Carmel’s City Council members decided Monday to rework a proposed compromise between early-bird parade enthusiasts and businesses that are tired of dealing with the unintended impacts of their clutter.
Council President Jeff Worrell sponsored an ordinance this summer to reign in residents who have made it an annual tradition to use personal items to stake their claim to a spot at CarmelFest’s Fourth of July parade up to two weeks before the event.
The proposal would allow residents to reserve a spot with a lawn chair starting at 6 a.m. the day before the parade, but the council wasn’t convinced that they had a full answer to the problem in time for Monday’s meeting.
“What I want to do is step back, take another look at it, reassess, maybe seek additional input from residents,” Worrell said.
Blowback from residents who claimed the proposed new restrictions went too far in dismantling the tradition, as well as unanimous disapproval in the current tradition from the council’s land use and special studies committee, convinced Worrell to take the proposal back to the drawing board.
Tradition isn’t all that’s at stake, though.
OneZone President Mo Merhoff said members of Carmel and Fishers’ joint chamber of commerce “bombarded” her with examples of the tradition’s unintended impacts on the right-of-way they’re expected to maintain.
Merhoff said one business owner had to pay $700 to fix an irrigation system after it had been damaged by a resident staking a tent along the route. Others saw tarps leave yellow grass in their wake.
“They want to see as much community spirit as we all do, and they revel in the fact that we live in a community that chooses to do that,” Merhoff said. “However, our businesses would like to see some common-sense rules put into place.”
Worrell outlined a more-lenient version of the proposal in an email Monday to residents that would allow tents, tarps, stakes, tape, blankets and other items be used as placeholders up two hours before the parade.
That language was not discussed during Monday’s meeting.