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Developers Push Back On SE Bloomington Sewer Oversizing

Charlie Schlenker

Developers of the Grove subdivision and other community stakeholders are pushing back against the idea the City of Bloomington should not oversize a sewer line for an undeveloped area north of the Grove.

Opposition to the $300,000 project stems from a desire to return to compact development.But, former Alderman Jim Fruin said the dispute is about more than a single line item in the FY '18 budget.

"It's about growing and rehabilitating a balanced community and the avoidance of a decision making based on individual ward interest. Successes in our community come through collaborative working relationships, not territorial decision making. We all need impacted groups supporting one another for future generations," said Fruin.

Mayor Tari Renner said he respects Fruin, but disagrees with him. He said infill and city core are more important to the entire community than sprawl.

Elizabeth Megli represented the developers at a recent council work session. She said the Grove continues to sell homes.

She asked the city to look at return on investment in the Grove subdivision in tax base versus what is being invested in the downtown and the return on that investment downtown from new growth there. She implied the comparison favors continued attention to the Grove subdivision and the area to the north.

Mayor Tari Renner said the tax base from the Grove has not exceeded the cost of extending just the utilities to the area

"Additionally we would ask that an evaluation be given to the impact on building permits in the event that future efforts by the city council are to make the Grove subdivision kind of a whipping child where the city is not interested in future development in that area, though not specifically prohibiting it," said Megli.

Alderman Scott Black has also publicly favored prioritizing the city core over growth at the edges.

Megli said a memorandum of agreement was entered into a number of years ago between the developers and the city under which the developers had an obligation to give notice to the city which made sense in case the city needed to plan for oversizing of utilities. She said the developers gave that notice.

"But, the city did not provide formal notice to the developers as to the intention to not proceed with those sorts of upgrades," said Megli.

She said that forces her clients to do real evaluating of the impact of their ability to continue to develop the subdivision.

She said the developers and Unit Five should be part of the discussion.

Mayor Renner said the city council in its public speeches and in its comprehensive plans has been very clear about its priorities.

The issue could come up at the council meeting June 12th.

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