The Bloomington City Council voted 7-2 Wednesday to rezone a 10-acre lot of land a few miles from IU’s campus.
The rezoning of this lot will allow the owner to develop apartment buildings on the land, according to the ordinance. A firm submitted preliminary plans to develop an apartment complex with one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, 164 total apartments, on the property, representatives for the Bill C. Brown Revocable Trust said at the meeting.
The proposed complex, which will sit at the intersection of 3rd Street and State Highway 446, is two miles from the southeast corner of IU’s campus. There are no buildings currently located on the lot and no timetable was given for the project. A few members of the council voiced concerns as to whether the apartment complex would be marketed toward IU students for off-campus housing.
The Bill C. Brown Revocable Trust said it is possible students will live at the complex, though the developer is not designing it specifically for students and does not specialize in student-specific housing.
Some Bloomington residents are opposed to the expansion of student-specific housing, citing concerns that students would bring loud noise to their area.
A proposal about a separate lot was struck down a few years ago because it tried to create a bus service that would allow students living at the property to easily travel to campus and there was community opposition to that student-specific busing plan. Council members questioned the Bill C. Brown Revocable Trust about similarities between the old proposal from years past and the current proposal. Councillor Steve Volan, who represents the 6th District, said the questioning was unfair to students.
“The hysteria around that potential student project was entirely out of proportion then,” Volan said.
Volan said he does not believe it matters whether or not students will live at the property.
“I hope that if there are students watching, I hope that they see that this is how the rest of the city talks about students: as though they are other,” Volan said. “As though they are from far away. As though they cannot be assimilated into our city.”
Volan was a part of the majority vote. He said he thinks students will live in the apartments, even though the complex will not be built specifically for students.
Just before the vote, Councillor Susan Sandberg, who represents the city at -large, said students should be reassured that their housing needs are a concern of the council.
“I would just like to state the obvious that in the City of Bloomington, we are a college town,” Sandberg said. “Students have always lived everywhere, and students will continue to live everywhere.”