the Bloomington Plan Commission heard a request to build a four-story building alongside the downtown B-Line Trail, to include thirty-five high-end apartments and condos. The building would occupy about half of a city block, and it would also include some space for businesses on the first floor.

The owners currently run the private equity firm Elmore Companies, and they plan to include that business as well as others in the new building. City Planner Patrick Shay says the project needs eight different waivers from the city. One stems from the fact that the building would violate rules about building too close to the B-Line Trail.

“As you know, there’s a ten foot setback within our downtown commercial areas when it’s adjacent to the B-Line,” Shay said, “This is done to create outdoor spaces and to make sure we don’t get a canyon effect where the buildings don’t loom over the trail. We think that the petitioners project has done that some by their own design, such as a plaza that most buildings don’t have.”

The building would be located immediately west of the B-Line Trail, between Kirkwood Avenue and 6th Street. It would be as close as one foot away from the trail in some spots. But Shay says there won’t be what he called a canyon effect, because the other side of the trail is next to the street.

“You’re not going to have another building across from it, creating the canyon effect, because it’s parallel to the street, which is unique,” Shay said.

The building would also be taller than city code allows being about 50 feet tall, but Shay says certain parts would extend above 60 feet.

“Most of the building is below 50 feet, but they wanted some bigger

The top floor of the building includes three penthouses that will be occupied by the owners of the building. Greg McHenry, with the firm Milhaus Development, says the apartments in the building are being priced for the professional family or graduate student population.

“One bedroom would be about $1,000 to $1,500 with three bedrooms nearing $2,000 or above,” McHenry said.

Plan Commission member Chris Sturbaum praised the project, which he says required considerable work from the developers to meet the city’s expectations.

“This building has gone through considerable re-design, which the public doesn’t see,” Sturbaum said, “There was a lot of feedback from the planning department. I think that the building is starting to look really good, and the waivers are justified because so much effort has been made into a building that really fits the guidelines of the city. It’s a timeles building, something that won’t look outdated in a few years, and it will be something I think we can all look at for the rest of our lives, and that’s not a small accomplishment.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the variances for the project.

Daily Local News – December 16, 2013


At the December meeting of the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees, Jim Witmer was approved as the inaugural School Resources Officer for the district; Facebook followers of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources will have the chance to talk about ice safety with Lieutenant William Browne, of DNR Law Enforcement, this Friday; Last week the Bloomington Plan Commission heard a request to build a four-story building alongside the downtown B-Line Trail, to include thirty-five high-end apartments and condos; Governor Mike Pence announced today that he has appointed Indiana District 78 Representative Suzanne Crouch as Auditor of State for Indiana.

“No Justice For Ian Stark”: Rally Decries Lack of Shelter
Last week, a man named Ian Stark was found dead at the Colonial Crest Apartment complex on the north side of Bloomington. Stark was reportedly homeless and police say he might have died from exposure to the cold weather. In response, a group gathered Friday night on the Courthouse Square to bring attention to Stark’s death and to the continuing issues with lack of shelter in Bloomington. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has that story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Eva Marsh, the first youth volunteer for the Bloomington Pride Film Festival, discusses the upcoming festival and talks about how to get involved, on Activate! our weekly segment spotlighting people working for positive change in our community.

Anchors: Maria McKinley, Chris Martin
Today’s headlines were written by Chris Martin and Alycin Bektesh, along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford.
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker, our engineer is Chris Martin,
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Scroll To Top