Letter: Comprehensive plan revision draft promotes intensified development throughout Carmel



The Carmel Comprehensive Plan revision draft was released by the city’s Dept. of Community Services on Oct. 1. The Carmel Plan Commission public hearing will be held at City Hall at 6 p.m. Oct. 19.

If approved, this plan would enable drastic changes in future development projects throughout Carmel. Residential zoning would be further weakened via “relaxing use- and density-restrictions.” The plan encourages multi-story mixed-use development throughout the city for the purpose of increasing tax value per acre. Commercial development to provide “most daily needs” is encouraged within a 20-minute walk of all Carmel residents. Different housing types are encouraged within new and existing neighborhoods, which would include so-called accessory dwelling units built in backyards.

This plan proposes no height limits for buildings in most of the downtown area and most of the Meridian corridor. It would allow five-story buildings and commercial development along the full length of the Monon Trail in Carmel. It also would allow three-story buildings and commercial development along the White River.

Furthermore, this plan encourages three-story buildings and commercial development along “typical corridors,” including: 116th Street from the Boone County line to Spring Mill Road; 106th Street from Pennsylvania Street past Gray Road; 126th Street and Main Street from Keystone Parkway past Hazel Dell Road; 96th Street from Michigan Road to Meridian Street; College Avenue from 116th to 96th streets; and along the full length of 146th Street.

Some city officials have tried to downplay these changes, disingenuously saying that the comprehensive plan is only a “guide” and that the zoning is the “law.” But this ignores the fact that the residential zoning is routinely circumvented by the use of (planned unit developments) and that parts of the current comprehensive plan are often cited by developers and the DOCS in attempts to justify more-intense development proposals that are incompatible with area neighborhoods.

Whether or not you can attend the upcoming public hearing, please email your thoughts to Carmel Plan Commissioners at [email protected].

Dave Fox, Carmel