Carmel council OKs public urination, defecation fines after complaints over new bar

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The Carmel City Council on Monday night unanimously approved new fines for public urination and defecation in response to a slew of complaints about a new tavern in the city’s downtown.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he and a multi-agency task force have met since September to discuss issues at The GOAT—which stands for the Greatest of All Taverns. The bar and restaurant opened in the former Bub’s Cafe building at 220 2nd St. SW in August, and residents have since complained about encountering human waste, stumbling upon public sex acts, excessive noise and other general nuisances.

The council’s action on Monday preceded a potential new noise ordinance and rezoning of the tavern’s property to be considered at future meetings that might further address the issues.

“This is an example of a business—of which I’ve been in for 35 years—being run improperly,” council member Kevin Rider said. “The list of police calls is four pages long. The business owner, to be a good corporate citizen, should be willing to do these things voluntarily. Now.”

There are already criminal citations for public indecency, Brainard said, but the standard of evidence is much higher for an officer investigating such matters. By creating a civil citation, police will have a lower threshold to prove the offense occurred and be able to issue a citation, he said.

The new ordinance states any person over 7 years old who urinates or defecates in public could face fines of up to $250 for the first offense and up to $2,500 for each subsequent offense.

Neighbors have been butting heads with public officials over The GOAT’s zoning.

Brainard said Bub’s Cafe was granted a variance in March 2007 to operate a breakfast and lunch restaurant in an area adjacent to neighborhoods. When The GOAT moved in, the variance assigned to that property was transferred to the new business. What Brainard said the city’s staff failed to notice was the fact that the variance only granted restaurant operations until 2 p.m.

“From a medical standpoint, this is the equivalent of a wrong-site surgery or leaving a sponge in someone,” council member Tim Hannon said.

Brainard said it will require further legal investigation to see if the city can force The GOAT to shut down, but he’s been trying to see if he can get owners Kevin and Megan Paul to come into compliance before resorting to that action.

“We’ll continue to make, what I refer to, as small, incremental changes that make this compatible with the other businesses operating under the same rules successfully—without complaints—in that neighborhood as well,” he said.

Brainard said the Pauls have built a fence between their property and the neighborhood, are committed to hiring plainclothes security to patrol the area and are planning to build additional restrooms to accommodate demand.

The Pauls, who also own the Brockway Pub and Danny Boy Beer Works in Carmel, could not be reached for immediate comment after the meeting.

Several council members suggested a noise ordinance that could limit loudspeakers between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. and a corrective commercial rezoning of the property that further restricts the bar’s occupancy limits.

Council member Adam Aasen said he’s not in favor of a rezoning because he doesn’t think the owners have shown a willingness to make changes to reduce complaints. Even though the business was aware of impending ordinances and zoning changes, it’s still allowing unwelcome activities to happen, he said.

Rider agreed.

“Their own bartenders have complained about it,” he said. “Their employees go next door and pee on the [neighbor’s] property because they don’t want to wait in line to get back to work. A rezone now would be a terrible idea. It would make them legal. Right now, they’re illegal. That’s easier to enforce. I wouldn’t support a rezone to (commercial) now for anything.”

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10 thoughts on “Carmel council OKs public urination, defecation fines after complaints over new bar

  1. Classy! I get the occasional guy peeing outside, but dropping a deuce? The lines must be LONG at the bathrooms. And what’s a bar without an occasional sex act – just keep it in the car. ♥

  2. This is happening at a bar… CARMEL!?!?!?! Let me clutch my pearls…….
    Maybe Carmel can pass an ordinance requiring bar patrons to wear a patch or sticker so they can identify the Carmelites from the riff raff. Seem to recall something similar they passed in the past.

  3. Jim Brainard said he and a multi-agency task force have met since September to discuss issues at The GOAT

    Seems like a lot of meetings and waste of resources to talk about 1 Restaurant….

  4. Can’t be the Greatest of All Taverns without some urination and public sex act violations! I, for one, have spent more on Ubers to and from Marion County to the GOAT then I have in masked and distanced Marion Co. bars this year.

    Keep setting the bar for the north side, GOAT owners. It’s been a breath of fresh air the last few months.

  5. Carmel gets what they deserve if they let this keep operating. The original variance had the stipulations it had because somebody anticipated these kinds of problems. It is just plain stupid they let him to continue to operate under the existing variance.

    If the owner really wanted to stay in business, he should have ponied up and hired a security guard to police the area around the bar. Otherwise he should be shut down. Good luck getting a variance now that he has such a trashy track record. It was either stupidity or blatant and willful ignorance of the new owner to not have checked on the zoning variance, but given his track record, I will bet it was the later.

  6. Starting to remind me of the “Reperbon” in Hamburg, Germany ( where the Beetles became famous). I remember a corner outside; the urine acid smell was so profound one could hardly breathe. Can’t believe all these years later that Carmel would become a “mini” Reperbon.” Not sure Carmel is ready for the “new” generation.