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Plan Commission Minutes: March 7, 2011

PC minutes are transcribed in a summarized manner. Audiotapes are available in the Planning Department for reference. Videotapes are also available for viewing in the Audio-visual (CATS) Department (phone #349-3111 or E-mail address: of the Monroe County Public Library, 303 E. Kirkwood Ave.

The City of Bloomington Plan Commission (PC) met on Monday, March 7, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers. Members present: Jack Baker, Scott Burgins, Susan Fernandes, Joe Hoffmann, Milan Pece, Isabel Piedmont-Smith, Adrian Reid, Tom Seeber, Chris Smith and Pat Williams.


MINUTES TO BE APPROVED: Feb. 7, 2011 ***Travis Vencel moved approval. Susan Fernandes seconded. The minutes were approved by a 10:0 roll call vote.



PUD-27-10 IEC, LLC (McDoel Station)

Preliminary plan amendment to the Thomson PUD to allow mixed-use development on Tract C

(Case Manager: Patrick Shay)

Tom Micuda explained that the petitioner is requesting a 4th continuance. This will require Plan Commission action. If a continuance is denied, the petitioner would have to re-file a petition since this one would be automatically withdrawn. Staff has heard from the petitioner who indicated that a new architectural firm has been hired and that the petition is active and being revised. Staff thinks it is appropriate in this case to grant the petitioner a 4th continuance. ***Milan Pece moved to continue PUD-27-10 to the next Plan Commission meeting on April 4, 2011. Adrian Reid seconded the motion. The petition was continued by a roll call vote of 10:0.

APPROVAL OF CONSENT AGENDA: No cases on consent agenda

PUD-31-10 CarDon & Assoc

2410 E. Moores Pike

PUD preliminary plan amendment to allow construction of a senior living development within the Renwick PUD.

(Case Manager: Patrick Shay)

Tom Micuda said that the petitioner is requesting a continuance. Since the packet has already been distributed, the Plan Commission will need to vote on the continuance. CarDon would like to look at a more active senior housing project on that site. Staff recommends the continuance.

***Travis Vencel moved to continue PUD-31-10 until the next Plan Commission meeting on April 4, 2011. Milan Pece seconded the motion.

Vencel read from two previous staff reports where staff stated that the use was found to not be in compliance with the GPP which calls for single-family housing on this site. Do you think that the petitioner will be able to come back with a plan that is more in compliance with the GPP? Micuda said he couldn't answer that question until he sees their revision. The one on file now does not comply. The petitioner's counsel has stated that if they can't come up with a feasible plan, they might have to withdraw. Vencel asked if compliance means only single-family residential on this site? Micuda said that the report doesn't state that single-family residential is required. Vencel said so staff's hope is that there will be revisions that will make the plan come more in compliance with the GPP. Micuda agreed.

***PUD-31-10 was continued by roll call vote (10:0:1).

PUD-02-11 Bloomington Cooperative Plots Eco-Village

415 ½ N. Spring St.

Rezone to Plan Unit Development (PUD) from Residential Single-family (RS) to allow development of a cooperative housing project.

Patrick Shay presented the staff report. Access (35 feet) to the property is gained from the east. The property is currently zoned Residential Single-family. The petitioner has met with staff several times. They have tried to convey what their site would be used for. They are trying to create a shared-housing situation. The homes will be owned. They may have centralized facilities with possibly a shared kitchen and other shared facilities. They will have a shared garden for their consumption and for sale. They would like to create an opportunity to present classes about gardening and creating a sustainable way of life. The petitioners have done a lot of research on these kinds of communities and asked staff where this could be placed. We don't have zoning for an Eco-Village or community housing. The petitioners like this site because it is close to town so that they can get around on bicycles or catch buses. They have purchased the Spring St. property. Staff suggested rezoning the property to PUD to allow more flexibility, deal with multiple design standards and multiple uses. To do this the Plan Commission (PC) will have to the minimum 5 acre requirement for PUDs since this site is 2.23 acres. He reviewed the proposed plan which includes 25 small houses with a maximum footprint of 400 sq.ft. with a maximum 75 bedrooms and a maximum occupancy of 30 residents. Those numbers may change. They intend to construct a large community building with multiple stories, a commercial style kitchen, dining facilities and living space. On the southern part of the site several small trees will be removed and an orchard planted. On the eastern part, there will be a garden area for the Eco-Village residents and members of the community. They plan 3 ponds which will provide stormwater collection, improved stormwater quality, recreation, etc. The Bloomington Fire Department has worked with them to create a compliant access plan. They are trying to be as "Green" as possible. He explained measures they are taking to be "off the grid as possible." Possible additional buildings in the future might include a barn, greenhouse, food stand, chicken tractor, carport or music building. Accessory uses might include home occupations, a holistic health center, food stands, temporary housing for seasonal workers, animal processing, metal or woodworking (sales would be off-site), a bed and breakfast or hostel. Staff has concerns about the temporary housing, animal processing, and think that a bed and breakfast or youth hostel might raise the population too much. They anticipate 50 chickens, 2-3 goats and rabbits. Usually larger flocks of chicken and goats would only be allowed in the RE district which have more land. They would like to use a stone path around the property and are requesting a waiver of the sidewalk on Spring Street.

There are some issues that staff will need guidance on at the next hearing. The Bike and Ped Commission and the Environmental Commission (EC) feel that the current plan is too dense. Staff would like to hear from the PC their feelings about 25 houses. Is that too many? Staff feels that the site could not accommodate all of the proposed out buildings. The petitioner seems to be aware of that and that compromises would have to be made. Since we have not seen a comparable project staff thinks that perhaps the petitioner should start with a reduced number of homes (8-10) that would allow them to get going while also providing an opportunity to study the impacts. If feasible, then more houses could be added. Parking is a challenge. There are not many on-street parking spaces.

There are some public health issues such as houses without water or electricity. The Health Department is concerned with human waste being used as fertilizer on edible plants. There are some gray water issues that are being worked out. Staff would like to limit the number of home businesses. Staff is talking to the Monroe County Building Department and the State about these structures since these not our typical structures. Any businesses that would generate a lot of traffic should possibly be restricted. It seems the small individual houses should be limited to 3 unrelated adults. Shay asked for PC guidance on the subject of animals kept on the site. Staff has concerns with the tent platforms for the seasonal workers. Staff says that the fencing can be higher than 4 feet but not higher than 8 feet. Considering 10-foot fences should be decided on as a community rather than in a particular case. Shay commented on GPP issues and noted that this is a very creative plan. We need to make sure it doesn't negatively impact the surrounding neighborhood. The only letter received in the Planning Department was from a neighbor who supported the concept but was worried about details. This is the kind of plan that we have wanted to see. This one may have a little too much on the site but with some tweaks and compromise it could work out. Staff recommends forwarding this to a 2nd hearing.

The petitioner, Daniel Joseph Weddle, said that his biggest concern so far has been population. They have reduced the population by 1/3 and are willing to talk about further reductions. They have reduced the number of structures to15 and the number of unrelated adults to 30. They have cut the cooperative house in half. It can now house 20 unrelated adults and 15 bedrooms. They are willing to further reduce the occupants further, if necessary. Housing for seasonal workers has been removed from their proposal. They liked the EC's suggestion concerning the ponds. The petitioner will be talking to the Army Corps of Engineers and IDEM to determine if permits are required to build a dam for the larger middle pond. Runoff is a big concern. The culverts are broken or non-existent down the street. One neighbor was concerned that she would be disturbed by the chicken flock. The chickens will be moved in the orchard area. They don't want to build a perimeter fence since it would block their view. They will include pets in their by-laws. Other cooperative have strict limitations on domestic pets. There will be a car-share buy-in option. The community will collectively own the truck. They would like a full-sized carport. For overflow parking for events on-site they will add 2 ADA parking spots and discuss additional parking. They considered laying out a phasing plan but were dissuaded by staff. They will discuss with neighbors and staff a reasonable development schedule. He wanted to hear more from staff concerning accountability.

Travis Vencel asked if everyone living there would own their houses or would there be any renters.

Weddle said there would be some renters. Their membership policy requires potential members live on site for a year prior to the construction of a home to ensure that the members will be dedicated. Eventually there will be more owners than renters-although they will retain some rental space for renters or seasonal occupants.

Vencel asked if they had spoken to HAND about they will enforce their occupancy and property maintenance code on this property.

Shay said staff has been talking to HAND on those issues. The rented areas will be inspected by HAND for property maintenance compliance. Planning will be setting the occupancy.

Vencel said at the next meeting, we should look at those numbers from the petitioner's standpoint. The International Property Maintenance Code (which was adopted by City Council) will deal with both the commercial coop housing as well as the requirements for occupancy on the other dwellings. He didn't think that they could get to more than 3 unrelated adults. There are size requirements, cooking requirements to consider, too.

Shay said that staff and the petitioners are in agreement that 3 unrelated adults would be the maximum in the sleeping cabins.

Vencel asked if the density will be regulated per structure or by overall density.

Shay said that his interpretation is that it is the overall occupancy that they are proposing but any one structure can't go over 3 unrelated adults.

Vencel asked if any approved use could actually turn out to be the only use.

Shay said that some of the uses are set up as accessory uses. The primary use would be the cooperative housing.

Vencel asked if there are 40 houses built, could each house have a 1-bedroom bed and breakfast.

Shay said the petitioner should speak about their intent.

Weddle said that brings up the question about many of the other auxiliary uses. Other auxiliary uses could be done in each home. He suggested limiting the number of any particular use on the entire site.

Chris Smith asked if the petitioner planned to get a consultant to help with the stormwater problem. When would that normally take place?

Micuda said that the petitioner would get a conceptual approval through Utilities that would say that you could feasibly do the things that you want to do with sewer, water and stormwater. Then you would get design approval at final plan stage. That would require some limited engineering assistance to flesh out essentially the filtering plans for water quality.

Smith said that on Spring St. the stormwater infrastructure is non-existent. That is something the petitioner is going to have to work through at some point.

Weddle said that Smith's comment falls in line with the EC's recommendations.

Pat Williams asked for more information about the construction of the various units and the large house.

Weddle said that they have been working with the Building Department on this. They said they would help them figure out the best ways to construct the kinds of buildings they want. The first two planned for this year would be a rammed earth variant and slip-straw. The structures will be individually designed. They would go through the Building Department for permits. They would probably be owned as a condo or on a 0-lot line. The cooperative building will be designed by 2 local architects. That would probably take place in 3-4 years.

Williams asked how they would handle things like heating.

Weddle said the buildings will be built in the areas with the most solar gain on the property. The buildings will be arranged from shortest to tallest so that no structure impedes the solar gain of the one beyond it. They will use high R-Value construction methods.

Adrian Reid had been concerned about the presence of utilities on the site. Will there be a subdivision and a plat?

Shay said that there would not inherently be a plat. If they did the 0 lot lines, that would go through the platting process. If they develop condos or have some other common ownership, it would not. Even without a plat, easements would be recorded.

Reid asked if having easements on their property would be a problem.

Weddle said they were just learning about easements.

Reid noted that the petitioners have referred to re-establishing some wetlands. Would we put restrictions on them?

Shay said we wouldn't necessarily place easements but staff has talked to our environmental planner who said that it seemed the marshy areas would be more like rain gardens. With the final plan, we will look at the design of that and make sure that it will function well. It will probably be part of the stormwater review as well.

Reid said that he was concerned with having too many restrictions on such a small piece of land.

Joe Hoffmann asked if this has been done elsewhere. It seems that the concept of an Eco-Village is more commonly found in a more rural setting. Ithaca, NY has a famous one that has over 100 acres of land away from the town. Also, he has found instances of redeveloping old neighborhoods. He asked staff if they had found any examples of this kind of development in an existing built out area.

Shay said staff has been educating themselves but has not found one in a comparable location. He said he would continue researching.

Hoffmann suggested contacting organizations that feature communal living.

Scott Burgins said that a couple of years ago in Bartholomew County, Jeff Bergman was looking into something like this.

Smith asked staff to research the carrying capacity of land is and that should enter into our density discussion.

Weddle said they weren't going to be subsistence farmers but the goal of the project is in-town close living so we will still be purchasing food off-site.

Jack Baker said he had searched to find like projects. He found one called "Earth Haven" in Asheville, NC. There goals were 320 acres, 150 people, 56 homesteads. He asked how sustainable they could be. How much food do you think you could produce?

Weddle said he did not know. He said they know they will be consuming more than is produced there. They will not be sustainable based on the metric food. But they can be more sustainable based on the metric transportation and very efficient houses.

Baker asked staff if the Building Department knows about safety and structural stability of structures made of rammed earth and straw.

Shay said he thinks they are. They have done straw bale houses and other alternative methods. Structurally they know how to answer the questions very well. The biggest challenge is how to define them due to potential lack of kitchens and bathrooms. They are working toward that.

Baker said he visited the area and couldn't find the 35-ft entrance. Is the property infringed enough that it looks so much smaller than it is?

Shay pointed out where it is and how it has been encroached on in the past.

Baker asked for details about solar heating at night. Do you have auxiliary plans?

Weddle said that if it has been a sunny day and you have curtains and high R-Value insulation, the heat will usually last the night. Supplemental heating sources will be necessary in the winter when we have several weeks of cloudy days. He thinks that electric heat would be preferable to lots of wood-burning stoves. They will have active and passive solar heating.

Milan Pece noted that several years ago the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) had a case on W. 11th St. for a Growers' Coop. The ownership seems similar to this except for the buildings. What would happen if this plan fails?

Shay said it was called the Bloomington Urban Greenhouse project. He has not heard of any construction on that site.

Pece said he was concerned with the impact on neighbors when someone walks away from a project.

Weddle said there are 3 cooperatives in the city besides themselves. Bloomington Cooperative Living is a housing cooperative of 24 individuals. Over the next year they are growing to 36 members. Their first offer would be to them for the cost of the land.

Pece asked if this project went to another group of owners, would the liabilities of the PUD transfer.

Shay said yes.

Pece said there seems to be no parking in that area at all. What would happen to people with vehicles wanting to visit their vegetable stand?

Weddle said they are working with staff to determine how many more spots they should include. Parking on Spring St. is impossible. They understand that holding something like a summer work camp may not be possible if they can't work out adequate parking.

Pece asked for details on the large building.

Weddle said it would be two stories. It would include sprinklers. He suggested researching similar projects by looking under "co-housing" or "a cooperative." Eco-Villages are historically found in more rural settings without building codes.

Tom Seeber asked staff if they can allow no plumbing, electricity or sewer on these lots.

Shay said that is what we are working on with the State and the County. This project would be hooked up to sewer. It would be on-site and fully available for hook up.

Seeber said he wasn't sure if they were doing a subdivision or just what they were considering. A lot of things need to be decided and specified at the next meeting. What is this arrangement closest to in our code?

Shay said the sleeping cabins would be single-family homes. We will have a designation by the next hearing. How they will be creating their community and handling liabilities. We need to know how they are going to be doing it and setting up the zoning to allow for it. The details and platting would be with the final plan.

Seeber noted that the presentation was very non-traditional since there were no drawings or many details. If cars are going to be off-site, he doesn't want them parking in the nearest neighborhood.

Shay said staff had anticipated some arrangements being made with a school or church parking lot.

Weddle said they erring on the side of not owning cars. He noted that he had information on rentals from HAND.

Seeber said that it would a lot easier to control parking issues with members but more difficult with friends or campers. He asked staff how many people "30-unrelated adults" could actually be.

Shay said it is 30 adults but children are not included. If the limitation is 3 unrelated adults you could rent to 4 brothers but not to 2 couples.

Seeber asked if they had any idea of how many children might live here. Where does the school bus come?

Weddle said the school bus comes down 8th St. They don't have an idea how many children might live there.

Isabel Piedmont-Smith praised the petitioner for cooperating with his neighbors. This is an exciting proposal. She was concerned with 30 unrelated adults and asked for more clarification.

Travis Vencel said to think of it as all related or none. The total adult count is capped at 30.

Piedmont-Smith said she was concerned about parking. If you have even 2 or 3 home-based businesses and only 2 parking spaces, some coordination might be needed.

Weddle said the businesses would need to be visited by appointment only. Coordination will be investigated.

Piedmont-Smith asked how HAND would inspect.

Weddle said that HAND would only be inspecting rentals so would mainly be concerned with the common building. The only people building this year are owners. The membershipping process is very slow. He expected to add 2-4 more this year. Most of the membershipping takes place off-site in rental houses. He explained more about membershipping.

Tom Micuda said when we find out what the State is going to call the sleeping cabins. That will tell us what HAND will inspect and what the Building Department will implement.

Piedmont-Smith was concerned with stormwater since Spring St. has stormwater issues anyway. She asked Adrian Reid if any improvements are planned for that area.

Reid said no big projects are planned. On this particular site, we will need to insure that it doesn't exacerbate the problems in the area. He would not be surprised to find that there are no stormwater facilities in this older, developed neighborhood.

Piedmont-Smith said she would like to see this addressed for the benefit of the neighborhood. She asked the petitioner if they have been working with any stormwater engineers on the retention ponds.

Weddle said they have plans to do so.

Piedmont-Smith asked how the rainwater and the water in the ponds will be treated for use in showering and irrigation.

Weddle said that by Indiana State Law you can't use gray water for these things. If that is the law, they will have to strike those plans from the proposal.

Micuda said this was discussed with the County Health Department and they said a filtration system would be necessary to make the water usable. We would be happy to verify with the State that this is prohibited. In that case, he would suggest removing the language.

Piedmont-Smith asked if the fire pit would fall into the category of open burning which is prohibited within city limits.

Micuda said there are restrictions against open burning in City code.

Piedmont-Smith asked the petitioner to clarify that.

Susan Fernandes asked if the B-Line is supposed to come down this track.

Shay said it will stop at Adams St. At this time there are no plans to extend the trail. It is also an active rail line, too.

Micuda said the trail will stop very close to the site providing an opportunity for some limited commercial uses. We will have to figure out what those restrictions might be.

Fernandes asked what the occupancy load would be if this site was developed to RH or RM standards.

Shay explained that with RM (7 units/acre) there could be 17 units and with RH (15 units/acre) around 35 total units.

Fernandes said the sleeping cabins are too small for 3 adults. That needs more discussion.

Shay said staff would like to receive guidance from the PC concerning maximum heights or maximum stories.

Fernandes asked about the 2-inch water line.

Shay said Spring St. has a 2-inch line. They would be upgrading that to a 6-inch line. A 2-inch line would connect into the site.

Fernandes said she was told that she could not use a 2-inch line for 1 home. That needs to be clarified.

Weddle said he has been working with Utilities on this. They say a 2-inch line is what you would use for a subdivision. We have to have a 6-inch line for the fire hydrant on site.

Fernandes said there are some nice trees where they intend to put their orchard. What trees are going to stay?

Weddle said the larger trees along the tree line for the most part will stay. The big trees on the northern slope will stay. The canopy will remain on the southeastern part of the property. On the western side a lot of the "trees" are actually bush honeysuckle.

Fernandes said they need to talk to Soil and Water Conservation Service about ponds and karst.

Burgins said that this is going to be an experiment. There seem to be a lot of challenges, a lot of work, rule enforcement, scheduling the cars, etc. They are sort of developing their own culture on 2 acres. Have you done this before or been in a group like this. There could be so many problems.

Weddle said that the fundamental question is people. He has come out of student cooperatives. People working together is key. That is why there are the strict membershipping processes. If the pond doesn't hold water, they will take the pond out. The main thing is having people near the center of the city. He has been trained in non-violent communication and has gone through mediation training. They do a health and wellness evaluation for anyone who applies. There is a year-long membershipping process.

Seeber asked if a fence is required around ponds of a certain depth. Micuda said yes.

Jack Baker asked if the people doing this have done it before.

Weddle said that all 3 founders came out of the student coops in Bloomington and California.

Piedmont-Smith asked about the pond being fenced.

Shay said that they could incorporate the fencing with their garden fencing.

There was discussion about water quality for recreation.

Public Comment:

Sue Newcomer who lives on 8th St. She will see this development out of her bedroom window. She's very concerned. She's concerned about how the houses are going to be built. Won't this marsh encourage mosquitoes? Shouldn't all the issues be resolved before the PC makes a decision? She thinks their plans are too ambitious for the site's size. She was concerned with outside fires that could spread. Fenced ponds won't serve wildlife. Will they limit the number of pets? Composting human feces sounds unhealthy. She couldn't see the Health Department letting that go. Bikers will be in danger on 8th St. Will the new water lines improve the water pressure in her neighborhood? What age is an adult? Are they affiliated with any religious institution? She was concerned how this would turn out.

Michael Ismerio who moved here from Portland, OR is considering getting involved with the project here. There are many, many case examples of Eco-Villages. These are all over. He was involved with one in Portland and finds what the members have accomplished there inspirational. You should do more research and not re-invent the wheel. There are plenty of urban Eco-Villages and co-housing. Many of the benefits are not measureable. It's the interconnectedness of humans trying to create different communities where people know each other.

Elliott Thornton who currently lives with Bloomington Cooperative Living wanted to address the question about how people make decisions and get things done in a cooperative. What goes on is due to someone being very interested in it. These interested people are behind getting things done in a cooperative.

Sarah Ryterband said she was very excited that you are faced with this possibility. Based on what we saw in the Peak Oil Task Force shows that this is right in line with where we need to be going in the future. She was excited that there could be real affordable housing within the city. She was excited that we are going to create community. The City passed an ordinance on urban agriculture. One woman has bought the lot next door and created a community garden. The petitioners want access to the trail to sell their vegetables. They want to promote both livability and sustainability. She asked the PC to consider this and take it to heart.

Doug Henvy grew up in Bloomington and has just returned from living elsewhere. He supported the project since it is far superior to the traditional models of residential land use. Considering the economy, climate change and Peak Oil issues make it clear that more cooperative modes of living will be critical to a healthy community and society. This is very forward thinking. He encouraged the PC to approve the petition.

Jan Lamm whose son lives at 410 Spring St. thinks that idealistically she and her husband approve of the project. They moved here from Santa Fe, NM where chickens and the use of gray water are permitted. Will the members be able to age in place here? She noted that frail older people need bathrooms. What kind of home businesses would be allowed? Her son has some special needs. Living near trails is good for him. She would like to know how many people and how many toilets will be on the property. She wondered if they had considered the amount of taxes members may have to pay. She would like to hear more financial details. She supports urban livestock.

Kim Kenny is very interested in becoming involved in this project. She has been working in organizations and agricultural cooperatives in Bloomington for the last several years. She is on the steering committee for the Bloomington Food Policy Council. They are concerned with food quality, sustainability, affordability and where it is coming from. A huge part of the project is about protection and restoration of the earth. This project could be a model for Bloomington. The people involved with this project so far include skilled older adults.

Charles Shaw said that he and his family own the property next to 410 Spring St. There used to be a pond for cattle on the property. There was also a barn and a stone fence between the property and Valhalla Cemetery.

Randy Reinier who lives on the north end of Spring St. said he was very intrigued by this project. He hopes this project can stabilize the neighborhood. He understands the neighbors' concerns but pointed out that JB Salvage makes a lot of noise. He was concerned about there being one way in and one way out of the neighborhood. He is pleased with the emphasis being on alternative transportation.

Carolyn Blink is one of the co-founders of this project. Their idea is that the sleeping cabins will be used mainly for sleeping and that most other activities will take place in the cooperative and common spaces. She is involved with the membershipping. She hopes that with the process being as extensive as it is, they will be able to bring in people who are of a cooperative orientation.

***Joe Hoffmann moved that PUD-02-11 be forwarded to a second hearing on April 4, 2011. Milan Pece seconded.

Travis Vencel asked to include a friendly amendment that would forward this petition to the May 9th hearing. There is a lot to be done before this petition is ready for a final hearing. (Staff agreed.)

***Joe Hoffmann withdrew the motion. Pece agreed.

***Joe Hoffmann moved that PUD-02-11 be forwarded to a second hearing at the Plan Commission May (5/9/11) meeting. Pece seconded the motion.

Fernandes suggested the PC contemplate 3 hearings. This is an unusual petition and has the potential to have an impact on the neighborhood.

Hoffmann said that their procedure is for 2 hearings. If we felt there were still unresolved questions at the second hearing, we would continue to a 3rd meeting. (Staff agreed.)

Fernandes said it's a good site and a very interesting project. She was very impressed when she read the petitioners' submission. They need more definition of the site and the buildings. She would like to see details to scale as much as possible. They need to refine the uses. She would like information on phasing. An easy retrofit to utilities and uses would be helpful. The cabins must have bathrooms-at least a sink and a toilet. She suggested having a meeting with the neighbors. The current plan is too dense. She's like to hear more detail on that.

Piedmont-Smith thanked the petitioners for their hard work on a detailed proposal. Having a bathroom or not should be up to the owner or renter. The small size of the cabins is a much smaller ecological footprint. She is comfortable with the density. Parking needs to be clarified. Where will the ADA parking be? How are they going to deal with a 2-car carport with 4 cars? We need clarification from the Health Department about several issues. There may be too many possible accessory uses and accessory buildings. She was concerned about giving a blanket approval to all of those. Maybe they could decide on a maximum square footage of accessory buildings. This would be a great opportunity to see how other farm animals would work in an urban setting on a large enough lot. This is part of urban agriculture. She doesn't have a problem with the goats. She would allow a 10-foot fence to protect their gardens from deer. Two-story buildings make sense to her. Overall, this would do much to restore community character. She believes this will become a very strong project.

Seeber said he could envision a 3rd hearing being necessary. The site won't be able to handle all of the possible uses. He would like to hear more about ownership or subdivision. Will we see a plat? We didn't hear anything about the proposed waiving of setbacks.

Pece thanked staff for what must have been a Herculean effort. We've never seen a proposal like this. A 3rd hearing may be necessary. He was most concerned about the public health issues. He would like someone from the Health Department to attend the next meeting. He was glad to see the petitioners come down in the density some. Phasing seems to be needed for this.

Baker thanked staff for the work. He was concerned that there is so much that is not pinned down. He was still undecided about this use being appropriate for an urban setting and whether they could be a good neighbor. He was worried about animal waste runoff, noise, smell, possible overcrowding, possible safety issues, adequate parking. The kinds of animals, their numbers and what kind of processing needs to be spelled out. He was interested in having a kind of phased review. He needs information on health issues. He doesn't want to see sleeping towers. He wants to make sure that building materials are appropriate for this climate. They need to have windows. He was dubious that solar heating can do it all. There should be 3 unrelated adults. There should not be a camp or hostel. Fifty hens are fine with him but keep in mind that guinea fowl are noisy and have been used as watchdogs. He would like to see goods from cottage businesses sold off-site. He needs to know how high deer can jump. He wouldn't object to 10-foot fences if necessary. He would like to see lower fences near the street and where people live. His biggest concern is the nature of sustainability.

Hoffmann said since there are many questions about permitting, legalities, the geography of the land, etc. putting the next hearing off for two months makes sense. On land use, he said he was fine with a cooperative housing project and having a central building and much smaller cabins. We have had 2 pretty big rezoning petitions recently. The GPP calls for "urban residential" on this site. He sees this project as urban residential. This is not a commercial project. Density is important. He said most failed new businesses are a result of expanding too quickly. He looked up the Columbia Eco-Village and found that it is thriving and fully occupied. That is 50 adults and a few kids on 3.7 acres. Corresponding density at this site would be around 30 adults. He suggested that the petitioner start with 30 people with an understanding that if it goes well more could be added later. We should evaluate the accessory uses as we would in any other residential neighborhood. We could do this by listing some conditional uses. We should stage the addition of uses. The neighbors need to have a basic sense of comfort about what kind of structures are going to go there. We should lay out some minimum standards primarily relating to building materials and other issues of basic building quality. He wouldn't suggest approving the 10 foot fence. They should examine other methods used around the world. In Japan, they use a combination of bamboo and water that scares the deer. Maybe the goats would scare off the deer. If we allow a 10 foot fence here, many other people will want to have a fence that tall, too. He appreciates the challenge this creative project presents.

Reid suggested a density of 25. From a technical standpoint, he still doesn't feel he has a good understanding of the project. They need an engineer to help with ADA requirements, the stormwater ordinance, IDEM regulations for grading an area larger than 1 acre, traffic impacts, possible directing stormwater into the municipal stormwater system, etc. 40 feet is too tall for the dwellings. Site improvements for alternative transportation need to be added.

Smith thanked the petitioners for bringing the project forward. This project is much more forward-thinking than the usual projects heard by the PC. He suggested the petitioner to come back to the next meeting with a better understanding of your core values. What is it that you are going for? He would like to hear about the goals of the project, strategies to meet the goals and metrics to measure the strategies. He recommended that they hire an engineer. The permitting process will be difficult since this project doesn't conform to other projects. He thinks that 30 is a supportable number of residents. Reduce your scope so that the PC can get our hands around it.

Vencel said the density should be between 25-30 to start with. That could be approved as Phase I. The maximum number at year 3 or 5 might be 50-55. We shouldn't waive any of our typical requirements including sidewalks. We have to start somewhere on sidewalks. He suggested the petitioners say that the structures would be built to current State and Bloomington building code and property maintenance codes. If that changes in time, you would adhere to the newer codes. We could rely on the codes to make some decisions and then we can focus on the function of the development.

Williams said that Michael Ismario's comments about the Columbia Eco-village were very interesting. The range of uses is so extreme. The petitioner made it clear that they didn't intend to try to grow enough food on-site to feed all the members. That is understandable. The combination of orchard and garden and livestock and various residential components is really intense. Goats are grazing animals---they eat everything. She was most concerned about the Health Department regulations. She urged the petitioners to work with the neighbors. This will be a huge change for the neighbors.

Seeber asked staff if they planned to coordinate a neighborhood meeting.

Shay said staff was working on that.

Seeber asked if there are triggers that would cause staff to revisit issue in a year or two.

Micuda said there is no mechanism to revisit approvals that we have granted. That is why staff is focused on creating reasonable limits to start rather than creating a review process. If we create a low enough threshold and an expansion is proposed that will create an automatic opportunity to review what is there.

Vencel asked if they could make changes to the uses after the preliminary approval.

Shay said that uses have to be dealt with at the preliminary approval and set.

Hoffmann suggested they make a list of conditional uses.

Micuda said the PC can create a conditional use review process as part of PUD. Staff can set that up ahead of time.

***Roll call vote was taken. The petition was approved by a vote of 11:0.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm.

The next regularly scheduled Plan Commission meeting will be on April 4, 2011.