Staff Report February 9, 2012 REQUEST MADE, PROPOSED USE, LOCATION: The owner/petitioner, represented by attorney Daniel Teder, is requesting PDMX zoning on approximately 2 acres in the City of West Lafayette for a six-story, mixed-use building containing 250 apartment units with 600 bedrooms, 37,750 square feet of ground floor retail and a 295 space parking garage split between two levels. The property is located at 720 Northwestern Avenue and is bounded by Northwestern, Dodge, Allen and Evergreen Streets, Wabash 18(NW) 23-4. ZONING HISTORY AND AREA ZONING PATTERNS: In past years, there have been two significant rezoning petitions in the vicinity of the subject property: Z-1278 established the Purdue Exponent Planned Development in 1987 and in September of 2011, Z-2460 was approved for the 516 Northwestern Avenue Planned Development. Construction on that mixed use building is expected to begin this spring. The pattern established by both of these non-residential planned developments is one of pedestrian-oriented, dense, urban redevelopment that is designed for easy access to campus. The 516 Northwestern Avenue Planned Development expanded on this theme by designing “two front doors” to the building, allowing the east side of the building that faces the New Chauncey neighborhood direct access to the building lobby and the retail spaces on the ground floor. With the exception of these two planned developments, the current mix of commercial and residential zoning surrounding the subject property has remained unchanged in this portion of the New Chauncey neighborhood. Purdue’s campus and Mackey Arena are directly west of the site while R1U zoning lies to the east and north and CBW zoning lies to the south. AREA LAND USE PATTERNS: On the northwestern portion of the block lies the suburban-styled Regions Bank building, while on the southern portion of the block lies the Stadium Square shopping strip center. On the eastern portion of the block lie a collection of small apartment buildings. To the north and east of the block are converted homes and apartments and south of the block is the bookstore site, gas station and other commercial uses. To the west is the campus, Mackey Arena and Ross-Ade Stadium. ENVIRONMENTAL AND UTILITY CONSIDERATIONS: City utilities and Indiana American water are available to serve the site.

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TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORTATION: Northwestern Avenue is classified as a primary arterial according to the adopted Thoroughfare Plan. The proposal calls for the vacation of the existing alley and removing its curb cuts on Northwestern and on Allen Street. An ATM drive through is proposed with a curb cut entrance on Dodge Street and exits via the ground floor garage access drive to Allen Street. The access to the single underground garage level is off of Dodge Street. The garage levels do not connect internally. Public angled parking is being proposed along the north side of Evergreen Street and will be subject to change based on the recommendations of a comprehensive traffic study to be initiated if the project is approved. A maximum of 295 parking spaces are being provided split between two levels with 78 spaces in the ground floor parking area and 221 spaces in the basement level. The proposed angled parking on Evergreen would remain public and would not count toward the required parking for the project. The parking plan relies heavily on tandem and compact parking spaces to increase the overall parking count and provisions are in place in The Landmark Narrative to address resident car access to the tandem spots in the event of an emergency. Parking for the commercial aspect of the project was successfully negotiated with a range of 50 minimum to 80 maximum spaces that can flex based on the mix of permitted commercial uses found in The Landmark Narrative. As for residential parking, petitioner began the planned development negotiations with the assertion that many of the residents of this project would not be bringing cars. As staff had no supportive evidence to reduce the traditional 1 space per bedroom standard that has been negotiated in past planned developments, we asked for a study to back up these assertions. A study was delivered to us and the Area Plan Commission’s transportation planning staff reviewed it and found many questionable assumptions and generalities that left us unconvinced. We relayed our comments on the study back to petitioner and have not heard back from him since regarding this matter. Staff understood, given the site’s proximity to campus, that there very well may be some students living onsite who would chose not to bring their own cars. But with no convincing evidence to support the numbers petitioner was presenting, staff attempted to negotiate a compromise by lowering the residential parking ratio to a minimum of 0.75 spaces per bedroom, only if alternative transportation options were employed to make up for the deficit in parking that the 1 space per bedroom standard required. Staff was open to ideas and one transportation alternative we recommended as a partial solution was car-sharing. A car-sharing program provides an alternative to those residents who do not bring a car but still want the flexibility of car usage to make local trips. It is similar to renting a car, except that it is only for short trips of only a few hours or more and the car must be returned where it was originally parked. Staff’s willingness to do this was based on our own experiences with car-share programs in urban environments and data connected with the ZipCar company which demonstrates that a single shared-car can remove up to 15 vehicles off the road. With ZipCar coming to Purdue University in October of 2011, staff believed the community was poised to
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embrace an expansion of this program in a near-campus setting like The Landmark. Petitioner enthusiastically supported staff’s idea and initially pledged that he would provide his own private car-sharing program in the event ZipCar was not ready to expand. After consulting with the executives in charge of the campus-based program at ZipCar, staff was informed that until the campus program reaches a vehicle utilization rate of 40%-43%, the company would not be ready to expand. The utilization rates are presently around 25% and ZipCar does expect that rate to rise after some heavy marketing this year. Under a private car-sharing program that would be for the exclusive use of The Landmark residents, staff was willing to allow four shared-cars, which equates to a 56 space parking credit (after 1 space is removed to park each shared car). Based on the 1 space per bedroom ratio, which would require 600 residential parking spaces, the inclusion of the private car-sharing program would lower the required parking to 544 residential spaces or 0.9 spaces per bedroom. As staff was willing to lower the residential parking ratio to 0.75, or 450 residential spaces (if other transportation alternatives were employed to make up for the deficit in parking that the 1 space per bedroom standard required), that left 329 required residential spaces to negotiate solutions for, since there would be 215 residential spaces already provided. Petitioner, instead, rejected all of this (including the ZipCar program and previously offered “private” car-sharing program, instead holding car-sharing out as an “option” only) and insisted that the project’s 215 residential spaces (after you back out the maximum 80 commercial spaces from the total) would suffice for the residents of the project. With 600 bedrooms and 215 minimum residential spaces, staff raised serious objections to the resulting 0.36 space per bedroom parking ratio. There is no residential or mixed-use project in our community that even comes close to a residential parking ratio this low. Prior to petitioner ending negotiations, staff conducted a survey of most of our neighboring cities in the Big 10 in addition to Ball State University in Muncie, to ascertain how they park projects of a similar nature in near-downtown or near-campus environments. The results, which were shared with the petitioner during negotiations, were revealing: Michigan State University (East Lansing): • 1.25 spaces / 1 bed unit • 2 spaces / 2 bed unit • 2.5 spaces / 3 bed or more unit • Residential urban projects required to lease spaces in city garages unless on-site parking provided. Indiana University (Bloomington): • 0.8 spaces / bed in the “Downtown Edge” zone • 1 space / unit minimum • 1 space / bedroom if located adjacent to single family home

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Ball State (Muncie): • 2 spaces / unit (regardless of number of bedrooms per unit) University of Michigan (Ann Arbor): • 1.5 spaces / unit (regardless of number of bedrooms per unit) • 1 space / unit for converted homes University of Nebraska (Lincoln): • 1.75 spaces / unit University of Iowa (Iowa City): • 1 space / efficiency, 1, and 2 bedroom units • 2 spaces / 3 bedroom unit • 1 space / bedroom for units with more than 3 beds University of Illinois (Champaign): • 0.5 spaces / bedroom • 1 space / unit minimum • 2 spaces / unit maximum • Up to 4 bedrooms / unit maximum University of Minnesota (Minneapolis): • 0.5 spaces / bedroom • 1 space / unit minimum University of Wisconsin (Madison): • 1 space / unit minimum to 2.5 spaces / unit maximum • Parking standards negotiated for each project under the city’s Conditional Use Permit standards within the aforementioned range. What was even more revealing in all these cases, besides not seeing a single ratio approaching The Landmark’s 0.36 spaces per bedroom, was the fact that, with the exception of Muncie, all these cities have city owned and maintained public parking garages that assist in serving the parking demands generated by these projects. In the East Lansing case, the city even goes so far as to require that residential projects in and near the downtown lease spaces in the city’s garages in order to meet the city’s parking requirements. In Minneapolis, an ever expanding light-rail system is used to justify their parking ratio of 0.5 spaces per bedroom with a 1 space per unit minimum. At 0.36 spaces per bedroom, The Landmark is unable to even park at a 1 space per unit ratio, which is the bare minimum in every city staff contacted. The City of West Lafayette does not have the public parking infrastructure or the superior transit systems that these other cities have and on-street parking in the New Chauncey and Hills and Dales Neighborhoods is already heavily utilized. According to the West Lafayette Police Department 13,314 tickets were issued to vehicles parking in the vicinity of The Landmark site between May 2007 and December 31, 2011 and the
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problem has only worsened in recent months with Purdue increasing its parking fines to $35 while the city’s fines remain at $15. It is simply cheaper for students to abuse the rules on the city’s streets than to comply with Purdue’s more stringent rules. While the issue of the city’s parking fines is a separate matter from planned development negotiations, what is clear is that the city’s near-campus neighborhood streets are increasingly desirable places for students to park and any new project should not exacerbate an already growing problem. Despite all of this evidence, petitioner refused to increase the residential parking amount or to explore other transportation and building design alternatives to meet staff’s compromise position, and so the planned development negotiations reached an impasse. STAFF COMMENTS: Originally conceived as a 15-story building, The Landmark went through several iterations. From the beginning, staff strongly encouraged the redevelopment of this block and was excited to learn that petitioner had acquired the entire block after originally showing us a 10-story proposal that did not include the Regions Bank site. After withdrawing, at staff’s urging, a petition to include a 400+ space satellite parking lot three miles from the site in Tippecanoe County, petitioner returned with 6-story mixed use building with insufficient residential parking and an unwillingness to negotiate any compromise with staff on residential parking. This unwillingness to negotiate the development standards for this planned development or to respect the standards set with previously approved planned developments defies the definition of a Planned Development found in the “Intent” section of the ordinance. UZO 2-28-1a maintains that: “ the Commission – through its staff – negotiates a specific development plan with the petitioner for PD zoning and representatives of the checkpoint agencies.” Staff and the checkpoint agencies were willing to lower the 1 per bedroom ratio if alternative transportation options were established, additional on-site parking provided, or the number of units/bedrooms matched the compromise parking ratio. We proposed standards that made sense, were truly innovative, and were at the heart of a planned development’s purpose which is to “ foster innovative and diverse design in land development”. (UZO 2-28-1a). Instead of finding common ground in the negotiation process, petitioner proposed a radical parking plan that had no equivalent in our community or among the cities staff contacted. And when staff requested documentation to prove petitioner’s assertions, we found it lacking on many fronts. Despite the parking issues dominating the negotiations, staff did have comments on the architecture as well. While the central tower with its rooftop gathering space is an attractive feature and the open courtyards provide important open spaces, none of these features are visible from the streets. All the neighborhood will see is a single monolithic 6-story brick and glass block whose similarities with its surroundings end at roughly sharing the same roofline elevations as the soon-to-be-constructed 516 Northwestern Avenue Planned Development two blocks to the south and Mackey Arena to the west.

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Staff would much rather have seen a reduction in units and bedrooms to fit the residential parking that was available and seen the building “terraced” down from 6stories along Northwestern to 3-stories along Allen Street. This building design, in staff’s opinion, would achieve a stunning urban look proper for this section of the Northwestern Avenue corridor while providing an architectural transition into the lower density residential environments of the New Chauncey and Hills and Dales Neighborhoods. This same design philosophy is what went into the decision on the 516 Northwestern Planned Development to establish a landscaped surface parking lot on the New Chauncey Neighborhood side of the building. The lot provided a large open area to act as a transition buffer between the smaller residential buildings to the east and the much larger planned development building along Northwestern Avenue. With the current design of The Landmark, no such architectural transition exists. Staff requested that renderings of The Landmark be provided so the neighborhood could be afforded the opportunity to the see the building in context with its surroundings, just as they did during the 516 Northwestern Planned Development project. Petitioner initially agreed to provide the images and later withdrew the offering due to cost. For a project of this magnitude and impact, the Area Plan Commission, City Council and the neighborhood deserve a more complete look at what they might be getting than a simple cover page image can convey. Because of the subject property’s proximity to the residential neighborhoods of New Chauncey and Hills and Dales (the nearest homeowner is approximately 190 feet away), much care and sensitivity should be shown to strike the right balance between a dense, pedestrian-oriented, urban redevelopment and providing an appropriate transition to established lower density residential neighborhoods. As currently designed, this project imposes itself on its surroundings and stands to add potentially 385 more cars on the neighborhood’s streets. For these reasons, staff cannot support this project. This property, relative to its location to campus, will always be an attractive redevelopment site. The City of West Lafayette should be very discriminating on sites such as this and not accept a project unless it meets and surpasses the community’s expectations. If the volume of negative responses staff has received from the public are any indication of the community’s wishes on this matter, the city council would be advised to deny this rezone petition and acknowledge that sometimes it is worth waiting for a more appropriate project. STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Denial The Commission should vote on the rezoning petition with the following condition which should be part of the original motion: All requirements of UZO 2-28-10 for submission of Final Detailed Plans, signed off by those noted in that section, shall be met and shall include:

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

All sheets (other than preliminary plat) that make up the approved Preliminary Plan; PD construction plans per UZO Appendix B2-2; A final plat per UZO Appendix B-3-2 as applicable; Appropriate surety submitted with final detailed plans; Plant schedule approved by the West Lafayette Greenspace Administrator; Recordation of the alley vacation shall be completed prior to Final Detailed Plan approval and recordation. A traffic maintenance plan shall be submitted with the Final Detailed Plans, subject to the approval of the Administrative Officer of the City of West Lafayette. A replacement of Section 13 in The Landmark Narrative concerning the shared-car program so that it shall read: “Shared-car programs are consistent with our vision of a pedestrian friendly, low impact and sustainable development. In order to justify our efficient parking design we will implement a shared-car program. This program will not be confined to only using ZipCar as one or other shared-car vendors may be incorporated into The Landmark, with the approval of the Administrative Officer. If no shared-car vendor is available to implement the shared-car program, a private shared-car program shall be implemented by the owner of The Landmark. The Administrative Officer, prior to implementation, shall approve the details of the shared-car program. Each shared-car in the program shall count for 14 required residential parking spaces, based on what would have been required had The Landmark been parked residentially at the traditional 1 space per bedroom parking ratio; the Administrative Officer may reduce required residential parking accordingly with approval of the sharedcar program. With Administrative Officer approval a maximum of four sharedcars are allowed under a shared-car vendor program and all cars must be parked either on-site or on The Landmark’s Evergreen, Dodge or Allen street frontages. Under a private shared-car program four shared-cars are required, and all shared-cars must be located on-site and be for the exclusive use of the residents of The Landmark. Prior to approval of the Final Detailed Plans, the details of the shared-car program shall have been approved by the Administrative Officer. The shared-car program shall be in place prior to issuance of occupancy permits for the residential units.”

If the Commission recommends approval of the petition, the rezoning petition moves on to the City Council subject to the condition. If the Commission recommends denial, the rezoning petition moves on to the City Council; however a recommendation of denial cannot include any conditions. In that case the Commission can then take a separate vote in the form of a recommendation to the City Council that the Council, if it chooses to approve the rezoning petition, do so subject to the condition which can be imposed by the Council at that time pursuant to Indiana Code Section 36-7-4-1512(a)(1).
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