Planning Director Says Incentives Could Diversify Downtown

Bloomington Planning Director Tom Micuda says it's unlikely zoning would stop the spread of student housing downtown.

Downtown Bloomington Apartment

Photo: Gretchen Frazee/WFIU

Contractors have recently created many apartment living spaces above shops in downtown Bloomington like this one on 6th and College Ave.

The Bloomington Planning Department laid out their priorities for the coming years at the second night of annual city budget hearings.

Bloomington Planning Director Tom Micuda says  the main concern he’s hearing is how increasing student housing construction over the past decade has changed the character of the downtown.

Micuda says he’s hearing that people want a more diverse downtown with more seniors, more people who are in the workforce  and more people who have affordable housing needs. But the question is how to do it.

“What we know from experience is in order to create non-student markets, which are the most lucrative, is you have to provide financial incentive,” says Micuda.

Micuda says that means securing commitments from different levels of government such as Tax Increment Financing or tax abatements to promote diverse growth.

He says a lot of people would like to see more zoning restrictions to limit student housing development, but that’s not necessarily the best way to grow.

“What we’re hearing a lot of is how do we discourage student housing,” says Micuda. “I would be more interested in a discussion about how to encourage other forms so we can kind of even out the market.”

The Planning Department requested $1.3 million for their 2014 budget. Micuda said the continuation of the city’s comprehensive development plan, entitled “Imagine Bloomington,” is his department’s number one priority.

Micuda says other priorities include updating a metropolitan transportation plan that would encompass all city and county transit systems as well as increasing Bloomington’s League of American Bicyclists rating from silver to gold by more aggressively promoting the city’s bicycle education and safety programs.

Jimmy Jenkins

Jimmy Jenkins is a multimedia journalist for WFIU and WTIU news. A native of Terre Haute, he is a masters student at the Indiana University School of Journalism and is proud to be a part of the public broadcasting stations he listened to and watched since he was a child. Follow him on Twitter @newsjunkyjimmy.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Business & Economy Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook