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Bloomington City Council Split On Vote For Proposed Housing Complex

Developers say the complex would be nearly 2/3 student housing and is scheduled to be built in 2 phases. (Alex Eady, WTIU/WFIU News)

The Bloomington City Council was split on a vote during Wednesday night’s meeting on an 825-bed housing development off of West 17th street.

Developers with Trinitas Ventures proposed amending the density allowed on the 40 acres of land and adding multifamily use.

Trinitas representative Travis Vencel says the development would benefit an area in Bloomington that is vacant and largely underutilized.

“Outcroppings, homeless camps, poor quality trees on a site," he says. "We’re doing our best to bring what has set for 46 years as a devastated site to something that is productive for our community.”

The proposal calls for 112 duplex or triplex buildings plus detached single unit buildings. Developers say the complex would be nearly two-thirds student housing and would be built in two phases.

Developers also proposed implementing a new route 10 through Bloomington Transit which would service campus and downtown.

Council member Chris Sturbaum proposed a significant reduction of four bedroom units as well as a reduction in the amount of parking to be made available.

Other council members agreed noting it could lessen the possibility of the development becoming solely student housing. 

But city officials say the site design is out of line with the comprehensive plan and the site location is not ideal for student housing which they anticipate it becoming.

City Planning and Transportation Director Terri Porter says she wants to see a development that promotes home ownership and would rather see a blend of housing types.

"I know we need housing, we all know we need housing," she says. "But type and location of housing is important and in my opinion, we would be irresponsible to move in a direction that contradicts the comp plan."

The final council decision on the amended ordinance was split by a 3-3-1 vote.

Councilmembers Andy Ruff, Chris Sturbaum and Susan Sandberg voted in favor of the proposed development. Councilmembers Dorothy Granger, Isabel Piedmont-Smith and Dave Rollo voted against the ordiance. Councilmember Dan Volan chose to abstain.  

The vote is categorized as a "failure to act" by the council. The council has until-mid January to act on the ordinance, otherwise the proposals dies.

This post has been updated.

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