November 13, 2017, County-City Building 4th Floor
Councilpersons Present for Committee: Tim Scott, Oliver Davis, Jo Broden, David Varner, Karen White, Gavin Ferlic
Absent for Committee: John Voorde, Randy Kelly
Absent for Full Council: John Voorde
Tim Scott, Council President - Last meeting will be December 11, 2017
72-17 COMMON VARIANCES - Community Development wants to change the percentages for restaurants use of property outside.
It also allows "Landscaping to be placed within the right-of-way" and skirt the need for off-street parking requirements. Mike Divita of Community Investment stated it is too much of a financial hardship for a business to meet the requirements to provide off street parking.
This will mean that those with homes or other businesses next to these restaurants will have cars parking in the spaces they need.
NOTE: Recently the Board of Public Works granted permits to both "Aloft" and "Fiddlers Hearth" to use the WHOLE sidewalk for outdoor dining and not leave a 5' walk through for pedestrians. This would require those wanting to cross in front to go out in the street to go past.
This in in violation of ADA and SECTION V, Chapter 21, Article 3 subsection (b)(11) Outdoor Operations - vi "Shall be located as to not interfere or conflict with sidewalks, walkways..." Section 21-03.07 (G) Outdoor Seating for Restaurants.
Why should variances and NOT be granted for these permits? The average Citizen and those with mobility issues should not come second.
When the Council abdicates their oversight on these matters it means Community Development and Redevelopment can grant businesses rights and permits above the average Citizen. The Common Council is the voice of the people and a BALANCE of power.
Both COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT and REDEVELOPMENT do *NOT* allow Citizen comments or input to their meetings and proceedings. Agendas are sparce and without packets leaving the public without insight unless they know to file for APRA or FOIA.
Bottomline: Council voted "FAVORABLE" for reducing the rights of Citizens and surrounding businesses in favor of restaurants and bars.
73-17 Change of ENGINEERING STANDARDS - Community Development wants to reduce the "Clear sight area requirements and private street widths", as well as, reduce the "requirements for drive-through faciltiy standards"
This means that businesses can be 10' from the property line instead of 25'. They used Indianapolis as a reference. This also reduces the 5 car clearance on drive through lanes.
They used banks as an example, but consider how many cars you see for coffee or fast food establishments. By reducing this, cars will be able to extend out into roads and nearby properties.
Council voted "FAVORABLE".
74-17 PYRAMIDING USES - "See rezoning to a less intense zoning district to permit certain uses, even though those uses are less intense than and are compatible with the uses found in their existing zoing district."
Council voted "FAVORABLE".
ZONING ORDINANCE UPDATE BRIEFING - Department of Community Investment
There is a spreadsheet of "Zoning Quick Fixes - Reform to MU Mixed Use District Standards" November 6, 2017 where Community Investment wants to by-pass and reduce the requirements of businesses over private property owners.
If you would like to view these 27 changes to the Zoning Ordinances, look on the City Website Documents section for "MU Reform Summary.pdf". Justification includes, "Allows fuller use of site consistent with traditional urban development".
If you are unable to locate this document (part of the Common Council Meeting Packet), someone at the City Clerk's Office can guide you through the website areas to find it.
If you have comments about these changes, please contact your Council Representative and the 3 At-Large Councilpersons. A decision on these will be made in January, but now is the time to comment.
78-17 TAX ABATEMENT ENFORCEMENT CODE AMENDMENT - "Sec. 2-84.14. - Failure of petitioner to comply may result in fines being imposed or termination of economic revitaliazation designation and repayment of taxes previously abated."
This means if the recipient doesn't conform to the rules, there can be fines and repayment.
"Department of Community Development shall randomly audit no less than five tax abatement recipients each calendar year and certify the recipients' compliance with the terms and conditions of their abatements."
This means the Department that issues these abatements is also the one to do the examination and enforcement and the only plan to look at 5 out of the many Abatements issued.
NOTE: Perhaps an independent group needs to look at ALL the Abatements given for millions of tax payer dollars.
79-17 TAX ABATEMENT ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY REVIEW CODE - Amending SECTIONS 2-84.9(c) AND 2-84.9 (e) of CHAPTER 2, ARTICLE 6 - This is in reference to those getting Abatements be required to pay their employees a minimum of $10.10 or at least the minimum wage offered by the City of South Bend.
This has been tabled indefinitely.
17-70 PROPERTY LOCATED at 3419 W. WASHINGTON STREET - This is in regards to variances for a new community center. They are working with the Venue, Arts and Parks on a 14,000 sq ft renovation along with a 11,000 sq ft addition for a multi-use gym. This community center will be open to the public. The exercise room will have additional windows and there will be a bike repair shop.
Council voted "FAVORABLE".
80-17 1ST READING CITY MANAGEMENT of THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION - The Historic Preservation Commission will now be under Community Investment Department. Councilperson Jo Broden expressed concern that they have been at odds over projects in the past and will now report to and answer to the CDI, which may reduce their effectiveness.
17-74 PROPERTY LOCATED at 926 S. ERSKINE PLAZA - Exeption for adding a micro-blading/semi-permanent tattoo service in an existing beauty salon.
BOYD vs HPC APPEAL #2017-0602A - This is a dispute between the owner and the Historic Preservation Commission over a roof line and the construction of the roof.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR - 12 people spoke about Homelessness issues in South Bend. John Shafer, Director for "Michiana 5 for the Homeless" lead his group. He has worked with the Street Homeless for *5 years*. He was NOT included in the Mayor's "Working Group", although he asked to be.
Points made were that although some strides are being made to help, there are still gaps in availability. Those seeking shelter under the bridge had their belongings removed without there being any place to go.
Services will provide for 10 Women at the Life Treatment Center, 30 Men at the Kraz Building and 15 Men at the Center for the Homeless. There are over 100 people on the streets.
Jesse Davis remarked there is a building available that could be used, but the City is not interested.
Previously Councilman Oliver Davis suggested a program used by other cities that gave the homeless a way to earn money. That was voted down.
One woman stated the public is unaware of the extent of homeless women and children living on the streets and even more who are "couch surfing".
Several mentioned the port-o-potty's were removed which means deficating in public and refusal of the hospital to let them use those facilities.
It was also remarked that trash bins are not available.
Because the wooden pallets were removed, they must now sleep directly on cardboard which soaks up water.
The City posted signs downtown requesting people to not give to panhandlers. One suggested these are like signs in parks that say, "Don't feed the animals".
Comments were from Citizen Advocates, homeless, and others.
If you are interested in hearing the comments directly, live broadcasts were recorded and are now available - MiVocal on Facebook, City Recording and "Michiana Access TV" on YouTube.
A copy of the Mayor's "Working Group" PDF is available on the City Website.
Michiana 5 for the Homeless is having a blanket drive and John Shafer is willing to discuss the needs and issue of the Street Homeless. 574-607-3483
For more meetings and articles: #MichianaObserver
Citizens attending community events to inform other Citizens.