Carmel plan commissioners question scope of updates to comprehensive plan 

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At the first of several meetings to take an in-depth look at proposed updates to the city’s comprehensive plan, Carmel Plan Commission members asked their consultant to more clearly define the scope and intended audience of the document. 

Refreshed approximately every decade, the comprehensive plan provides guidelines for development or redevelopment throughout the city. The comprehensive plan was last updated in 2009. 

The Nov. 2 meeting was set to discuss the plan’s policy goals and objectives, but as the evening progressed, it became clear commissioners didn’t agree on what they should be. 

During the meeting, CPC President Brad Grabow said he generally supports many of the proposed objectives, such as establishing a best-practices training program for city officials and promoting the advancement of technology infrastructure, but that they don’t belong in the comprehensive plan because they go beyond the purview of the commission, which primarily exists to make land-use decisions and recommendations to the city council.  

City Councilor Kevin “Woody” Rider, who also serves on the plan commission, agreed. 

“If people are looking for these concepts, they’re not going to go looking in the comprehensive plan,” he said. 

Commissioner Joshua Kirsh, who works as an engineering administrator for the City of Carmel, said the comprehensive plan should be a useful tool for city employees, developers and others without ties to the commission, so it makes sense to keep the scope broad. 

“This is all really good stuff, and to strike it from here because it doesn’t have to do with land planning, I think, is criminal. I think it’s a waste of time,” Kirsh said. 

Mark O’Neall, a senior associate with real estate and consulting firm Greenstreet, described the plan’s policy goals and objectives as “visionary and conceptual and high level” and designed to be easy to use beyond the plan commission and city staff. 

“Most comprehensive plans, including (Carmel’s existing) plan, are quite long and unwieldy and, therefore, not transparent,” O’Neall said. “Our intent with a website you can open on your phone and with three taps of your thumb get to the depths of any section is that it’s easily accessible and usable by more than just you all.” 

Additional meetings to review the comprehensive plan draft are set for 6 p.m. Nov. 29 and 30 at Carmel City Hall, 1 Civic Square. The Carmel City Council will have the final vote on the plan after the commission makes a recommendation. 

View the plan and share feedback at CarmelComprehensivePlan.com. 


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