But, the community loses in this race to the bottom. If a law needs to be changed, then change it so that everyone is abiding by the same laws. This onslaught of poor decisions on variances year after year causes an erosion in our zoning laws, creates havoc in enforcing them, and throws out all efforts a reasoned planning for a great City.
As regular readers of my blog know, I have been looking into just how many required parking spaces have been waived by the decisions of the Boards of Zoning Appeals (see "BZA Decisions Contributed Mightily To Broad Ripple Parking Situation", and, "Broad Ripple Parking - More BZA Decisions Noted - Running Total 320") Today I will report the latest tally of parking space variances granted for Broad Ripple going back to 1979.
Before I wade into the methods and results, I want to specifically thank Heather Stephan of Current Planning, who pulled several dozen documents for me in record time. I also need to acknowledge that the entire linkage between BZA decisions and any perception of parking insufficiency in Broad Ripple came from BR resident and community activist, Clarke Kahlo.
I searched the City's Accela website for variances filed for any property within the area bounded by 62nd to the south, 64th to the north, N. College to the west, and N. Winthrop to the east. As I noted in a previous blog, I could turn up no results of any kind for Broad Ripple Ave, likely due to its two-word name. As luck would have it, there is a current variance being requested at 829 Broad Ripple. Melanie Mullens, Senior Planner for Current Planning, had gathered a list of previous variances filed in the area, as part of her usual due diligence. I obtained further variances from her list.
Using this master list, I requested a copy of the letter of 'Grant of Variance' for all those I had indication were actually approved. From this letter I hoped to gather the number of parking spaces approved and the number required by ordinance. The number waived would be determined by simply subtracting the number approved by the variance from the number required under the ordinance.
I found 41 variances filed asking for a waiver of the required number of parking places since 1979. One was withdrawn, two were dismissed (which usually happens due to prolonged lack of interest of the petitioner), and 38 were approved. None were denied.
The letter of Grant of Variance did not include the number of spaces required for 9 variances granted between 1979 and 1994, but did indicate a waiver of some number was approved. So, the number of waived parking spaces I could obtain is merely a minimum.
That left 29 variances granted for 22 addresses since 1987. I assumed that when there were two variances for the same address, the latest one reflected the totals for that address.
The 22 variances granted a waiver of a grand total of (drumroll, please) 646 parking spaces in this area of Broad Ripple.
646 parking spaces waived in a couple block area of a busy night spot. These variances brought the number of parking spaces required by ordinance, which totaled 912 for these addresses, and waived 71% of them. Instead of 912 spaces, the variances said it was okay to provide only 266.
I can hear them now : "Don't need no stinkin' parking in Broad Ripple !!! Of course you can have your waiver, good sir !!!"
Clearly, the decisions of the BZAs have led to whatever need there might be for parking in Broad Ripple. The residents have suffered the consequences every weekend late night for some time. Now, the taxpayers are suffering the consequences.