Carmel City Council Recap
Compiled by Adam Aasen
What happened: The City Council added an item to the agenda to help restore the city’s budget.
What it means: Due to an issue with the Department of Local Government Finance, the City of Carmel had its budget reduced. The Council had a plan to restore the cuts by specifying how much money from each revenue fund would go to each department. Even with this plan, the budget had a hole of about $700,000, with the cuts coming from street paving. Since the recent winter season was so tough on the city roads, councilors suggested using the rainy day fund to make up the difference. Mayor Jim Brainard agreed with this idea and suggested adding an additional $800,000 on top of that for road repairs. Some councilors expressed concerns with that idea, saying that might be too much to take out of reserves, which could hurt Carmel with its bond rating. Still, there’s plenty of time for the details to be decided.
What’s next: Per law, the city must advertise the budget changes and specify the exact amount, so the public has notice. Mayor Brainard asked that the ad quote the $1.5 million instead of the $700,000 because it could always be reduced at a later date, but councilors can’t approve a budget higher than it was advertised. The ordinance was sent to the Finance, Administration and Rules Committee which meets May 15. A full council vote is expected at the next City Council meeting May 19.
What happened: The council passed changes to the Range Line Overlay plan.
What it means: After previously letting a controversial requirement expire – that mandated two-story commercial construction on Range Line Road – the council instated a newly amended version of the ordinance, which strikes a compromise on building heights. Two-stories are required in some places but relaxed in others. The bill was passed with a final amendment to change the distance of the trees along the road.
What’s next: The ordinance was adopted and the zoning requirements will go into effect.
What happened: The council approved a contract for CRC consultant Mike Lee.
What it means: There wasn’t any criticism from the council about the quality of Lee’s work, but during the last meeting some officials were concerned that they didn’t have the contract in front of them. Carmel Redevelopment Commission Director Corrie Meyer released a mountain of data and information, so councilors unanimously approved Lee’s annual contract, not to exceed $50,000.
What’s next: Lee will continue to handle financial administration for the CRC.
What happened: The Council approved a new Market District grocery store in west Carmel.
What it means: The gourmet grocery in The Bridge commercial district was approved for zoning at 116th Street between Illinois Street and Spring Mill Road. Grocery store company Giant Eagle proposed the project last year, but there was some remonstrance from neighbors about the look of the building and noise created by trucks. Developer Tom Crowley made changes and now even former critics praised the project during the public hearing.
What’s next: The store is expected to open in 2015.
What happened: The council held a first public hearing for a new subdivision called Bear Creek
What it means: Pulte Homes hopes to build the 93-home subdivision on 72 acres of land southeast of the intersection of 146th Street and Little Eagle Creek Avenue. The home density is expected to be about 1.3 to 1.5 homes per acre with prices in the range of $375,000 to $550,000. The Carmel Plan Commission gave the subdivision a positive recommendation in April and nobody spoke out against the project during the public hearing. Some councilors had concerns about the look of the homes but no major objectives were raised yet.
What’s next: Sent to the Land Use, Annexation and Economic Development Committee, which meets May 27.
In other news: The Council also approved the CRC’s funding of a construction projection with Calumet Civil Contractors for parking spaces at 3rd Avenue SW. The cost is $67,021.