Proposed Development at 86th & Meridian

At 7pm Thursday, October 1, 2015, the development called “Stonecrest” proposed for the southeast corner of 86th St and Meridian will be heard at the regularly scheduled public monthly meeting of the Nora-Northside Community Council, Inc. (NCC) Board of Directors. The meeting is in the Nora Library Auditorium.

 

 

 

 

This is a high profile proposal because the site at 86th Street and Meridian is an important gateway to Nora and the City. The site is designated as a “critical area” in the current comprehensive plan.

2015-ZON-059: Southeast corner of Meridian St. and 86th St. Stonecrest Senior Living seeks rezoning of 4.78 acres from the D-1 district to the D-P classification to provide for an assisted living facility with 30 memory care units, 55 assisted living units.

NORA 2021 Event #1 Recap

Many thanks to the crowd that gathered on Saturday morning at the Dean Evans Community & Education Center (WTSC) on Woodfield Crossing and 86th to discuss the future of the Nora community. We hope you came away feeling more informed, engaged and enthusiastic about the future of Nora within the city of Indianapolis. Thanks also to Washington Township Schools, Whole Foods and Brad Beaubien, for their gracious contributions.

The morning’s speaker, acting Director of City Planning, Brad Beaubien, was the perfect set-up to the larger conversation of how we as a collective community can influence and shape the future of Nora. See his full presentation here. Brad offered lots of insights into the management of this vast city of ours from a planning and physical space perspective, also providing a razor-sharp look at where shifts are taking place in demographics and market demand and how that relates to the physical characteristics of suburban communities like ours.

NORA 2021 is community-led planning focused on Nora’s future, and Brad gave us perspective to “play where the puck is going.”

The second half of the meeting participants provided fast-paced input to a community Liabilities, Assets, Needs and Desires (LAND) assessment. Click here to view the uncondensed list of ideas from the Sept 26 event.

NORA 2021: Vote for Our Community Priorities

On September 26th, a crowd that gathered at the Dean Evans Center (WTSC) on Woodfield Crossing and 86th Street  to discuss the future of the Nora community. NORA 2021 is community-led planning focused on Nora’s future. The morning’s speaker, acting Director of City Planning, Brad Beaubien, was the perfect set-up to the larger conversation of how we as a collective community can influence and shape the future of Nora (view Brad’s presentation).

 

 Nora Community Priorities Survey

The second half of the meeting participants provided fast-paced input to a community Liabilities, Assets, Needs and Desires (LAND) assessment. That input will feed the planning process and is provided below.

We want to know your priorities! Please click the button below and provide YOUR FEEDBACK (a brief survey of 4 questions).

 

THIS SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED. VIEW THE RESULTS.

 

Summary and Tally of All Responses

We collected and recorded every comment submitted on colored index cards during our group exercise, a Liabilities, Assets, Needs and Desires (LAND) analysis. On the asset side of the ledger, many comments revolved around the great neighborhoods and the amenity of the Monon Trail. On a related note, many of the desires centered on connecting those neighborhoods in a safe manner to one another and to the trail and capitalizing on the trail with more focused, ‘trail-oriented’ development as seen in some recent projects.

 

Liabilities -weaknesses within the community, and within the context of the City and region, that we should remain aware of and mitigate as possible

86th (and Westfield, College at times) clogged, unsafe

Aging and subpar apartment stock.

Weak sense of community across cultural, generational lines

Limited pedestrian-friendly areas

Lack of an understood ‘center’ or ‘focus’

History of favor toward strip mall format of development

Lack of identity

Lack of control or input over development

Poor infrastructure: sewers, streets, noise abatement, streetlights, street, street services

Assets – the individuals, associations, and institutions in our community, as well as its physical characteristics–the land, buildings and infrastructure upon which the community rests

Monon Trail

St. Vincent Hospital, IU North: proximity

465 proximity and accessibility by car to highway system

Target (not Walmart)

Jordan Y, FBA Athletics, et al.

Cultural, generational diversity

Washington Township Schools

Neighborhood character defined by mature trees

Shopping nearby; grocery choices

Library branch

Needs – gaps in our human capital, as well as the physical the land, buildings and infrastructure upon which the community rests.

Identity, branding, placemaking

Walkable streets, crosswalks and parking lots

Traffic calming

Center or focus of village

Access to Monon from neighborhoods/Connectivity

Developers who will maintain, build value

Public areas, parks

Efficient alternate transportation options

Basic services: noise, sewers, streetlights. Attention from city

Integration of diverse population into fabric of community life

Desires – our aspirations as  individuals, associations and institutions in our community. A positive statement of things you envision for your community.

Safe, efficient connections to Monon Trail; especially 91st St.

Improved infrastructure: sound(465), sewer, streets and sidewalks.

Public gathering place or center

Passable 86th St for foot and bike traffic

Improved transportation options

Reimagined retail – less strip, chain-based stand-alones (switch: form-based code)

Big, identifiable Nora event

Strong, positive, open neighborhood groups

Parks, preservation, conservation

Strong identity as a place of Indy’s future

Indy’s Comprehensive Plan and Nora’s Critical Areas

The Indianapolis Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2005, defines several Critical Areas in Washington Township. New development proposals are measured against this plan. Here we zoom-in on Nora, and highlight our three most Critical Areas as defined by that plan.

 

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP CRITICAL AREAS

Critical Area 1

Location: 86th Street between Meridian Street and College Avenue.

Why critical: This portion of 86th Street is primarily residential in nature, and includes two churches in the area. The residential areas are under development pressure from commercial expansion. If commercial development were allowed on any of these parcels, several more parcels on 86th Street could be in line to convert to commercial development as well. It is critical to protect the existing residential nature of this portion of 86th Street from any commercial development encroachment.

Recommendations:

  • Restrict commercial development from this portion of 86th Street and its cross streets as shown on the plan.
  • Any new development should be sensitive to the existing high water table, and lack of adequate drainage. No new development should occur without sewer hookups that include additional capacity to allow surrounding properties to hook up. Storm water runoff should be controlled by the use of retention or detention ponds where applicable.
  • If the church at 8600 North College Avenue relocates and the site is not occupied by another Special Use, this site should be developed as a park if feasible. If a park is not feasible, the residential housing in the density of 3.5 to 5.0 units per acre should be developed with some land set aside for open space. There is a critical need for parkland in this area. Commercial development should not occur on this site.
  • The Land Use recommendation for the southeast corner of 86th and Meridian Streets is residential development greater than 5.00 and equal to or less than 8.00 units per acre. The preferred form of this land use recommendation is condominiums. Should this site be developed according to this land use recommendation, it should conform to the following:
    • It is recommended that all twelve parcels be developed in a compatible way, as one project if possible, and avoid piecemeal development.
    • Design of the buildings on site should be respectful of, and in character with, the quality of nearby residential structures. This includes building height, setback requirements, enclosed attached parking, drainage, location of services, low level signage, and lighting contained on site.
    • Conservation of the surrounding trees and the trees on the Meridian Street and 86th Street frontages is of particular importance. These should be adapted into any future development plans for the site, whether as one development, or as parcels are developed individually. Large, native trees are of special concern.
    • Sidewalks should be provided.
    • All parcels should share a single exit/entrance on 86th Street, and a singleexit/entrance on Meridian Street.
    • Residences should face outward, towards Meridian Street and 86th Street withvehicular access to the rear.
Critical Area 2

Location: North side of 86th Street between Cholla Road and Keystone Avenue.

Why critical: The north side of 86th Street is primarily residential in nature. The residential areas are under development pressure from commercial expansion. There is no significant barrier west of Keystone Avenue to stop the process of commercial encroachment on 86th Street. If commercial development were allowed on any of these parcels, several more parcels on 86th Street could be in line to convert to commercial development as well. It is critical to protect the existing residential nature of this portion of 86th Street from any commercial development.

Recommendations:

  • Restrict retail and office development to the south of 86th Street, and east of Woodfield Crossing Boulevard as shown on map.
  • Retail and office development should not encroach upon areas of existing or planned residential development.
  • If the church at 2720 East 86th street relocates and the site is not occupied by another Special Use, this site should be developed as residential housing in the density of 3.5 to 5.0 units per acre. Commercial development should not occur on this site.
  • The Land Use recommendation for the northeast corner of 86th Street and Haverstick Road is residential development greater than 8.00 and equal to or less than 15.00 units per acre. The preferred form of this land use recommendation is multi-family units. Should this site be developed according to this land use recommendation, it should conform to the following:
    • It is recommended that all five parcels be developed in a compatible way, as one project if possible, and avoid piecemeal development.
    • Design of the buildings on site should be respectful of, and in character with, the quality of nearby residential structures. This includes building height, setback requirements, enclosed attached parking, drainage, location of services, low level signage, and lighting contained on site.
    • Have exit/entrances only on Haverstick Road that line up with the exit/entrances of the church to the west.
    • All parcels should share these exit/entrances whether as one project development or as piecemeal development.
    • Conservation of the surrounding trees is of particular importance. These should be adapted into any future development plans for the site, whether as one development, or as parcels are developed individually.
    • In some places steep slopes greater than 10% exist. These slopes should be minimally developed, if at all, so that they may retain any forest cover and avoid soil erosion.
Critical Area 9

Location: Westfield Boulevard from 79th Street to Oxbow Way

Why Critical: The eastside of Westfield Boulevard is predominantly residential with a few parcels of commercial uses between Helen Drive to the north and 74th Street to the south. North of 75th Street, both sides of Westfield Boulevard are residential. There is some pressure along Westfield Boulevard and throughout the Critical Area to convert existing single-family residential properties to commercial uses or higher intensity residential uses. Contributing factors are the heavy use of the Monon trail, heavy traffic on Westfield Boulevard and expansion of commercial and higher intensity residential land uses from the south out of Broad Ripple. Demolition of multiple, adjacent, existing single-family properties would have a destabilizing effect on the character of the neighborhood. It is critical to protect the residential areas between the Monon Rail-Trail and the river and to avoid the incremental increase of office and commercial uses along Westfield Boulevard.

The significant amount of natural open space and wildlife habitat which remains along the White River and within Marrott Park also contribute to this area’s unique character. A considerable amount of woodland, steep slopes and the 100-year floodplain make it critical that development in this area be sensitive to the environment. Park recommendation in the lower portion of the area has potential to provide good canoe access to the White River. It is critical to provide adequate parkland for existing and future population.

Recommendations:

  • Limit expansion of the non-residential uses that exist near 75th Street and Westfield Boulevard as shown on map. Commercial and industrial development should not encroach upon areas of existing or planned residential development.
  • Develop the vacant parcel in the southern portion of this area as a park as shown on map.
  • Intensification of housing densities should not occur within the 100-year floodplain.
  • Preserve areas in the floodway as conservation areas. Dense vegetative cover along stream banks is important for erosion control, contamination capture, water cooling (critical for retaining oxygen levels) and habitat preservation.
  • The wooded areas designated as Environmentally Sensitive should be preserved.
The Future: Plan 2020

2016 Comprehensive Plan Update: Countywide Update

The full update to the countywide Comprehensive Land Use Plan is being held until 2016.  Internal development of the land use classification system and design of the public process is underway.

Looking Ahead

Plan 2020 seeks to create a unified, countywide comprehensive plan that updates, incorporates, or replaces the existing 135 planning documents.  It will include performance indicators for land use types, providing more clarity about how different uses perform on transportation, economic, tax base, and environmental criteria. The updated plan will focus on keeping and attracting residents to Marion County by planning for 21st century amenities and lifestyles.  Particular focus will be paid to places in the county likely to see change, including transit corridors and cultural districts, and to integrate land use planning with transportation, economic development, Downtown, parks and recreations and strategic public investments.

Nora Keystone Gateway: Preliminary Design #1

This summer community members met with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB) for the Nora Alliance’s first meeting to capture public input regarding Nora’s Keystone & 86th Street Gateway.

Check out the PRELIMINARY DESIGN provided by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc and CEC, Inc. We’d like to have your input!

Items discussed at July 2015 public meeting:

 Appearance of space
 Keep canopy
 Examine range of improvements
 Improve connectivity (accommodate future improvements)
 Wildflowers
 Public Art (North Central Students?)
 Clean up trash
 Improved signage
 Neighborhood identity
 Improve lines of sight
 Incorporate INDOT trees

Preliminary design preparation thoughts:

  1. Improve manicured edge/INDOT required buffer – 20’ +/‐
  2. Accommodate future pedestrian connector

‐ Maintain a 25’ +/‐ manicured edge on north and south sides of 86th Street or approximately to top of sloped concrete wall and under power lines on south side
‐ Include area between north and southbound Keystone

  1. Identify invasive species and remove including Mulberry, Hackberry, Honeysuckle, etc.
  2. Contact INDOT to discuss influencing bridge color?
  3. Clean out invasives behind northbound exit ramp guardrail

Preliminary design initial phase (2015) thoughts:

1. See attached plan

Preliminary design future phase thoughts:

  1. Investigate topography for wet areas to create streambed landscape
  2. Incorporate limestone block “welcome to Nora” signs into landscape + accent stone – walls?
  3. Upgrade guardrails to painted – black?
  4. Upgrade signals and signal poles?
  5. Wayfinding – shopping, library, park, school, etc?…there is a N.C. sign on the northbound ramp

Given the scope, this is going to be a longer term project with the hope of having some initial quick wins as the construction wraps up.

Project background:

The Keystone Avenue Bridge at 86th Street, currently under construction, serves as a gateway to the Nora community. However, the bridge, exit ramps, and surrounding land have been neglected for years, collecting trash, invasive plants, and the occasional homeless person camping out in the overgrown wooded areas. With the current construction of the Keystone Bridge, we have an opportunity to give this area a facelift. Read the post “Nora’s 86th St / Keystone Bridge Gateway Beautification Project” for more about the project’s background.