City seeks to keep Carmel's Monon Greenway green

June 20, 2014
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Carmel wants to rezone more than 130 properties along the Monon Greenway north of 96th Street, a move leaders say will protect the tree-lined trail from future development.

If approved by the Carmel Clay Plan Commission and City Council, the so-called overlay zone would prohibit any commercial, industrial or multifamily construction within 88 feet of the trail’s center line. Existing single-family uses would not be affected.

The purpose of the change “is to maintain the natural and residential character that is currently enjoyed along the trail,” according to a staff report.

As proposed, the “natural section south” restrictions would apply from 96th Street to just south of Carmel Drive. The city adopted a similar measure regulating trailside development north of its Arts & Design District in 2012.

Officials waited to rezone the southern section because of the expense of notifying adjacent property owners, planning administrator Adrienne Keeling told the Carmel Clay Plan Commission this week. The city sent about 900 letters to neighbors in advance of a June 17 public hearing, she said.

Despite assurances from staff that the zoning change would not limit their activities, several property owners spoke out against the proposal, saying it restricts their rights.

Commission members tried to assuage their fears.

“We’re not taking anything,” said Kevin “Woody” Rider, who also serves on City Council. “I guarantee that.”

The rezoning proposal comes as developers work on plans for a pair of projects on either side of the Monon just north of 96th Street.

M/I Homes is seeking approval to build a 43-home neighborhood dubbed Monon Lake on heavily wooded property west of the trail. The single-family project likely would not be affected by any zoning change.

But Old Town Development LLC may have to consider the implications on its plans to transform the former Sunrise Golf Club into a residential community targeting empty-nesters. As IBJ reported last month, that project likely will include a multifamily component.

Members of the commission’s subdivision committee are expected to review the rezoning proposal July 1.

  • Heres hoping
    Let's hope this plan gets approved without any issues. It would be a shame to lose this environment. I live very close to the Monon and enjoy being able to run and bike in the shade on hot days.
  • Guarantee?
    Mr. Rider uses the term "guarantee" too loosely. He is but one member of the council, and he can't guarantee anything for the future. He also guaranteed that Illinois would be completed prior to the bridges construction, and the 31 construction. How has that panned out?

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.