Carmel City Council considers proposal to regulate parade seat-saving

Carmel City hall 2col

The Carmel City Council is considering passing an ordinance that would regulate when residents can set up lawn chairs for the annual Carmel Fest Fourth of July parade.

The ordinance aims to control a longtime city tradition that has grown out of hand, city councilors said.

Monday night, the city council introduced the ordinance, which allows chairs to be placed in the right of way along the parade route starting at 6 a.m. the day before the parade. However, the proposal would ban tents, tarps, stakes, tape, blankets and other personal property from being placed in rights-of-way along the parade route.

The ordinance also allows the city to impound any personal property that’s placed within the right of way in violation of the ordinance. The impounded property will be stored at the Carmel Street Department until an owner picks it up.

The regulations, however, don’t apply to CarmelFest committee, which will be allowed to setup the parade announcer’s booth and television scaffolding early.

City councilors began mulling an ordinance earlier this summer, after residents began reserving their spots for the parade more than 1-1/2 weeks ahead of the annual Fourth of July parade.

Across Carmel community Facebook pages, residents complained the tradition—which over the past few years has begun earlier and earlier—is tacky. Others, however, say its uniquely Carmel.

Council President Jeff Worrell said the proposed ordinance—which could be changed as it moves through committee meetings—keeps the tradition alive while putting some guard rails in place.

Worrell said over the years, he’s received complaints from business owners who say the chairs being set out days in advance get in the way of their ability to mow. Others have had irrigation systems damaged.

“This ordinance is my first stab at offering you something to work with,” Worrell said. It’s an “effort to keep this quaint tradition alive. It was always stated people could put their chairs out in Carmel, and they wouldn’t be bothered,” he said.

Councilor Laura Campbell asked why Worrell didn’t consider a regulation that spots can be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis the day of the parade.

Worrell said that standard would go too far toward ending the tradition.

The ordinance will go to the land use committee, where it will be discussed further and the public will have a chance to weigh in.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: IBJ is now using a new comment system. Your Disqus account will no longer work on the IBJ site. Instead, you can leave a comment on stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Past comments are not currently showing up on stories, but they will be added in the coming weeks. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

4 thoughts on “Carmel City Council considers proposal to regulate parade seat-saving

  1. “Following the tradition?!” Old traditions are and should be updated with environment changes. Carmel is no longer a “horse and buggy” community and needs to update to accommodate that growth. Laura is spot on…just eliminate the “tradition,” and get on board with NO RESERVATIONS…..PERIOD!!!

  2. My business office is along the parade route and I’ve sort of shaken my head as I’ve seen the chairs showing up earlier and earlier each year and some people going over the top, in my opinion, by putting down stakes with yellow tape to block off an area like you might see around a construction hole. Maybe it was inevitable given human nature, but you could have hoped that people would have restrained themselves so that government didn’t need to step in . . . but they didn’t. This proposal seems like a reasonable balance. For those folks extra motivated to arrive as early as allowed to put down chairs or whatever so that their kids can get a great view, this allows a full day to do so while putting in the “guard rails” that prevent excess. Better that the council not have had to take this up, but since it has become a problem this seems like a reasoned way to go about it.

    1. During a recent trip my company’s satellite office in India, I learned and observed that people will not only squat along the streets but may build entire ramshackle kiosks to sell food or whatever You’ll have a nice new building that left the required open space between the parking lot or building and the sidewalk, only to soon see shacks built in that space and maybe even out onto the sidewalk (but not too far, they need their customers to be able to get to them of course). There are rules against it, but enforcement is very sporadic. So, if you mean that since its ONLY chairs and blankets for a parade to deal with, then yes, I guess it is a very first world problem! 😉