The Carmel City Council voted 5-4 to approve rezoning for 15 townhomes on 146th Street west of Rolling Hills Drive during an Aug. 3 meeting that grew contentious before the vote.
Estridge Development Management plans to build for-sale townhomes expected to cost between $400,000 and $500,000 on 1.3 acres of land near the Monon Greenway. The site is completely surrounded by single-family homes.
Several nearby residents asked the council to reject the proposal, citing concerns about traffic, drainage and density.
Councilor Kevin “Woody” Rider said he supported the project in part because 146th Street has changed since the homes were built decades ago. He said if the site were a good fit for single-family development it would have happened by now.
“We’re not here to do something harmful to Carmel. We don’t need this project to line the coffers to pay our bills,” he said. “It’s about a piece of land that used to be on a two-lane county road that is now more or less an east-west highway.”
As Rider explained his reasons for supporting the project, security removed three remonstrators from the room after they repeatedly interrupted his comments.
Councilor Sue Finkam said she supported the project because she believes future proposals for the site would likely be commercial developments, which she feels would not be a good fit for the area.
“My personal goal is to keep this corridor as residential as possible,” she said. “I don’t want any more commercial intrusion.”
Councilor Tim Hannon joined Miles Nelson, Bruce Kimball and Tony Green in voting against the project. He said he could not support it because of the density of 11.9 homes per acre compared to the 1.7 to 2.3 homes per acre in the surrounding neighborhood. He also pointed to dozens of other townhomes already in existence or planned nearby.