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City officials to argue for exemption in Community Justice Center development

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – City officials are preparing to argue why an exception should be made to a city ordinance to pave the way for a project.

Construction is already under way on the Community Justice Center on the near east side of Indianapolis.

According to our newsgathering partners at IndyStar, a specific part of the city’s plan raised concerns from those who live nearby, and now faces a battle for approval.

The $620 million project is located near the Pleasant Run Waterway. While the building was approved, a specific part of the proposal was not.

The plan includes a parking lot and service road which would come within 20 feet of the waterway. The problem is a 2015 ordinance called the Stream Protection Corridor. It requires 60 feet of green space between the banks of any waterway and new development.

IndyStar reports city officials asked for variance in order to complete the project. They argued that additional trees would be planted and proper structures would be put in place to catch storm water. The request was denied by the hearing examiner back in December.

On Thursday, officials plan to appeal that decision to the Metropolitan Planning Commission.

Mayor Joe Hogsett has promised to open the entire campus in 2022, financed within the current budget and with no new taxes.

The campus will eventually include a youth detention facility, and a training facility for the Indianapolis Fire Department. The Assessment and Intervention Center, intended to evaluate and refer mentally ill and addicted arrestees into treatment as opposed to jail, will open next fall.

In October of 2019 the Mayor spoke about the benefits saying, “We cannot jail illness. We cannot jail addiction. We cannot rely on prisons as health care centers.”

IndyStar reports that citizens who live near the future campus support the new project, but are concerned about the city not sticking to its own rule.

Officials plan to make their appeal Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m.

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