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City Council To Vote On Controversial Development Proposal

Bloomington development

Bloomington City Council members will vote Wednesday night on whether to put controversial restrictions on downtown development.

The zoning changes would, among other things, temporarily reduce the height and density a developer can automatically build. The city says the ordinance changes would be temporary until more permanent ones are made following an update of the comprehensive master plan.

The city argues that it ensures quality in future developments.

Randy Lloyd with the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce says the proposal was rushed, leaving little time for public input.

“It should raise some eyebrows about why we’re doing this at the last second at the end of the year, holding special sessions to do it,” Lloyd says.

But Mayor John Hamilton says residents continue to voice concerns about the rapid changes, and now is the time to act.

“Anytime somebody doesn’t like what we’re doing, we’re going too fast," Hamilton says. "If they do like what we’re doing, we’re going too slow. And I get that, and that’s kind of natural. But I think this is a very prudent, responsible thing to do.”

There is a long list of concerns from residents about the ordinance update. Several community members say the language gives city leaders too much discretion when approving developments.

Mark Levin, a professor at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, says when negotiations become saturated with too many people, it leads to less predictability for developers.

“As a developer, you don’t know when the process will end," Levin says. "You don’t know who is going to be the next person to come up with an idea.”

Hamilton says he’s in favor of improving the development approval process. But he says he wants to ensure developers are meeting the community’s needs.

City Council meets at 6:30 p.m.

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