Carmel considering 61 percent increase in park impact fee


Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation is proposing a 61 percent jump in the city’s park impact fee through a phased increase over five years that would raise the rate from its current level of $4,882 to $7,863 in 2029.

A park impact fee is charged for each new dwelling constructed in Carmel to expand the park system and amenities as the city’s population grows. The fee is typically paid by a developer and factored into the sale price or rent of a home, according to CCPR.

State law mandates that park impact fee rates be established through a zone improvement plan, which must be updated at least every five years. According to CCPR’s proposed ZIP for 2025-2029, Carmel could charge an impact fee of up to $8,276, a total based on a state-mandated formula that factors the cost of park infrastructure needed to serve new residents, a 10-year projection of new housing units and other financial considerations.

Michael Klitzing
Michael Klitzing

Carmel’s park impact fee is already the highest in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, according to CCPR Director Michael Klitzing, who presented information on the proposed ZIP at the April 9 CCPR board meeting. Klitzing said it makes sense that Carmel would have the highest fee because it has historically spent more in building out its park system over the years than surrounding cities.

“We do not apologize for having the highest rate, and we do not apologize for proposing an even higher rate because of the investment this community has made,” he said. “The quality of the services and infrastructure we provide is second to one anywhere in the state and quite frankly, anywhere in the nation.”

State law requires park impact fees to be used for new capital projects identified in the ZIP. Projects set to receive park impact fee funds in the proposed ZIP are:

  • West Park – Continued implementation of the 2016 master plan
  • Bear Creek Park – Implementation of the 2022 master plan, which includes a playground, splash pad, trails, shelters and more
  • White River Corridor – Acquisition and development of park land along or near the White River
  • Thomas Marcuccilli Nature Park – Implementation of the 2023 master plan, which includes trails, boardwalks, restrooms and parking
  • Central core – Acquisition and development of park land in central Carmel
  • Chinese Garden – Implementation of plans for a garden adjacent to the Carmel Clay Public Library
  • Japanese Garden – Continued expansion of the existing garden south of City Hall

The park impact fee increase must be approved by the Carmel Plan Commission and Carmel City Council before it can be implemented. State law requires it not go into effect until at least six months after it is approved by the council.

The plan commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed ZIP during its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. April 16 at Carmel City Hall.