City Council Discusses Abortion, Approves Cherry Street Rezoning | City and State
The West Lafayette City Council discussed Indiana Senate Bill 1 and approved rezoning ordinances for the Birck Boilermaker Golf Resort expansion and plans for two new apartment buildings during the meeting of Tuesday.
Cherry Street Rezoning
The City Council unanimously approved the ordinance freeing up part of Cherry Lane for the expansion of the Birck Boilermaker Golf Resort.
The purpose of the construction is to reline part of the road near the Spurgeon Golf Training Center to expand the golf course through which Cherry Lane passes.
The construction plan is to curve a small section of the road to the north and install an elevated roundabout that will rest on a tunnel for golf carts. The roundabout is intended to fix the historic problem of speed on this road, Ellen said.
“The hope is to start the curve this fall and complete it by next fall, but times often change,” said Maryanne Ellen, Purdue board member and representative of the Purdue Research Foundation. . “The new portion of Cherry Lane is going to have a real safety benefit for users and surrounding properties.”
West Lafayette City Attorney Eric Burns proposed a two-sentence amendment to the construction plan delaying the road closure until absolutely necessary, which passed unanimously.
“Until this approval, the city will be responsible for the maintenance, control, monitoring and responsibilities of the street,” Burns said.
The building plans with Burns’ amendment were approved by a 6-0 vote.
Rezoning of Waldron Apartments
City Council unanimously passed Ordinance No. 26-22 rezoning Weida Apartments near the intersection of Waldron Street and Third Street. According to the new rezoning plan, the apartments will be studios and will have 82 beds. There will also be parking at the rear of the building.
The demolition of the apartments was originally scheduled for January 2023, but Kevin Riley, legal counsel representing Weida, said the new date was May 2023 after the start. The change came after tenants expressed concern about leases running out of time.
Tenants whose leases end after the start can end their lease or Weida will relocate them, Riley said.
Hardesty, who said he was previously hesitant to vote in favor of the ordinance, said he changed his mind after Riley said the demolition schedule had been pushed back.
“The initial language made me feel like they were ready to evict people without negotiation,” Hardesty said.
Rezoning of the Vine-Fowler intersection
City Council passed the ordinance rezoning the area at the intersection of Vine and Fowler Street, for the construction of a high-rise apartment complex.
Order No. 27-22 passed 5-0 with Councilman David Sanders abstaining.
The apartment complex had the option of commercial ownership, but it was not guaranteed. Instead, the skyscraper will have 191 residential units with 334 rooms and a 107-space underground car park, according to the proposal.
Sanders said he abstained because he wanted more commercial space in the complex.
“It seems to me that we should have committed to having (commercial spaces) included in this before moving forward.”
Sanders also expressed concerns about the excessive construction of skyscrapers and apartment complexes in West Lafayette.
“One of the worst things that can happen to a community is overbuilding, and when all of a sudden you have vacant spaces,” Sanders said.
City council weighs in on Indiana abortion ban
Councilor David Sanders said at the meeting that he was against the abortion ban and that he
using her salary as a West Lafayette City Council member to help city employees gain access to abortions.
“If there are city employees who have to travel out of state to get pregnancy-related health care, they can no longer receive it in the state of Indiana,” Sanders said. “I will cover the transportation.”
Purdue student representative on the city council, Ted Hardesty, asked Tippecanoe County Attorney Pat Harrington to determine whether he would enforce SB 1.
“The state will no doubt try to override the county attorney,” Hardesty said, “but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to hear Pat Harrington on this position.”
West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Master Plan
Kathy Lozano, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for West Lafayette, presented a resolution to adopt the West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Master Plan 2022-2027 to City Council.
The Master Plan is a year-long effort of West Lafayette community members who provide input to the West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department on what they would like to see in their community and parks.
The five-year master plan was created earlier this year, and Lozano has prepared an update to the plan as a whole. She mainly talked about the importance of Cason Family Park, which is the #1 item in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Cason Family Park is located at the corner of Cumberland Ave and US 231. The park is still in the design phase and is expected to begin construction in 2023.
“The Cason family donated 13.8 acres to the city of West Lafayette,” Lozano said. “The school that was on the site has been completely renovated and renewed for the needs of the park. We were able to acquire an additional 14 acres of land. It’s going to be a very, very nice park.
The 20-acre park will include trails, playgrounds, existing woodlots and a large pond equipped for kayaking, canoeing, fishing and many other water activities.
“We’ve heard a lot about our community, and the one thing we’ve really heard from community members asking for is better access to water, and that’s one way to achieve that,” said said Lazano. “We have a lot of different projects on our slate for the master plan, and this Cason family park is our top priority.”
Three city councilors praised Kathy Lazano for her detailed report on the master plan and how her efforts are making a difference in West Lafayette. Council member Gerald Thomas praised the community impact of the parks from his perspective.
“I would say parks are a very important part of our community,” Thomas said. “When I ask community members what made them move here, one of the top answers is always parks or trails. So keep this community growing.
Another opportunity for public hearings opened up after Lazano’s presentation. Two defenders of the Lost Community Art Center approached the stand.
Angela Peterson moved to West Lafayette in 1998. She discovered the West Lafayette Morton Community Center in 2000.
“It was my salvation,” Angela said. “The arts, Tai Chi classes, yoga classes, exercise classes and the sense of community really made me feel like I was part of something.”
The West Lafayette City Council moved last year in January to the building that was once known as the Morton Community Center. Peterson feels that the sense of community provided by the community center is lost.
Where the Morton Community Center moved to after the original building became the Town Hall building is unclear.
More than one city council member took notice of this issue, and Kathy Lozano even sat down with the two women to discuss the matter on a more personal matter after the meeting.
One council member, Ted Hardesty, even attempted to postpone the issue of the parks master plan in an effort to focus on the community center. The motion did not pass, but the parks master plan passed 6-0 soon after.