Bloomington, Indiana – September 12, 2023
A concerned resident, Steve Smith, has expressed apprehension regarding the Sudbury Planned Unit Development (PUD) proposal during a recent Plan Commission meeting in Bloomington. Smith, a retired Professional Engineer and Land Surveyor, voiced his concerns about the proposal’s density and potential traffic impacts.
Smith, who initially attended the meeting casually, was drawn into the details of the Sudbury PUD proposal. He conducted his calculations and compared the proposed Sudbury development to the K-mart multifamily site, known for its visibility and mixed public opinions.
According to Smith’s analysis, the proposed Sudbury PUD is estimated to be 1.5 to 2.0 times denser than the K-mart site and approximately eight times larger in terms of area. Smith’s comparison focused on the K-mart site due to its visibility and the negative feedback he had heard from friends and neighbors.
Smith raised concerns about the density of the Sudbury proposal, emphasizing that a higher density would likely require taller buildings, which could affect the community’s visual landscape. He questioned whether those present at the Plan Commission meeting truly comprehended the magnitude of the proposal.
During the meeting, the petitioner presented a conceptual plan for the Sudbury site. However, when questioned, they clarified that this concept was not a true representation of the final development. Smith referenced a 2-D plan included in the staff report on page 240 and expressed skepticism about the actual outcome, suggesting it may resemble the presented drawing, which would equate to over 13 K-mart sites in terms of the number of units.
Comparing the two sites, Smith highlighted that the K-mart site currently has 340 units on approximately 12 acres, achieving a density of 28 units per acre. In contrast, the Sudbury site, spanning 140 acres, would allocate around 40 acres to environmental features and roadways, leaving roughly 100 acres for development. The calculated density for Sudbury would range between 44 and 60 units per acre, making it 1.5 to 2.1 times denser than the K-mart site.
Smith also expressed concerns about the potential traffic impact of the Sudbury development. He estimated approximately 6,000 multifamily units, resulting in 36,000 new daily trips. Comparing this to the capacity of local two-lane roads, he raised concerns about the feasibility of accommodating the increased traffic.
Furthermore, Smith argued that the Sudbury project would exceed the historical rate of new unit construction in Bloomington, proposing up to 750 units per year, compared to the city’s past average of about 500 units annually.
In closing, Smith emphasized the importance of ensuring that all stakeholders understand the scale of the Sudbury PUD proposal, raising questions about its compatibility with the community’s vision as outlined in various plans and the current zoning of the site.
Jacqueline Scanlan, a representative from the City of Bloomington, acknowledged Smith’s concerns and committed to reviewing the issues raised.