Upcoming meetings regarding proposed Circle City Industrial Complex Variance Requests

Update:  Join the conversation at the NESCO Land Use Meeting- Thursday, October 8th @ 6:45pm. 

Hi neighbors. Have you noticed the bright orange signs posted all around Brookside, Massachusetts, 10th and Newman at the western edge of our neighborhood?

As most of you know, there are big plans afoot for the  Circle City Industrial Complex (CCIC), that giant, blue, industrial building at the western edge of Windsor Park. Some of those new plans include the Ruckus Maker Space, expansion of the artist spaces, addition of new retail space, a possible music/performance venue and bringing on new tenants (including a small ice cream manufacturer, a small batch coffee roaster, a craft brewer and a craft distillery).

Many of the proposed plans would require Change of Use Zoning Variances to the Commitments on the property. The neighborhood helped craft the Commitments and this gives us some leverage in determining the future of the CCIC. It is no secret that past owners have been blatantly non-compliant. Even B&E Realty, the first owner under the Commitments, did not fully comply. Each new owner uses the excuse that “the commitments were written for a different owner and a different use”. The Commitments on any property should be a living document, applicable to each new owner and to the benefit of the community. We can take variance and change of use requests as opportunity to strengthen the Commitments.

Since April of this year, the CCIC building has been owned by Teagan Development, which is owned by Larry Jones and for the purposes of the CCIC, Teagan is doing business as Mass Ave Industries, LLC. In August, Teagan had their lawyer, Jeffrey Bellamy, file a Variance Request for modification of the Commitments and a Public Hearing was scheduled for August 27th. NESCO Land Use, at the request of Windsor Park Neighborhood Association, filed for a continuance to the Hearing, as there was not enough time from the filing date to the hearing date to gather public input or fully consider the Petition. There will be a review of the Request at the next NESCO Land Use meeting, September 10th at 6:45pm at the Englewood Community Church, 57 N. Rural (park behind the building and enter the double glass doors). The new DMD Hearing date is set for September 24th.

While this is a topic we have discussed at the last few neighborhood meetings, an in depth conversation is needed. It is important to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard and that we have a position, as a neighborhood, that is somewhat cohesive and reflects all of our opinions. 

The last few weeks, I have been gathering input from neighbors. While there is support for some parts of the request and agreement that some Commitments should be modified, some of the requested changes are definitely not acceptable. Many of the changes requested are not necessary for the planned development and do not reflect prior conversations with Larry Jones (who has been great about coming to meetings and keeping us informed, even before he purchased the building). I believe many of the requested changes were inserted by Mr. Bellamy to free Teagan from the very responsibilities that make for a good neighbor relationship and reduce our neighborhood’s control over future planning. This is not okay and I will oppose that type of change and continue to advocate for strong neighborhood input as the building develops.

The modifications requested are listed below in bold (with neighbor feedback, to date, shown in italics). It is a nice long read but please take a look and give some constructive feedback, either via the comments section of this blog, NextDoor or in person at our meetup, this Wednesday, September 9th at 7:45 at the fire pit at Fletcher Park. If you can’t make that meeting, do try to come to the NESCO Land Use meeting, this Thursday (time and place listed earlier in the post).

Your thoughts on this matter impact our neighborhood’s present and future. Hope to hear from a lot of you!

Request:

Modification of the commitments, Exhibit B-1 (prohibited use list) and the development plan for 92-Z-138, as amended, to provide for a small manufacturing, office/ professional, social business incubator and retail center, including a performance space for music, theater and community events, outdoor seating and gathering area and additional parking, by terminating the following Commitments:

4 .”The ‘Park Triangle’ shown on the site plan and bounded by East 12th Street, Brookside Avenue and Arsenal Avenue shall be retained as “greenspace”. Owner agrees not to construct any improvements on the Park Triangle other than the addition of picnic tables or other similar amenities. Owner further agrees that the Park Triangle shall not be used for parking. Owner further agrees that all trees shall be left intact and the Park Triangle shall not be fenced in any manner” (When the Commitments were written in 1993, the park was owned by the then owners of the CCIC. Since WPNA now owns the park and Teagan has no jurisdiction over the park, there is no reason to keep this Commitment.)

5. “The parking lot shall be re-striped and reconfigured in accordance with the site plan. The owner agrees to maintain the surface of the parking lot with asphalt or other suitable hard surfacing material.” (We want Teagan to renew a commitment to maintain the parking lot. It is in a deplorable state with 2′ weeds and trash. This can be modified and strengthened by reflecting current ownership and plans, rather than eliminated.)

6. “The owner shall keep the subject property free of paper, bottles and other miscellaneous trash and shall pick up such trash from the outside of the subject property at least three (3) days per week. Areas to be maintained include, but are not limited to: (a) The property surrounding and immediately adjacent to the exterior of the building including sidewalks and curbs, greenspace between sidewalk and curb, and alongside the curbs on the street; (b) The property surrounding the exterior of the fencing around the parking lot, including the sidewalks, greenspace between the sidewalks and curbs and alongside the curbs on the street; (c) The Park Triangle.” (We want Teagan to renew a commitment to keep his property tidy and control the trash generated by CCIC tenants and visitors. Two neighbor children recently picked up 14.5lbs of trash from around the CCIC parking lot. This can be modified and strengthened rather than eliminated.)

7. “The owner shall implement a landscaping plan in accordance with the plan attached as Exhibit D to the development plan. Any deviations from the landscaping plan must be approved by Windsor Park Neighborhood Association and Cottage Home Neighborhood Association, which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld, delayed or denied. Notwithstanding, anything to the contrary contained herein, Petitioner shall have until November 30, 1993 to complete that portion of the landscaping with the frontage on 11th Street and until November 30, 1994 to complete the remainder of the plan.” (This portion refers to dates in the past and a prior Petitioner. We would like to see a new Commitment to landscaping, with new dates that pertain to the current plans, from Teagan here.)

8. “All signs shall be in conformity with the development plan and constructed according to such plans which are to be filed with the Metropolitan Development Commission.” (Again, this refers to an old plan. We would like to see a new modified Commitment that refers to Teagan’s current plans here.}

9. “The owner shall use reasonable efforts to keep visitor and employee traffic from parking on the public streets located adjacent to the subject property. The owner shall procure and implement directional signs to ensure maximum use of the parking lot, and shall work with the Department of Transportation to provide adequate ‘No Parking” and other similar signs for the adjacent streets serving the facility. The owner shall regualrly monitor street parking and shall work with the Indianapolis Police Department to properly enforce all restricted parking areas.” (There is no way we are going to let this one go and will insist on a re-commitment on this. We want signage for No Parking and Truck Routes and Directional Signs for the parking lot.)

11. “So long as any tenant or combination of tenants generates client/visitor traffic of 2500 persons per month to the facility, the owner will hire and pay the cost of a security person who will have ticketing and arrest powers (hereinafter referred to as “security person”).” (Some neighbors feel that this is too restrictive- how can the owner or neighborhood determine how many visitors are there each month? Others want a real security officer at the CCIC during business hours, particularly because of RecycleForce. Some want there to be a “trigger” for the need for an officer- First Friday, big events, if there is a retail center, if there is a music venue, etc. Some think a security person, with ticketing powers, could eliminate our truck traffic issues and concerns about security as the building develops.)

12. “The security person shall be on duty from 8:00am-2:30pm, Monday through Friday, with the exception of the weekdays when the Marion County Department of Welfare or such other tenant generating client/visitor traffic is closed.” (This refers to when there was an SSA office in the CCIC in the 1990s. It may be eliminated or changed to reflect current uses.)

13. “The security person shall be assigned to patrol Brookside Avenue between 11th Street and Newman Street; Arsenal Avenue between Brookside and Eleventh Street; Eleventh Street between Brookside and Arsenal; and, Twelfth Street between Arsenal and Brookside.”  (This may be eliminated or changed to reflect #11)

14. “The security person shall see to the following: (a) Subject to any and all jurisdictional limitations, the enforcement of all Indiana laws and Municipal Ordinances of Indianapolis, including but not limited to, laws and ordinances regarding (1) Littering; (2) Loitering; (3) Parking; (4) Traffic. (b) In addition, the security person shall stop all trucks failing to honor the truck route designated by these commitments and inform the driver of the designated truck route. (c) The security person shall enforce tow-away zones. (d) The security person shall patrol the area designated in Commitment No.13 at least once every two hours. (e) All residents living along the area designated in Commitment No. 13 shall be given a telephone number whereby they can report illegal activity so that it can be immediately investigated by the security person. (f) The security person’s primary area of responsibility shall be those items designated in Commitment No. 14 (a)-(c) and not the supervision of the parking lot.” (Actual implementation and enforcement of this Commitment would eliminate most of the concerns that the closest neighbors have about the CCIC. Ideally, if the neighborhood determines it should stay, this Commitment remains and is strengthened by having Teagan commit to it as well).

17. “All tenants of 1125 Brookside Avenue will be informed that to exit Windsor Park, every truck shall follow the truck route designated on Exhibit E.” (The truck route would be Brookside and Massachusetts. Without this, we will have less ability to stop semis from driving through our neighborhood and on truck restricted streets. This would even restrict box truck traffic to the truck route and would help keep our neighborhood streets quiet. We will not accept removal of this Commitment.)  

18. “All tenants entering into leases from and after the rezoning shall be required to give a map of the designated truck route to each and every driver of trucks visiting 1125 E. Brookside Avenue (“visiting truck drivers”). This requirement shall be incorporated into the new lease of each and every new tenant of 1125 Brookside Avenue.  Additionally, owner agrees to distribute maps of the truck route to all existing tenants promptly following the rezoning, although the commitments set forth shall not be binding on such tenants. Owner shall also adopt the truck route designated within this petition as a part of the rules and regulations of the building (if any) and it shall be enforced as such by owner. Each tenant bound by such rules and regulations shall be required to explain the truck route to all visiting trucks.” (Again, we want Teagan to re-commit to this. Elimination is not an option.)

19. “The security person shall keep a log of each and truck driver stopped in violation of these Commitments, recording the driver’s name, vehicle license number and the company for whom he is driving.” (If we keep the security person requirement, this would be good but only if this is recorded somewhere or is actionable in some way. Ticketing trucks in the weight restricted area would be one way. Otherwise, it is just documentation that means nothing. Possibly eliminate this Commitment.)

20. “The owner shall institute the following procedures for handling complaints of the residents of Windsor Park and Cottage Home: (a) The owner will designate and individual to handle complaints. (b) The name and telephone number of the person handling complaints shall be provided to each neighborhood association. (c) The owner shall also provide a form to each association which will seek the following information: (1) Name address and telephone number of complainant; (2) Nature of complaint; (3) Date complaint filed with or mailed to owner. (d) The owner will inform the complainant in writing of any corrective actions taken within seven (7) days of receipt of the complaint by the owner. In the event no corrective action is taken, the owner will provide the complainant with an explanation in writing as to why no action was taken within seven (7) days of the complaint by the owner.” (This method ensures a very long and somewhat convoluted process. We should have a direct way to contact Teagan and ensure our complaints are recorded and handled appropriately that doesn’t involve a complaint form. Maybe modify this.)

21. “The owner agrees to repair within one (1) year of the rezoning, the following areas which have been damaged by trucks arriving and departing 1125 E Brookside: (a) The east side of Arsenal where it intersects with Highland (repair of ruts); (b) The southwest corner of Arsenal where it intersects with Twelfth Street (repair of ruts); The north side of Twelfth Street along the Park Triangle across from the parking lot (replacement of curb).”(These requirements refer to B&E Realty, a prior owner. For the record, the curbs on 12th Street were never replaced and those are still in rough shape. We would have a hard time justifying holding Teagan or any future owner to this Commitment, as written. Modification or elimination.)

22.”Petitioner agrees that for so long as the Marion County Department of Welfare or other tenant or combination of tenants occupies the Building, generating client/visitor traffic of 5000 persons or more per month, singly or combined, it will not renovate or develop that portion of the C-1 space shown as cross hatched on Exhibit “A” for office uses, if the user for such space would generate any net increase in client/visitor traffic to the facility.”(This was written expressly to restrict growth of the welfare office that was in the building and really does not apply anymore. This Commitment should be eliminated.)

23. “Certain areas on the site plan have been excluded from the calculations of the square footage for Building Sections “A” “B” “C” and “D” shown on Exhibit “A” to the Development Plan. Owner agrees that such areas shall be sued as denominated on Exhibit “A” and no other manner, despite any uses allowed by any zoning designation. For example, the Building Dining, Kitchen and Lounge shall be used only as Building Dining, Kitchen and Lounge space and not office space.” (Another Commitment that was written to restrict growth of the welfare office that was in the building. This commitment should be eliminated.)

25. There is no 25th Commitment… maybe Mr. Bellamy got a little carried away? 

Mr. Bellamy also requests…

“Commitments 10 and 24, permitting and restricting uses and signs would be modified to reflect the changes proposed with this petition.”

10. “All permitted uses and/or restricted uses shall be in conformance with the development plan.” (We would want this Commitment updated to allow for any approved Variances. Otherwise, it remains.)

24. “All signs shall be in conformance with the Marion County Sign Regulations (Ord.71-Ao-4, as amended) with the exception of the signs specified in the Development Plan. Further, all signs, including those specified in the Development Plan, shall be subject to Administrator’s approval.” (We want review and approval by Windsor Park NA, Cottage Home NA, NESCO and teh Administrator of all signs that do not conform to the current Sign Ordinances.)

Mr. Bellamy also requests…

“Items 1, 3, 7, 10, 12 and 15 of Exhibit B-1 would be modified to eliminate the prohibitions on coffee roasting; the manufacture of malt products, brewing, distillation of liquor and spirits; the canning, bottling and packing of food; and to permit the small-scale operations, involving artistic or manufacturing processes, of foundries, open hearths/blast furnaces and leather curing and tanning.” (The leather curing and tanning is not acceptable and not needed for the Maker Space- Mr. Bellamy may have confused leather working with leather curing. All the other uses could be modified to only small-scale operations with square footage limitations. We don’t want large scale coffee roasters or brewers stinking up the neighborhood! We should also consider limiting the hours of operation for any tasting rooms associated with brewers and distillers.)

Hey, you made it to the end. Thank you for taking the time to read it all! Can’t wait to hear your input either in the comments here, on NextDoor or at one of the upcoming meetings.

One last thought. The possibility of a music venue has generated some positive and some negative responses. Many people want any music venue to close at 11pm to avoid problems. Others have expressed excitement about an MOKB project on the near eastside. I know that it does not align with the uses of the building listed in order to obtain funding for the Maker Space and could impact that project going into the CCIC. Share your thoughts on this, too!

Jen Eamon-President WPNA  

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