Carmel City Council to consider requiring bike racks, employee showers at new buildings

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Carmel City Councilor Bruce Kimball is sponsoring a proposed ordinance that would require that newly constructed buildings dedicate some space for long-term bicycle parking — and even employee shower areas.

He emphasized that existing businesses would not be required to make changes unless they underwent a major remodel. The change is aimed more at employees who bike to work, Kimball said, rather than customers who bike to businesses. In some cases, a company might be asked to build shower and locker room facilities in its new building so employees can clean up and change after biking to work.

Kimball said a formula will be used to calculate how much space a business needs to devote to bicycle parking so very small businesses aren’t adversely affected by adding more than is needed. He said bike racks could be outdoors or they could be in an indoor storage area.

“In some cases it could be as inexpensive as attaching a bike rack to a wall,” he said.

Kimball noted that it’s far less expensive to build parking for bicycles than parking for cars.

When it comes to employee showers, an industrial, office, medical or financial service building would be required to have one shower at 12,500 square feet of gross floor area, two showers at 30,000 square feet and four showers at 50,000 square feet or more. Retail or restaurant buildings would only be required to build one shower if it is larger than 25,000 square feet and two showers if the building is larger than 100,000 square feet. Four personal lockers must be designated for every shower. As an alternative, a new building can enter into a written agreement with a building 300 feet away or less to allow employees to use their showers.

The new requirements are part of larger changes to the city’s current zoning ordinance, which have passed through the Carmel Plan Commission with favorable recommendations.

For bicycle parking, other proposed changes include deleting maximum bicycle parking and allowing racks to be spread amongst several entrances. It has also been clarified that there should be a five-foot clear zone around bicycle parking.

Other changes are proposed regarding fences and accessory buildings. All new fences would require a permit. Any accessory building for a residential or commercial building must be five feet away from any alley, as opposed to three feet currently required.

In addition, the proposed zoning changes increase the number of chickens residents can keep in a coop on residential property to six hens.

Other proposed changes:

  • Fences around pools now must be five feet high instead of four feet.
  • Accessory buildings shall not constitute more than 1/3 of a property’s gross floor area.
  • Fences in a front lawn must be at least one foot away from any sidewalk or multi-use path.
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