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Meridian Kessler’s Updated Zoning Plan

The Meridian Kessler neighborhood is currently updating its zoning guidelines for the first time since the late 1970s. This plan has been released for initial review, and can be viewed on this webpage. I’ve also uploaded a copy here.

The main focus for this plan that is of interest to Urban Indy is to discuss the future of the commercial nodes within the neighborhood. This included possible traffic calming measures, which are discussed in detail on Appendix C. The plan map also included the neighborhood’s first potential park, located at 42nd Street and the Monon Trail. Public comments on the plan are welcome until June 15th.

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Here’s the comment that I have added here:

Hi. I like most of the details listed on the plan. However, I’m not sure why parking must be eliminated on each side of the street where the street is narrow. This parking helps to slow vehicles down. I worry that banning parking on a side of a street will only help drivers travel faster.

Please feel free to add your own comments to the plan. For the most part, I think the neighborhood has the right ideas about the direction that it needs to head to make its public streets safer for all.

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18 Responses to “ “Meridian Kessler’s Updated Zoning Plan”

  1. Paul says:

    What has changed as far as zoning? The map seems to be an exercise in detailing current use of land for which I am sure the purpose is to bolster arguments against any type of change.

    • There are currently residential parcels near the neighborhood nodes which are listed as “urban/village mixed use.”

      For the most part, MK will continue to be zoned as single-family housing. This is ok with me, because a good portion of the houses on or near College Avenue are actually duplexes, which can easily house 4-6 adults. This actually makes the map slightly deceiving. It’s one of the many reasons College Avenue is waiting for better transit options, along with a safer pedestrian infrastructure which is also mentioned in the plan.

      • Chris Barnett says:

        Kevin, you might want to look at the allowed uses in the various different residential zoning classifications. Some of those mid-clock doubles wouldn’t be allowed under today’s zoning code if they are in D-3 or D-4 zones. So zoning of D-5 (as opposed to D-3 or D-4) in the “single family” area is key.

        Even though I don’t have a dog in this hunt any longer, I did live in the neighborhood for 20 years, starting as a young adult, and know it pretty well. Allowing more-dense housing options on College would be a good thing. By more-dense, I mean townhouses or apartment blocks similar to the nodes in Fall Creek Place at 24th and 25th on Delaware and on College at 24th, or 2-3 story corner buildings like the ones at/near 42nd, 49th, 52nd, and 54th.

        If the folks in the big expensive houses a couple blocks away want a stream of future buyers, putting more-dense and lower-cost options on College is a good way to attract people who will become tomorrow’s “move up” buyers.

        • The zoning map browser shows that much of the College Avenue corridor is indeed D-5.

          • Chris Barnett says:

            East side from 38th to Northview, yes. But the west side from 42nd to 46th, and from 55th to Kessler is mostly D-2, 3, and 4 apart from the aforementioned nodes.

            My main point is that the street is so easily walkable that it should be more dense once the red line goes in.

          • Chris, as you probably know, a large section of those 2 areas are part of National Register Historic districts, so I’ve never had much hope for increasing densities there.

          • Chris Barnett says:

            Forest Hills is a National Register district, but it is north of Northview, to Kessler, on the east side of College.

            Johnson’s Woods (44th to 46th, Broadway to Central) is also designated but its boundaries only include the east side of Central and both sides of Broadway and Park.

            But neither of those get into the west side of College from 38th to Kessler; because both adjoin it, residents’ opinions may carry some extra weight in zoning decisions.

  2. Paul says:

    Maybe I spoke too soon. I do like the plan for curb bump outs on College and pretty much wherever else they are. I find the need to keep diverting traffic away from certain streets to be harmful. Sure, we should calm the traffic and design it speeds conducive to pedestrian use but we should stop trying to divert all traffic all the time on arterial streets. They are just traffic sewers and the more we dump the worse they get. The street grid is great at handling lots of traffic because it can offer relief valves. With that said I understand the desire of residents to cut down on high speed short cuts. Those are dangerous, but our first instinct should be to calm the street, not isolate it.

    • Agreed. I know that Guilford Avenue has its share of offenders, especially late at night. I doubt if our street is alone in this. But I don’t know that I like losing the connection to Broad Ripple or Glendale along the side streets.

  3. Jane says:

    As a resident of Washington Blvd, we wouldn’t let our children play in the front yard during rush hour given the speed demons heading north. I have been flipped off and honked at for driving the speed limit as well as slowing down (with turn signal on) to turn into our own driveway. I can also count on more than one hand the number of times I have been passed on the right driving north on one of the north/south streets because I adhered to the speed limit. Good luck with the traffic calming.

    • Drivers instinctively ignore posted speed limits, and drive the speed that the street configuration allows. This is not an Indianapolis issue as much as it is a human nature issue.

      • Chris Barnett says:

        Solution: work with your neighbors to park cars in the curb lane strategically. That calms traffic all by itself, and it’s easier than petitioning for stop signs every block.

      • Newbie says:

        I have lived in Indy for four years now, and have yet to see a motorist pulled over for a traffic violation such as speeding, failure to use turn signals, or any other number of laws. Yet Court 13 (aka the traffic court) reports 175,000 traffic tickets are issued annually. Maybe I’m just driving the wrong part of town?

  4. Benny says:

    The one thing that really sticks out as ridiculous to me is the first “focus area” review. It briefly mentions that the two buildings on the south side of College & Kessler are old gas stations (though not specifically calling out their junky old gas station forecourts), and then demands the redevelopment instead of 5870 College as mixed-use commercial. That building is not merely a nondescript 1960s office building, it’s the telephone central office for the area! All the telephone wires (and hopefully, someday, fiber optics) from individual houses and businesses are physically run there to connect with the national network. Demanding that parcel be redeveloped because it doesn’t exactly fit the character of an urban, walkable, historic neighborhood is like demanding that 6337 Westfield Blvd — the Indpls Water station at the head of the central canal — be redeveloped into shops because it’s ugly and doesn’t fit the character of Broad Ripple village.

    Maybe they should have picked on those old gas stations instead. Redeveloping the south side of that corner with pedestrian and transit-oriented edifices that lack a setback (of aging, broken concrete and asphalt) would do a lot more for the neighborhood than taking out a major utility node in the name of architectural harmony.

    • Part of the ATT complex is currently for sale, so something could be up there.

    • Chris Corr says:

      Not that “redeveloping the south side of that corner with pedestrian and transit-oriented” buildings would be a bad thing, but I suspect that almost every home in Meridian Kessler owns at least 1, if not 2+ cars, and they need to be repaired somewhere. There is probably no location in all of Meridian Kessler better suited to it than this corner due to the physical separation from residential zoning (the adjacent house to the west is actually like-zoned C-4).

      The gas station and/or car repair use of the property apparently pre-dates the current 1968 zoning code but if they were simply required to follow current setback and landscaping rules along the Kessler and College frontages — 10′ setbacks and 1 tree per 40′ of frontage with hedge screening of the parking lot — the property would look significantly better.

      For the city’s part, the worst areas of cracked asphalt and concrete are actually in the ROW. Those could be replaced and cut-outs could be provided for street trees as well.

  5. Jim Garrettson says:

    Kevin – MKNA is in the process of reviewing public comments left on the mana.org site, and noted your fist comment about prohibiting parking on both side of narrower streets. We’re having a hard time finding that language in the draft plan, and ordered if you could direct us?

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