Back in January and February, the Carmel Plan Commission considered whether to rezone a piece of residential property on Main Street in the Carmel Arts & Design District into commercial land.
After months of being sent to the Carmel City Council, the proposal is back in the hands of the plan commission, but the proposal has changed. The commission considered a full rezone of most of the block instead of taking a piecemeal approach and rezoning a few parcels.
A public hearing was scheduled for 6 p.m. on May 19 at city hall.
Originally, Soori Ardalan, owner of nearby Soori Gallery, petitioned for a rezone for land totaling 0.33 acres, located at 321 W. Main St., across from the Beauty Lounge. She planned to tear down the existing structure and construct a building similar to the size of the Evan Lurie Building.
The city’s planning department had some concerns about only rezoning these two parcels instead of the entire area, stating, “The department would like to see the entire block rezoned at one time, however, all property owners would not consent to this right now. Over time, we would expect the rest of this block to be rezoned and redeveloped. We are concerned that rezoning this one lot is a piecemeal approach to the redevelopment of this area.”
The plan commission went ahead and recommended the rezone and it was sent to the city council, but there was much debate about whether proper notice was sent out about this rezone. Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard argued that the matter should be sent back to the plan commission because someone could sue the city if a rezone was passed without sending out letters to the right homes.
The council voted 6-1 on March 16 to send the matter back to plan commission, with City Council President Rick Sharp being the lone dissenting vote.
Now, the matter is showing up as full rezone of 12 properties, which Councilor Kevin “Woody” Rider said is the best option for everyone involved.
The proposal would rezone properties in a two-block area of the Carmel Arts & Design District, generally bound by West Main Street, 4th Avenue S.W., 1st Street S.W. and the Monon Greenway. Some properties have R-2, B-3 or B-5 zoning classifications but this would make the entire area C-2, which is the zoning classification for the Old Town District businesses. Properties include: 251, 311, 321, 331 West Main Street; 208, 220, 230, 320 1st Street S.W. and 20, 25 3rd Avenue S.W.
Since many of these properties are residential homes right now, neighbors expressed concerns about obtrusive businesses opening up next to their houses. Some wondered if there property taxes would go up. Rider said there’s nothing to be worried about and if you want to continue to live in your home you can, you don’t have to turn it into a business. He said the biggest change is that property values will increase, which he said is a good thing.