Meridian~Kessler Neighborhood
Meridian~Kessler Neighborhood
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October 16, 2016 • Land Use Update

5870 College Ave (AT&T Site Redevelopment)

Petitioner: Milhaus Development

City Petition: 2016-CZN-818 / 2016-CVR-818

On October 13th the  Department of Metropolitan Development Hearing Examiner reviewed the rezoning and variances requested by Milhaus.  After testimony from both the petitioner and remonstrators, the Hearing Examiner made a recommendation to the full Metropolitan Development Commission to SUPPORT the request.

We fully expect this decision will be appealed.  The appeal will result in a hearing in front of the full Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC) on Wednesday, November 2nd.  This meeting will be held in the Public Assembly Room of the City-County Building at 1:00pm and is open to all neighbors wishing to speak.

MKNA has voted to support this proposal (click here for our full opinion and below for additional details on the process).  At the hearing, MKNA President Nick Colby, gave the following testimony:

The project proposed today is the redevelopment of a vital commercial site in our neighborhood.  The Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Plan, which was adopted by the Metropolitan Development Commission earlier this year, specifically identifies this as a Critical Area and envisions redevelopment as “a multi-story, mixed–use building that is integrated and consistent with the character and architecture of the neighborhood.” 

The recommendations laid out in our neighborhood plan were the result of a five-year effort starting in 2011 to engage neighbors and envision appropriate redevelopment in our historic urban neighborhood.  We are pleased today to support this project that meets the vision outlined in the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Plan.

Through the course of the last six months, our land use committee held five public meetings for neighbors to engage with Milhaus, learn the facts of their proposal and offer feedback.  There is always need to compromise and strike a balance when evaluating commercial infill projects, especially those adjacent to residential properties.  The petitioner has undergone a great amount of effort to compromise on the design and operational aspects of their development in response to the feedback, and we feel they have achieved that balance.

We recognize that concerns remain with the height variance. However, after much consideration, our Land Use Committee feels this variance request is appropriate and acceptable for several reasons:

Transitioning of the height from the south residential properties to the north commercial properties.

The “step-back” design of the façade results in an average height of 45-feet along College Ave. which meets the intent of our Neighborhood Plan.

Furthermore, the increased front setback off College and maintaining the mature street trees allow this project to integrate better into the neighborhood.

For those reasons, the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association has voted to support the requested rezoning with variances given the Statement of Commitments on file.  We would respectfully ask for your approval in granting their request today.


We continue encouraging all residents to participate in the process and have their voices heard as the process continues towards a final outcome.


For previous updates on this case, please see below:

May Land Use Committee Meeting Notice

July Land Use Committee  Meeting Notice

August Land Use Committee Meeting Notice

August 1st Milhaus Update

August 11th Milhaus Update

September Land Use Committee Meeting Notice

September 7th Milhaus Update

September 14th Milhaus Update


For those interested in learning more about the process, below are some resources:

Rezoning Process

Hearing Examiner Procedure

Indianapolis Zoning Code (details on MU-2 start on page 243, but are referenced in other sections)

One thought on “Land Use Update – Milhaus Proposal

  1. There were several people from Meridian Kessler who strongly opposed this project for many reasons that were presented to the Land Use Committee and rejected. The zoning variance calls for a 54% increase in height above what the zoning ordinance calls for. This is not a variance but a rewriting of the law. If you wish decisions of a few unelected officials to be able to override the ordinances that are written then Indianapolis is the place for you.

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