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April 9th Plan Meeting Minutes

Posted 12:48 PM by


Minutes April 9 2013 Neighbor Discussion:

            38th Street from Central Ave to Meridian


The discussion began with a description of the Meridian Kessler Plan mission, which is tri partite; with a focus upon the Form Based Code which, with the assistance of the City, will progress to a Regulating Plan which overlay our current Zoning Plan, followed by suggestions by neighbors of acceptable uses for future development, and the addition of a 25 year long range infrastructure plan.


Throughout the discussion was a gentle reminder of the reason we have chosen to live in this neighborhood ie: it’s remarkable diversity and excellent co-existence, and to take care that any improvements will provide a benefit for ALL the neighbors. The theme of “Co existence to maintain economic diversity” is essential to success.


As to the actual “form” of Form Based Code:

            Neighbors are comfortable with the architectural diversity manifest in this area.  They prefer no huge concrete/massive building structures, and feel that buildings with a common entryway would provide a lovely focus for any new building.  It was suggested that unity of the diverse architectural features currently in existence, could be provided with contiguous sidewalks, unified style of signage, lighting, landscaping.

            They suggested an openness to the number of stories to any new building--with no pre set limit.  They support the importance of overall proportionality as to building height/set back etc, so as to avoid a sense of confinement when walking in the area, but feel that, if needed, a building of greater height could be accommodated in the area, so long as it “fits in” with the other surrounding structures. The point was made that those buildings situated closer to single family homes will need some appropriate transition in building height to accomodate neighbors.

            The concept of “Village Mixed Use” with the first floor dedicated to retail, and living space above was acceptable to those in attendance.

            The group did not want any more strip malls.


As to potential uses:

            It was expressed that banking branches are welcome in the area.

            Neighbors would like to see more Restaurants. The suggestion of a Hotel or Bed and Breakfast would be acceptable.  The possibility of a living center for Seniors wanting to move from their large homes but desiring to remain in the neighborhood, or young couples just starting out in the neighborhood would be excellent.

            The point was made that for successful commercial development, we need an increase in density--this was acceptable to residents.

            A neighborhood grocery would be very welcome.  Neighbors do not want a “mega store”, but felt some type of boutique grocery with reasonable pricing, would be quite welcome.


As to Infrastructure and Streetscape:

            Uniform lighting, signage, and landscaping could improve the “connectivity” of the diverse architectural elements in this area.

            Emphasis upon pedestrian and bicycle passage was made.  The suggestion of the possibility of a “Culture Trail” type concept with a wider “sidewalk”, nicely delineated, with a dedicated bike passage alongside a dedicated pedestrian passage was well received. Landscaping on this passage would further enhance its “walkability” and protect pedestrians.  The comment was made that in European cities, often the bicycle lane is between the sidewalk and the parallel parking, with the parked cars then providing protection for cyclists.

            It was suggested that for the blocks from 38th to 40th on Meridian, the properties should be “connected” by contiguous sidewalks to promote a sense of continuity.

            Improved, unifying landscaping would be very much appreciated.

            Bus Rapid Transit was discussed. Some concern was expressed that the service might not be able to accommodate enough people to impact the high level of automobile usage currently in play. The comment was made that even a 20% reduction in the number of cars traversing the street would be a marked improvement in the sense of well being for pedestrians and cyclists. A neighbor had concerns that a dedicated lane for bus transit, thereby limiting the number of lanes for drivers, might direct traffic onto smaller streets within the neighborhood. It was noted that in some cases, transit could provide for buses which would share the lanes with automobiles at areas of greater congestion, and use dedicated lanes in other areas.

            The concept of “shared parking” of commercial areas was well received.  It was noted that improvement in the signage for the parking exit from the garage at 40th and Meridian is needed.  It was also noted that part of the Tarkington Park Plan includes parallel parking along all four sides of the Park.  This parking would be made available from the park property itself, so as not to limit the width of the streets.

            Improvement in the traffic control at Meridian and 40th will be appreciated.


An extensive discussion of the TIF funding recently made available ensued.  These funds may be used, in part, to draw in appropriate development with the aid of improvement to infrastructure and public elements of the buildings (such as facade improvements/visually appealing parking, etc).


The discussion ended with the request for delineation of the steps necessary form completion of this process, beginning with the initial input from neighbors such as the above discussion, to implementation of the final Regulating Plan--the formal document approved by the City County Council, and which DMD will consult in all questions of development and variances for this area.

We briefly reviewed the process by which the Neighbor Discussions become translated to the ultimate Regulating Plan:

            1. Keith Holdsworth, Principal Planner for DMD, will draft a

Neighborhood Plan based on the meetings conducted by the neighborhood.

The draft will need to include a land use component.

            2. Keith will organize the DMD effort to take the necessary

measurements (rights of way, sidewalks, etc.) for nodes within the

studied areas.  He will work with the Steering Committee to determine

what exactly they need.

            3. This information will then be used by a paid architect intern to

            compose three dimensional perspective drawings of these nodes in

            alignment with Form-Based Code. (The paid architect intern will be

            selected from Ball State Architectural students applying for the

            position.  MKNA has offered to provide the $4000 stipend. The Steering

            Committee will meet with the final 2-3 candidates vetted by our

            architect volunteers.  The final candidates will make a brief

            presentation to the committee before the final selection takes place.)

            4. Our architect volunteers sitting on the Steering Committee will

            review these drawings

            5. The drawings will be placed in public areas such as the College

            Library, Bank of Indianapolis, perhaps the entry way of Fresh Market

            (Polly will explore these options as we are nearer to this time frame)

            so that neighbors may review them.

            6. We will have 2-3 open meetings with all neighbors in order to

            gain further feedback on the plans.

            7. Keith will then translate the above material into the Vision

            Plan, which will be included as part of the Neighborhood Plan.

            8. The Neighborhood Plan may move forward after the following:

                        a.Approval by MKNA Board of Directors (per DMD, essential to their

                        implementing the plan)

                        b.Presentation to the Meridian-Kessler neighbors via an All

                        Neighborhood Meeting, tentatively scheduled for Spring of 2014, with a

                        show of support from neighbors

                        c.Approval by the Metropolitan Development Commission

            9. Using the Vision Plan and the NV zoning district framework, the

            Steering Committee or its assignees will develop the Regulating Plan.

            Upon it's completion, the Steering Committee will need to build support

            in the community and approval by most of the affected property owners

            before presenting the document for approval by the Metropolitan

            Development Commission and then by the City-County Council.  Keith can

            provide guidance and some assistance in this, but the Steering Committee

            is the responsible party.


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M-K Plan Area 5 Minutes

Posted 9:26 PM by



DESCRIPTION:  38th Street (both sides) between Central Avenue and Fall Creek.

The 38th Street (aka as Maple Road) corridor from Central Avenue to Fall Creek is classified as a two-way, six-lane primary arterial.  It serves as major east/west commuter route that, in 2011, carried approximately 27,212 trips between Meridian Street and Fall Creek North Drive.

Four IndyGo bus routes either run along the 38th Street corridor or intersect it.  Routes 4 and 39 run along 38th Street.  Routes 17 and 19 cross 38th Street in this area.  Recent upgrades in service increases the frequency of service to 15-minute intervals on Route 38, except between Franklin Road and Mitthoefer Road.

38th Street between Central Avenue and Fall Creek

The north side of 38th Street between Central Avenue and Fall Creek is zoned neighborhood commercial and high density residential (D-9), with the State Fair grounds zoned SU-9.  The south side of 38th Street between Central Avenue and Fall Creek is zoned commercial and high density residential (D-8).

Additionally there are several properties along 38th Street that lie within the Fall Creek wellfield (W-5).  Applications for variances in any of the wellfields are reviewed to determine whether drinking water will be negatively impacted.  In certain situations, a development plan is required to be filed and approved by a technically qualified person.

The wellfield protection zoning ordinance was developed to protect the city’s drinking water.  There are seven wellfields in Marion County, each of which are divided into two districts.  W-1 is an area where a drop of groundwater will reach a pumping well within one year.  W-5 is an area where a drop of groundwater will reach a pumping well within five years.


▪ Mixed use (office/retail use on the first floor, with residential on the upper floors) would be an appropriate use along this corridor.

▪ New requests for billboards should be discouraged.

▪ The bird sanctuary located on the south side of 38th Street in the Watson McCord Neighborhood should be preserved and protected.

▪ A bicycle facility (rental, repair, etc.) would be an appropriate use in the old Monon Train Station that lies adjacent to the Monon Trail.

▪ Improve relationship with the State Fair grounds by integrating pedestrian/bicycle connections between the neighborhood and the State Fair grounds. Improve look of fair grounds fencing along the Monon from cyclone/razor wire-topped to something more aesthetic

▪ Land uses that serve neighborhood needs (i.e. grocery store) would be preferred over uses that would be regional draws.

▪ A boutique restaurant, similar to Recess, would be a welcome addition to the corridor.

▪ Create a “Green District” that would become a unique niche that would attract entrepreneurs and art studios/galleries and demonstrate renewable energy sources.

▪ Promote the grant program offered by Office of Sustainability for “Green district” projects.

▪ Improve east/west connections for pedestrians/bicyclists by extending the Cultural Trail between the State Fair grounds and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

▪ Discourage redevelopment that would include fuel stations, cash/pawn stores, drugstores, payday loans businesses, and car lots.

▪ Promote the 38th Street corridor as a transit line, with transit development at certain intersections.

▪ Work with the Department of Public Works to improve maintenance of the median along this corridor.

Design Guidelines

●          Encourage businesses to seek façade grants to improve visual appeal of their store fronts.

●          Provide appropriate buffers and screens between adjacent commercial and residential uses.

●          Signage along this corridor should be respectful of the character of the corridor.

●          Rehabilitate/reuse existing residential stock, particularly those structures that have historic value.

●          The height of the buildings should be limited to either four or five stories.

●          Existing setbacks along 38th Street are appropriate, but the public realm between the building setback and the street should be enhanced with lighting, landscaping, wide sidewalks, and tree lawns.

●          Maintain rhythm of existing building setbacks when redevelopment activities  and infill projects are undertaken.

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