The Bloomingtonian

City Council meeting on “plexes” to continue tonight at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom

Bloomington’s City Council will continue a special session tonight, May 4th, on whether to allow “plex” development in neighborhoods across the city as part of a citywide rezoning plan.

The rezoning went before the planning commission several weeks ago, and it was argued, successfully, that any property owner in all the city’s residential neighborhoods can build “plexes” by right. A plan for allowing plex development in some “core neighborhoods” was voted down by city council last year, and but some proponents ran for city council, and won – the plan was reintroduced almost immediately.

The process was resurrected during a global pandemic and has been a confusing process for many voters and discussed for the past several months in the language of jargon, many won’t understand without education in urban planning or experience in local zoning politics. Meetings are conducted over zoom, and during comments, only the commenter’s name is shown. The legislative packet for a previous meeting on plexes was over 250 jargon-filled pages:

https://bloomington.in.gov/onboard/meetingFiles/download?meetingFile_id=8676

Here are the zoom links:

Posted on: Friday, 30 April 2021

CITY OF BLOOMINGTON COMMON COUNCIL

Per Executive Orders issued by the Governor, these meetings will be conducted electronically.The public may access the meetings at the following links:

May 4, 2021 – https://bloomington.zoom.us/j/92630957533?pwd=WWY1RWlWVTlnNWZEUkV1YTZ2NzFKUT09

May 5, 2021 – https://bloomington.zoom.us/j/92630957533?pwd=WWY1RWlWVTlnNWZEUkV1YTZ2NzFKUT09

May 6, 2021 – https://bloomington.zoom.us/j/94786756408?pwd=Skdhc2lVOUhYRXhNM29iQTV2NVVxQT09

Tonight’s legislative packet link: https://bloomington.in.gov/onboard/meetingFiles/download?meetingFile_id=8754

The City Council will vote whether or not to allow the plex development. The plexes can be 2,3 or 4 units with up to three bedrooms each. Currently the city’s core neighborhoods are zoned for single family housing, although “plexes” do exist in some core neighborhoods from a previous plan in years past that allowed the units to be built. The 4 unit plexes would only be built in some areas of the city zoned R4, and a zoning map points to those areas.

Basically, a single family house could be divided into at least two units, or one or more units can be built on top of the existing structure, to create a duplex (two dwellings) or tri-plex (three dwellings).

Meanwhile, an amendment to the plan was introduced that would strip out language allowing the plexes by right, but would encourage parts of town called, “Village Centers,” where more housing could be built near public transit, and other amenities.

Here is the text of amendment 1 proposed last week during a meeting that went over five hours. Here is a PDF of the proposal:

But, whether or not to allow the development has divided the community and the opposing sides have created their own “news” websites. The Bloomingtonian hasn’t listed the various arguments for and against, but those arguments will be found on these links:

https://www.neighborsunited.info/

https://stopbtownupzoning.org/

An anonymous political operative also started a sarcastic and ironic Twitter page to apparently ridicule and shame those against what’s being called, “upzoning” by calling them NIMBYs … a derogatory term meaning, “Not in My Backyard,” and long used as an insult by various factions during local political battles across the United States for decades.

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