At its meeting Monday evening, the Bloomington Plan Committee approved the site plan for building 213 new apartments on the northeast side of the roundabout at 17th Street and Arlington Avenue.
The project to be built by MHG Apartments occupies approximately 7 acres of land, which is made up of half a dozen different plots of land.
It is a four storey multi-family building and will feature 213 new units with 340 bedrooms combined. The distribution of the mix of sizes is: 93 one-bedroom units; 113 two-bedroom units and 7 three-bedroom units.
The plan committee vote was 7-1 with opposition from Ron Smith, the city council representative on the plan committee.
Smith objected to what he described as the building’s “connected” character. “I’m afraid we’re going to have a lot of monolithic apartment blocks in the city,” Smith said.
The building has one floor more than is normally allowed. Bloomington’s Uniform Development Ordinance (UDO) includes a “sustainability stimulus” that allows for an additional story of height. For the MHG apartment project, it is proposed to satisfy the sustainability incentive by obtaining the Silver Certificate in the National Green Home Innovation Rating System (NGBS).
Among the planned facilities for the building is the dog park, which appears in the plans in the northeastern corner of the project. The area named “dog park” on the site plan is an open area that can be used for any type of open space, senior zoning planner in Bloomington, Eric Greulich, said at a Monday meeting.
The project is the so-called “correct” proposal. This means, according to the results of the planning staff, that it meets all the requirements of the existing division of the land, which is RM (multi-family residential).
The plan committee could still place conditions on its approval, four of which were recommended by the planning staff:
- Silver level certification with the Home Innovation National Green Building Standard (NGBS) A green rating system is required before final occupancy can be recommended.
- Street trees are required no more than 40 feet from the center along the entire frontage of the property within the tree plot and must be shown before the rating permit is issued.
- A pedestrian easement is required for any portions of the mixed-use trail that are not on the right of way, and must be registered before final occupancy is recommended for issuance.
- The petitioner must obtain final approval and agreement with Bloomington Transit regarding the location of the transit layover and installation schedule prior to
Recommendation of temporary employment.
During Monday’s meeting, city council representative to the Planning Commission, Ron Smith, requested that some sort of condition be imposed that would require color contrast, to help deconstruct the building’s “monolithic” character.
During the meeting, Bloomington’s chief planner, Eric Greulich, penned some wording for a fifth clause to reflect Smith’s intent: “The petitioner will work with staff to incorporate a separate color palette for the southern half of the building to help visually distinguish the modular building.”
Other plan commissioners were not eager to go the route of imposing requirements on color. Chris Cockerham puts it this way: “I’m very careful about dictating colors outside of my code.”
Bill Bigs, an attorney with Bunger & Robertson representing the project, also disputed the case’s idea of color. Biggs said, “This is very personal — and one person’s tomato is another person’s tomato.” Bigs added, “To request something that is not required under UDO [unified development ordinance] It is very difficult for the petitioner or anyone else to achieve.”
Bigs said the discrete color palette was something the architect could explore, but he asked not to make it a condition of approval. He concluded, “It’s too vague…it’s not up to the accuracy and standard we can meet.”
The perceived “connected” character of the building is due in part to the size of the floor plate. On the subject, Jackie Scanlan, Bloomington’s director of building services, noted during Monday’s meeting that if some changes to the UDO (Uniform Development Ordinance) currently pending before City Council were enacted, the size of the floorboard used on the MHG Apartments project would not have been possible.
Changes to UDO, which appear on the May 18 city council meeting agenda, among other things, lower the maximum floor slab allowed in the code and make larger floor panels contingent on achieving not only sustainability incentives, but capacity incentives as well. to bear the costs.