Indy’s Comprehensive Plan and Nora’s Critical Areas

The Indianapolis Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2005, defines several Critical Areas in Washington Township. New development proposals are measured against this plan. Here we zoom-in on Nora, and highlight our three most Critical Areas as defined by that plan.

 

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP CRITICAL AREAS

Critical Area 1

Location: 86th Street between Meridian Street and College Avenue.

Why critical: This portion of 86th Street is primarily residential in nature, and includes two churches in the area. The residential areas are under development pressure from commercial expansion. If commercial development were allowed on any of these parcels, several more parcels on 86th Street could be in line to convert to commercial development as well. It is critical to protect the existing residential nature of this portion of 86th Street from any commercial development encroachment.

Recommendations:

  • Restrict commercial development from this portion of 86th Street and its cross streets as shown on the plan.
  • Any new development should be sensitive to the existing high water table, and lack of adequate drainage. No new development should occur without sewer hookups that include additional capacity to allow surrounding properties to hook up. Storm water runoff should be controlled by the use of retention or detention ponds where applicable.
  • If the church at 8600 North College Avenue relocates and the site is not occupied by another Special Use, this site should be developed as a park if feasible. If a park is not feasible, the residential housing in the density of 3.5 to 5.0 units per acre should be developed with some land set aside for open space. There is a critical need for parkland in this area. Commercial development should not occur on this site.
  • The Land Use recommendation for the southeast corner of 86th and Meridian Streets is residential development greater than 5.00 and equal to or less than 8.00 units per acre. The preferred form of this land use recommendation is condominiums. Should this site be developed according to this land use recommendation, it should conform to the following:
    • It is recommended that all twelve parcels be developed in a compatible way, as one project if possible, and avoid piecemeal development.
    • Design of the buildings on site should be respectful of, and in character with, the quality of nearby residential structures. This includes building height, setback requirements, enclosed attached parking, drainage, location of services, low level signage, and lighting contained on site.
    • Conservation of the surrounding trees and the trees on the Meridian Street and 86th Street frontages is of particular importance. These should be adapted into any future development plans for the site, whether as one development, or as parcels are developed individually. Large, native trees are of special concern.
    • Sidewalks should be provided.
    • All parcels should share a single exit/entrance on 86th Street, and a singleexit/entrance on Meridian Street.
    • Residences should face outward, towards Meridian Street and 86th Street withvehicular access to the rear.
Critical Area 2

Location: North side of 86th Street between Cholla Road and Keystone Avenue.

Why critical: The north side of 86th Street is primarily residential in nature. The residential areas are under development pressure from commercial expansion. There is no significant barrier west of Keystone Avenue to stop the process of commercial encroachment on 86th Street. If commercial development were allowed on any of these parcels, several more parcels on 86th Street could be in line to convert to commercial development as well. It is critical to protect the existing residential nature of this portion of 86th Street from any commercial development.

Recommendations:

  • Restrict retail and office development to the south of 86th Street, and east of Woodfield Crossing Boulevard as shown on map.
  • Retail and office development should not encroach upon areas of existing or planned residential development.
  • If the church at 2720 East 86th street relocates and the site is not occupied by another Special Use, this site should be developed as residential housing in the density of 3.5 to 5.0 units per acre. Commercial development should not occur on this site.
  • The Land Use recommendation for the northeast corner of 86th Street and Haverstick Road is residential development greater than 8.00 and equal to or less than 15.00 units per acre. The preferred form of this land use recommendation is multi-family units. Should this site be developed according to this land use recommendation, it should conform to the following:
    • It is recommended that all five parcels be developed in a compatible way, as one project if possible, and avoid piecemeal development.
    • Design of the buildings on site should be respectful of, and in character with, the quality of nearby residential structures. This includes building height, setback requirements, enclosed attached parking, drainage, location of services, low level signage, and lighting contained on site.
    • Have exit/entrances only on Haverstick Road that line up with the exit/entrances of the church to the west.
    • All parcels should share these exit/entrances whether as one project development or as piecemeal development.
    • Conservation of the surrounding trees is of particular importance. These should be adapted into any future development plans for the site, whether as one development, or as parcels are developed individually.
    • In some places steep slopes greater than 10% exist. These slopes should be minimally developed, if at all, so that they may retain any forest cover and avoid soil erosion.
Critical Area 9

Location: Westfield Boulevard from 79th Street to Oxbow Way

Why Critical: The eastside of Westfield Boulevard is predominantly residential with a few parcels of commercial uses between Helen Drive to the north and 74th Street to the south. North of 75th Street, both sides of Westfield Boulevard are residential. There is some pressure along Westfield Boulevard and throughout the Critical Area to convert existing single-family residential properties to commercial uses or higher intensity residential uses. Contributing factors are the heavy use of the Monon trail, heavy traffic on Westfield Boulevard and expansion of commercial and higher intensity residential land uses from the south out of Broad Ripple. Demolition of multiple, adjacent, existing single-family properties would have a destabilizing effect on the character of the neighborhood. It is critical to protect the residential areas between the Monon Rail-Trail and the river and to avoid the incremental increase of office and commercial uses along Westfield Boulevard.

The significant amount of natural open space and wildlife habitat which remains along the White River and within Marrott Park also contribute to this area’s unique character. A considerable amount of woodland, steep slopes and the 100-year floodplain make it critical that development in this area be sensitive to the environment. Park recommendation in the lower portion of the area has potential to provide good canoe access to the White River. It is critical to provide adequate parkland for existing and future population.

Recommendations:

  • Limit expansion of the non-residential uses that exist near 75th Street and Westfield Boulevard as shown on map. Commercial and industrial development should not encroach upon areas of existing or planned residential development.
  • Develop the vacant parcel in the southern portion of this area as a park as shown on map.
  • Intensification of housing densities should not occur within the 100-year floodplain.
  • Preserve areas in the floodway as conservation areas. Dense vegetative cover along stream banks is important for erosion control, contamination capture, water cooling (critical for retaining oxygen levels) and habitat preservation.
  • The wooded areas designated as Environmentally Sensitive should be preserved.
The Future: Plan 2020

2016 Comprehensive Plan Update: Countywide Update

The full update to the countywide Comprehensive Land Use Plan is being held until 2016.  Internal development of the land use classification system and design of the public process is underway.

Looking Ahead

Plan 2020 seeks to create a unified, countywide comprehensive plan that updates, incorporates, or replaces the existing 135 planning documents.  It will include performance indicators for land use types, providing more clarity about how different uses perform on transportation, economic, tax base, and environmental criteria. The updated plan will focus on keeping and attracting residents to Marion County by planning for 21st century amenities and lifestyles.  Particular focus will be paid to places in the county likely to see change, including transit corridors and cultural districts, and to integrate land use planning with transportation, economic development, Downtown, parks and recreations and strategic public investments.