Carmel City Council rejects daycare proposal for Jackson’s Grant Village


The Carmel City Council on June 17 unanimously rejected a proposal that would have allowed for a 10,000-square-foot building to house a daycare in Jackson’s Grant Village

A daycare is a permitted use for the site, but the planned unit development ordinance that sets standards for Jackson’s Grant Village states that no single tenant may occupy more than 5,000 square feet. The limit on tenant space was set when the PUD was approved in 2020 in response to several nearby residents saying they did not want any retail included in the development. 

Petitioner DeMao Retail Consultants had requested several amendments to the PUD, including the addition of a 1.8-acre parcel surrounded on three sides by Jackson’s Grant Village. Republic Development, which is developing Jackson’s Grant Village, had hoped to incorporate the parcel into the project in 2020 but it did not become available before the PUD was approved. 

 With the parcel now proposed to become part of Jackson’s Grant Village, the petitioner requested a reconfiguration of the development to include the daycare building, noting that daycare industry standards require more than 5,000 square feet to feasibly operate. Ashley Ulbricht, an attorney representing DeMao Retail Consultants, said the proposal would keep the new parcel from being “an island” and allow it to be incorporated seamlessly.   

“All it does is take what was originally viewed as residential and move it slightly west and in its place provide the community and the neighborhood with an amazing use for the future of Carmel,” Ulbricht said. 

Several councilors said they could not support the proposal to add the daycare – which they agreed is needed in the area – if it meant breaking the commitment to limit tenant space. 

“That was a promise we made to the neighbors, but it’s more than a promise – it’s in writing,” City Councilor Adam Aasen said. “It’s something I personally can’t go back on, because I feel like my credibility would be shot with people. I made a promise; I can’t undo that.” 

The Carmel Plan Commission in May voted to send the matter to the council without a recommendation. Typically, the commission gives PUD changes a favorable or unfavorable recommendation before moving them to the council for a final decision. 

Councilors encouraged the petitioner to take time to rework the proposal and submit plans that would not require breaking the commitments in the PUD.