At least one person was ordered to leave the Carmel City Council meeting Monday for interrupting the council’s review of plans for 15 townhouses on the city’s north side. The council went on to approve the controversial plan 5-4.
Carmel-based Estridge Development Management’s proposal to build attached single-family homes on a 1.26-acre property along the south side of 146th Street, between the Monon Greenway and Rolling Hill Drive, had been opposed from the start. Neighbors have expressed concerns and built a website about the project’s possible negative impacts to traffic and flooding, but a slim majority of the council ultimately voted in its favor.
“I can’t name one project we’ve approved in 13 years where those things (remained) an issue after the project was built,” council member Kevin Rider said.
At least six residents spoke against the project during the meeting, and Council President Laura Campbell had to call the room to order several times due to repeated applause. When one resident interrupted Rider during his comments, Campbell ordered an officer to escort the woman from the room. As she was led out, several other residents followed.
Council members Campbell, Sue Finkam, Rider, Jeff Worrell and Adam Aasen voted to approve the project. Council members Tim Hannon, Bruce Kimball, Miles Nelson and Tony Green voted against the proposal.
Hannon said he had no concerns about the traffic or unlikely flooding issues that might result from the project and instead voted against the project for its density. As proposed, the project’s four buildings with 15 residences would amount to a total density that’s roughly six times the density of adjacent neighborhoods.
Despite those concerns, several council members suggested the next project to come down the line might be an even bigger change.
“The market to buy a single-family home that close to 146th Street is going to be pretty slim. It’s going to be virtually impossible to build that kind of project,” Finkam said. “The likely next several proposals would be commercial. My personal goal is to keep this corridor as residential as possible.”