politics

City council passes three resolutions



Between multiple power outages during its Wednesday meeting the Bloomington Common Council approved three resolutions. 

The council approved the historical preservation of a house at 1033 S. Ballantine Road. House owners Eric and Lee Sandweiss  petitioned to have the ranch-style house be considered for historical preservation and named after the home's builder Nathan Silverstein. 

The house was built in 1951. According to the Eric Sandweiss, who is a history professor at IU and has research experience in architectural history, the house is particular to early post-World War II architecture. The house has been mostly unaltered since its development. 

"This house has been mostly unaltered and is a prime example of post-World War II architecture," Bethany Emenhiser, historic preservation program manager, said. Ranch-style homes were popular from the 1930s to the 1970s but peaked in the 1950s and 1960s, she said.  

Silverstein helped develop Maxwell Manors — the current neighborhood where the 1033 S. Ballantine Road house is located — as well as various other housing developments in Bloomington. 

"I hope this helps incrementally increase awareness that the house doesn't have to be super old or super old-looking to have historic value," council member Andy Ruff  said. 

A property at 4023 W. Third St. was approved to be rezoned for commercial use instead of private development. The petitioner, GMS-Pavilion Properties, wants to open a dialysis center on the property, but would not be able to if it were in a designated private development zone. 

The council also unanimously passed a resolution to urge the United States Congress and President Trump to enact carbon fee and dividend legislation. 

Council members Dave Rollo  and Tim Mayer co-sponsored the resolution in partnership with the local chapter of the Citizens' Climate Lobby. A carbon fee and dividends law would add a tax to carbon used for fossil fuels. The fees collected be sent to American households. 

The dividends are designed to motivate citizens to pay for alternative energy sources, save more money and put it back into the economy. The Citizens' Climate Lobby estimates $600 billion in fees would be collected by the 2030s. Proponents of this policy believe it would be more effective than government emissions regulations in making certain companies change their dependency on fossil fuels.

The Citizens' Climate Change goal, according to its report to the city council regarding the ordinance, says the group hopes this helps reach carbon emissions levels to 10 percent of what they were in 1990.

Every council member expressed the urgency of this legislation and their hope that this would make for a cooperative approach in the U.S. to fighting climate change.

"At the end of the day, this is for our children's children's children," Mayer said.

The council also took time to remember Toby Strout ,  former executive director of the Bloomington Middle Way House, who died Monday. Council members who worked with her praised her for her dedication, hard work and intellect. 

Granger described her role at work at the Middleway House and elsewhere as a mother hen figure. 

"She did everything she needed to do to protect her chicks," Granger said. 

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