Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Speaking of Boondoggles - The BR Garage Is Back For Another Variance

After saying they would floodproof the proposed Broad Ripple Parking Garage and withdrawing that variance request last year, the Keystone Group via its 6280 LLC, is reactivating the request.  (see  "Broad Ripple Parking Garage - Somebody Forgot To Which End of the Horse You Attach the Cart", and "Broad Ripple Parking Garage - Farce Extraordinaire" for all the gory details)

If you thought a parking garage on this site was illconcieved before, you are going to love this variance request.

The flood control ordinance requires buildings be elevated above the 100 year flood level.  Seems responsible.  In addition, by having these requirements, the federal government will not blacklist Indianapolis residents when it comes time to pay off on flood insurance.

The ordinance would have the proposed Broad Ripple parking garage built at 723 feet altitude, 2 feet above the base flood elevation of 721 feet.  The variance asks that they be able to build the garage at 719.2 feet.  Their rational is that the long debated and disputed levee along Central Canal will someday lower the base flood elevation to 718.  They postulate that if they build the garage at 719 feet, it would be above the future flood elevation, not by 2 feet mind you, but above some future mark.

Nonetheless, they are woefully below not only the building elevation currently required, but below the current flood elevation.  Below is a topographical map of the parcel that I got from the City's website (I created the parcel outline and enhanced the topo contours elevation notations).

As you can see, the entire site is below the flood level.  The high point of 720 feet elevation, still one foot below the flood elevation, is about the center of the property.  The petitioners claim that they will have exit holes for the garage portion of the building.  But, most of the first floor is not parking, it is retail, a police substation, and space for a drive through bank.  The petitioner has not addressed these uses and how avoiding floodproofing them will be beneficial.

Again with this project, anyone seeking common sense will be disappointed.  The garage should never have been approved for this location.  The building will not even fit on the lot, and will actually extend into the public right of way.  Now, despite their earlier assurances, the petitioner is trying to avoid floodproofing the building and avoid complying with a very sound ordinance meant to protect taxpayers from having to pay off on avoidable flood damage.  They stand logic on its head by saying that SOMEDAY a levee will lower the flood level, and THEN their garage will only be one foot below the required elevation.

This project is the very definition of insanity.

[edited to add: this petition is being fast tracked.  Petition 2012-DV2-006 is slated to be heared by the Board of Zoning Appeals on March 13.  If it does move forward that day, there will have to be a waiver of the 23 day notification requirement by the BZA, as well.]


Anonymous said...

{Places palm to face}

I'll just be as succinct as possible. This garage will cause more traffic congestion. Why develop a plan that will do nothing but create more/new problems?

College and Westfield can't be widened. Never mind this garage will be built on property situated on what is essentially a triangle. And lest we forget,within such a close proximity to the intersection of Westfield/BR Avenue+ College.

This will cause such a cluster****.

Anonymous said...

Indy Faces $50 -$70 Million Budget Shortfall

Interview with Mayor Greg Ballard:

Paul K. Ogden said...

Hmmm, we build a garage with taxpayer money then give it away to Keystone Construction, not just the building but all the commercial and parking revenue. In what world does that make sense?

Had Enough Indy? said...

Paul - I have to repeat what Anon 7:56 said - we are facing a $50 $70 m budget shortfall. Why in the world should the Mayor save taxpayer dollars? Add this boondoogle to the $98 m loan and $40 m we all chipped in to No-So, and the parking meter deal where we lost all those revenues, and you can see who rates with Ballard. Hint: Its not the residents of Indy.