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MKP Meeting Minutes - January

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Minutes MKP January 10, 2012

Attendees:  Kent Pinaire (architect), John Albrecht (architect), Kathleen Blackham (senior planner, DMD), Scott Lacy (realtor), Karl Selm (urban planner), Tom Gallagher (architect), Jim Garrettson, Mary Owens, Alicia Byers

Guest: Judy Goldstein (President, MKNA)

The meeting opened with introductions followed by a discussion of the Conflict of Interest document.  It was pointed out that this form was designed to protect all members of this committee from any accusations of involvement for the purpose of personal/professional financial benefit.  Kent requested time to study the document prior to signing, all agreed this is reasonable.  Everyone was encouraged to contact Mary or Alicia if they have any particular concerns about the wording of the document.  All were asked to return the forms ASAP, but no later than the next Neighborhood Discussion meeting scheduled Feb 16th.

Kathleen followed with a broad overview of the Planning Process and the city’s role.  She passed out copies of Broad Ripple’s Regulating Plan to be used as an example.  The “Regulating Plan”, which is the ultimate outcome and will be the updated and governing Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Plan (MKP) , is the enforceable document compiled by the DMD, based upon and guided by the “Neighborhood Plan”.  The Neighborhood Plan is compiled by the DMD, based upon the input of neighbors of the Meridian Kessler  area.  This input will be compiled by the MKP Committee in the following way:

Neighbor Discussions will be held for each "character area" (defined as a sub area of the neighborhood consisting of contiguous properties of similar type architecturally) within the Meridian Kessler neighborhood, to be decided upon as the process moves forward.  Neighbors in each character area will be notified of the meeting which will be attended by Mary and Alicia, at least one of our architects, Kathleen Blackham, and Scott Lacy and Karl Selm as their schedules allow.  Neighbors will be provided with a power point presentation introducing the concept of FBC with photographs of the area to reinforce the concept of a unifying “typology” or “character” with which to begin the conversation.  We will guide the discussion with a handout prepared by Kathleen, which will outline general points of “Neighborhood Quality of Life” and “Design Guidelines” which apply to all the sub units. Neighbors will be asked to consider why they choose to live here. Neighbors will be asked “What are problem areas and how do you envision the solution?”, as well as “What aspects do you not want to see change?” They will be asked to think not only in terms of what best suits them, but also, what guidelines might serve to strengthen the neighborhood as a whole.  While the focus will be upon form (architectural style, setbacks, lighting, signage, street and bicycle markings, landscaping,) we will also address use issues, as these might have an impact upon form as well.  We will include a section on “deal breakers” to place on record those uses neighbors feel would never be acceptable to them, followed by those types of businesses to be discouraged.  Immediately after each Neighborhood Discussion, the Steering Committee members in attendance will meet briefly to review the neighbor comments/ requests, with the goal of condensing them into a realistically obtainable format which may be applied to a Neighborhood Plan.  Alicia will then prepare the minutes in a narrative form, including a list of specific neighbor requests as well as an explanation of those requests which the committee did not feel could be applied to the Plan.  These minutes will be posted on the MKNA Land Use website within 14 days of the meeting for comments/corrections by neighbors. If neighbors strongly oppose the deletion of their specific requests, members of the Steering Committee will meet with them to discuss subsequent action.

The minutes and list will be used by Kathleen to compile the first draft of a Neighborhood Plan.  The MKP Committee will then meet to review the Neighborhood Plan, looking at each area in detail, to further, and more specifically fill out the guidelines. The completed character area Neighborhood Plan will be posted on the MKNA website for neighbor review and input.

This process will be repeated until all areas of the Meridian Kessler neighborhood have been consulted/studied. At that time, Kathleen will present the consolidated Neighborhood Plan to the Metropolitan Development Commission of the DMD for approval.  If approved, it will serve as the basis for the “Regulating Plan” which will be compiled by the DMD.  This Regulating Plan must be approved by the neighborhood which is considered by the city to be represented by MKNA, the largest and most widely recognized neighborhood organization representing Meridian Kessler.  For this reason the President of MKNA (a position currently held by Judy Goldstein), will be invited to attend all committee meetings in an effort to keep the Board of Directors up to date with the committee’s work.  Judy has confirmed that MKNA, as one of several representative stakeholder groups offering input with the MK plan,will not specifically direct the workings of the MKP Committee. When approved by MKNA, the plan will be moved for approval by the City County Council, where, upon approval, it will be filed as THE resource document and reference point (which will overlay the current zoning plan) for all future development within Meridian Kessler.           

Review of the Central Avenue Neighborhood Plan:

            Suggested additions to the plan drafted by Kathleen Blackham include placing “Enforcement of posted speed limits” and “decrease of the speed limits” as sub categories along with inclusion of other measures under “traffic calming” elements.

            Screening of parking areas will need specific landscaping details

            Also suggested were the inclusion of specific measures for alley improvements under the general category of Neighborhood Quality of Life. Alleys will be addressed in terms of pedestrian use in addition to utility use only.  Comments on the three "critical areas" (defined as specific properties being studied) include:

             Girls Inc:

                        The suggestion was made that we establish a priority to keep the existing building and maintain its current exterior appearance.  It was also suggested that there be no curb cut (vehicle ingress/egress) off of Central Avenue, as current form standards seek to limit curb cuts, the existing alley access should be sufficient, and a curb cut on Central Avenue will further limit curbside parking.

            Meridian Psychology Associates:

                        Concern was voiced, contemplating an upward addition to the building.  It was noted that considering the architectural style of the current one story unit which does not mix with that of the neighborhood in general, a second story in a similar style would likely be too obtrusive.

          St Joan of Arc:

                    Kathleen will confirm whether the current SU-1zoning classification for religious purposes includes use of all the property for the school so that in the future, if the primary use of the rectory building should be changed to school use, there wouldn't be a need for a variance.  Because the school is "land locked", the word "prohibition" of house demolitions for future expansion will be amended to "discouraged".

Kathleen will include these suggestions and make revisions to the Neighborhood Plan for Central Avenue with the above suggestions, and if acceptable to committee members, it will be posted on the MKNA website for neighbor review.

Planning for the next Neighborhood Discussion:

            The College corridor was the unanimous choice, in order to be ready to participate in the discussion of TIF funding for the recently declared Economic Development District.  We will try to coordinate with Vera Adams’ urban planning students of Ball State who will be studying the various intersections along the corridor.  We will divide the corridor into 2 character areas:

            1) Kessler Avenue south to 52nd Street with the Neighborhood Discussion to be held on February 16

            2) 49th Street south to 42nd St with the Neighborhood Discussion to be held Feb 27

The 38th St and College area will be included in the discussion of the 38th Street/Maple Road corridor.

 Kathleen will take the material from these Neighborhood Discussions, after review by members of the committee immediately following the discussion, as indicated above, and create the Neighborhood Plan for these two character areas.  We will try to expedite passage of this portion of the Neighborhood Plan by the MKNA and the MDC so that it may be incorporated into a “Regulatory Plan” with guidelines for the discussion of TIF improvements.  Kathleen believes that DMD will refer to and be guided by this document, even before its final passage by the City County Council.


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