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Bloomington high-density housing development proposal sent to city council for vote


District 1 representative Kate Rosenbarger expresses concern about traffic in Bloomington on Wednesday night in City Hall. Rosenbarger’s concerns specifically included the traffic on 17th Street and the safety of pedestrians crossing the street. Lucas Beck

The city's land use committee considered a zoning ordinance Wednesday night which would allow a local real estate company to build a variety of housing units such as town houses and cottages, changing the proposed area from a single-family and business zone.

Trinitas Ventures, a real estate development company, is trying to rezone properties near West 17th Street to a planned unit development area, allowing them to build residential units such as cottages and town hosues. The units will offer a wide variety of housing, for groups such as low-income residents and college students.The company presented new sketches of the units at the meeting and listened to the committee's suggestions.

If the ordinance is passed, some of the property's parking lots will be required to include at least 12 electric vehicle charging stations powered by solar arrays.

Committee member and city council member Stephen Volan said he wants some of the proposed town houses to be restructured to be more community-oriented. He suggested having the fronts of the units face each other.

He also suggested changing the parking areas from 90-degree parking to parallel parking or angled parking. Volan said this change would help slow traffic in the residential area because drivers have to reverse into spots, as well as make the parking areas feel more like streets rather than parking lots.

He said he was frustrated the plans shown didn’t include more detailed parking plans.

“It’s an illusion that there won’t be any cars here,” Volan said.

Bloomington resident Kevin Treacy said he’s worried about property values dropping and the crime rate rising by adding affordable housing. He said adding street lights would also help beautify the neighborhood and allow people to park more easily.

Another requirement the committee put forward was a partnership between Trinitas Ventures and Bloomington Transit. Committee member and council member Matt Flaherty said the partnership would fund transportation services and create a new bus route. It would cost about $359,000 in the first year, with the bus running 360 days a year.

Jeff Kanable, Trinitas Ventures project executive, said he’s open to the partnership, but he would want to be able to end it if Bloomington Transit can’t fulfill its side of the deal concerning the bus route. If the ordinance is approved, Trinitas Ventures and Bloomington Transit will start working on creating and funding the route.

The committee recommended passing the entire ordinance it with its suggested amendments.

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