Have you ever heard of “bad development”? Have you ever heard a developer or commercial center utter the words, “We do not want more of this economic development”? Now you have, because this is exactly what the Broad Ripple Village Association (BRVA) along with a host of partner organizations and citizens are saying; and with good reason.
The case of Kilroy’s trying to open a new bar in the Broad Ripple Village has popped up on the local radar from time to time over the past couple of months. They hope to take the place of the Cardinal Fitness located just to the west of the intersection of Broad Ripple Ave and Guilford in the heart of the Broad Ripple Village. As proposed, the fitness center would be transformed into a bar/night club complete with an outdoor patio area. They have also requested a variance to greatly reduce the amount of required parking spaces that local building codes call for.
Now you may be asking, why is it such a big deal to locate a bar when there are already a host of other bars in the village? And what is the big deal about a bar asking for less parking? It seems logical that bars, purveyors of alcoholic beverages, would advocate less parking with the end result being potentially less drunk drivers leaving their establishment. Additionally, the addition of the coming parking garage, which has received many rounds of heated debate here at Urban Indy, could lessen the impact of such a large bar.
In a remonstration offered by the BRVA (click to open .pdf), a case has been made against allowing Kilroys to setup shop. At it’s heart, the remonstrators site a number of sticking points that range from negative reinforcement of “place”, detriment to adjacent residents & their property values, ignoring previous Broad Ripple Master Planning documents (which recommends a neighborhood shopping center at this location), limiting the amount of liquor licenses in the village as well as the aforementioned parking concerns.
Indeed, the property which is zoned C-4 has a wide range of permissible uses ranging as follows: bars, auto repair, hotel, bowling alley, hair salon, print shop, post office, lawn mower repair, gardening retail, gym, etc. The uses go on and on according to Indianapolis Commercial Zoning Ordinance. If you frequent Broad Ripple, it is obvious that a large number of businesses along the main stretch of Broad Ripple Ave have sought the bar use; and that is at the heart of why the BRVA is fighting this. They would like to see more retail usage and a stop put to the apparent binge of weekend partiers that foul up the neighborhood and generally contribute to the party reputation that Broad Ripple seems to attract. They cite that there are a number of other cultural institutions to visit in the village and that these uses should continue to be the focus of new development. The remonstration also cites the granting of parking variances over the years and how it has demonstrated negative impacts to the neighborhood in the form of traffic promotive commercial uses such as restaurants and nightclubs; uses which draw in tourists from outside of the neighborhood. Will the parking garage address these concerns? That remains to be seen, but current patterns have created an environment where large amounts of traffic are present along Broad Ripple Ave and the adjoining streets most evenings and weekends.
Lastly, the report tackles the affects of the amount of liquor establishments on the public health at large citing reports from Drug Free Marion County. The report links alcohol sales and assault with many cases as well as specific new reports of criminal activity linked to the Bloomington location of Kilroy’s.
How will this turn out? Who knows. Kilroy’s rescinded their original parking variance request and offered up a variance issued in 1987 (click to open DMD staff report .pdf) by a previous development and are attempting to push their bar through on that basis. The BRVA has collected many letters of support from adjacent neighborhood organizations Meridian-Kesller, Warfleigh & Forest Hills as well as residents. DMD seems to disagree with the BRVA and specifically addresses the concerns noted in the remonstration.
What do you, our readers, think about another bar locating in Broad Ripple?