Small Broad Ripple condo project causing big concerns

April 14, 2015

A small condominium development proposed along the Central Canal in Broad Ripple is raising the ire of neighbors who oppose it as well as a city official who’s fast losing patience with the project.

Developer Greg Stoll wants to construct the $1.8 million, three-unit building west of College Avenue on Broadway Street but has been forced to make several design changes to the plans over the past five months in an attempt to win city approval.

REW map Broad Ripple apartmentsStoll first presented his plans in December and has requested at least five continuances—the last one on April 9. The Metropolitan Development Commission’s hearing examiner, Rex Joseph, grudgingly granted another delay, until April 23.

But that will be the last time he does, Joseph told David Kingen, an urban planning consultant representing Stoll.

“Mr. Kingen, unless you die, this case is going to go two weeks from now, because we’ve had enough continuances,” Joseph said at the meeting. “It’s either going to go on that day, or Mr. Kingen is going to withdraw it. One of those two things is going to happen.”

Stoll has trimmed the development from five units to three and lowered the height in a bid to appease neighbors who still find it too large for the tiny, less-than-quarter-acre parcel.

Stoll bought the one-story home that sits on the property in 2004 and rented the residence for years before deciding to vacate it and pursue his first redevelopment project.

He had no idea it would generate such stiff resistance.

“I always thought new and better development is better and people would rather look at a nice new development than a 1940s home,” Stoll said.

To help accommodate the project, Stoll is asking to vacate a one-block stretch of Laverock Road that runs parallel to the canal.

Steve Brining, president of the Warfleigh Neighborhood Association, which helps oversee the area where the project would be built, is helping lead the opposition.

“A lot of people were OK with some of the design changes, but there was vehement opposition to vacating city property, and they don’t want to see that encroached upon,” Brining said.

To build the project, Stoll would take half of the 15-foot roadway running from an alley behind a CVS drug store to the east to Broadway to the west. The other half closest to the canal would be converted into a pedestrian walkway.

The Metropolitan Development Commission is now backing the project, following the changes Stoll has made, prompting neighbors to ask their City-County Council member, Will Gooden, to step in and take a position.

Gooden typically supports development. But the size of this proposal is just too large for the area, he said.

“I’m a pro-development guy in general, and I certainly believe this particular location could use some development,” he said. “The question is: What does it look like?”
The Broad Ripple Village Association’s Envision Broad Ripple master plan, adopted by the group in 2013, calls for increased density and more housing, retail and office space.

But Stoll’s property falls just outside the plan’s western boundary, which is the alley that runs from the canal north to 64th Street behind the CVS.

Leaders of the master plan left the Warfleigh neighborhood, part of which is in Broad Ripple, out of the plan because of residents’ opposition to high-density commercial and residential development.

“They just don’t want new construction there,” Stoll said. “They really don’t want anything.”

The project earned an unfavorable recommendation from BRVA’s land-use committee.

MDC staff supports the project contingent on certain stipulations. In addition to reducing the project's size, Stoll must incorporate the existing trees on the site or at least replace them with the same number. Stoll also must construct and maintain the pedestrian walkway along the canal that meets approval of the Department of Public Works, if the project is approved.


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