Indy Moves! Nora, We Need Your Input!

Neighbors, here is our opportunity to let the City know what Nora’s priorities are for walking, bicycling, driving, and transit.

IndyMoves-Project_Map

Indy Moves interactive map. Public ideas are in bright pink.

What is Indy Moves?

Indy Moves is a citywide effort to tie together Indianapolis’ many transportation plans and projects and establish an action plan that keeps us all moving for years to come. It will connect Indianapolis’ transportation goals, plans, and projects into an integrated mobility future. This includes the bicycle network, pedestrian network, trails and greenways, street expansion plans, and bus/bus rapid transit plans. Learn more here.

Your Input Is Needed!

Indy Moves is making the final push to get comments from the community on the Draft Capital Plan. An interactive map will let you comment on proposed projects, add new project ideas, and vote for your favorites. Share your thoughts on the project ideas that have been submitted and add your own. We want to know what projects matter most to you and which you think are most important for our future.

Here’s How You Can Help

  1. Log into the interactive map (you do not need an account to log in).
  2. Zoom to Nora (and your neighborhood) to view proposed project ideas (shown in bright pink).
  3. The Nora Alliance has added project ideas gathered from the Nora  Pedestrian Planning Meeting last Fall. Click on a project to view and “Like” the projects you deem important.
  4. Add new projects and comments that you think are needed.

Be sure to submit your comments before the online map closes March 20th

Seeking a Better Outcome at 86th & Haverstick

The northeast corner of 86th St and Haverstick Rd is approved for commercial development. The question is, what form will the development take?

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UPDATE 4/6 Negotiations have concluded and an agreement has been reached. Read the summary here.

UPDATE March 13- April 4 – Negotiation period.
UPDATE March 13 – With passage of the call-down, the Nora Northside Community Council (NCC) and Nora Alliance (NA) have initiated negotiations for modifications on the Alexander project. We have included all priorities that NCC/NA/DH identified together on March 4th in our negotiation points.
UPDATE March 12 – City-County Council passed the call-down request to reopen negotiations on the Alexander project.
UPDATE March 4 – Nora Northside Community Council (NCC), Nora Alliance (NA), and Driftwood Hill (DH) neighbor representatives meet and work together to establish a common list of priorities and negotiating points. Although DH opposes the call-down process, we continue to share the overarching goal of renegotiating the Alexander project for a better outcome for the Nora community. By creating a list of mutual priorities and negotiating points, we established, up front, the terms for a favorable outcome for the community. Among many other items, neighborhood traffic and ways to preserve more areas of tree canopy are identified issues.
  • commitment on the northern part of the parcel for residential use only with density not to exceed that proposed in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan
  • reduction in Alexander Project surface parking lot area by 30%
  • reduction of noise and light pollution
  • Incorporate existing trees of significance into site plan
  • pedestrian safety – signalized crosswalk across 86th St.
  • neighborhood traffic safety concerns
  • area traffic improvements, including light timing and confirming eastbound/westbound turn lanes from Haverstick Rd (while we all agreed the developer isn’t responsible for solving all the 86th St traffic congestion problems in the area, they need to work with the City on solutions)
  • (follow-up (via email) included information about the “Opticom” emergency signaling devices installed but not in use on 86th St that control the lights when emergency vehicles approach. As we understand from Kris the system was installed by the Fire Dept but is not operational due to DPW concerns over signal timing. This issue needs to be resolved by City departments (it is not a conflict the developer can resolve), but nonetheless important for Nora safety and we will continue to follow up with Councilor Fanning and City to see where changes can be made.)
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The northeast corner of 86th St and Haverstick Rd is approved for commercial development. The question is, what form will the development take? The currently approved development will result in near-clear cutting of the ~13-acre property to build a big box retail store and townhomes, with a large parking lot fronting 86th St. A lower-impact development option was recently defeated. This alternative included a two-story building fronting 86th St with a mix of office and commercial use that would have saved a significant portion of trees and drainage areas. Now, the community may have a chance to revisit the question of which development is preferred.

This is a choice between two developments, two tree removal outcomes, and their ultimate impact on the community. One development project is approved, and the developer has repeatedly stated they are committed to building. At the March 12 Indianapolis City-County Council meeting, Councilor Colleen Fanning plans to call-down the zoning case at the direct request of the Nora-Northside Community Council (NCC), and with the support of the Nora Alliance.

The NCC and Nora Alliance seek to achieve a better outcome, giving the neighborhood and Nora community a lower-impact development. Because of the case’s complexity, we present the details of Haverstick’s zoning history below to help Nora residents to better understand the facts of the matter, why preserving the property as parkland is not an available option, what a “call-down” is, and why this case is being called-down for review.

Kite and Alexander Projects Side-by-Side

Haverstick-Kite-Alexander-Indianapolis
The property in question is made up of the heavily wooded parcels located on the northeast corner of Haverstick Rd and 86th St, one block west of Keystone Ave. The approved and still valid Kite project and proposed Alexander project (highlighted areas indicate Phase 1 & 2) are shown side-by-side for comparison.

Current Zoning Designation – The Kite Project

The property carries a D-P (“planned unit development district”) zoning designation granted in 2005 (zoning case 2005-ZON-034-DP12), which authorizes, among other things, a 66,000 square foot big-box store (e.g., grocery), a near-clear cutting of trees (27 to remain), 1.2-acre surface detention pond, expansive surface parking, and 31 townhomes. We refer to this as the “Kite project” for ease of discussion.

Kite site plan Haverstick

The essential fact of this case is that the Kite project is the legally approved development of the property. While members of the Nora community fought a protracted legal battle with the City of Indianapolis to revoke or modify this zoning in 2005, they were summarily unsuccessful. There is no remaining legal leverage with which to fight the current zoning designation. Deputy Mayor Jeff Bennett and Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD) Director Emily Mack have independently confirmed that there is no legal recourse for Nora to prevent Green Indy, LLC from developing the Kite project.

The developer indicates he intends to build the Kite project. The process of filing paperwork to obtain permits for the Kite project has begun.

Proposed Case – The Alexander Project

In 2017, as an alternative to the Kite project, Green Indy proposed the “Alexander project” seeking to rezone the property from D-P to MU-3 (mixed-use 3) (zoning case 2016-ZON-020). The MU-3 designation provides for compact uses, urban design with buildings located relatively close to the street in a pedestrian-friendly manner, and de-emphasized on-site parking. The Alexander project divided the site into two phases. Site plans were submitted for Phase 1. It has a smaller building footprint relocated to the front of the property on 86th St, less intense use (home accessory store, restaurant, and office space), and has larger intended tree preservation areas on the north side of the parking area than the Kite project. Importantly, it removes the 1.3-acre surface detention pond and instead proposes a detention system under the parking area, thus preserving the wooded slopes on the northeast side of the property.

Alexander-rendering

Alexander site plan w-phase2

Green Indy presented the Alexander project to the Nora Northside Community Council (NCC) Board of Directors for review and input. They also presented their plan to the Driftwood Hills neighborhood and the Nora Alliance. The NCC, in support of the Driftwood Hills neighborhood, opposed the proposal (the vote was 9-2 with two abstentions). DMD planning staff recommended the plan be denied. On October 4, 2017, the rezoning petition was subsequently denied by the MDC (2016-ZON-020; the vote was 5-3).

The Alexander project’s submitted development plan did not include details for Phase 2 for the north section of the property, though it did indicate that this section would remain subject to the development standards and plans of the existing (Kite project) D-P zoning (31 townhome units). A primary point of opposition was the lack of commitments for Phase 2 ensuring the vital residential component that would provide a much-needed buffer between the commercial development to the south and the single-family residential neighborhood to the north. The 2005 Indianapolis Comprehesive Plan identifies that this Critical Area is under development pressure from commercial expansion.

The “Call-Down”

With the denial of the Alexander project, Green Indy began preparing to develop the previously approved Kite project.

A clerical error by City planning staff, certifying the wrong portion/version of the Alexander Project now requires recertification, which will come before the full City-County Council on March 12. The need for recertification allows for the District Councilor, Colleen Fanning, to call-down the Alexander project in a final attempt to re-open negotiations between Green Indy and the Nora community. With its 66,000-sq ft big-box store, expansive frontage parking lot, and near clear-cutting of the site, the NCC and Nora Alliance view the Kite project as the least desirable development scenario. Therefore these organizations support the call-down as an opportunity for a better outcome.

The NCC and Nora Alliance Position

The NCC and Nora Alliance hope the Alexander project can be renegotiated in good faith to give the neighborhood and community a lower-impact development option while saving a significant portion of trees and drainage areas. Should efforts at re-negotiation with the developer be thwarted, the neighborhood will be powerless to prevent the Kite project.

Re-opening negotiations through the call-down process is an established legal process conducted by the City-County Council official legal counsel. The NCC and Nora Alliance believe this is the responsible course of action given this privately held parcel has in-place zoning and an unwavering expectation that development will occur on the site. The choice is between two potential developments. The developer’s intent to build is evident. The process of filing paperwork to obtain permits for the Kite project has begun.

Objectives of mediated negotiations through the call-down process include the following:

  • A firm, written commitment by the developer for the northern part (Phase 2) of the property for low- or medium-density residential development only (the 2005 Comprehensive Plan recommends residential development at 1.75-3.5 units per acre for these parcels)
  • Preserve as many of the area’s trees as possible, including large trees
  • Prioritize drainage through keeping natural and existing drainage mechanisms intact while adding underground stormwater storage
  • Minimize traffic impact and emphasize public safety through safe pedestrian crossings, improved infrastructure, stoplight timing, etc
  • Enhance or secure adjacent property values with the highest quality development possible
  • Potentially shrink the footprint of the structure, thus reducing the parking lot pavement

Alexander Project Tree Preservation Commitments

The Nora Community Survey (2015) ranks “neighborhood character, defined by mature trees” as one of Nora’s greatest assets (second only to the Monon Trail).

The Alexander project is held to the same tree preservation plan as the Kite project. Those commitments specify: “All non-invasive trees greater than ten caliper inches in diameter, which are healthy and disease free, as determined by an arborist shall be saved, or if removed shall be mitigated by the planting of trees at a ratio of one to one between the caliper inches of trees removed and the total caliper inches of trees replanted, either on site or in the immediate vicinity, to complement the greater community.”

With its smaller footprint and underground detention basin, the proposed Alexander project has the potential to preserve significantly more trees on-site than the Kite project.

An Unfortunate Decision – Why Didn’t the Comprehensive Plan Protect This Property?

The Indianapolis Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2005, defines several “Critical Areas” in Washington Township, including specifically the property in question. The Comprehensive Plan intended to protect this corner from commercial development (it recommends residential). The full Comprehensive Plan recommendations for this property are available on the Nora Alliance website, Critical Area 2.

The Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC) evaluates new development proposals against several measures, only one of the measures is the Comprehensive Plan. In 2005, the MDC approved the Kite project. That approval ran counter to the Comprehensive Plan, DMD planning staff recommendations, and will of the neighborhood. It was then that, to the chagrin of our community, Nora lost the battle to protect the property in question. After the Kite Project approval, members of the Nora community fought a protracted legal battle with Indianapolis to revoke or modify this zoning. They were summarily unsuccessful. There is no remaining legal leverage with which to fight the current zoning designation.

Driftwood Hills Neighbors Position

Complicating this case is that some residents of Driftwood Hills, the neighborhood immediately adjacent to the parcel, are opposing the call-down process. Driftwood Hills residents were included in early discussion of the call-down process and, together with the NCC and Nora Alliance, Driftwood Hiils agreed to that course of action. The negotiation team was to be led by the NCC and Driftwood Hills. Subsequently, they have decided to oppose the call-down and step away from the call-down process negotiating table. This group of neighbors seeks to negotiate directly with Green Indy outside of the call-down process. They have retained outside counsel for such purposes (Russell Sipes).

Site History – A Suburban Successional Woodland

The ecological process by which an ecosystem changes and develops over time is known as succession. Aerial photos from 1937 to present day show the changes from open woodland, to suburban residential and special use, to early successional woodland.

The 1941 aerial photo shows the site as open woodland surrounded by agricultural use. This 1941 imagery depicts many individual trees, some of which reportedly remain as old large trees on the property. The eastern edges of the property are mostly clear of trees (development site outline Phase 1 & 2 is highlighted).

1941-site

By 1956, the property and surrounding neighborhood were developed as suburban residential lots. By 1979, the central parcel was largely cleared and developed with a lodge and associated parking. The 2002 aerial photo shows the site at its most developed, with homes, pools, lodge, and parking lot, while the eastern edges become more naturalized with newer trees.

2002-site

Between 2003 and 2008, the site changed ownership and structures were cleared for future development. From 2008 to present, the site has undergone early succession with volunteer vegetation moving into the area, creating a 13-acre wooded corner with a mix of young, dense trees (which may or may not include invasive species) mixed with older trees. It is reported to contain several large (300+-year-old) trees that survived through the property’s historical development.

As evidenced by the aerial photography, the currently wooded site has undergone various stages of suburban and special use development over the past 66+ years. While it is not a patch of untouched old-growth forest, the woods and large trees are of value and worth preserving to the greatest extent possible. Forests and greenspace add significant value to the Nora community. Unfortunately, however, preserving the site as parkland is not an available option.

What About “Save Haverstick Woods”?

Further complicating the call-down of the Alexander project, the Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA), coined the name “Haverstick Woods” and launched a campaign to “Save Haverstick Woods.” The IFA has taken a stand of active opposition to development on the site, preferring preservation of the site as parkland. While the intentions of the IFA are admirable, they disregard the existing D-P zoning designation and the developer’s stated intent to develop the Kite project in lieu of the Alexander project.

Ignoring the reality of the existing approved commercial zoning is perilous to our community. The Kite project is widely regarded as the worst case scenario for saving the trees. Instead of supporting a renegotiation of the Alexander project through the call-down process, the IFA prefers to preserve this urban forest to “absorbing flood runoff, and buffering noise and heat, a woods where people can walk their dogs and let the kids play.” This is simply not an option given the facts of the case as we know them.

Ironically, in this case, the IFA advocating “Save Haverstick Woods” would almost assuredly guarantee its destruction if successful in preventing the call-down. “IFA’s lobbying the Council to defeat the Alexander project could very well be instrumental in that devastation,” says Ruth Hayes, president of the NCC, “NCC supports modifications of and approval by the Council to the Alexander project in order to save as many trees and as much of the environment as possible. It is shocking that, perhaps without understanding the zoning issues, IFA has stepped in to derail the only hope we have to save at least some of the woods. It’s difficult to understand why IFA would want that to be their legacy in our community.”

Seeking a Better Outcome

The NCC has requested the Alexander project be called-down for hearing before the City-County Council, with the expectation that the developer agrees to negotiate modifications of the original Alexander petition and development plans. Councilor Colleen Fanning is doing her job representing the interests of the neighborhood association on record. The Nora Alliance supports the request to reopen proceedings of the Alexander project. Together, we seek to achieve a better outcome to give the neighborhood and Nora community a lower-impact development option while saving a significant portion of trees and drainage areas.

The Nora Alliance welcomes comments to this article to correct points of fact and questions that seek further clarification. Contact us.

Update added 3/23/18 to note status of call-down negotiations.
Corrected to reflect the negotiation process is not a mediation.

PRESS RELEASE: Marion County Transit Plan Implementing Indy Connect

Throughout February public meetings are scheduled to discuss transit plans. The plan proposes changes to local transit routes and rapid transit. The currently proposed Red Line (BRT) phase 2 route would bypass central Nora. The Nora Alliance has requested a public meeting be scheduled in Nora.

INDIANAPOLIS (February 1, 2016) – Based on years of planning, IndyGo, with the support of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA), is shepherding a Marion County transit plan through a public involvement process. Throughout the month of February, public meetings, community outreach, and input opportunities will solidify a strategy for significant mass transit improvements in Indianapolis.

Since 2009, various studies and sustained public involvement under the banner Indy Connect have helped sculpt a detailed plan for regional mass transit. This spring, the IndyGo Board of Directors could endorse a Marion County plan aligned with this regional strategy while serving local needs. By 2021, the expanded system would bring high-frequency service to nearly 250,000 more residents and jobs, running seven days a week with a 71% increase in total service hours.

“Rapid transit routes like the Red Line that are part of the Indy Connect plan have garnered significant public attention over the years,” said Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Director, Anna Gremling. “These lines are exciting, but they’re just part of a more detailed plan to improve transit across the region.”

Aside from the proposed Red, Blue, and Purple rapid transit lines in the plan, sweeping improvements to the local bus service have been detailed including buses coming more often, earlier in the morning, and later into the night. A new grid pattern for the bus system will make for easy transfers and quicker travel seven days a week.

“Access to transportation is one of the strongest factors that affect economic mobility,” said IndyGo President and CEO, Mike Terry. “A robust transit system has the ability to empower people by connecting them to employment and education, revitalize neighborhoods, give residents more lifestyle options, and access to daily necessities.”

Legislation passed by the State legislature gives some counties in Central Indiana a new funding mechanism for transit by calling a referendum. The plan for Marion County assumes passage of a referendum in 2016 at .25% with new funding available in 2017.

“We are eager to talk about these plans to greatly enhance our services,” said IndyGo Director of Public Affairs, Bryan Luellen. “Feedback from the public is a hallmark of our planning process.”

Public comments received through the end of February will be reviewed and considered for any final revisions to the plan ahead of an endorsement decision by the IndyGo board of directors in March.

PUBLIC MEETING LOCATIONS AND DATES:
  • Friday, February 5 at Central Library 
Knoll Meeting Room
    Open House from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. with a brief presentation at 12:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 13 at the Haughville Library
    Open House from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. with a brief presentation at 12:00 p.m.
  • Monday, February 15 at Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFÉ) 8902 E. 38th Street
    Open House from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. with a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 27 at Central Library
Knoll Meeting Room
    Open House from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. with a brief presentation at 12:30 p.m.
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN ABOUT THE PLAN:

Plan details are available online and at the IndyGo Retail Center, 34 N. Delaware Street. 

IndyGo is also offering unstaffed information displays at various library branches. More details online.

Comments can be made in writing at a meeting or at an unstaffed information display, online, or through customer service at 317.635.3344.

Individuals requiring any accommodations for access to information should contact the IndyGo marketing department at 317.614.9295. Reasonable accommodations will be made upon request for materials in foreign languages, Braille, large print, or electronic means.

ABOUT INDYGO:

IndyGo, the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, provides public transit service throughout Marion County. In 2016, IndyGo will open the Downtown Transit Center at the corner of Washington and Delaware and make major system-wide route changes. Visit our website, follow @IndyGoBus on Twitter, or call 317.635.3344 for more information.

NORA 2021 Community Survey Results

On September 26, 2015, the Nora Alliance held its first Nora 2021 meeting and collected dozens of comments on the community’s Liabilities, Assets, Needs and Desires (LAND).  The top ten most cited ideas in each category were used to develop an online survey made available online throughout the month of October.

In all, 124 people responded to the online survey. The results, presented below, provide a ranking of community Assets, Liabilities, Needs and Desires. They will be used as input to planning future projects for Nora 2021. Comments to the survey were also gathered and will be used as input.

Nora 2021: Where Are We Going?

We kicked off the first NORA 2021 event with special guest acting Director of Metropolitan Development Department, City of Indianapolis, Brad Beaubien. Brad is an award-winning certified urban planner with a commitment to community service, a passion for vibrant communities, and a focus on community empowerment, planning and design policy, and plan integration.

Brad’s presentation (provided below) was the perfect set-up to the larger conversation of how we as a collective community can influence and shape the future of Nora.

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. He wrapped up by discussing some of the tools available for communities, showing us exactly who our competition is, and giving us a parting charge.

So What Do We Do?

Brad left us with the following food for thought as he described the challenges and tools available to preserve and enhance our community:

  • City Government has very little funding for anything except maintenance. Our direct investment dollars are mostly limited to low and moderate income areas.
  • Sidewalks are absolutely critical, but destinations to walk to are what make walkable communities.
  • Private development is what builds neighborhoods and builds cities. Embrace it. Guide it. Leverage it.
  • The only significant way City Government has to invest in neighborhood transformation is through value capture mechanisms like TIF.
  • Put creative placemaking in everything you do. Suburbs were built to be the same. The future wants authentic.
  • Economic Improvement Districts are the way to regain the local focus erased by Unigov.
Parting Charge

Lastly, Brad left us with a parting charge as we consider the future for NORA 2021 and beyond:

  • Value is created by demand, not supply.
  • What the current and future market is demanding is changing.
  • How can Nora evolve to respond to this change and grow its value?
Next Up: Placemaking

Your invited to join us at the next NORA 2021 Event, October 24, where we’ll focus on… placemaking!

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.

Public Meetings on Red Rapid Transit Project

IndyGo will host several public meetings where you can learn about the first phase of Red Rapid Transit Project (which is anticipated to: stretch from Broad Ripple to the University of Indianapolis), ask questions, and have your voice heard during the engineering phase. This August IndyGo representatives will be in the following locations:

  • Aug. 18 – Central Library: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    • 40 E St. Clair St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
    • IndyGo Routes 18, 38, & 39
  • Aug. 19 – College Avenue Branch: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    • 4180 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46205
    • IndyGo Route 17
  • Aug. 24 – Fountain Square Branch: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • 1066 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203
    • IndyGo Routes 12, 14, & 22
  • Aug. 26 – Indianapolis Art Center: 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    • 820 E 67th St., Indianapolis, IN 46220
    • IndyGo Route 18
  • Aug. 27 – IUPUI Campus Center: 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
    • 420 University Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202
    • IndyGo Routes 3, 37, & 50