Two Houses: A Thanksgiving Reflection

By Jean Simonian I like houses.  I like everything about planning, building, styling and living in houses.  Pre-COVID, when life seemed normal, I liked going to Open Houses – just to look.  I used to spend hours as a child building entire neighborhoods out of Legos.  I grew up in a house.  My parents, likeContinue reading “Two Houses: A Thanksgiving Reflection”

Radical Change – Not Affordable or Green

By Jan Sorby The Hamilton Administration’s plan to reintroduce multiplex housing into Bloomington’s core neighborhoods is being accomplished through a complex remapping of the city’s core neighborhoods — radically redefining what types of housing can go where. All the core neighborhoods (areas that were Ground Zero during last year’s UDO revision controversy) are converted fromContinue reading “Radical Change – Not Affordable or Green”

Whatever This Is, It Isn’t Democratic

By Peter Dorfman Bloomington’s Planning & Transportation staffers have been conducting public information sessions to explain and defend the newly proposed zone mapping and UDO amendments. Development Services Manager Jackie Scanlan has led these sessions. She generally has opened by acknowledging a specific criticism, in resident feedback, that the process she is taking us throughContinue reading “Whatever This Is, It Isn’t Democratic”

Overextended City: Bloomington in the Twilight Zone

By Steve Popolizio I’m a retired executive for an international humanitarian organization headquartered in the Chicago area.  My wife and I decided to move to Bloomington, where we met as IU grad students, for the culture, the educated community, wonderful natural resources and charming neighborhoods. We have lived here for eight years but have been troubledContinue reading “Overextended City: Bloomington in the Twilight Zone”

Short Take: The More Progressive Housing Stance is AGAINST Upzoning

California Democratic State Senator Scott Weiner has advocated elimination of zoning restrictions on multi-family housing. He’s pushed for SB 50, a measure that would have made it easier for multi-family homes and apartment complexes to be built near transit hubs in areas zoned for single family homes. Considered a progressive, Weiner faced a re-election challengeContinue reading “Short Take: The More Progressive Housing Stance is AGAINST Upzoning”

Planning, Not Upzoning

The proposed amendment to the UDO (zoning ordinance) and the new zoning map will allow multiplex housing to be a permitted use in all of Bloomington’s residential zones by blanket upzoning. It is an incorrect and simplistic response to a complex planning issue. Advocates tout the plex idea as consistent with a national trend inContinue reading “Planning, Not Upzoning”

Liberalism and real estate reality: The long view

I am an older person. This means I learned about climate change 50 years ago. Since then we have had the Vietnam War, Nixon and Watergate, Carter (who took fuel conservation seriously), Reagan (who did not), Bush the Elder, and Clinton, who worried out loud about the climate before his Vice President Al Gore lostContinue reading “Liberalism and real estate reality: The long view”

Your opportunities to sound off on Bloomington’s upzoning

The Planning & Transportation Department is conducting a series of information sessions, ostensibly including time for Q&A. The first session, featuring a presentation by staffer Jackie Scanlan, provided for a closely controlled feedback session — participants’ cameras and microphones were turned off, and all questions were submitted through the Zoom chat window. Still, these areContinue reading “Your opportunities to sound off on Bloomington’s upzoning”

Is this your new neighbor?

The City of Bloomington’s new zoning map, and the proposed amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), would upzone many of the city’s single family neighborhoods to allow new multiplex apartment buildings as permitted uses. The new R4 zoning category allows the conversion of many areas, including Bloomington’s Historic Core Neighborhoods but also subdivisions acrossContinue reading “Is this your new neighbor?”

Middle finger to neighborhoods

It’s really appalling to think of all the hours, all the energy, over four months, we all utterly wasted last year arguing over the UDO. Seriously, four months I’ll never get back. Not just me – all of us, on both sides of the core neighborhood upzoning issue. Because ultimately it made no difference thatContinue reading “Middle finger to neighborhoods”