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December 4, 2012 Minutes

Posted 5:17 PM by


This meeting took place at Developer Town (5301 North Winthrop Avenue) with approximately 75 neighbors and residents attending.  Mary Owens (MKNA LUC Chair) opened the meeting with an introduction that explained the need to update the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Plan, the purpose of the meeting, and identified that portion of the neighborhood that would be discussed.  She encouraged those in attendance to provide their thoughts about future development along the Monon corridor.  Tom Gallagher made a presentation about form-based zoning.  This was followed by Ms. Owens who explained how the neighborhood had been divided into nine different planning areas, each of which would be discussed at neighborhood meetings (three of the areas had already been discussed at previous meetings).

Ms. Owens then prefaced the discussion of each of the areas along the Monon Trail by asking the following questions:  what are our fears/deal breakers for the future of the area; what needs to be preserved; what needs to be improved; and, how to improve the relationship between the neighborhood and the trail.

54th to 52nd Streets along the Monon Trail
A concern was expressed about the plethora of overhead utility lines.  A point, however, was made that to bury these lines would involve a large financial investment that the utility companies are not prepared to undertake.  As future infrastructure improvements are made, consideration should be given to installing utilities underground.

High intensity industrial zoning along portions of the trail raised questions about the negative impact on adjacent and surrounding properties.  It was noted that an overlay district of form-based zoning could provide tools to improve the relationship between that zoning district and the neighborhood, with the underlying zoning remaining unchanged.  Someone suggested that mixed-use along the trail would be most appropriate and might include incubator space for start-up businesses, professional offices, and residential use.  In order to maintain the character of the neighborhood, height of new buildings should be limited to three stories and have a visual presence toward the Monon Trail.  It was suggested that perhaps a boutique hotel would be appropriate to serve those visiting Butler University.

There was a long discussion about the lack sidewalks, the poor condition of existing sidewalks, and the need for sidewalks to be contiguous in an effort to provide better east/west access to the Monon Trail for the neighbors.  It was felt that contiguous sidewalks on both sides of the streets should be installed from College Avenue east to the Monon Trail along 54th Street and 52nd Street.  Someone suggested that 53rd Street be improved and a trail head installed.  It was also noted that joggers use the street rather than sidewalks and that new sidewalks should be constructed to meet the needs of all potential users.

There was support voiced for transit accompanied with density.  Someone advised that two different routes from Carmel were being studied – College Avenue and Keystone Avenue.

There was the desire to maintain the current quiet, walkable, family-friendly character of the neighborhood, with a balance of neighborhood businesses.  Someone noted the issues related to the number of bars in Broad Ripple and the importance of maintaining a balance, without an over abundance of bars.

Lack of parking throughout the area was identified as an issue that needed to be addressed.  There were comments related to current specific areas and the need to identify/stripe parking spaces.  This would direct drivers to parking spaces and improve the safety of pedestrians who may be present.  There are areas where striping should be changed to provide for travel lanes, bike lanes, and parking on one side of the street.  Pedestrian safety would then be improved through organizing these multiple activities.

Other suggestions for improvements included pedestrian-scaled lighting, landscaping, sidewalks along Winthrop Avenue, more parks/green space/pocket parks, urban/community gardens, art center, and connections to the neighborhoods to the east of the Monon Trail.

49th Street along the Monon Trail
A photograph of Indy Hostel was presented to the group.  It was the general consensus of those in attendance that this type of use is appropriate for the neighborhood.

A need was expressed for sidewalks in this area, along with a pocket park at 50th Street.

It was suggested that chain link fencing should be removed if at all possible.  In the alternative, steps could be taken to minimize the visual impact.  If appropriate, barbed wire fencing should be removed, particularly around the sub-station property (now owned by Brighthouse).

46th Street along the Monon Trail
There was general agreement that the storage facilities in the area needed to be maintained and cleaned up.  It was suggested that shrubs or shade trees should be planted to beautify this area.

44th to 42nd Streets along the Monon Trail
Photographs of the School for the Deaf, Sullivan & Poore, and fencing on the fairgrounds property were presented to the group.  There was a question raised about future plans for Sullivan & Poore.

It was suggested that community gardens might be a possibility on the fairground property.

Overall Comments along the Corridor
-The appearance of the Monon Trail could be improved with landscaping the entire length.
-Alleys should be improved for multi-use.
-Abandoned vehicles and houses are a concern and should be addressed by working with the Department of Code Enforcement and Health and Hospital.
-An “outreach” program should be created to assist property owners with improvements to their property.
-There is a need to improve the overall “streetscape” of the neighborhood – including, but not limited to traffic calming, alleys, lighting, green infrastructure, etc.

Ms. Owens closed the portion of the meeting for public input by explaining that the next steps would be to schedule public meetings for the remaining areas of the neighborhood by the end of 2013 and the preparation of the updated plan that would include those elements necessary to create a form-based regulating plan that would be a second document separate from the neighborhood plan.

Jerrey Finnegan made a presentation about the ongoing efforts for installation of neighborhood traffic calming devices and improvements in infrastructure.  He reported that the committee meets frequently with the Department of Public Works to discuss infrastructure priorities and current improvements throughout the neighborhood.  The committee also coordinates with the needs of individual property owners.  It was also noted that the committee is involved and spearheaded the Safe Routes to School program in the neighborhood.

After Thoughts
If alleys are properly maintained, residents may be more likely to use them for parking which would provide additional on-street parking for commercial uses.  Additionally, consideration should be given to implementing permit parking for residents along 52nd and 54th Streets.

New multi-story buildings along the Monon Trail should be well designed and appropriately located.  As the height is increased, the upper stories should “step back” in order to avoid a tunnel effect along the corridor.

Access along the Monon Trail should be increased - users popping on and off would improve the safety.  Open space/parks could be incorporated along the Monon Trail at appropriate locations (i.e. Canterbury Park).  How could Arsenal Park be connected to the Monon Trail?

There should be additional discussions about those properties adjacent to those that abut the Monon Trail to include how existing residential properties would be buffered from more intense (commercial / industrial) uses along the Monon Trail.

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