Contentious Carmel projects to get further review

A proposed town-house community on Carmel’s north side and a controversial commercial development in a planned near-west side neighborhood were advanced by the city council but will get more scrutiny later this month.

The Carmel City Council voted Monday night to forward the contentious projects to its tentatively scheduled land use committee meeting on July 29. The controversy focuses on a cluster of 15 town houses where the Monon Trail meets 146th Street and a hotly debated mixed-use project in the Jackson’s Grant community near 116th Street and Springmill Road.

“There’s a lot of angst and anxiety, as there typically are for rezones,” Council member Tim Hannon said during the meeting.

Town houses near the trail

Jon Dobosiewicz, a professional land planner with Nelson & Frankenberger, presented Carmel-based Estridge Development Management’s proposal during Monday’s meeting.

He said Estridge is requesting the city rezone a 1.26-acre property along the south side of 146th St., between the Monon Greenway and Rolling Hill Drive, to allow for 15 for-sale town houses.

If approved, the development’s four buildings would be a maximum of 2.5-stories tall when viewed from the street. The site plan has also been modified to include 30 total guest parking spaces, as well as a land-banked area to be developed into parking if more is needed.

The town houses are expected to range in cost from $400,000 to $500,000.

Several neighbors spoke against the petition for the traffic impacts it may have, specifically along the already busy 146th Street.

Continued pushback for The Village

The Village at Jackson’s Grant continues to slog through the city’s review process as neighboring residents rally to reduce its density and eliminate the project’s planned 20,000 square feet of commercial space at the corner of 116th Street and Springmill Road.

Toledo, Ohio-based Republic Development has heard from hundreds of residents that have voiced their concerns about the project through in-person testimony, emails and an online petition.

Republic’s attorney said neighbors have been on high alert since hearing about an even more intense project that could have been proposed by another developer. “This started about a year and a half ago when the property owner reached out to Republic to let them know they were in discussions with another developer that had a different idea for developing the property, one that was a much more intense use than what Republic’s proposal is,” Steve Hardin, an attorney with Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath representing Republic, said.

The Village, as proposed, would feature 19 single-family homes with an average price of $700,000. Also, depending on whether the contentious 20,000-square feet of commercial space is approved, the project could feature up to 55 town houses with an average price of $575,000 or as many as 70 town houses if the neighborhood commercial node is nixed.

Hardin said Republic has made commitments to limit commercial users to no more than 5,000 square feet apiece. Those tenants will also be restricted on their hours of operation and noise levels so as not to negatively affect the neighborhood.

Plans say the commercial space could include neighborhood services or professional office uses such as a coffee shop, art gallery, deli, daycare or fitness facility, or a co-working space.

Keith Fried, a senior leasing associate with McCrea Property Group, said he’s handled retail leasing for Republic. He said there would be no “big box retail” or obnoxious uses, like vape shops.

He said they’ve already talked with Martha Hoover, Mike Cunningham and other local restaurateurs about opening restaurants in a commercial spaces that “…almost look like homes.”

Carriage-style garages approved in Jackson’s Grant

Unlike The Village, another neighborhood in Jackson’s Grant was approved Monday night with little discussion.

The council voted to allow Republic Development to build the 22-lot Exmoor neighborhood with a distinct European design along Springmill Road, north of the community’s Stableside and Hamlet neighborhoods.

Homes in the Exmoor neighborhood, as it’s been dubbed, are expected to range from $800,000 to $1.5 million, with an estimated average of $1 million. Fifteen of the lots will come with the option of building a carriage-style garage with a second-story loft space for use as a studio, workshop, recreation room or other non-living space. The carriage garages are expected to range in price from $60,000 to $125,000.

Construction on Exmoor is expected to start later this year.

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4 thoughts on “Contentious Carmel projects to get further review

  1. So many new construction projects for townhouses and condos are unattractive, cheap looking, and provide little relief with green space. These COVID times remind that too many people into too little space is unhealthy, often unsightly, and recreates the crowded urban conditions from which the suburbs were an escape.

    It’s noticeable that commercial spaces southwest of the city center (116th & College northwest to Pennsylvania & 126th) are low density and few stories high with water and considerable greenspace, but residential space just north of there is cramped with multiple stories, little greenery, little space, the look of institutions rather than home, and these ‘institutions’ aren’t inexpensive.

    I wish housing were more affordable, livable, and greener. There was a time when Carmel knew how to do that.

  2. Carmel zoning; Pack ’em in! Also trying to “mandate” granny flats in Carmel. Some cities in the US are essentially outlawing single family homes. Not far behind that trend here at this rate.
    Pay attention to what your elected officials are doing! Slip kind of important stuff by when you aren’t looking.

  3. I agree, WAY TOO MANY TREES ARE BEING CUT DOWN. So housing builders can develop more properties. They only care about profit and not what they are doing to the overall look of the land. I specifically moved to a neighborhood and home that has lots of trees and 1/2 acre of woods but close to everything. It’s the reason I picked my house and neighborhood. If I had the money I would buy up a lot of these pieces of land just so that they don’t get mowed down by money hungry companies. But alas, like so many people I’m struggling just to pay my bills.

  4. Carmel needs high density projects to squeeze as much tax money as it can. Revenue is down and bond payments are increasing over the next few years.

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