Carmel council could increase distance between new gas stations, residential areas

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The Carmel City Council is considering expanding the setback for new gas stations adjacent to residential areas and schools from 80 to 500 feet.

The Carmel Plan Commission already approved the change, but the city council will have the final vote on the matter. The council voted at its Aug. 16 meeting to send the ordinance to the Land Use and Special Studies Committee for further review. A committee meeting date has not been announced.

The Carmel Healthy Neighborhood Alliance, formed in 2020 after Family Express proposed a new gas station in the Village of WestClay less than 500 feet away from homes and a senior living facility, asked the city to amend the ordinance.

Jackie Phillips, a WestClay resident who founded CHNA, told the council during the public hearing on the ordinance amendment that she’s spent the last 14 months learning about the dangers of benzene fumes, which she said can cause cancer and worsen breathing problems.

Hamilton and Marion counties have regulations banning gas stations within 300 feet of residences, but the City of Carmel only requires them to be 80 feet apart. City code overrides the county’s rule in this case.

City Councilor Miles Nelson, a sponsor of the amendment and WestClay resident, has been supportive of the change since Phillips contacted him about it last year.

“As a member of the city government, I realized it’s our responsibility to make sure we are doing all we can to keep our citizens safe,” he said. “I believe keeping the air clean and the water clean for the rest of Carmel should be a top priority for us.”


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