Residents living south of Main Street in the Carmel Arts & Design District are speaking out against a proposed rezone of residential property to commercial right next to their homes.
For months, one petitioner has been trying to rezone two pieces of residential land so a commercial structure can be built. The plans were delayed because it was decided by some that the issue wasn’t properly noticed to residents. Now a new proposal is on the table to not just rezone those few properties but the entire block all together.
The city is initiating a rezone of land generally bound by West Main Street, 4th Avenue SW, 1st Street SW and the Monon Greenway, comprising of 12 parcels.
“Throughout the process, questions were raised about rezoning this area without a coordinated effort with consistent zoning in place,” Adrienne Keeling, city planning administrator, said. “No developments have been filed to date so that’s truly to be determined.”
No neighbors spoke out in favor of the rezone but several expressed their objections.
Beth Meyers, who owns the yellow cottage home at 331 W. Main St. next to the property, said rezoning the entire area instead of a piecemeal approach doesn’t make the situation more palatable to her.
“I kind of think it’s a ‘same church, different pew’ situation,” she said.
Meyers said large four-story commercial buildings would tower over the cottage homes that remain.
“I will not see the sunshine,” she said. “My roses would do horrible to say the least.”
Kelly Baskett, resident of 400 Emerson Rd., said she’s concerned about lot lines and space between properties. She doesn’t want people to build right up to the line.
“That’s very alarming,” she said. “We don’t like the threat of high density and large buildings being constructed. I don’t these types of structures fit next to our homes. The idea of a solid connecting building right there is very troubling.”
Baskett said she understands the area will be redeveloped someday but to just construct large commercial structures next to existing homes isn’t the right thing to do.
“If developers contact us and offer to buy our homes, that’s a better way,” she said. “I don’t like being bullied out of our neighborhood.”
Frank Casnick is having Old Town Design Group build a custom home for him on 1st Avenue SW but now he’s concerned about the future of the area.
“We thought we were moving into a neighborhood,” he said. “I’m kind of stunned with this development. We were comfortable with what’s already in place.”