Development Proposal for Sudbury Project Faces Scrutiny from Bloomington Officials Monday

Staff report

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.  — September 12, 2023

 The Sudbury development project, a proposed 140-acre development in Bloomington, Indiana, faced detailed discussions and inquiries during the Bloomington Plan Commission Meeting on Monday, September 11, 2023. The meeting took over three hours.

Here is a video of the full meeting:

The portion of the meeting, held to address concerns and gather input on the project, featured Jacqueline Scanlan, Development Services Manager, Bloomington Planning and Transportation Department who spoke during introductions.

Attorney Angela Parker, then spoke on behalf of the petitioner: Travis Vencel of Sullivan Development, and Tyler Ridge of the Ridge Group, co-developers of the Sudbury project. Vencel later spoke as well.

Scanlan began by addressing critical updates related to the project, focusing on the Sudbury Development Partners LLC petition, PUD 1823. She highlighted the recent receipt of a capacity study conducted by a consultant through the City of Bloomington utilities, explaining, “We received that information on the seventh so about four days ago, for that which was a large study not just for this particular site. So we will be meeting with city of Bloomington utility staff members shortly to go over what the impacts are for this site to be able to report that back to you and also incorporated into our recommendations for what may need to change in this PD proposal.”

Additionally, Scanlan noted that they were still awaiting information about the traffic study, with a meeting scheduled with engineering staff in the coming week.

The key feature of the Sudbury project is the creation of five distinct neighborhoods on the 140-acre site. Attorney Angela Parker provided further details on the project’s goals, which include affordable living, walkability, and the integration of community services and employment opportunities. The project is anticipated to unfold over a 12 to 15-year period, though this timeline is subject to market demands.

Parker elaborated on the individual neighborhoods within the Sudbury project:

  • Shasta Meadow, consisting of 475 dwellings, will be delivered between 2025 and 2028.
  • Denali Woods, located in a natural wooded area in the southern part of the district, will prioritize preserving tree canopy and natural features while transitioning from single-family to multifamily housing. This phase is projected to comprise approximately 500 units between 2025 and 2029.
  • Sandia Place will feature interior blocks with larger-scale multifamily housing and limited commercial space on the ground floor, aiming to provide an urban atmosphere.
  • Everest District is expected to have higher density, with up to 1,300 dwellings, but this phase is not scheduled until 2028 to 2032.
  • Whitney Glen, a smaller neighborhood, is planned to bridge the gap between Arbor Ridge and the conservancy area, featuring single-family townhomes and multifamily structures, with approximately 400 units projected between 2033 and 2038.

Travis Vencel responded to several questions raised during the meeting, touching on various aspects of the development proposal, including its appropriateness as a Planned Unit Development (PUD), affordable housing commitments, sustainability measures, diversity of housing types, and transitions to existing neighborhoods.

One significant point of discussion was the project’s density, which was addressed by Vencel. He mentioned that the proposed total of 4,375 units had been reduced from the initial plan of 6,000 units, emphasizing that this lower density was still sufficient to maintain an active Neighborhood Center while promoting a diverse range of housing options.

Other topics addressed during the meeting included design standards, the appropriateness of tall buildings, landscaping, impervious surfaces, off-site improvements, and connectivity.

As the discussion concluded, Vencel expressed his willingness to address additional questions and concerns from the community and officials. The project is currently under review, and the decision on its approval is expected to be made in the coming months, with the possibility of further public hearings.

The next step in the Sudbury development project is its continuation to the November planning commission hearing, with the caveat that it may be extended to December if necessary.

There is more in the video, including a discussion about initially limited parking, etc. Scanlan said as the development is built, the expectation is to build parking garages as demand grows.

Also …

On affordability, the petitioner referred to the city’s UDO, which states:

The term ‘affordable housing’ in Bloomington refers to housing options for individuals and families whose income is up to 130% of the Area Median Income (AMI), as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. This definition encompasses a wide range of housing types, including those designed for special needs and senior citizens.

https://bloomington.in.gov/housing/affordable

The Median income for Bloomington is: $41,995 so the definition is based on an income of $54593.50, which is multiplied by 130 percent.

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/bloomingtoncityindiana/INC110221

According to Ziprecruiter.com, the average salary in Bloomington is: $47,440 or 23 dollars per hour.

https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/-in-Bloomington,IN

Editor’s note: We’re not sure how many jobs in Bloomington pay over 50k per year, if someone knows that number, and can point to a credible source, let us know.

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