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12/2/2017 4:52:00 PM
Bloomington seeks to put more limits on height, density of downtown developments
This drawing shows the planned Graduate Hotel at the corner of South Lincoln Street, to the left, and East Kirkwood Avenue, to the right. Submitted photo
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This drawing shows the planned Graduate Hotel at the corner of South Lincoln Street, to the left, and East Kirkwood Avenue, to the right. Submitted photo

Kurt Christian, Herald-Times

The city of Bloomington is trying to reduce the height and scale of developments in the downtown area.

In anticipation of the not-yet-finalized Comprehensive Master Plan, the city's Planning and Transportation Department wants to change how high a developer may build and how densely populated a development downtown may be. If approved, the interim ordinance amendments would give the city more power to push back against a handful of recent proposals that seek to build above the current maximum height.

“Changes are intended to reduce the size and intensity of by-right development in the downtown area as an interim modification until comprehensive new regulations for the downtown area can be written as part of the city’s overall (Unified Development Ordinance) update,” Mayor John Hamilton said in a Friday news release.

The proposed amendments would institute height and density regulations prior to final approval of the Comprehensive Master Plan, which is still being discussed in public meetings. The comprehensive plan is the first major update to the city's guiding document since 2007 and will inform a city code update in 2018.

If adopted, these amendments would reduce the maximum height a developer can build by 10 feet, according to a memo from city Planning and Transportation Department Director Terri Porter to the city's plan commission.

The Downtown Core Overlay, which has the tallest height maximum, would be reduced from a 50-foot maximum to a 40-foot maximum. According to the memo, that reduction would accommodate three-story buildings, but it wouldn't likely support a four-story project.

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