Wednesday, March 09, 2005
prepared by Steven Jones about the meeting held on March 2, 2005, at the West 86th Street Clubhouse, concerning Greater Traders Point area-wide issues.
Subject: March 2nd meeting at West 86th Clubhouse
First, let me thank you for attending last week’s meeting. Second, let me apologize for taking so long to get out this summary. This will be a very informal summary of the meeting. A lot has been happening, as I will explain, and I simply don’t have time to provide a more complete summary right now. If you feel I have omitted something important, then please let me know.
In attendance were 27 people representing at least 9 different neighborhoods as well as the PTRA, Historic Landmarks Foundation, Historic Trader’s Point. Also in attendance was our city-county councilor, Ike Randolph. The meeting began about 7 pm with Steve Jones asking representatives from each neighborhood to briefly explain their major concerns as well as their vision for how they would like to see the TP area develop. A discussion of these concerns ensued, followed by Ike Randolph’s explanation of the political realities of Marion County and the affect on zoning decisions and land use. Susan Blair of the PTRA then explained that organization’s role in the process. The beginnings of a plan of action were formulated in the latter part of the meeting.
Concerns and Discussion:
The comments and the discussion that followed clearly indicated that the overriding concern is the threat of both commercial development and high-density housing. The concern is that both would bring an increase in traffic and loss of the area’s historic, park-like beauty. Areas of immediate concern are the Ropkey and Beeler farms to the immediate west of I-465, as well as the Gakstatter farm at 86th and Moore. The Gakstatter farm is of concern because the proposed middle school on this location would pose problems similar to those brought by commercial development. In addition, the middle school would compromise the movement to designate Moore Road as a Rural Historic Preservation District. Residents of West 86th also expressed concern about potential development to their north on the Madera Flower farm, although this area does not appear to be an immediate threat.
Other issues of concern include Lakeside’s vulnerability to sediment from development to the north, the importance of Eagle Creek to central Indiana’s water supply, and IPL’s overly aggressive tree trimming policy. There was a brief discussion of the condition of Pike Schools, although the general consensus was that this is a larger issue, outside the scope of this group’s influence.
Susan Blair explained that the efforts of PTRA have been compromised by the MDC through both the Goldsmith and Peterson administrations. No consensus was reached as to whether the neighborhoods represented at the meeting should create a formal organization, although it was agreed that such a group could be proactive, whereas PTRA’s role is to react to requests for zoning variances. Ike Randolph then explained that we could not expect this to change unless we as a community united to confront the MDC. Ike’s words were, in fact, proven prophetic earlier this week in Franklin Township, where residents united to oppose a high-density apartment that had had been approved by the MDC, despite being an apparently clear violation of the land use plan. The case was appealed to the City-County Council where Ike spoke eloquently on behalf of the residents, and the council overturned the MDC by a vote 23 to 1! http://www.indystar.com/articles/5/227682-8805-103.html
So, in just one week, the political situation looks much brighter in regards to the MDC! That is, the City-County Council may overrule the MDC in cases where the public unites in mass opposition. This has renewed hopes of defeating the Davis Homes project at 59th, near Guion. The hearing on this case is March 16th. Additionally, the Pike School Board is being encouraged to consider this site in lieu of the Gakstatter farm.
A group on Moore Road is already doing all that is possible to persuade the Pike School Board not to acquire the Gakstatter farm. In addition, attorney Greg Silver has been engaged to represent those concerned about IPL’s trimming policy. Currently, Jacque Griffin and a few others are bearing this cost, alone, and they asked that others consider contributing to this cause given that it does affect the whole area.
In regards to the Ropkey/Beeler farms, the consensus was that we need to approach Kite, preemptively, with a plan for the property. This will require the services of a land planner and eventually an attorney. Steve Jones reported that Dr. John Ottensmann, of IUPUI’s Urban Planning Institute, had suggested that a mixed-use, “Village of West Clay type” development on the Ropkey/Beeler farms might be attractive to the surrounding neighborhoods and still financially viable to Kite. Some support was expressed for this idea, although it was agreed that any high-density residential in such a project would have to be at the very high end of that market. The discussion then moved to how best to finance the planning and legal services required. There was some talk of asking each neighborhood to contribute based on the number of homes, although nothing definitive was decided. It was determined that the 9 neighborhoods represented accounted for about 818 homes, but only West 86h as compulsory homeowner’s fees. As the March 2nd meeting broke up at about 9 pm, Steve Jones volunteered to approach John Ottensmann, of IUPUI, about identifying an appropriate planner and to send out an e-mail summarizing the meeting.
What’s happened since last Wednesday?.
Discussions with John Ottensmann and a suggestion from Ike Randolph have resulted in identifying 2 planners. Both have impeccable credentials. One is a development planner, while the other is a city planner for a private design firm with good connections to the MPO. This city planner is a Pike resident who has volunteered to help us with the MPO and possibly the MDC. The development planner viewed the Ropkey/Beeler farms last Saturday morning with Jan Marshall and Steve Jones. He is very excited about what could be done on the property and has proposed a series of 3 drawings, spanning a range from what we might settle for to what we’d really like. The drawings would run about $500 each.
At this point, we need to reconvene our group (that met last Wednesday, March 2nd) as quickly as possible in order to help the planner define the above-mentioned range. I’m going to try to arrange a the meeting for 9 am this Saturday morning at the West 86th Clubhouse. I’ll get back to you later today either to confirm or to propose an alternative time/date. At this follow-up meeting we can also discuss how best to finance these costs and whether we should formally organize the group.
West 86th HOA, VP,