By Adam Aasen
A proposal to place above-ground waste water tanks on a church property has created a public relations nightmare for the Clay Township Regional Waste District.
Millbrook neighborhood residents and Carmel city officials have definitively voiced their opposition to placing million-gallon concrete tanks at King of Glory Lutheran Church off of Keystone Parkway. They claim aesthetics, smell and environmental damage would all have a negative effect on property values.
Many board members keep insisting that these opinions are misguided, but public opinion seems to be unchanged.
Realizing that this plan would be “highly unlikely” due to this opposition, appointed board members voted unanimously last week to take this plan off the table.
Yet, they left themselves enough wiggle room to possible bring the plan back in the future.
Some board members kept suggesting that the plan be off the table “for the time being” and “at this moment.” Others argued for a more absolute death to this idea.
“This would be a last resort,” said CTRWD boar president Ron Hagan. “We would only do this plan after we exhausted every other possible option.”
Angry residents weren’t happy with this land being considered under any circumstance.
CTRWD board members have tried to educate people about their plan, handing out extensive handouts detailing the project specifications. But neighbors aren’t convinced. Vince Artale spoke at the meeting, saying his experience dealing with the CTRWD has eroded his trust.
“Our confidence level is extremely low,” he said.
Much of the sentiments were fueled by recent articles detailing a long fight between the City of Carmel and the CTRWD about overflows and Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard’s longstanding support for merging the city sewer facilities with the township.
Hagan appeared defensive about these statements and he shot back at the meeting, calling the comments “mystifying.” He said he’s never had serious discussions about a merger. City Councilor Ron Carter called Hagan’s comments “very disingenuous.”
After several attempts to word it properly, the board finally agreed to approve a motion to eliminate the option of building the tanks “above ground” at this site and would only consider this site if all options are exhausted and if neighbors were contacted. The board also voted to direct officials to thoroughly examine all other options to solve this problem.
The CTRWD board also voted to begin discussions with the City of Carmel to see about the city acquiring the “basin two” area so the city could develop their plan. This motion is a response to merger comments.