Carmel BZA hearing officer approves 95 percent lot coverage variance for 111th and Penn redevelopment project

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A Carmel Board of Zoning Appeals hearing officer on Nov. 27 approved a variance to allow a mixed-use development planned on the northeast corner of 111th and Pennsylvania streets to cover 95 percent of the lot rather than a maximum of 80 percent as permitted by city code.

The $700 million project, a partnership between developer Pedcor and the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, is set to include 58 for-sale townhomes, 912 multi-family units, 430,000-square-feet of office space along Pennsylvania Street, two public parking garages and a public park/plaza to anchor the space. It is set to be built in four phases over 15 years.

The variance was approved by Jim Hawkins, a BZA member who served as the hearing officer. His decision may be appealed within 30 days to the full BZA.

Four Carmel residents remonstrated against the request during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Craig Striegle, who has lived near the site of the project since the mid-1990s, said he opposes removal of the forested area currently on the property and believes the project does not fit with the surrounding residential areas.

“Make (the project) smaller or move it someplace else. Keep the nature area,” Striegle said. “We’re losing (natural areas) in Carmel. All you see is buildings. It’s got to stop getting so big and out of control. We’re losing our neighborhoods.”

CRC Director Henry Mestetsky said Pedcor has committed to providing more trees than initially required and that the project’s Midtown Plaza-like gathering space will benefit nearby residents.

“It will only enhance the value of the surrounding properties and not in any way be a detriment,” Mestetsky said.

In 2017 the Carmel City Council rezoned the 38-acre site to C2. For properties with C2 zoning, variance requests are considered by a single hearing officer rather than the full BZA. The development plan and other elements of the project will be presented to a Carmel Plan Commission hearing officer for review and approval. A hearing date has not been set.


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