The 451 Flats
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Iron Men Properties, owned by Joe Blake and Mike Sandry from Lafayette, is seeking approval from Lebanon officials for an apartment building project at 451 North Lebanon Street. This project, which is identified as The 451 Flats, would be built over the homes located at 409, 417, 423, 503, and 507 North Lebanon Street. Listed next is a sketch of the project location.
Iron Men Properties plans to construct a free-standing, three-story apartment building directly adjacent to North Lebanon Street. The site for this proposed building is currently zoned Multifamily within the Thoroughfare Overlay District. There would be 42 one-bedroom apartments (540 square feet each) and 18 two-bedroom apartments. Each story of the building would have 14 one-bedroom apartments and 6 two-bedroom apartments. There would be a gabled roof with a maximum height of a little over 42 feet. The entire lot area would be 50,312 square feet (1.16 acres). The building would be constructed on 16,360 square feet of the lot. Vegetation would cover 7,055 square feet of the lot, while 26,897 square feet would be an asphalt parking lot. There would be underground on-site storm water detention with an outlet to a 12-inch underground pipe that would be constructed 227 feet down the alley between 424 and 502 North Meridian Street.
Table 7.4 referenced in Lebanon Unified Development Ordinance 7.5.F.1.c. provides that the minimum number of parking spaces required for multifamily dwellings is 1.0 parking space for each one-bedroom apartment and 1.6 parking spaces for each two-bedroom apartment. Therefore, the 42 one-bedroom apartments at The 451 Flats would require 42 parking spaces and the 18 two-bedroom apartments would require 28.8 parking spaces - for a total of 71 parking spaces. The 451 Flats project would provide 8 parking spaces on the north end of the building that would require backup movement into the alley between the building and 517 North Lebanon Street. A total of 63 parking spaces would be provided in a large parking lot east of the building. Three of the 71 parking spaces would be handicapped spaces.
Vehicular Access & Circulation
Lebanon officials have thus far exhibited either gross incompetence or blatant developer favoritism when it comes to The 451 Flats project proposed by Iron Men Properties.
“Part 10: Site Plan Review” of the Citizen Planner Manual from the Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association (see http://www.indianaplanning.org/?page_id=1221) includes the following statements: “The process of (a development plan) review simply involves comparing what is proposed on the site plan to what is required by the standards prescribed in the zoning ordinance.” “If a site plan fails to meet any of the development standards, the deficiencies should be conveyed in writing to the owner/developer/engineer. Occasionally, it may be necessary for the owner to secure a variance from one or more of the development standards.”
The 451 Flats apartment building would be within Lebanon’s Thoroughfare Overlay District. It is disturbing that the applicable vehicular access and circulation standards included in Lebanon’s Unified Development Ordinance have been ignored.
Refer to the sketch above and note how the only two means of vehicular access for The 451 Flats project would be to and from narrow public alleys. The north access to the project’s parking lot would be from a 14-foot wide alley between the north side of the new apartment building and 517 North Lebanon Street. The east access to the project’s parking lot would be from a 10-foot alley between Williams Street and Chicago Street. It takes only half a brain to recognize that vehicles traveling every day on narrow alleys with limited sight lines to and from 71 parking spaces at The 451 Flats would (1) be injurious to the public safety and general welfare of the community and (2) result in the use and value of the area adjacent to the project being affected in a substantially adverse manner.
It is somewhat comforting that Lebanon’s UDO standards include the half-brain common-sense vehicular access and circulation requirements that Lebanon’s officials have thus far ignored. The UDO Sections listed next require that The 451 Flats parking lot have two means of access connected to surrounding neighborhood and local streets AND that, BY DEFINITION, a public alley is NOT a street.
6.1 THOROUGHFARE OVERLAY DISTRICT.
(I) Vehicular access. Refer to 7.18 for vehicular access requirements.
7.18 DESIGN STANDARDS.
(B) Multifamily design.
(4) Vehicular and pedestrian circulation. Create a hierarchy of internal drives.
(a) Drives shall be a minimum of 24 feet wide. The city may request wider drives if on- street parking is permitted.
(b) A minimum of two means of access shall be provided for:
(1) Any residential subdivision with 50 or more single- or two-family residential lots;
(2) Any development having one or more commercial, multifamily or industrial structure of three stories or greater in height; or
(3) Any development having three or more commercial, multifamily or industrial structures of any height.
(c) The internal street system shall connect to surrounding neighborhood and local streets.
CHAPTER 11: DEFINITIONS
STREET. A right-of-way or thoroughfare, other than an alley, dedicated or otherwise legally established to the public use, usually affording the principal means of access to abutting properties.
The Lebanon Board of Zoning Appeals will be asked at its 7:00 PM public hearing on September 6 to approve nine variance requests from Iron Man Properties for The 451 Flats project. It is gross negligence that NONE of the nine variance requests include allowing Iron Man Properties to use alleys as required means of vehicular access for The 451 Flats project. There is no way that alleys should be improperly used for required vehicular access to the project without variance approval from the BZA.
The 451 Flats project should NOT proceed unless a variance is approved to use alleys for the required vehicular access.This variance must be added to the September 6 BZA agenda. AND, can the BZA be expected to grant such an outrageous variance? Lebanon’s officials must either correct their gross incompetence or stop their blatant developer favoritism.
Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry indicated in an August 11 Facebook post that he favors giving a Lebanon Utilities subsidy of $200,000 as an incentive to Iron Men Properties to construct The 45 Flats new 3-story 60-unit apartment building.
There are two availability fees that Mayor Gentry would like Lebanon Utilities to selectively eliminate for the benefit of Iron Men Properties – the Automatic Sprinklers Water Availability Fee and the Sanitary Sewer Availability Fee.
The Automatic Sprinklers Water Availability Fee is (a) the charge to a user for a new connection to the City’s water works system, (b) is charged as a pro rata cost of construction of all water distribution mains and appurtenances to serve the property of the connecting user, and (c) is charged in return for the City making available to such user the City’s water supply system consisting of all facilities and operations necessary to provide the potable water of such user. The amount of this Availability Fee is $2,000 per Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) for residential users and all other users. One EDU is defined as the average use of a single family dwelling over one calendar year, and EDU determinations for water users other than single family dwellings are determined in accordance with 327 I.A.C. Article 8. The Automatic Sprinklers Water Availability Fee for The 451 Flats project would be $120,000 because the project has 60 EDUs ($2,000 X 60 EDUs).
The Sanitary Sewer Availability Fee is (a) the charge to a user for a new connection to the city’s sewage works system, (b) is charged as a pro rata cost of construction of all interceptor sewer lines and appurtenances to serve the property of the connecting user, and (c) is charged in return for the city making available to the user the city’s sewage treatment system consisting of all facilities and operations necessary to treat sewage of the user. The amount of this Availability Fee is $1,700 per Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) for residential users and all other users. One EDU is defined as the average use of 9,300 gallons of wastewater per month over one calendar year, and EDU determinations for wastewater dischargers other than single family dwellings are determined in accordance with 327 I.A.C. Article 3. The Sanitary Sewer Availability Fee for The 451 Flats project would be $75,650 because the project has 44.5 EDUs ($1,700 X 44.5 EDUs).
Lebanon Utilities ratepayers benefit when developers pay their fair share to use the City’s water system and sanitary sewer system. The Automatic Sprinklers Water Availability Fees and the Sanitary Sewer Availability Fees paid by developers are deposited in the respective Lebanon Utilities accounts for the water utility and the wastewater utility. These Fees help to fund the Lebanon Utilities water and wastewater operations, thereby delaying the need for rate increases.
It would be poor public policy to subsidize Iron Men Projects by having Lebanon Utilities waive the $120,000 Automatic Sprinklers Water Availability Fee and the $75,650 Sanitary Sewer Availability Fee for The 451 Flats project.Developers should only receive such extravagant subsidies if they create a significant number of jobs that pay a Get-Ahead wage of at least $20 an hour – The 451 Flats project will create NO such good jobs.
There is no “legal” framework in place for Lebanon Utilities to waive the $120,000 Automatic Sprinklers Water Availability Fee and the $75,650 Sanitary Sewer Availability Fee for The 451 Flats project. It is hoped that Lebanon Utilities will put the interests of its ratepayers ahead of the blatant developer favoritism of Mayor Gentry and insist that Iron Men Properties pay its fair share to use the City’s water system and sanitary sewer system.
Listed next is the anticipated chronological history of the approval process for The 451 Flats project.
September 6, 2016: Lebanon Board of Zoning Appeals
The Lebanon Board of Zoning Appeals will be asked at its 7:00 PM public hearing to approve the variance requests listed next.
Variance 1. Unified Development Ordinance Section 4.9.D. Lot & Yard Standards - Minimum Lot Size for One-Bedroom & Two-Bedroom. A variance is requested to allow a minimum lot size of 1.16 acres instead of 4.68 acres.
Variance 2. UDO Section 4.9.D. Minimum Front Yard Setback of 60 Feet. A front yard of only 5 feet is requested between the building and the west property line.
Variance 3. UDO Section 4.9.D. Minimum Side Yard (North Property Line) of 50 Feet. A side yard of only 10 feet is requested between the building and the south property line.
Variance 4. UDO Section 4.9.D. Minimum Side Yard (South Property Line) of 50 Feet. A side yard of 30 feet is requested between the building and the nouth property line.
Variance 5. UDO Section 4.9.D. Maximum Lot Coverage of 65%. A variance is requested to allow a maximum lot coverage for all impervious surfaces of 86% instead of 65%.
Variance 6. UDO Section 4.9.D. Minimum Total Living Area and Ground Floor Area of 750 square feet. A variance is requested to allow a minimum total living area in an apartment of only 540 square feet instead of 750 square feet.
Variance 7. UDO Section 7.5.C.5. Parking Standards for Utilizing a Public Way. A variance is requested to allow backup vehicle movement from the 8 parking spaces at the north end of the building directly into a public alley.
Variance 8. UDO Section 7.5. Parking Standards - Table 7.1 - 90 Degree Parking Space Dimensions. The 63 proposed parking spaces in the parking lot on the east side of the building are designed to be 90-degree spaces instead of angled spaces because angled spaces would reduce the parking lot capacity to 53 spaces. A variance is requested to allow 90-degree parking spaces that are 18 feet in depth instead of 20 feet. A drive lane of 24 feet between the rows of parking spaces could not be provided if the parking spaces had to be 20 feet dep.
Variance 9. UDO Section 7.15.B.3. Residential Lighting - Foot-candles at the Property Line. Lighting at a property line is not supposed to exceed 0.3 foot-candles. Lighting for the proposed project would result in 1.1 foot-candles in the alley at the project's southeast corner.
September 12, 2016: Lebanon City Council
The Lebanon City Council would be requested to vacate the alleys between (1) the existing homes at 409 and 417 North Lebanon Street and (2) the existing homes at 423 and 503 North Lebanon Street.
September 19, 2016: Lebanon Plan Commission
The Lebanon Plan Commission would conduct a public hearing for The 451 Flats development plan at 7:00 PM.
September 26, 2016: Lebanon City Council
The Lebanon City Council would decide whether to approve The 451 Flats development plan and the alleys vacation request.
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This page was last updated on 08/23/16.