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Plan Commission Minutes: April 13, 2015

Plan Commission minutes are transcribed in a summarized manner. Recordings are available in the Planning and Transportation Department for reference. DVDs are also available for viewing in the Audio-visual (CATS) Department (phone #349-3111 or E-mail address: moneill@monroe.lib.in.us) of the Monroe County Public Library, 303 E. Kirkwood Ave.

The City of Bloomington Plan Commission (PC) met on April 13, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers. Members present were Chris Smith, Pat Williams, Phil Peden, Scott Burgins, Jane St. John, and Susan Fernandes.

ROLL CALL

MINUTES TO BE APPROVED: March 9, 2015.

**Pat Williams moved to approve. Phil Peden seconded. Motion passed through unanimous voice vote.

REPORTS, RESOLUTIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS: None at this time

PETITIONS CONTINUED TO MAY 11, 2015:

SP-2-15 Monroe County Commissioners

312 N Morton St

Site plan to allow construction of an 8-story parking garage.

Case Manager: Patrick Shay

ITEM FOR THE CONSENT AGENDA:

PUD-8-15 Joe Kemp Construction, LLC

2400 S. Adams St

Site plan approval for single family and multi-family dwelling units on 27.98 acres of Sudbury. Parcel O. Also requested is preliminary plat approval.

Case Manager: Eric Greulich

There was no public comment.

The Consent Agenda passed through unanimous voice vote.

PETITIONS:

PUD-5-15 Simon Property Group

2894 E 3rd St

Final plan amendment to allow partial reconstruction, two new outlets and revised sign package at the College Mall Planned Unit Development.

Case Manager: Eric Greulich

Eric Greulich presented the staff report. This is a request from Simon Property Group for an addition and renovation to the northwest corner of the College Mall. They would be removing the existing Sears building and parking areas to construct a new addition to the mall. The petition was heard at the last Plan Commission meeting. Since the last hearing the petitioners have made some changes to the overall site plan. A lot of those were related to the Panera restaurant as well as some of the interior layout. The petitioners have moved the proposed entrance into the mall from 3rd St further east. This was done in order to place the Panera building at the corner of the intersection and 3rd St. At the previous hearing, the Panera building was further west and the entrance was next to it. Staff asked them to move the building closer to the entrance at that corner to present more of a building forward design as well as to complement that corner. Staff encouraged the petitioner to create a pedestrian network that complemented the interior roads as well as create more of a typical street design where you have a tree plot next to the road and then a sidewalk adjacent to that. The petitioners have taken that comment and implemented it. There is a sidewalk and street tree plot that runs along the inside of the drives and circles out to the streets as well as moving south through the site. They incorporated some of the pedestrian connections staff recommended to connect from the bus stop to the front of the Whole Foods building. The petitioners have also reduced the internal drive widths. The petitioners have shrunk those down from 30 feet to 26 feet. This allowed them to add more parking lot islands on the interior of the site as well as accommodate the tree plot and sidewalk connections staff was seeking. The petitioners have removed a lot of the parking that was previously proposed. There was an existing parking area just adjacent to the rear building entrance on the previous version of the site plan. This will now be a grass field in the new plan, removing 30 or so spaces from the total parking count. There was another parking area just to the southeast of the mall where they removed parking spaces and increased the landscaping islands as well. We are seeing more green space and more landscaping installed. Those are the big changes. They have also revised the sign package a little bit to reduce the amount requested.

One of the issues staff brought forward during the last Plan Commission meeting was the number of parking spaces that were being proposed with this petition. Since then, we've had a chance to work with the petitioners to modify the site plan, get more information in terms of what the need is and how many spaces are being used with this portion of the mall. With the revisions and some of the new information, there's approximately 95,000 square feet of building that's being serviced by these parking areas. This includes the grocery store, the new multi-tenant spaces, the new restaurants as well as some of the existing square footage of the mall that's accessed by this area. As a lot of Plan Commissioners may know, this particular portion of the mall gets a lot of heavy vehicular traffic from 3rd St and the Bypass. In the revised numbers, the petitioners will install 475 parking spaces. That meets the parking requirement that was laid out in the PUD which outlined one space per 200 sq. ft. of floor area. This petition meets that requirement for the initial PUD numbers.

Some of the other comments that were made at the initial hearing regarded the new Whole Foods building. While the Plan Commission didn't have many concerns with the west side of the proposed grocery store, there were some comments made regarding the north side of the grocery store. Previously, there was a lot of metal on the north side. The petitioners have removed that and replaced it with the wood cladding that will be on the west side. Along the bottom of the building will be an embossed concrete panel which will have a texture. The outdoor patio and seating area will remain. Due to the display area that's behind this facade, they weren't able to incorporate any more glass.

The Panera site plan was one part of the overall site plan the Plan Commission had a lot of opinions on. We're still trying to nail it down, but we wanted to give an update as to where we are. The previous version had a proposed entrance on the west side of the site. We had asked the petitioner to move the building up to that entrance to place the building at the corner. Part of that was to try to find a different solution for the drive through as well as to find a way to provide more parking spaces by the building to reduce the number of users who have to cross over the drive through lane. You can see in the previous site plan, there were a few parking spots in front of the building, but pretty much 90% of the people using the site had to cross over the drive through lane to get to the entrance at the southwest corner of the building. The petitioners have modified the site plan to move the entrance further east. The Panera building has been placed at that corner, which provides the highest visibility for the building and hides the drive thru use a little bit. They've also modified the site plan a little bit to get all the handicapped accessible spaces directly in front of the building to help minimize the pedestrian traffic that has to cross over that drive through lane. They've shown an elevated crossing for pedestrians south of the drive through lane to help guide pedestrians to that location and to help raise awareness to vehicles in the drive through lane that there is a pedestrian crossing there. With this site plan, there is still a drive through on the west side of the building that's parallel with 3rd St. This is similar to the Chick-Fil-A restaurant that was approved just east of this site. We've worked with the petitioners to try to come up with a site plan that gets parking spaces in front of the building to minimize pedestrians having to cross that drive through. We're not really sure if there's another scenario that's going to play out better. We're here tonight to seek any guidance. Staff has requested a condition of approval that the site plan and elevations for Panera be delegated to staff level to give the petitioners a little bit more time to look at any other possible options to improve the building or site plan. One of the other things we've been working on with the Panera building, kind of as a result of moving it to a more high, prominent location, is the architecture for the building. The north side of the Panera is a good looking front. It has a lot of glass, a lot of store front and an outdoor patio, but the east side, which faces the new entrance, has a service door and just a small portion of brick with a lot of EIFS on it. We feel some improvements can be made to this elevation since this is a highly visible portion of the building. We're giving a extra time to the petitioners to come up with some revisions to this elevation that they'll present to staff at a future time. While we're comfortable with the north side of the building, we want to continue to work with them to improve the east side of the building.

There haven't been too many changes to the BJ's Restaurant other than the incorporation of more pedestrian connections. There is a new connection that is shown that spurs out to the bus stop. They've also added some new connections along the internal drive as well as a tree plot that separates that sidewalk from the drive. One of the two areas we would like to modify with this portion of the site plan is the proposed crossing for the sidewalk. It sits just a bit behind where that stop condition is for cars. The good visibility for cars that are coming in and turning right at that location would not be good, so it isn't really a good location for pedestrians to be crossing. Staff would recommend that crossing be in front of that stop bar or closer to the curve. We'll work with the petitioners to get that revision in the final grading plan. We would like to see the two landscaped islands in the proposed parking lot to be larger so they can accommodate the tall canopy trees that are required for islands. Nothing has changed for the elevations of the BJ's Restaurant. One of the things we discussed at a previous meeting were the murals that are shown on the front of the building and some of the sides. The Plan Commission expressed a uniform sentiment at the initial hearing that if these murals were a proprietary image - something that is found on all the BJ's Restaurants- then we would have to consider those signage. If there were some other scenes or murals depicted, maybe of a local character, those would not count. The petitioners have somebody here from BJ's who can speak to some of that. They have given us some samples of the murals to get a better idea of those. They have used different versions of these murals around the country.

In this petition the petitioners are requesting some new signs for the mall. One of those is for a new multi-tenant sign on the west side of the property along College Mall Rd. There's a change to the multi-tenant sign there that was previously approved in a modification to the PUD. The PUD approved a 276 sq ft sign. At the previous hearing the petitioners had shown a sign with a larger sign face area. The Plan Commission gave guidance to reduce that size to what was approved in the PUD. The petitioners have taken their proposed sign and shrunk it down to fall within that 270 sq ft. It's actually a little smaller in sign face area versus what is on the site now. The smaller entrance sign, up along the bypass, has stayed the same as the previous petition.

Staff is very happy with the changes the petitioner has made in response to the comments that the Plan Commission and staff had. Overall, this is a great improvement to the mall with a lot of substantial improvements to the landscaping and the pedestrian network throughout the mall as a whole. The only issues staff is still trying to work out with this petition are regarding the Panera restaurant site plan and elevation and if possible any changes to the site plan that might help the parking and the drive thru situation. We've requested the final site plan for Panera be delegated to staff level so we can continue to work with the petitioner to get that resolved. Staff is recommending approval of the overall petition with the 7 conditions listed in the staff report.

Rod Vosper spoke on behalf of Simon Property Group. We have worked very diligently to try to address all the comments we heard at last month's hearing. Prior to that meeting, we spent about a year trying to get most of the major issues resolved and a configuration that makes sense. We're pleased with the outcome and we're happy to continue working with staff on a couple loose ends that unfortunately we couldn't get totally resolved by the time this hearing came up. We're excited about the opportunity to do a major investment at the mall. This project would open in 2017. The Panera project would open in late 2016. It's a great project and we look forward to making it better. We want to thank everybody who's been diligently working with us. He's happy to answer any questions and Joan Ligay will be able to answer any questions specific to BJ's.

Phil Peden asked if the murals would be more Bloomington-oriented or local rather than the images they provided.

Tom Micuda added Chris Sturbaum, who was not able to come to the hearing this evening, had exactly the same question.

Joan Ligay spoke for BJ's Restaurant. We did get the feedback that you were interested in us doing something specific to Bloomington for the murals and we're absolutely open to doing that. What we brought tonight are samples from another restaurant in South Lake, Texas. South Lake also wanted a mural that had not been done anywhere else that was specifically created by an artist for that city. In that instance, we researched the history of South Lake and found out they had a history rich in agriculture and oil. The two samples show what we did for South Lake. The murals show turn of the century immigrants working in the fields as well as oil rigs in the background to highlight South Lake's history. The murals were very well received by South Lake's Arts Commission and Planning Commission. We could certainly take the same approach to Bloomington. We could have our artist create a mural for the front of the restaurant and the back that would reflect Bloomington's history. We are happy to research and we could work with staff to do that. Our request would be to do something unique to Bloomington that we wouldn't use again, and we would just work with staff on the content of those murals. I've also brought an image of another project from Columbus, OH for a mall that has a very industrial re-purposed theme. REI and BJ's are both working to create metal silhouettes for the Columbus restaurant that will be used on the rear elevation and will probably be backlit. These are still in the design phase, but it's another example to show we're open to something unique for your community. This BJ's won't open until 2017, so we have quite a bit of time to work with staff and find something you're really happy with.

Burgins said they seem to have a Soviet nostalgia theme to them.

Williams asked how they are mounted.

Ligay said there are usually a series of three murals; two on the outside and the third inside the restaurant. The one in the interior of the restaurant is stretched on canvas, but that's not a good application for the exterior. For the exterior ones, they're printed on a 3M vinyl fabric and then they're stretched over a metal welded frame so there are no issues with wind or fading. They last an incredibly long time.

Williams said someone could give some very good ideas for Bloomington.

Ligay said there's a rich history here we can work from.

St. John likes the style of the farmer murals. It is very reminiscent of Thomas R. Benton and in Bloomington we have the Benton murals, which are the longest continuous mural cycle in the world. She thinks if that were a local theme, it would be even more fantastic. She thanked Ligay for creating these unique murals.

Fernandes is a real die-hard IU basketball fan, but basketball murals are not required here. They've been done quite a bit here. There is lots of rich history. She asked if the murals will be changed over time.

Ligay said they have never done that.

Fernandes asked how long they've lasted.

Ligay said we haven't had any issues with fading and if we did, we would be the first ones who would want to go out and change them because they're such a huge investment. We just wouldn't want to make that kind of investment in the building and then have faded murals. They've easily lasted 15+ years. They've held up longer than she's been at BJ's.

Fernandes asked how many parking spaces are across the drive thru at Panera and how many were there previously. Has there been any improvement at all?

Greulich said there has been an improvement in terms of where the spaces are located. On the previous site plan, there were about 10 parking spaces that were right in front of the building and about 50 or so spaces on the west side. With the plan we have now, we've got 10 or 11 spaces, but they have been divided so the handicap-accessible spaces are directly in front of the building rather than on the other side of the drive through lane. While the actual number of spaces on the site has stayed about the same, they've moved where the handicapped accessible spaces are located.

Vosper added Panera has done a lot of research for the proper number to prevent cars from queuing back into the parking area and creating conflicts. We feel we're at a good number. We also came back and added a continuous hedge that would run between 3rd St. and the drive lanes, so when the cars are there it's a softer look.

Fernandes' concern is the people crossing the drive thru lane. She's wondering if that's been improved in the new plan.

Vosper said it has been because the prior layout had people crossing in front of the drive through to get to the door where the cars would be waiting to get to the window. In this plan, the location of the crossing has been shifted so the people are crossing beyond where cars are stopped at the window. It's the people who are driving away and are done with their transaction that will be crossing a raised pedestrian crossing. We would sign it as well. He thinks it's a better location than the way we had it prior where we were cutting between cars that were waiting in line. That was not an optimal situation. People will be approaching the pedestrian crossing to move past cars that are in a completely stopped position.

Fernandes' question is if there are as many parking spots across the drive through as there were previously or if they've been reduced. It looks like the parking lot is the same size as it was before, so the number of people that need to cross the drive through lane has not been reduced as far as she can tell.

Vosper said the parking count is what is necessary to operate the restaurant. The total number of spaces is the same.

Fernandes said the numbers have not changed. Definitely there are a lot of things that are better. She's just focusing on the numbers of people who would still have to cross. She said staff wants to be given final site plan approval and she thinks that's a good idea, but she also would like to get an idea what they think they can achieve in that time. What are going to be your goals for improving or finalizing the site plan?

Micuda said the principal thing we will do, pending guidance from the Plan Commission, is to revise the elevations of the Panera building, particularly on the east side of the building, where glass and windows have not been incorporated. From our perspective that's a must. We can work on the site plan as well, based on guidance from you, whether the guidance is related to parking or the exact issue you mentioned with crossing the drive through. If you point us in a particular direction, we can continue to refine that. This has been difficult when you have a drive through and you have a parking arrangement that's essentially 60+ parking spaces. One of the issues I raised internally was whether the parking should just drop so you have fewer people making the crossing. We ultimately decided not to do that because we're pretty close to the Whole Foods entrance and there may be some shared parking they may be needed in relationship to Whole Foods. One of the options you have in front of you, in addition to directing us to re-work the layout would be to lower the parking count. They may need it and that's the risk, but if you're concerned about the number of people crossing, you may opt to reduce the parking.

Fernandes asked if there was a way to shift the layout so less people would have to cross the drive thru.

Micuda said we have tried and they have tried to fiddle with layouts and unless you drop the parking count or you allow the drive thru to wrap around the building, which our code discourages, that's the dilemma you're in. You either wrap the drive thru around the building as opposed to side loading it or you drop the count. Those are really the only two ways we've been able to figure out how to deal with the dilemma we're in on the drive through.


Fernandes' concern is she goes to Panera a lot to have lunch with her grandson. There are a lot of kids, young children, who go there who tend to get loose sometimes and that's her concern.

Micuda said we've struggled with this issue more than anything else on the site plan.

Fernandes is glad to see it improved. She asked what features are going to be included in the grass area. Is it just going to be a plain grass field or is there going to be some amenity there that can be moved when you're going to use it?

Vosper said at the onset we were encouraged to consider additional development opportunities, which he hopes come together quickly. They hope to maintain drive way access to an existing electrical meter. They will do that with a grass-crete product so it's green year round. They are looking to grass the area. There will be trees on both sides of the entry drive as you come in, so it will be a mirror image on the future development side as would be on the Panera side but otherwise we'd like to keep it open because we think we're going to be right back in here on a short term basis with additional development.

Smith asked if there was an entrance sign or monument sign at this entrance near Panera.

Vosper said there is a monument sign on the grassy area pretty close to the corner. All that would say is "College Mall".

Smith asked how tall the sign will be.

Greulich said it will be 8 feet.

Smith said he's asking because the Chick-Fil-A has a huge sign right in front of their building that wasn't shown in the elevation. He just wants to make sure there's not a huge sign going in front of the Panera. He asked if the employees of Sear's know about this yet.

Vosper said he can't speak to the employees but he did call the Sears management and let them know the comment from the last hearing. He put the issue in their hands to address.

Floor was opened for public comment. There was none.

Smith mentioned a vote requires a majority of the total number of Commissioners, not a majority of the Commissioners who are present. This means a motion requires 5 votes to be actionable.

***Fernandes moved to approve PUD-05-15 with the staff recommendations as outlined in the staff report. Burgins seconded.

Peden likes the improvements the petitioners made to the entrance off of College Mall Rd. The lengthening is a good improvement from what's currently there. He likes that they provided more parking for Panera than what's at the existing location. It's always tough to find a parking space there. It's a popular place. He did a count and it looks like they increased spaces by 10. Hopefully, they won't have the same parking issues and they can use the whole mall property and the Whole Foods parking area for overflow. The two pedestrian paths to Whole Foods are a good improvement. He would suggest to hatch a sidewalk or pedestrian access route north of the College Mall entrance over to Panera where you pass the two drive ways entering the bank and Fazoli's. It seems like a pedestrian might get a little confused on where they're supposed to be in that area.

Greulich said the bank is not part of the College Mall PUD. We weren't able to incorporate it into the petition. The Fazoli's blank spot in the site plan just covers their drive way. The only portion of the gap is a portion the mall doesn't have control over, but we'll flag that for any future development to try to get that connection in.

Micuda added the only other way to deal with it would be to narrow the pavement and stripe the pedestrian path in the street or take out the width itself, and he doesn't know if we can do that or not.

Peden said it's not a big deal, he just wanted to throw it out there. The petition has all good improvements from the last time we saw it.

Williams thanked the petitioner for listening. When we saw this petition at the very first meetings it was very different. You listened to what we were concerned about, especially the north side of the Whole Food's building, more landscaping and the willingness to move Panera's location to be much more effective for the drive thru. We're very happy to see this. It's been a long time since the mall has had these improvements and we think it's very timely.

St. John said the worst feeling a community can have with a national partner is to feel abandoned. This feels like the opposite of that. Thank you for the attention to this property.

***Roll was taken. Motion passed 6:0.

PUD-10-15 Bill C Brown Trust Fullerton Pike

PUD final plan approval to allow for grading work on site.

Case Manager: Patrick Shay

Micuda presented the staff report. This is a little bit of an unusual request, in that we don't normally get requests to do site grading without development attached. There is a rule for any Planned Unit Development that you are not allowed to pull a permit to build a building or grade property without a final plan being issued by either staff or the Plan Commission. The Plan Commission has never had the opportunity to delegate anything to staff since this property received its PUD designation in 1988. This petition is coming to the Plan Commission by the nature of its zoning, not by what we would typically do. If someone would come in and want to grade on a piece of property without a PUD designation, they would simply be filling out a permit, submitting plans and we would be reviewing it a staff level. You haven't seen a case like this, but this is why you are seeing it.

The site is a very large piece of property at the far southwest edge of our planning jurisdiction at Fullerton Pike and 37. It is just under 90 acres. The 1988 PUD allowed for light manufacturing/office space land uses. There was an amendment in 1994 to do some assisted living. There was also an amendment for a 9 hole par 3 golf course. None of these amendments saw any development. The property is vacant. There has been some agricultural activity. There are some environmental features scattered throughout. You can see from the exhibit you can divide the property into 2 main sections. You have the open area that has been farmed periodically and then the property changes sharply to the east where you have intermittent streams, ravines, steeper slopes, karst features, and heavy woods. When we've assessed the property in the past there's between 50 and 60 acres of usable, relatively flat property without vegetation or environmental constraints and then there's another 20-30 acres of property that simply has to be protected based on the code and the environmental constraints on it.

The petitioners want to grade the property, take some top soil out of the property and do some cutting and filling to level out the existing grade because they were contacted by the Indiana Department of Transportation requesting top soil from this site to use in the construction of the interchange being built at this location. INDOT would like to use top soil from this site rather than getting dirt from a remote location. It makes common sense to utilize the dirt that's already nearby. It will minimize transportation costs and make the project more efficient. It works for both parties. The site plan sketches out where a future road might be. There would be some cutting and filling along the road alignment as well as along the grade lines which show where top soil would be taken off. One of the issues we brought up early in the process with the design engineer was we didn't want to create a situation where all the top soil was removed. Then we would be in a situation where the property would be left denuded and we would have to solve those issues during site development. As someone who has worked previously on denuded sites, I would note that they are tremendously expensive to develop. We've been assured that there is adequate depth to bedrock remaining even after the top soil would be removed to deal with development potential down the road. We have no project, we have no development; we're simply taking some soil away from the site and using it on the adjoining interchange project.

The Environmental Commission has concerns which are outlined in a memo in the packet. Their concerns deal with the fact that this is an environmentally constrained site and they are thinking ahead as to issues that will clearly take place when the property is developed more substantially at some point in the future. There is karst on the property. The vast majority of the karst are spotted, individual features in the ravine and wooded area, but there is one feature on the open ground. That feature is an open, pastoral karst feature. It doesn't have a crevasse due to the history of the property as an agricultural use. It has been cut out of the proposed grading and the required protective buffering is there, but it indicated from the Environmental Commission's perspective that there's subsurface drainage activity going on. The Environmental Commission requested subsurface testing to find out if there is hidden karst that cannot be picked up on the surface. Those things do occur. It is Bloomington, it is limestone, so we do know that voids appear when they are not present at the surface. Subsurface testing does go beyond what the code requires. The code requires protection of surface karst features with buffers. It doesn't require underground geologic mapping. While there's nothing wrong with the request, it does go beyond what code requires the petitioners to do, whether they're doing this or development. It would be more pertinent to do this testing during development when they would have more invested in the property than what they have here. It could be something we investigate later, but I don't think this is the right time to do that.

Also, because top soil is being removed from the property, they wanted scientific evaluation of what was left of the soil for its stability in regards to building construction. Because this is a karst prone area, you can have situations where you get soil slumps which expose the voids and create stability concerns for construction. It's been his experience that in situations where construction is occurring, the contractor will need to analyze how soil compaction will be addressed, as well as depth to bedrock testing and the stability of all proposed roads and buildings. I would argue this is premature at this stage. I suggest we look at this when we're doing development. All we're doing is taking some soil out and establishing a road bed without building a road.

The last issue is one that has been dealt with. It relates to a property to the north. Many of the Commissioners participated in evaluating development in what was called the Tiwari property for Southern Indiana Medical Park II. That property wraps around the existing medical park at the corner of Tapp Rd and 37 and is also adjacent to Tapp Rd. The southern part of that property is very constrained. It was so constrained that the Council, when they approved the PUD, said they didn't want the developer, when they build the road, to connect from Tapp Rd to this property line. They only wanted the developer to dedicate property, which would mean the City would build the road if the City wanted a road to be constructed. That's the backdrop for the recommendation. This recommendation is they're concerned the grading for the road bed to the north property line would signal a false development scenario that they don't agree with. We have tried, in working with the petitioner's engineer, in making sure this grading has absolutely no effect on any environmental feature on the site. We know that when we evaluate future development of this property and future development of the next property to the north, the issue of whether a road is stubbed and connected between properties will be thoroughly discussed. We don't think this sends any false signaling, because that issue will be discussed later. All this does is show where a road could go in the future, but doesn't dictate its construction or its connection.

In conclusion, no roads are being proposed, no use is being proposed, the PUD is not being changed. The PUD is still on the books. We've complied with all the environmental requirements in the code in terms of making sure we're away from any environmentally sensitive features so the proposal meets the standards. It's an unusual project, but this is the only way that the petitioner can do this. If you accept the fact that this dirt work would be helpful for the adjoining project, we think we've done the best we can to minimize any impacts to the property as a result. We do recommend approval with 3 conditions.

Steve Smith is representing Bill Brown. He has been working with Brown for a long time with this piece of land. It's been zoned and changed. In this case, INDOT and the contractor came to us because they need a lot of material for the overpass that's being built over I69 at that point. If you've driven Fullerton, you know Fullerton is a lot lower than 37, so they've got to put a lot of dirt in just to bring it up to the grade of 37 and then they have to fill it to go over the road. He thinks there might be 35 feet of fill from the profile of Fullerton up. We don't really need to have the site graded, but we started looking at it and found that we could grade it. If we are going to grade it we wanted it to be graded our way. This won't be a typical borrow pit for a highway with a hole out there when we're done. It's going to be pretty flat when we're done. Coincidentally, we had been working with BEDC and Duke Energy on a grant to pay for a soil study here, so we had quite a bit of soil information and we knew the depth to bedrock was more than 20 feet. This was important to us because we didn't want to scrape all the dirt off and then be on rock. One of the reasons it is such a large area being affected is because we're flattening it out and not taking a lot of dirt off any one place. We vary from 0 feet of cut on the sides to as much as 11 feet in the deepest part. The end goal is to get us a more flat piece of land that's better for future development. Our plan was for INDOT to get the dirt but we wanted a plan for when we're done. The northern 2/3 of the road is shown in there, but there's no change in grade. It's really just a flat open area where the road could go. At the south end there are some grade issues, so the road bed is a little lower than what shows on the left. We will take about 6 inches of soil off and then we'll get to good clay. They'll use the clay for fill for the overpass and then we will keep 3 inches of top soil and they can take 3 inches because they need top soil also. We felt 3 inches was enough to get it re-vegetated and stabilized until it does actually develop. We think it's kind of a win-win. We ended up with something that's good for us because they'll pay us for the dirt but they'll pay less than they would if they had to haul it from a different site. This is a better place to do it.

Williams asked why do this now.

Smith said it's because I69 needs the dirt this summer. The overpass is being built this summer. It's a lot of dirt. It's a couple of hundred thousand cubic yards of dirt. Again, 40 acres of the property with an average of 4 feet of dirt is being affected. It's quite a bit of material they need and they can get it from us.

Micuda clarified the overpass and interchange construction would occur from about mid-year this year with a 6 month construction period. So the urgency is from INDOT's part in that they'd like to start by mid-year this year.

Smith said they have a condition in their contract with INDOT that all work will be done this year. The grading will be done and the property will be re-seeded and re-vegetated this year. They originally wanted a couple years.

Williams asked what we know about the karst that's in closest proximity to the highway.

Smith said this is a farm field now that's being planted and harvested. The karst feature is just part of the field. If you go out and look closely, you can see the bowl contour. There's no crevasse, there's no opening. It's just a large, very flat bowl. We're not disturbing that.

Micuda said he looks for two things in terms of karst features. One is if there is a crevasse indicating it is a purely natural unaltered karst feature. A lot of karst features in Bloomington have been altered because of farming. This has clearly been altered. The other thing he looks for is if it receives a lot of water from a large drainage basin. In a situation where it's receiving a lot of water and it's what he would consider a water recipient feature, then you need to be very careful to change the flow. This has a really small receiving area because there are high points on either side of it. Not much, except for a little percolation from nearby, is entering it as opposed to a situation where it's at the end of a valley and it's getting a lot of flow. Otherwise he would be more concerned with doing further investigation.

Williams asked if it was possible to get a geological evaluation to see what karst features are hidden beneath the property. She has owned property with karst in it and there are times when, unless you knew it was karst over there, you would never really pay that much attention to it. In parts of the nearby properties they tried to close sinkholes up with drains and various different gradations of stone . However, when there is a torrential onslaught of rain, new features tend to form or existing features can get larger. She also is concerned about the I69 construction and what they're doing and how it might relate to this piece of karst and the highway..

Smith said if there is an actual karst feature that's been farmed over so much you can't see it anymore, soil borings would show that because it's typically been filled in with top soil over the years as opposed to good clay. Of all the borings we took out there, it was all good solid clay as far down as we went. There was no indication of karst any place that we took. Duke spent $7,500 so they took a lot of borings. There were maybe 30 borings which is quite a few. It was a pretty extensive study, much more than would have been necessary and there was no indication of anything like that.

St. John asked if the Environmental Commission got to see the BEDC study.

Smith said they're asking for more information beyond what is available from the study. He doesn't think they saw the study.

St. John said it might help answer some of their questions.

Micuda said they are aware of the fact there is a lot of depth to bedrock with a significant amount of soil depth being present. He thinks they want more studies because they understand the site is environmentally constrained. Everyone in the office has walked this site more than once because there have been fits and starts and projects potentially coming forward. There is a dramatic difference between the open area and the ravine area. There is absolutely no question the ravine area is a do-not-touch for a wide variety of reasons. Once you get out of that and are in the flat area, the only feature we've picked up is that western altered karst feature. There's not really anything else that shows up when you're out there. He thinks they're just concerned about the site and what might happen as a result of the work that's going to be done.

Fernandes noticed it looks like there's a quarry to the right of the property. So we know there's more karst than what you've seen. Her question is who is going to oversee the enforcement of the erosion control for this grading project.

Smith said there will be multiple people overseeing it. We have to get a Rule 5 permit, which is permitted through the city and that's in process right now, so the City will be involved with that.

Peden said he's reviewed the Rule 5 permit and made several comments which the petitioners have made changes to reflect.

Fernandes is concerned about the on-the-ground enforcement.

Smith said they will have staff out there to make sure the contractors do what's in the agreement. They've been working on the agreement to make the contractor 100% responsible until the city signs off on the Rule 5 permit. INDOT has a sign-off as well that they'll ask Brown in the end to sign to say we're happy. We made it clear we're not signing that until everyone else is happy. His staff will be doing on-the-ground enforcement while the grading is taking place.

Fernandes asked what happens if they find a violation or something that has broken down.

Smith said they call the contractor or Peden.

Fernandes said she knows there are a lot of people in the community who are not impressed with the state's ability to do erosion control.

Smith said this is another level. Brown doesn't want a lot of erosion into these valleys because we're going to be back at some point with a project. We don't want that and we have that Rule 5 with the City so the City has control as well.

Fernandes asked if Peden's staff will be inspecting.

Peden said Planning staff will inspect.

Micuda added there will be three inspecting entities. There will be the inspecting entity for I69, who will have inspectors inspecting the project who are dedicated to erosion control. He'll just leave that level of inspection off to the side because he knows there have been questions raised about erosion control measures performed by INDOT. Then there will be the petitioner's representative through Smith Brehob, and then we'll have to inspect for Rule 5 compliance, so we will have people out on the site to monitor the work that's on the 87 acres. We recently had a great training session with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management so our staff is ready to go and ready to do our part on the 87 acres.

Fernandes asked if planning staff would be able to issue stop work orders.

Micuda said he can. The petitioners will be coming in to get the Rule 5 permit, the grading permit, we'll have a preconstruction conference to set up all the erosion control on the perimeter and then he has the ability to sign stop work orders on a wide variety of projects throughout Bloomington. He doesn't them about once a month.

Fernandes asked where we are on the Fullerton extension.

Micuda said at this point the County has an existing project in the Metropolitan Planning Organization's (MPO) Transportation Improvement Program to upgrade a section of Rhorer Rd in front of the Southside Kroger. This would go from Walnut St Pike, where there's a terrible stop condition which will be redesigned as a full signal with turn lanes, and then there'll be some improvements in front of the Kroger about halfway between Walnut and Rogers St. That's where the first phase of the Fullerton Pike project will go and it will be constructed in 2017. The County has petitioned the MPO to do the next phase that will go from between Walnut and Rogers to west of Rogers, but stop in front of Bachelor School for Phase II. That's the one you read about in the newspaper. Then there would be multiple sections of this corridor still to go that would connect Gordon Pike to Fullerton Pike all the way through to 37. Those would be future phases that have yet to be funded and yet to be built but that's the county's plan.

Fernandes said that will not have any impact on this grading project.

Micuda said there will be one impact. INDOT will rebuild Fullerton from this intersection with SR 37 where they will have an interchange. They will rebuild to Rockport Rd. There will be a new two-lane road with a lot of those grade corrections being worked through, so it will be a flatter grade, with a side path on the north side for bicycles and pedestrians and a side walk on the south side. That's actually being funded by INDOT to Rockport Rd and then the County has to connect it fro Rockport to Gordon Pike. That's the piece that's unfunded and unbuilt yet. But they will be correcting some of the issues with slope and lack of pedestrian bicycle facilities. If you've been out there, the road is in pretty horrible shape partly because INDOT has been out there. There is substantial work that will be done this year.

Floor was opened for public comment. There was none.

***Burgins made a motion to approve PUD-10-15 with the conditions as outlined in the staff report. Peden seconded.

Williams wished we had gotten the packet earlier. She would have liked to have been able to think about this a little longer. She lived on a property with karst. That whole area over there, from the Fullerton area as it moves west toward Leonard Springs Rd, is just rift with karst. It's everywhere. People fill it up with grass and trash and they still will sort of explode. Her biggest concern is not the fact that you're taking the soil for the construction of the overpass but with the highway and the processes that have been put in place as the road has developed. If you drive to Montgomery or Daviess County and start heading north, you may as well be driving on a moonscape. They have denuded the sides of the roads. On the overpasses they have white PVC piping running horizontally and vertically to carry water because they just didn't plan on that kind....Drive it sometime. It's really appalling. There are cracks in the road on all of the overpasses. She has very little confidence in the construction that's going to be so close to this previously innocuous piece of karst. She thinks karst is all inter-related, we just don't know how unless we have a much broader study. Everywhere in the country there's some parking lot that collapses and cars are swallowed up in these things. She appreciates what you're trying to do. She wishes she felt like it was not going to have an impact. She's going to hold them to what they say they're going to do, but she doesn't understand the purpose of it only to provide the soil. She thinks that's kind of a weak reason to do it.

***Roll was taken. Motion passed 6:0.