Carmel residents fight to protect neighborhood from development

CARMEL, Ind. – Homeowners in the Johnson Addition neighborhood want city leaders to hear them loud and clear. They say there’s no room for development at the entrance of the neighborhood, as it’s one of Carmel’s oldest. Neighbors say the development will ruin its charm and that’s why they’re fighting to protect their homes.

“It doesn’t fit in here, so what happens now?” asked Jane Seves. Her family owns the property across the street from the proposed development. “I know we’re a small number, but somebody has to listen to us.”

Provided by the City of Carmel

AZR Haver LLC has purchased the property at 7 Sherman Drive and has proposed to build a four-unit townhouse on the corner. This location is just west of the Arts and Design District in Carmel.

Neighbors like Seves say the unit design doesn’t match the look of the neighborhood, as most of the homes were built in the 1950s and 1960s. She also fears it will bring more traffic and opportunity for more development in the future. Already, she says her neighbors have been approached by other developers to buy their land.

“If you see the way the traffic comes over that hill, you’re taking your life in your hands nine times out of ten,” said Seves.

AZR Haver LLC asked the city to rezone the property from single-family residential development to urban resident district, which would allow the developers to build the units. The Carmel Plan Commission Committee has held meetings to discuss concerns with neighbors and the attorney for the developer. However, the Carmel City Council will have the final say on the rezoning request.

Provided by the City of Carmel

“In fact, they had an overflow room where they said we can use that,” said Seves. “That’s how packed it was.”

President Jeff Worrell says Carmel does need mid-level housing options, “But, I don’t know yet, I’m not fully educated on whether this is the appropriate spot for it.”

Carmel Mayor James Brainard saying, this is not a redevelopment area.

This area is just west of our Carmel Arts & Design District and is becoming a very popular place for residents to purchase homes and take advantage of the District and all that the City of Carmel has to offer, including our high quality of life and our low taxes. Because of its proximity to the District and other booming areas along the Monon Greenway, it has become very popular.

This is not a redevelopment area.  Everyone has a right to petition for a change of zoning and be heard.  This is the process that is underway.  A rezone goes first to the advisory Plan Commission, then the City Council.  Pursuant to state law, the mayor cannot veto a zoning change and normally does not become involved.

The discussion on this property has been continued until the residential committee meeting on October 1. Council members say it could be until November or later until this decision is made to either pass or reject this proposal. We will continue to follow this story.

The attorney for AZR Haver LLC says they have no comment on this matter but looks forward to the next meeting to discuss the development.

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