By Adam Aasen
The project isn’t officially dead, but appears that plans to construct waste water storage tanks on a church property are now on life support.
Carmel residents filled the Clay Township Government Center on Wednesday night to voice their displeasure over the idea of building a wet weather storage facility at King of Glory Church on 106th Street near the Millbrook neighborhood. Neighbors were concerned that the tanks would be an eyesore that could lower property values and possibly harm the environment.
The Clay Township Regional Waste District (CTRWD) offered to buy land from the church for $106,000, but stated that eminent domain could be used to forcibly take the property. King of Glory leaders considered the offer, but asked on July 25 that the offer be rescinded.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard is not a fan of the proposal and city permits would be needed to construct such a project, something the city might not want to grant.
As a result, City Councilor Kevin “Woody” Rider stood up at the meeting to announce to everyone that he strongly believes this plan won’t proceed.
“Just tell people that this plan is dead,” he told the CTRWD board. “Because I can tell you, this plan is not going to happen. It’s not going to happen.”
Board President Ron Hagan wouldn’t declare the plan dead, but did note that the next step would have to be eminent domain and that is not an option that is used very regularly. He told the crowd they would take all opinions into consideration and discuss the options at the next public meeting of the board at 7 p.m. on Aug. 11.
The CTRWD provided detailed project sheet and a four-page summary of the project background to all attendees in the hopes that they would understand why the district felt this was the best option. Officials contend that this plan is safe and cost effective and that they would do their best to hide the tanks with tree barriers.
But attendees were not convinced. Numerous residents stood at the microphone to plead with the council to move the plans elsewhere – somewhere away from a residential area.
“Carmel has a tank similar to this, but it’s behind a Dairy Queen, which is where it should be,” said Ken Martin at the meeting.
Vince Artale told the board that he just hopes there’s more communication before a decision is made.
“One of the major things you need to do is to involve all the neighbors,” he said. “There may be some misconceptions. There may be things we don’t understand. But you haven’t told us much.”
David Hoffman, president of the Millbrook Homeowners Association, asked the board to consider Brainard’s suggestion that the tanks be moved to the city’s sewer plant property.
“I would ask that the Clay Township Regional Waste District to work with Carmel,” he said. “It may be more expensive but then you aren’t asking these homeowners to shoulder the burden.”
Andrew Williams, utility director for the CTRWD, said the project might take months now considering the need to examine a variety of options and involve the public, but he assures that no decision will be made lightly.
“This is the beginning of a project,” Hagan told the crowd, “not the end of a project.”
Size: 1 million gallon unit enclosed in concrete wall, 105 feet in diameter, 15 feet side wall, 5 feet below grade with 10 feet exposed.
Air Quality: Air purification unit with an automatic wash down system after rain.
Screening: At least 50 evergreen teens, 8 to 10 feet tall and 10 deciduous trees. Additional trees and a privacy fence would be added later.
Usage: Officials estimate it would filled and emptied about two to five times a year when especially heavy rain occurs.
Cost: About $2 million