By: Diane Benjamin
8 of the 9 aldermen heard an hour and a half recap of the proposed zoning changes last night. David Sage was absent, of course with no explanation. Most people don’t need to listen to 1 1/2 hours, it got much more interesting when the alderman got to ask questions. To hear that, just hit play below.
The presentation began with a proclamation that these changes are based on what was heard during to “award winning” Bring It On Bloomington survey in 2014. It doesn’t take into account that much has changed in Bloomington since 2014.
The speaker left out the Bring It On Bloomington was a flop! The McLean County Regional Planning Commission wanted responses from 10% of the population, they got 1.5% – most of them coming from Ward 4. Details here: https://blnnews.com/2014/09/19/bring-it-on-bloomington-flops/
The failed Bring It On Bloomington was then used to create the Comprehensive Plan! The Comprehensive Plan was used to create the massive zoning changes.
When faulty data is used to begin the process, can the end result be anything but faulty?
Just for information, the same process was done with the Bike Master Plan. The McLean County Regional Planning Commission did a survey that evidently only Bike Blono members knew about. It is why taxpayers are now dodging non-existent bikes in the bike lanes.
If you want to hear how downtown is going to turn into a thriving destination, start at 58:00. It has to be walkable and mixed use. Law and accounting firms can’t be allowed at street level, they have to be on the second floor along with high density housing. It doesn’t mention how patrons of those firms, especially elderly and handicapped will get to the second floor. Do all those old buildings have working inspected elevators? The zoning ordinance doesn’t say how all the empty storefronts will suddenly sprout retail, restaurants, and entertainment establishments either. The speaker envisions a day when residents looking for something to do will say “Let’s go downtown”.
This plan will push service agencies out of downtown, especially where parking is limited. Forcing cars into parking garages is a failed strategy, especially in January.
Own a parking lot anywhere in Bloomington? For now you will be grandfathered in, but just wait into you want to resurface it. Landscaping will be required.
Meanwhile the CII East building at the gateway to downtown continues to prove a market doesn’t exist for what Bloomington it trying to create. It continues to grow weeds in the planter boxes and win my award for the ugliest building downtown. Buyers don’t appear to be rushing to buy the State Farm building either. A bus transfer station will surely fix everything! People riding the bus because they can’t afford a car will obviously reignite downtown. The Council keeps hoping a major grocery store wants to locate there.
I didn’t hear any mention of all the drunks downtown 2-3 nights a week. Bloomington can’t afford to turn away the sales tax. Their shenanigans have chased businesses out of downtown but they have created jobs power washing the sidewalks and police overtime.
Public hearing will be held, the Council plans to pass the massive rewrite in November. It’s all about control, government is so much smarter than you.