Opponents of the apartments were concerned about added congestion on Norma Drive. (Photo By Paul Morello/WJBC)
By Paul Morello
BLOOMINGTON - After nearly a dozen residents spoke out against a proposed east-side apartment project Wednesday night, the Bloomington Zoning Board of Appeals recommended not to approve a special use permit for the building.
Developer Farnsworth Group had proposed an upscale 56-unit apartment building spanning 3805, 3809 and 3903 Pamela Drive. A special use permit would be required to build the facility because of current zoning restrictions.
The main concern for residents was the added traffic congestion an apartment complex might create on Norma Drive, just north of the proposed site, which consists of single-family homes.
"If you live there, you see the influx of cars that come from (Norma Drive and Pamela Drive)," said Chris Hummel, who owns a home near the proposed apartments. "Really from the measurements that were given today, those counts weren't presented. Just from living there and seeing those cars, I think those numbers are much higher.
Don Adams, with Farnsworth Group, said the apartments would add about 35 trips per hour to the adjacent roads at a peak hour. City officials said Norma drive currently sees about 1,270 cars per day.
The board unanimously voted not to recommend the project to the City Council.
"We just approved a special use permit for 152 apartment units two months ago out there," said board chair Mike Ireland. "And now they're coming back and asking for another 56 units. It just seems like it's too much all at once."
The board's recommendation is not binding, and the City Council could still vote to approve the special use permit for the project. The board could take up the issue as early as October.
In unrelated action Wednesday, the board approved a petition to allow the two-story State Farm parking deck at Jefferson and Prairie streets to be demolished so that the company could install at-grade parking in the same area.
State Farm officials said the parking structure was almost 65 years old and it had gotten too costly to maintain.
Paul Morello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.