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.

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  • 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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