The March Fishers City Council Meeting will be held on Monday, March 21, 2022. I warmly encourage you to participate.
A Work Session will be held at 6:30pm, prior to the 7pm City Council Meeting. No action is taken at a Work Session. It is a gathering of the city council members to gather information about a specific topic. Work Sessions are always open to the public to observe. It will be held in City Hall.
This Work Session is related to Agenda Item #12, Consideration of a Rezone for Bel Canto proposed housing project. There is one item for the Work Session: The outcome of a neighborhood meeting held on Feb 16 that was attended virtually by 99 neighbors. In addition, 300 neighbors responded to a survey. The purpose of this meeting was to receive neighbor feedback on a proposed multifamily housing development for the SE corner of 136th and Cyntheanne Road. The development is called The Cottages and the developer is Bel Canto. See Agenda Item #12.
How to Observe and Participate in the City Council Meeting at City Hall
- The meeting will be held in-person and will be open to in-person attendees.
- A video of the meeting will be broadcast live at http://tinyurl.com/CityOfFishers starting at 7pm on Monday so you can watch from home. This is a way to observe the meeting only.
- In-person attendees are welcomed to address the City Council during any Public Hearings during the meeting – and during Community Comment, which is held at the end of every meeting.
- Fishers residents are also welcomed to submit public comments electronically prior to the meeting. In order to submit a comment, you need to designate the date of the meeting that you want to comment on. Look at the public meeting calendar. Then, complete the online Public Comment Form. Select “City Council” and that will open a comment box for you to type in. Submit your comments by NOON on Monday, the day of the meeting. All comments submitted before the meeting will be presented to City Council members. These comments are not read aloud but become part of the official meeting minutes.
- Community Comment at the end of each City Council meeting is always open for your comment on any Fishers topic. This is an “open mic” opportunity for 10 Fishers residents to address the City Council for up to three minutes each. The council members are not required to resolve or respond to your comments at that moment. Usually, pathways are identified for follow-up and additional dialogue.
- Meeting agendas and past meeting minutes can be found here, under City Council tab.
- Past meeting videos are supposed to be posted within 48 hours of the meeting. You can find the videos in the City of Fishers YouTube channel.
City Council Meeting
The City Council Meeting agendas are available here, under the City Council header. Each agenda has items on it that appear in blue. These are links to open the supporting documents. Here’s a rundown of this meeting’s agenda items and my interpretation of them.
5. Finance Committee Report. The Finance Committee is charged with advising the City Council on matters concerning the general financial operations of the City. Since City Council is responsible for fiscal oversight, this monthly report is very important. Typically, the report is reflected in action items for the City Council that are reflected in the “Budget/Financial” part of the meeting agenda.
6. Health Department update. This agenda item will include a Fishers Health Department report about our city’s vaccine status, COVID community risk status, and other important public health info. The City of Fishers’ COVID community level is LOW! This is welcome news! Please get vaccinated and boosted to keep Fishers healthy.
7. Consent Agenda.
There are two items on the Consent Agenda.
Item a. is approval of last month’s City Council meeting minutes.
Item b. transfers funds. These actions transfer funds within the city budget, which is needed periodically. The transfers do not adjust the bottom line at all. This is a transfer of dollars from one budget category to another to avoid a negative balance in a category.
The Consent Agenda is a grouping of routine reports that should be approved in one swift action, instead of approving each one separately. I believe that all items included on the Consent Agenda should be approved as presented and approved unanimously. If not, the item that requires a revision, abstention, or other action needs to be removed from the Consent Agenda and considered as a separate voting item.
8 and 9. Resolution and Ordinance for Highline Project (Envoy).
Back in August, the City Council approved a project agreement in a 5-2 vote for a proposed 26-acre development for six buildings including 280 apartments, 18,600 square feet of 1st floor restaurant/commercial/retail space and an additional 4800 square feet of restaurant space. These actions (8 & 9, a resolution and an ordinance) are the necessary steps to implement the project agreement that was approved.
8. Resolution is the City Council’s decision to create the new allocation area and amend the economic development plan. This resolution is the final step now that the Redevelopment Commission and Plan Commission have approved it.
9. Ordinance is the City Council’s decision to use Tax Increment Financing for a $10 million bond for the project. The city is going to take out a $10 million loan (bond) to help finance the project. The bond will be paid back over 25 years with the proceeds from the Tax Increment Finance arrangement.
Several months ago, I voted NO to this project agreement for three reasons.
1. I learned about this project for the very first time only three days before the City Council vote. I don’t know why this was the case but this rush is unacceptable. Although I tried my best, I couldn’t fulfill my responsibility to fully evaluate the project and gather citizen feedback with the time I was given.
2. I am not yet convinced that the city’s proposed $10 million investment in Tax Increment Financing to support this developer’s project is necessary or wise.
3. State Senator Scott Baldwin is the project developer’s CEO. He is an elected official who represents Fishers. Senator Baldwin’s connection to this project was not presented to our citizens with transparency.
The location of Envoy’s Highline project is the south of 106th Street, between Lantern Road and Kincaid Blvd. https://goo.gl/maps/8RWrTXG6P6KEGbRb7
Envoy, the developer, expects to invest $52 milllion into this project. The developer will create a sidewalk (pedestrian trail) around the perimeter of the development and a road that connects Lantern Rd to Kincaid Blvd (Pearl Street). I note that these infrastructure improvements are enhancements to this development area specifically.
The city is going to take out a $10 million loan (bond) to help finance the project. The bond will be paid back over 25 years with the proceeds from the Tax Increment Finance arrangement.
Tax Increment Financing is a commonly used tactic to pay for infrastructure improvements designed to spur economic development in the area. I believe that TIF has to be used very carefully. I always apply the “but for” test. This is evidence that the development would be impossible “but for” the investment of TIF. When TIF is invested in a development, the incremental taxes that the developer would pay once the project is completed are diverted to pay off the bond that paid for the infrastructure improvements.
More about TIF:
What Is a TIF short video – https://www.trilandproperties.com/what-is-a-tif-and-how-does-a-tif-work/
The Use of Tax Increment Finance – https://pcrd.purdue.edu/ruralindianastats/downloads/The-Use-of-Tax-Increment-Finance.pdf
2018 Fiscal Impact of TIF in Fishers – https://www.fishers.in.us/DocumentCenter/View/15803/14818?bidId=
10. Amendment to Fishers Salary Ordinance. This action considers adding a Social Worker position to the Fishers Health Department. The salary of this new position will be covered by a grant.
Planning & Zoning
11. Easement Vacation of Highline Project (Envoy). See items 9 & 10 for project details. An “Easement Vacation” is when a government transfers the right-of-way of a public easement to a private property owner. FINAL READING is the final vote and consideration of a matter.
12. Consideration of a Rezone for Bel Canto proposed housing project. Please see information at the beginning of this blog post about the Work Session that preceded the City Council meeting. This is a proposed multifamily housing development for the SE corner of 136th and Cyntheanne Road. The development is called The Cottages and the developer is Bel Canto. See Agenda Item #12. Neighbors would rather see commercial here to serve the growing population in this newly developed area of the city.
The proposal was discussed at the Plan Commission a few weeks ago and was given an Unfavorable Recommendation. You can view the March 2, 2022 Plan Commission meeting with public comment at this link. It starts at 6:00 mark. Here is the Indy Star article published on March 2, 2022. FINAL READING is the final vote and consideration of a matter.
13 and 14. Voluntary Annexation and Consideration of a Rezone for Abbott Commons. FIRST READING and PUBLIC HEARING. This is a proposed new 98-acre housing development of 345 homes and townhomes, ranging from approximately $325,000-$475,000. First reading is the introduction of a matter only and no vote is taken.
The Voluntary Annexation item includes a Public Hearing.
A PUBLIC HEARING means that any resident is invited to comment on this topic. This is the only opportunity to make a comment and address the City Council on this specific matter. Fishers residents are welcomed to submit comments for the public hearing on this matter electronically prior to the meeting. All comments received by noon on Monday on the day of the meeting should be presented during this part of the meeting and will be part of the meeting’s official minutes. The Public Comment Form is live on the website right now.
If you do attend the City Council meeting in-person, you may comment on this matter during this part of the meeting. The City Council President will open the public hearing by asking if anyone would like to speak. If no one indicates that they want to speak, the public hearing can be closed quickly. So, please indicate immediately that you have something to say when the public hearing is opened. Otherwise, you may miss your chance.
Community Comment. All comments submitted through the online are supposed to be provided to the city council members before the meeting and become a part of the meeting’s official record. The Public Comment Form is live on the website right now. Select “City Council Meeting” and that will open a comment box for you to type in. Submit your comments by noon on Monday, the day of the meeting, so they can be distributed before the meeting.
If you have any comments or questions, please send them my way. Email is a good way to get a hold of me.
Thank you for reading all of this. 🙂