Carmel Dad’s Club proposes 74-foot tall sports structure for Main Street fields

This map shows the proposed location for an air-supported structure. (submitted photo)
This map shows the proposed location for an air-supported structure. (submitted photo)

Some members of the Carmel City Council are raising concerns about a proposed 74-foot structure for outdoor fields at the Carmel Dads Club on Main Street. The Dads Club will appear before the Board of Zoning Appeals on Jan. 25 because city ordinances only allow buildings to reach 35 feet in height in that area.

Described as a “bubble,” this air-supported structure would allow for the outdoor fields at 5459 E. Main Street to be enclosed to protect against weather, allowing participants to play sports like soccer year round.

In the application, Fanning/Howey Associates, which is representing the Dads Club in this matter, argues that the existence of this structure will be visually screened by tree lines, separating this project from neighboring residential units. There’s a 75-foot buffer between the structure and the next property on one side and 450 feet on the other side. There are also 26 parking spaces with some lighting fixtures.

Carmel City Councilor Ron Carter said he loves the Dads Club and all the great things they do, but he thinks this proposal is too large for where it is proposed.

“To put it in perspective, this would be bigger than City Hall (in terms of height),” he said.

City Councilor Sue Finkam said she thinks this idea might be better suited for another Dads Club property.

“I love this idea but not in this location,” she said.

Carmel Dads Club President Jack Beery said they haven’t had conversations with any city councilors yet but they are happy to discuss the proposal. He said it is still preliminary.

“We’re still in the discussion phases right now,” he said. “The earliest we would be going in front of zoning would be January. We will be happy to provide more information at that time.”

Detailed plans and a complete application were sent to zoning officials. It originally was set to appear in November for a single BZA hearing officer to decide the matter, but the issue has been tabled and will appear before the entire BZA in January.