Carmel city council approves Old Town neighborhood at 136th Street, Keystone Parkway

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The Carmel City Council approved plans for a maximum of 165 dwellings on 60 acres on the northeast corner of Keystone Parkway and 136th Street.

Carmel-based Old Town Companies will develop the project, which was originally proposed to have 238 dwellings. City councilor Sue Finkam, whose district includes the project site, said the developer’s willingness to work with nearby residents throughout the process is among the reasons she supported it.

“The developer started with the neighbors approximately a year ago in the spring,” she said. “Before us tonight is (the culmination) of a year’s worth of meetings that started with a group of HOA representatives.”

The dwellings will consist of single-family homes and townhomes. Old Town originally proposed condos on the site as well but took them out of the plan after meeting with nearby residents.

Councilor Tony Green cast the lone vote against the project.

“The product and proposal we have before us today is much better than the PUD that was brought to us earlier on,” he said. “I still have lots of concerns about the traffic, but it was an excellent proposal.”

Before the vote, City of Carmel Engineering Administrator Josh Kirsh showed a video he took of traffic at the 136th Street and Keystone Parkway roundabout, the city’s only roundabout that uses a light system to control traffic during peak hours. He said the heavy traffic only lasted 15 to 20 minutes, with vehicles waiting to go through the intersection for more than two minutes. Traffic peaks shortly after 7:15 a.m. as students head to Carmel High School.

Finkam said a traffic study showed that the new neighborhood should not significantly add to the traffic burden in the area and that other road improvement projects, such as the future expansion of Lowe’s Way, should help ease traffic in the area.

Finkam said Old Town’s final proposal included several important features, including preservation of the historic home on the property, a perimeter path that connects to the Hagan-Burke Trail and a commitment to build custom homes. She said she was disappointed that the developer did not include lower-level priced homes to bring more affordable housing to the city’s east side.

“I know several of us are concerned about that,” she said. “We’ll continue to look for the right project to do that with.”

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