Mary Solada and Greg Ewing Discuss Newly Enacted “Indy Rezone” Ordinance
Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP partner Mary Solada and land planner Gregory J. Ewing discussed the newly enacted Consolidated Zoning/Subdivision Ordinance governing the development and use of “echo housing” in Indianapolis and the changes it poses for the city in a recent issue of The Indiana Lawyer.
Solada and Ewing previously discussed this ordinance, dubbed the “Indy Rezone” project in its initial stages, in their blog post, “An Overview of Indianapolis Zoning Ordinance Amendments Effective April 1, 2016.” In it, they explained this the new ordinance represents a more up-to-date model, applicable to the physical and cultural development vision of the early 21st Century. The new zoning ordinance represents a recognition of current national trends in the practice of municipal planning and zoning and development.
According to the publication, while Indy Rezone is raising some questions as any ordinance would, lawyers are mostly looking at it favorably. In her interview, Solada described Indy Rezone as a “thought-leadership document” about the best practices for private development in the future.
Solada explained that economic development is linked to zoning and the Circle City has to keep pace with future trends to remain viable. As Indianapolis competes in a global economy, it has to offer the kinds of housing choices and other amenities to ensure that the talent local businesses need comes and stays in the city. She said if Indianapolis does not adhere to best practices that create livable cities, it could lose professionals and educated residents to competing municipalities like Austin, Texas, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee.
Additionally, the new ordinance further encourages increased density of people by including mixed-use districts that combine commercial, service and residential zoning into one building or one geographic area. Mixed-use developments have been popping up in cities and towns around the state, but the previous ordinance did not provide any regulations for them in Indianapolis.
Ewing told The Indiana Lawyer that the mixed-use provision clearly focuses on the concept of allowing people to work, live and play in the same area. Other provisions in the ordinance further that goal by moving buildings closer to the street, adding more trees and reducing parking. Indeed, the city is hoping the concentration of businesses and homes will cause more people to leave their cars parked.