Meridian~Kessler Neighborhood
Meridian~Kessler Neighborhood
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February 22nd, 2013
MK Plan, Minutes, February 19


Steering Committee Minutes

We briefly reviewed the process by which the Neighbor Discussions become translated to the ultimate Regulating Plan:
  1. Kathleen will transcribe her notes from the Discussions into a Neighborhood Plan
  2. Kathleen will organize the DMD effort to take the necessary measurements (rights of way, sidewalks, etc.) for nodes within the studied areas.
  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. Kathleen, working with DMD, will then translate the above material into the official Regulating Plan.
  8. The Regulating Plan may move forward after the following:
  9. Approval by MKNA Board of Directors (per DMD, essential to their implementing the plan)
    1. Approval by MKNA Board of Directors (per DMD, essential to their implementing the plan)
    2. Presentation to the Meridian-Kessler neighbors via an All Neighborhood Meeting, tentatively scheduled for Spring of 2014, with a show of support from neighbors
    3. Approval by the City-County Council

The Neighborhood Plans composed by Kathleen based upon the Neighbor Discussions of the Monon, and 38th Street from the Monon to Central Avenue were reviewed by the Steering Committee and were felt to accurately represent the discussions held with the neighbors.  These plans will be posted on the MKNA website for comment.

Jerrey updated us on the Indy Connect Plan.  The Red Line is being considered for Keystone, College, or Capitol/Illinois.  It will be a BRT (bus rapid transit) line, with large buses outfitted with WiFi, bike racks, and other amenities.  The line will be distinctive as “rapid transit” by virtue of its size and amenities, fewer stops (about every 1/2 mile) to ensure rapid transit, and by the ability of the operator to coordinate traffic signals en route to ensure a direct route. TIF funds will not be used to fund the actual route, but may be used for the BRT Stations.  It was also noted that because of new Federal Guidelines, the proposed budget for the BRT lines made by the MPO, will include a set requirement for possible overruns–hence, the project is more likely to come in “under budget” rather than over.

Parking–the “Gorilla in the Room”– All agreed that alley improvements will be essential in helping alleviate the residential parking concerns in the business nodes.  Jerrey is in continuous discussion with DPW to seek these improvements.  DPW has indicated that lighting in the alleys is the responsibility of the homeowner, but is available at relatively low cost.  Residents will need to be encouraged to clean out their garages and use the alleys!  We also discussed Residential Parking Permits–their advantages and possible disadvantages.  Polly has agreed to begin the exploration of this topic.  Jerrey will contact DPW about parking permit criteria and when and where it can be implemented.

38th Street Demolition project–Mary advised the committee that a proposal is being sought to demolish 2 structures on 38th Street, opposite the Coburn Place, with a higher density apartment complex to be built.  There are some issues with the facade facing 38th Street, hence the issue being brought to this Committee.  Tom indicated that TIF funds could be used to improve the facade.  He was asked to clarify how this could be done, as our understanding of TIF funds was that they were to be used only for Infrastructure or other “public” uses.  Tom indicated that the facade of a building does qualify for “public” use, in that it is the street facade which will define the character of the area and subsequent financial development.  TIF funds may be used as leverage with the owner to ensure that the neighborhood will have a structure which will add, rather than detract, from the neighborhood ambiance. In reply to concerns that a private landlord might benefit upon sale of the building by having had public tax dollars available for the improvement of his building, Tom pointed out that the owner will have also paid more in property taxes himself, as a result of the improved development of the affected areas.  Tom agreed to provide a small article regarding these issues for the MKNA Newsletter, as well as for our MKP website.

The schedule for the completion of the Neighbor Discussions is as follows:

  • 38th St from Central Avenue to Meridian–April 9 at 6:30 PM location TBA
  • 49th and Penn–May 21 at 6:30 PM location TBA
  • A general residential Neighbor Discussion–June 18 at 6:30 PM

The Steering Committee again reviewed its Mission:

We are not a “Decision Making” entity, but rather a “Facilitator”, providing the conduit via which Neighbors may express their desires regarding how their neighborhood will look and feel over the next 25 years. The mechanism to convey these desires to the City is via a new Regulating Plan ultimately to be adopted by DMD and the City County Council as an overlay to the existing Zoning Plan, and to become the official overlay to be consulted by DMD for all variance and development issues which come before that body. Because of concerns expressed to some of our Steering Committee members that this process is not “public” enough, we suggested our members address those concerns with reminders that all Neighbor Discussions are indeed public, that all minutes, Neighborhood Plans, and ultimately, all architectural drawings and the formal proposed Regulating Plan have been and will continue to be made accessible to all interested neighbors via the MKNA website under “Meridian-Kessler Plan Update” and that this venue allows for expression of comments and concerns.

We acknowledge that DMD has required that our Plan have the approval of the MKNA Board of Directors.  We will, as noted above, continue to make all plans public and seek public feedback. We continue to keep our Steering Committee meetings private out of respect for the professional time commitment made by our many volunteers, but that the minutes of these meetings are always made public on the MKNA website, and like all others, are available for neighbor feedback.  We note, to date, we have had no negative feedback, but continue to monitor the site.

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