Carmel city council delays decision on parade seat-saving issue

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.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

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.

5 thoughts on “Carmel city council delays decision on parade seat-saving issue

  1. It has become extremely difficult to obtain a spot for enjoying the parade or concert at the Gazebo during the summer season. The older Carmel resident doesn’t have a chance against our massive changes in demographics and the me me me society of today. Why does the city embrace this action? It appears they wish to provide special status for these folks.

    1. The absolute last thing i as a property owner along the route want to see is Erecting bleachers: it is both expensive and stupid. I worked in a building along the 500 parade route and with construction pedestrians had to basically walk in the street in some blocks. My neighbors walk their dogs, walk to the store with their kids and exercise here. A two hour pre-event window won’t kill the parade goers. If it’s that important for them to see the parade they’ll figure it out. Now if they’ll only take their chicken bones beverage containers and poopy diapers with them after the parade.

  2. The town in Michigan where we usually spend July 4th doesn’t allow any place holding, chairs etc in the ‘right of way’ until a few hours before the parade. It is posted that anything placed there prior to the set time will be confiscated. And it is enforced. I haven’t heard any comment about the policy other than “Thank You”.

    1. That is the way it should be. Offenders can pick their wares up at the Carmel Street Department just like they do or should pick up political campaign signs.