Bloomington’s Plan Commission reluctantly approved a new four-story, 154 bedroom development in the place Rhino’s Youth Center occupies off South Walnut Street.
Monday night’s unanimous vote came after privacy concerns from domestic violence crises center, Middle Way House. Director Debra Morrow says residents of the new building will be able to directly look into the shelter’s private space from across the street.
“I feel like when you’re building a huge building when people can look right down on people during the worst moments of their lives, I feel like something should’ve been done to somehow barricade and protect our residents,” says Morrow.
But commission members weren’t impressed by the building’s structure and design.
Commission member Brad Wisler says while the development is in compliance with the city’s code, current ordinances don’t give enough direction to vote the project down.
“The intent is correct to create interesting streetscapes, but what we end up with is things that aren’t necessarily interesting,” says Wisler.
Commission members did require the developer to meet with Middle Way House officials to address the privacy concerns.
Rhino’s Youth Center will have free lease of one of the two commercial spaces on the ground floor. The development will have a two-tier 93 space parking garage at the back.
Also approved is a three-story mixed beauty salon unit in Prospect Hill on west 2nd Street. The area is zoned for medical use, but is not being enforced due to the relocation of IU Health Bloomington Hospital.
Commission members will meet again December 11 to review a 6,000 square foot addition to the Boys and Girls Club and a five story mixed condo and retail project on Kirkwood Avenue next to CVS.