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Meeting Minutes - March 13, 2012

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MERIDIAN KESSLER PLAN Steering Committee meeting

Attendees: David Vanderstel, our newest member who is the VP of Institutional Advancement of Martin University, a professor at IUPUI, and our expert consultant re historic preservation.  Also attending were Jim Garrettson, Tom Gallagher, Kent Pinaire, Mary Owens, Vera Adams, John Albrecht, Alicia Byers, and Kathleen Blackham.

“Brief review of two past Neighborhood Discussions re College Avenue”:

                Concern was voiced regarding more input on infrastructure at the Neighborhood Discussions,  and less input on form. Discussion ensued indicating that neighbors are more informed on infrastructure needs, seeing them on a day to day basis, and are more likely comfortable addressing them with authority. Thoughts as to “form” are more intuitive—people “know what they like and dislike”.  As they have spoken positively about the forms they like, we should take those elements of the form which are highly regarded, and focus on incorporating them into the plan. To be included in discussions of form, we also have heard of “uses” which seem to draw neighbors together and are encouraged by the form itself.  An example, spontaneously occurring but perhaps in some way encouraged by “form”, is the Noble Romans at 49th and Penn, which, with its “Waffle Cone Wednesday” is seen to bring neighbors together in a pedestrian/outdoor setting enjoying the landscaping, benches, etc, provided by the area. As a “family/neighbor” gathering space, this example of “form” speaks to proportion of space in the context of a commercial enterprise.  Additionally, we have often heard of the good regard of the intersection of College and 52nd. We can use these intersections as examples of how our neighbors would like their neighborhood to look, and generalize from there. It was suggested we be careful about rigid standards as to height, setback, etc.  Using the example of the College Park Condominiums located to the south of Yats—their scale would be too massive with a narrower setback, but as they are currently situated, they are well accepted aesthetically.

                There was some review to the 2:1 ratio described in past meetings as setting the standard for width of open space:height of building. Some consideration must be given to Rights Of Way, better defined for our purposes as the “property line”and most often beginning at the edge of the sidewalk.  Kathleen will clarify the “Right of Way” for College Avenue. In an urban setting, the standard is to build to the property line, although it was suggested that a “façade zone” could be defined which would allow some leeway on the “public realm”.

“Review of the two Neighborhood Plans”:

                The College Avenue “Neighborhhood Plan” draft was presented for discussion (it is posted elsewhere within the MKNA website).  The information in this draft plan, combined with any added neighbor comments, will eventually be condensed into a tabulated format.   Upon completion and approval by the neighborhood, it will be placed in the “Regulating Plan” by the city. The City will provide the drawings of the plan which will be added as an appendix to the final form.

                Discussion ensued regarding the specifics of the use of “a system of traffic calming” measures, as we have had much specific input from neighbors as to what defines a “walkable/bikeable/drivable” neighborhood to them.  We would like to be proactive in addressing these issues with the city, to avoid the occurrence of “improvements” without adequate input.  Mary and Alicia will consolidate the specific requests for traffic calming and prepare a request, which will be distributed both to Steering Committee members and to the MKP website for input. We will include specific alley renovation requests.  Once we form our specific requests, we will ask our city-county council members for support as we meet with DPW. Kathleen will arrange a meeting with DPW when we are prepared. It was advised that we keep in mind future transit issues such as bus rapid transit, which may conflict with calming measures for College Avenue as we make our requests.  We don’t want construction of curb bump outs for example, which might have to be removed for transit.  On the other hand, we might ask for restriping which could be repainted in the event of forward movement on the transit issues. The question was raised as to maintenance of planted curb bump outs—the city will likely refuse maintenance and we must be prepared to address this issue. We may consider input from KIB, individual neighbor participation, “adopt a block” among other possibilities.

                Billboards have been raised as an aesthetic concern by neighbors.  The permit for the billboards at College and 54th is automatically renewed without neighbor input.  Only when roof work is needed will we have the opportunity to remonstrate for their removal.  Shall we explore stronger language regarding new requests for billboards as “billboards will be prohibited”?

                Provision of bike racks is the responsibility of the property owner.  Could we look to TIF funds to help with this expense?

                Shall we try to draw up a “Lighting Plan” for the neighborhood?  Any specific plan would need to be an addendum to an actual Form Based Code Plan. As we consider this, note was made that we might entertain one type of lighting for residential areas, supplemented with a second lighting type for the commercial nodes within that area. 8 ft lights would require too many lighting structures to be feasible (one/property), so that lighting heights of 16-20 feet would be more reasonable. We do want language prohibiting EVMS (electronic variable message signs) in this neighborhood where the commercial nodes are in too close proximity to residential areas to allow for such a visually disruptive presence.

                As we look to other means of “identifying” our neighborhood, we might look to some uniformity of trash cans. Mention has been made to establish various “Gateways” identifying entrance into Meridian Kessler. Rather than undertaking a large project such as this, might we look to 38th St as our “Gateway” on the south and Kessler to the north, using general design parameters within the neighborhood with some “guidelines” providing a degree of uniformity without encroaching upon individual design elements.

                Kathleen will provide a compilation of “Historic Buildings” in this area, including the survey which indicates if they are “contributing, outstanding,  non contributing”, etc. This may serve as an appendix to the MKP. Regarding the “Prather Building” at 42nd and College, the question was raised of the availability of grants for structural improvements.  Indiana Landmarks is investigating the importance of the structure.  Mary suggested that perhaps Alicia Garceau might help us with this.  Mary feels this will soon become another urgent issue and will contact Alicia Garceau for her help.

                In discussing the issue of the purchase of the 46th and College southwest property by Family Dollar, Vera will forward her students design drawings for this area, and Kent has offered to review them with any added suggestions.  Perhaps this can be introduced into discussions of the future of this property in the hopes it will encourage the proper form, if not the proper use.

“Architectural Review”—Tom Gallagher

                In Broad Ripple, the prototype of the FBC was drawn up by Tamara Tracy, planner, with city interns doing illustrations.  Broad Ripple leaders have reviewed this plan and are making changes. The need for our Steering Committee to compile the ongoing tabulation of recommendations within the format of the outline which Kathleen will send to us has been addressed above.

                Tom would like to define broad “character areas” such as the length of the College Corridor, each of which may contain up to 4 or 5 typologies.  Although this is a discussion of semantics, he feels we need to be in accord with the language used to avoid misunderstanding in future dealings.

Our next Neighborhood Discussion will involve the 38th St corridor (from 40th St to 38th) along the length of 38th from College to Meridian on Tuesday June 5 at 6:30 at Coburn Place. (The area of 38th St from the Monon to College will be included in the Character Area of the Monon or State Fairgrounds at a future date).  For this event, we will need to invite the other stakeholder organizations bordering on this area consisting of Mapleton/Fall Creek, BTNA, and Watson/McCord.  Mary will issue these invitations.  It was felt by the group that a separate meeting should occur between representatives of the Steering Committee and representatives of the Stakeholder groups one week after the Neighborhood Discussion—during the week of June 11.  The Steering Committee will then meet the following week to discuss and tabulate results.

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Indianapolis, IN 46205
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