BlueIndy halts building of charging station over property owner’s objections

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 3, 2015)-- Randy Peterman and his family have sold and serviced tires at the corner of Shelby Street and Croft Court near Garfield Park for more than 40 years.

He paid the taxes on the property, the rental house behind it and the sidewalk, too.

So Peterman was stunned last Thursday to find orange barrels blocking the curb lane along his sidewalk and a city-issued building permit listing him as the property owner of the site where BlueIndy intended to take up five parking spaces and build a charging station on his property.

"They never told us they were going to do this," said Peterman. "They're going to put their electric cars out here, and I said, 'What about the people who live here?' They said, 'We'll try to figure something out.' I said, 'Where are they supposed to go? Where are we supposed to park?'"

Peterman isn't only worried about his customers, he's worried about his renters, too. One is in a wheelchair, the other had a heart attack, and both need access to the curb for parking or to be picked up for physical therapy.

"Cottage Corners will come and pick up people if they need help to go to Cottage Corners," said Don Magill, who worries he will have to move if the parking spaces are occupied 24/7 by BlueIndy. "They have to have this access area to take us to the doctor's office or if I need to park in the wintertime, I have to park here."

The permit drawn in Peterman's name and issued for the Blue Indy project allows Miller Eads to begin construction as soon as today, those plans have been put on hold.

BlueIndy General Manager Scott Prince issued the following statement:

"When BlueIndy found out there were disabled residents (wheelchair) using the unmarked street parking directly in front to load/unload, we quickly consulted with the City and paused the pre-construction process for that station in order to meet with the residents, store and building owners directly related. Solutions being discussed this week to hopefully create a good option for all parties for this rare situation. Relevant parties seem to agree an affordable and efficient new transit option like BlueIndy has high value as long as the location of the local station is optimal."

The Office of Code Enforcement provided FOX59 News with a list of the first 28 BlueIndy locations.

Prince said eventually there will be 200 as electric rental cars blanket the city.

Neighbors suggest moving the BlueIndy charging stations a half-block away to a City-owned parking lot on Garfield Park.

Business owner Randy Peterman doesn't think the concept will find favor in his neighborhood.

"Cuz people are just not going to use them," he said. "You're in a smaller community. Yes, you got Garfield Park over there so put them over in the park where people can use them. In the park. People are coming over here to buy tires. They're not coming over here to rent cars. I don't think they would."

Some neighbors see the imminent arrival of BlueIndy cars as an investment in their community.

"There's a lot of good progress," said Nick Zuckerman, who bought a home nearby three years ago. "I think it needs to be talked about and I'm not saying it needs to be definite either way but we have the eatery going in here and this is a serious way of putting our names on the map here in terms of a viable asset."

A spokesman for the Office of Code Enforcement told FOX59 News that while Peterman is listed as the property owner on the building permit, and is responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk, he doesn't own that stretch of property and the city and BlueIndy are within their rights to build charging stations there.

The city waived the $7,852 permitting fee for BlueIndy and Miller Eads.

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