Pine Street closing on City Council agenda Tuesday
A proposal for the City of Greencastle to vacate right-of-way adjacent to the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house will be considered Tuesday night when the City Council conducts its March meeting, beginning at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
Phi Gamma Delta -- aka the Fiji house -- is seeking to have the Pine Street right-of-way vacated that runs east and west between Lincoln Avenue and College Avenue at the south end of the DePauw University campus.
The Fijis are planning a revised parking lot and renovation/expansion of their fraternity house at 916 S. College Ave.
Greencastle City Planner Shannon Norman attended a neighborhood meeting hosted by the fraternity on Feb. 27 in which three neighbors showed up, even though the fraternity had invited "quite a few more people than required by public notice," she noted.
The Fijis currently own property on both sides of the right-of-way, Norman said, and the section of Pine Street in question separates their two projects.
The nature of College Avenue being a one-way street northbound compounds issue as well.
"Currently they have a parking situation where house members have to back into Pine Street to go north on College Avenue," Norman said.
As it stands, Pine Street, which is only 15 feet wide and really does not meet city street specifications, is "pretty much exclusively used by the fraternity and those looking to get to College Avenue to go north," Norman explained.
"It really makes sense to close it (Pine Street) off and retain the utility easements," the planner added, "not just for Fijis but for future planning of the area."
The measure will first come up Tuesday evening as a public hearing at the outset of the Council meeting and then be considered as the first of two readings of Ordinance 2016-1 to vacate the right-of-way.
Norman sees the measure as "just sort of clearing up an issue the city has all over town. We own a lot of alleyways. What's different in this case is it divides the property in half."
She noted that the vacation move, if approved, would end the need for vehicles to back into the roadway (a safety concern) and eliminate street parking (a congestion issue) in that area, as well as providing new parking spaces for house members.
In other business, the City Council will be asked to considered street closings for First Friday events downtown beginning this spring and continue into early fall, as well as the April 30 DePauw Little 5 races that would close portions of College Avenue and Anderson, Locust, Hanna and Olive streets.
Also on the agenda is Resolution 2016-1 declaring an economic revitalization area for Heartland Automotive in preparation of tax-abatement proceedings on new equipment for the auto parts manufacturer at 300 S. Warren Drive.
The City Council includes President Adam Cohen and members Mark Hammer, Tyler Wade, Steve Fields, Stacie Langdon, David Murray and Gary Lemon.