In a letter to Current, Dave Fox condemns the recent rezone for 146th and Monon and criticizes my vote. The path forward was not as obvious for me as it was for Mr. Fox. As a matter of fact, the easy, politically safe decision would be to leave things as they are and essentially do nothing, change nothing. I offer some context for the decision I was compelled to make.
The project consists of three adjacent parcels facing 146th Street and in the shadow of the Monon Trail Bridge. As 146th Street has been widened over the years, the houses are now close to a divided road that is becoming a major east/west highway controlled by the county. Over the years the homes became rentals, fell into disrepair and now sit vacant. The land has been for sale since 2018 with no interest under current zoning. The surrounding properties are single family homes.
With a willing buyer proposing residential, albeit attached, we fend off alternative uses like a commercial strip center. Experience has taught us that in an area where someone is not willing to build their single family dream home, a higher density approach can be a healthy alternative. This project, next to the Monon Trail, is a way for Carmel to protect the existing property values and lifestyle by attracting a buyer (not a renter) who is willing to pay $600,000 to be near amenities and have no maintenance. This very important criteria was used to justify the 146th and Monon zoning change and is clearly stated in the city’s adopted comprehensive plan.
I understand my vote angered some and I regret that. I would not have done it had I not believed it would protect the neighborhood, solve a land use problem and be in the overall best interest of our community.
Jeff Worrell, Carmel City Council member at-large