Carmel neighbors up in arms over plans for Monon Lake

April 18, 2014
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Neighbors and at least two members of the Carmel Plan Commission oppose a 34-acre development M/I Homes is proposing along the Monon Greenway just north of I-465.

Plans call for building 43 high-end homes for empty nesters north and west of an existing 12-acre lake on the heavily wooded property. Pedestrian connections to the Monon are planned on either side of the lake.

Monon Lake site planMonon Lake's homes would be built to the west and north of an existing lake. Plans call for two access points to the Monon Greenway, located just east of the property. (Provided rendering)

The builder also has promised to dedicate land along the southern edge of the property to the city for a future western extension of 96th Street, and it is promising to widen and improve county-controlled 101st Street east of Guilford Avenue, one of two entrances to the neighborhood.

Home prices are expected to range from $325,000 to $400,000.

But residents of surrounding neighborhoods are up in arms about the proposal, saying the development runs afoul of the city’s subdivision control ordinance and would create unwanted traffic.

Since plans were filed in September, the city has received 23 letters from residents urging officials not to approve M/I's rezoning request, and dozens of neighbors turned out for a Plan Commission meeting this week to show their opposition.

Plan Commission member Joshua Kirsh called Monon Lake a “shoehorn project” that won’t get his support.

“I can’t get excited about it,” he said at the Tuesday night meeting. “That’s an area that’s beautiful and shouldn’t be touched, in my opinion.”

Member Dennis Lockwood concurred.

“It’s unfortunate when you see a piece of property like this that’s so heavily wooded and has a beautiful lake on it” get targeted for development, he said.

The neighborhood will include 22.5 acres of open space including the lake, attorney Jim Shinaver told the commission—far more than the 20 percent required of residential development. M/I also plans to preserve as many trees as possible to provide a buffer around the property.

Access to the site would be via 101st Street and Marwood Drive, which now end just west of the property line.

Neighbors say the residential streets can’t handle the additional volume. They also point to the city’s comprehensive plan, which calls for the area to be preserved for parks and recreation uses.

A 2001 plan to build 75 homes on the property failed to win city approval.

The Plan Commission’s subdivision committee will take up M/I’s proposal at its May 6 meeting before making a recommendation to the full 11-member panel.

Residential uses are allowed on the property now, but M/I is seeking to rezone it as a planned unit development. The common maneuver, which applies specific development standards to a project, requires City Council approval.

  • Focus on Parks?
    This is a tough call. I believe the area has a tremendous potential as a recreation and natural area. It has been enjoyed by many for decades and thousands of kids have played there over the years. Having lived in the neighborhood both of my boys first fishing experience was there. We should protect our special places. We don't need to 'build' a park here. The bones are already in place.
  • Plenty of Other Places for Cookie Cutter Homes
    There are LOTS of other places for M/I homes cookie cutter, jam packed housing communities. No need to destroy an area that is already well developed simply out of pure GREED.
  • Uhhh.........
    I'm pretty sure Joshua and Dennis have never been back to visit this site. It's disgusting and has become a homeless hangout. Walk back towards the lake and you'll be bombarded by beer cans, broken glass, tires, trash, etc., etc. While I don't agree with a "cookie cutter" type setting, I do agree that attention should be drawn to the site. Perhaps a similar development as the Inglenook community which has been well received and has risen property values:
  • Doesn't the property owner deserve a part of the conversation
    Who are we to decide what to do with his or her property. If it should be a park, it should be purchased as one for the price it yields as a development. Zoning should not be used to devalue the property.
  • Homes
    What only up to $400,000 in CarMel? Not in back yard!!!
  • Sniveling Carmelites
    Is this the same homeowners who's houses sit on land that was once beautiful and green?
    • Nature
      Once again a cookie cutter home builder wants to come in and remove all the trees and build all these homes. Where is the wildlife to go next. Carmel residence are already complaining about Coyotes eating pets. Just remember what was here first, the wildlife keep taking away the habitat and we will not have any wildlife to enjoy.
    • No to M/I
      This may be the first time I've seen the the name "M/I Homes" paired with "high-end homes." The plan needs to be REJECTED.
    • Big deal!
      Mayor Brainard is all about very high density. He could care less about how this impacts traffic. The only concern is how much money each project will bring in taxes for the Mayor's pet projects. Have not Carmel's citizens been paying attention to what is going on in their own city?
    • Can't move away from crowding
      It seems that people in Carmel think they have moved away from crime, noise, riff raff and crowding just because they've spent a little more for their houses. The attitude is "how can that happen here"? The rest of central Indiana gets a big laugh from this ridiculous snob mind set. You will in the future have urban and suburban sprawl and you won't be able to stop it.
    • Park? What park?
      This area, particularly 96th Street, can't handle more traffic without some massive changes--it's a pothole-filled mess as it is.
    • Funny
      Pay the market price for the property, pave 96th St. and turn it into a park it will be cleaned and patrolled. As far as houses on previously green property these homes have been here 50 years. Do you think we should not consider future community needs? Carmel has went from a few thousand to 80,000+ in that same time frame. Certainly needs change. The immediate area is being very densely developed already.
    • losing battle
      They days of Carmel being a relaxing, traffic free, un-congested place to live are over. Brainard and the City Council have made sure of that. Constant construction, high density housing, and a city government only concerned about taxes to pay for the Palladium. Remember Carmel being voted as one of the top places to live? That was the past. Try that survey now.

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