Good Earth exits appeal of Broad Ripple project

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Good Earth Natural Food Co. in Broad Ripple has dropped out of an appeal of a controversial zoning variance granted for a $30 million apartment-and-retail project on nearby property.

The appeal is one of the last roadblocks to construction of the controversial project along the Central Canal, spearheaded by Indianapolis-based developer Browning Investments Inc. Last October, it received approval to rezone the 1.9-acre parcel from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission.

In March, Good Earth and Broad Ripple resident Patrick Skowronek appealed the awarding of the variance to a Marion Superior Court. Their request was dismissed because they failed to file necessary paperwork by court-required deadlines.

Good Earth and Skowronek then asked the Indiana Court of Appeals to overturn Judge Michael D. Keele’s decision to dismiss the appeal. The court has agreed to hear arguments on an expedited basis, but Good Earth has decided to drop out of the case. Skowronek will continue.

One of Skowronek’s attorneys, Laurel Gilchrist, said she was “surprised” to learn that Good Earth no longer wished to proceed with the challenge and didn’t know why.

Good Earth President Rudy Nehrling told IBJ on Monday that “accruing lawyer bills and the fear of more litigation from Browning” led to the decision.

Browning Investments lost in its court bid to make Good Earth and Skowronek post a nearly $1 million bond to cover construction delays while the appeal waits to be heard.

The project northeast of College Avenue and the Central Canal calls for a single 35,000-square-foot retail space—earmarked for a Whole Foods store—plus 119 apartments and a four-story parking garage.

To build the project, an apartment complex where Skowronek lives would need to be demolished along with a vacant Shell service station on the site.

Browning plans to use $5.7 million from a city bond issue to help finance the project, which would be called Canal Pointe.



  • Agreed
    Rita, I completely agree. This is an excellent development for BR. As for east-west car passage, I think most people use BR Ave because it's easier to get to and isn't a potholed mess. Kessler is one of the worst streets in Indianapolis, especially for such a prominent area as BR.
  • Incorrect
    I will disagree with your statement because this is not a suburban style development. It's a mixed use that will add more pedestrians to Broad Ripple more than car traffic. This is something that people can and will walk to (not everyone, but many). Anything that adds a proper city density is welcome...the type of congestion that you're talking about is auto-centric and is the epitome of a place like Castleton. I would agree that if this project were a Castleton-style development, I'd absolutely be against it.
  • Congestion
    In regards to congestion, Broad Ripple needs more of it, not less. People shouldn't be using Broad Ripple Avenue as an east-west thoroughfare anyways. That is what Kessler is for.
    • Nice to see more support!
      It is nice to see more positive comments for new development in Broad Ripple. New buildings in other areas in town don't seem to get this type of scrutiny! We need more people living in the village to attract daytime businesses to the area.
    • $6 Million
      People seem to forget that Browning is using $6 million of our tax dollars on the project. If he weren't doing that, he'd have a lot more support for people. Though the last thing that Broad Ripple needs is more congestion.
      • The nicer (without work in other ares of town) the more trouble the area will have
        Fixing Broad Ripple will draw it's failure. Just as nice shopping malls attracted shoppers, it attracts those who loiter....and shoot each other. Remember that one has the right to assemble in public area....even the people that Broad Ripple does not want. The money spent solely on Broad Ripple needs spread into other areas and attractions. This is not an example of good development. It is an example of a developer getting paid by the city and not an example of local investment.
      • Times Change?
        My best friend and his (now ex-wife) lived in those apartments on Laverock when they were newlyweds over 30 years ago. Though they "cuted up" their place, it was run down, even back then. Of course, they didn't make a big deal out of it, because back then we all were young and compared to where we lived in college, those apartments were the Taj Mahal. That said, even then, as I thought of those frame buildings, the first thought I had was: good thing the Fire Department is almost next door. The new building will have to have a fire suppression system. Nostalgia can be a nice thing, but I'm all for change in this case.
      • Whole food project
        I agree with Jim 100%. If we want fewer problems and more density, we need this project to come forward. Plus the canal area will be beautified, we will have more lightning and better and safer sidewalks!!!
      • Property Taxes and Renters
        Kt, while the tenant may not directly pay property taxes, he certainly does pay them indirectly through his rental cost. It's a bit disingenuous and unfair (perhaps even classist?) to suggest that he is some kind of community freeloader simply because he rents his home. That said, I don't agree with the guy and think he's still fighting a battle that has already been lost.
      • The only
        thing I want to say is: I plan to build a house and I would like a city bond to offset 1/6 of my expenses. I plan to hire builders and promise to employ numerous people during the time I will live in said house once built.
      • Time to move on
        Sorry the gentleman is being displaced but has he tried to talk with the developer to secure a temporary place to live until the new apartments are ready? Also, I will play the devil here but this gentleman does not pay property taxes and is using all the amenities the community has to offer. I hope the tax payers are not spending a penny for this litigation.
      • Time to Move
        The landlord, who owns the property is the one who is willing to sell it. Whether the home is "rundown" or not is irrelevant. Mr. Skowrenck does not live in New York or San Francisco, and there is no such thing as a rent-controlled lifetime lease in Indianapolis. He has a leasehold for the duration of his lease, nothing more and nothing less. I assume he is now on a month-to-month arrangement so the landlord can continue renting the house until it is transferred to the developer to be torn down. This case is not being represented pro bono, so Mr. Skowrenck is in a position to pay hefty legal fees, which means he is also in a position to move to another apartment once his lease expires. And in any event, the case is not about whether Mr. Skowrenck has a sad situation or not, it is about whether a process was properly followed in granting a variance. Variances are allowed by law, and the only issue is whether the city followed the proper procedure in granting one in this case.
      • Gentrification
        I can't blame someone for wanting to protect his home from being bulldozed. Looking down on a renter and calling his home "run down" is elitist and very cold.
        • Patrick Skowronek
          Wait, so this guy is mad that they are tearing down the run down building that he is RENTING in? Um, ok. Hopefully this project and the others that are planned can help bring a balance to the businesses that are located in teh area.
        • Drop the appeal
          Skowronek needs to drop the appeal. This is a much better use of the land than as an abandoned, crumbling Shell station. Time for Broad Ripple to move forward! This is a fantastic addition to the area that will help to reduce crime in Broad Ripple through helping to change the negative demographic of people that think Broad Ripple is only for hardcore partying late at night. More people living in the core of BR is what will make the difference.
          • About time...
            Good, now we can move on

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