Good Earth exits appeal of Broad Ripple project

August 18, 2014

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.



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