Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The UDO (Unified Development Ordinance)

GANA Speaker Series
Tim Mayer and Michael Diekoff
City Council Members

January 31, 2007, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m.

TOPIC: Impacts of the new Bloomington Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) on Green Acres and other issues that affect Green Acres

Mike and Tim came armed with the 1.5 inch thick UDO document which they said, though formidable in appearance, was easy to use once one understood the format. This document can be found at and is due to go into effect on February 12, governing land use and development throughout the city of Bloomington. They asked that we call to thank members of the Planning Commission who each spent hundreds of hours poring over details, fine-tuning this document.

Tim said the process started five or six years ago with the Growth Policies Plan (GPP) as a guiding document for community growth. City planning staff went into neighborhoods all over the city and talked with them and other stakeholders about their vision for the way the city should grow. Three or four years later, the same process began for the UDO, which took the GPP and undergirds it with codes that meet state statutes. Unlike zoning ordinances which just say what you can build on a particular piece of property, this document covers what is allowed to develop in entire zones.

The Green Acres Neighborhood is zoned "core residential" (RC), called "core" because of its proximity to the center. The city looks at RC-zoned neighborhoods differently because they are challenged, in our case by the dominance of student rentals. Green Acres is now, as those of us who have been attending the monthly workshops know, in the process of developing its own "sub-area plan" for the city.

Most of what applies to Green Acres can be found in the sections of the UDO identified as 20.02.090, and 20.05. I have copied the parts of those sections applicable to zone RC into the attached word doc. (Be warned: I did it quickly, and possibly inaccurately.)

Tim and Mike say that "Granny Flats" are not allowed in the UDO, at least in RC zones, though I couldn’t find that wording there, nor in any of the amendments. You might want to peruse the document yourself. Especially interesting and heartening to me is the section called "Green Development Initiatives."

5th and Hillsdale, Overhill
After many years of attempts to get a sidewalk that runs down 5th Street from Union to Overhill, Tim (who lives in Green Acres) finally got part of this item funded and on the city’s agenda for 2007. The biggest problem with sidewalks in Green Acres has been that drainage issues have to be addressed first, and the usual high-tech solution to these problems is extremely expensive. However, after consulting with both GANA representatives (Georgia, Kevin and Ann) and permaculturists Peter Bane and Keith Johnson, the city has decided to address the problem in part through green techniques to reduce the amount of water that gets to the end of the street.

The intersections of 5th with Hillsdale and Overhill are places where the worst flooding occurs. Construction will begin this summer on 5th Street, from Hillsdale to Overhill and Overhill to the end of 5th. The block from Hillsdale to Overhill will have a sidewalk as well as drainage amelioration; the block from Overhill to the end of 5th will have a new sewer line (because ground water gets into it), and perhaps a new water line, plus drainage amelioration, but no sidewalk since it’s a dead-end with only local traffic.

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