Decision on Broad Ripple garage delayed again

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A decision on a new Broad Ripple parking garage has been delayed yet again, this time after remonstrators argued that they didn’t have enough time to digest proposed changes to design plans.

The two-week continuance granted on Tuesday by the Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals follows a previous seven-day delay given to the project’s developer. 

On April 10, an attorney for Keystone Construction Corp. asked the five-member panel to delay a hearing on the garage until Tuesday to allow the developer to meet with officials from the City of Indianapolis’ Department of Public Works about construction of a levee system along White River.

Keystone had argued that the levee system would provide enough protection from floods, even though the parking garage would be built on property that lies four feet below the flood plain.

But the staff of the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development recommended in a letter two weeks ago that the parking garage proposal be reworked in order to raise its first floor above the flood plain.

On Tuesday, the developer was set to propose raising the elevation of the garage to two feet below the flood plain, which would meet federal guidelines but not city requirements. Therefore, a zoning variance is needed before construction can begin.

Remonstrators, however, argued on Tuesday that they only received notice of the proposed elevation change about an hour before the 1 p.m. meeting, which didn’t give them sufficient time to “fully absorb” the amendment, said Pat Andrews, a neighborhood activist.

“We need some time to look over the ramifications,” Andrews told the board. “It isn’t simple.”

The zoning appeals board granted a continuance until May 1.

Joe Calderon, the attorney representing Keystone at the hearing, said Keystone would respect the board’s decision, noting a two-week delay shouldn’t affect the timing of construction.

Keystone officials have argued that raising elevation entirely above the four-foot flood plain would make the additional cost of the now-$15 million project too expensive.

The 350-space parking garage at 6280 N. College Ave. would be partially financed with $6.3 million from parking meter revenue, which would normally flow into city coffers.

Keystone’s petition for a zoning variance will now be heard by a different set of board members than the ones that granted the delay Tuesday. The zoning board has three sets of members that attend weekly meetings.

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