Carmel residents, plan commissioners concerned with drainage, density of proposed Westbridge development

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Several residents and Carmel Plan Commission members expressed concerns with a proposal to build townhomes and single-family homes on approximately 15 acres on 106th Street east of Michigan Road. Drainage, trespassing to nearby businesses and density were just some of the concerns shared at the June 19 CPC meeting about the Westbridge development.

The proposal includes 41 townhomes on the west side of the property, which borders several businesses. Twenty-nine single-family homes are proposed on the east side, which is bordered by a neighborhood with less density. The Pulte homes are planned to be 1,600 to 2,000 square feet and sell for approximately $375,000.

Developer Randy Green of ISBG Capital is petitioning for rezoning of the site – which currently contains one home – from a residential designation to a planned unit development. PUDs are typically requested when various uses are planned on a site. Tim Ochs, an attorney who spoke on Green’s behalf, said the PUD would allow for “classical transitional zoning” between the businesses to the west and neighborhood to the east.

Ochs said development options are limited on the site because of three gas pipelines and a regulated drain that run across it. Structures are not permitted to be built on those areas, which led developers to propose a unique layout, Ochs said.

“We think there’s a real opportunity here to come up with a creative design that fits on a piece of real estate that, quite frankly, is a tough nut to crack,” he said.

Commissioners acknowledged the challenging nature of the site but peppered the developer with questions and comments, requesting additional details on several aspects of the proposal.

“We don’t normally see PUD petitions come through with this many open issues,” said Commission President Brad Grabow, although he added that using townhomes to transition from a business zoning to a neighborhood “makes sense.”

Commissioner John Adams said density was his top concern, but he also had questions about landscaping and entrance points.

“The site is very, very challenging in my mind,” Adams said. “I think you’ve tried to put way too many structures on such a small property. I would hope you could tone this down and come up with something that makes more sense.”

Several nearby residents voiced their concerns, too.

Tom Behringer, president of the Ashbrook homeowner’s association, said his biggest concern is drainage, as water would flow from Westbridge south to his neighborhood. He said one of the Ashbrook retention ponds already overflows its banks on occasion and pours into nearby basements during periods of extremely heavy rains.

“We’ve had a consistent problem with flooding in that area, and it’s only going to get worse in my opinion,” he said.

Aaron Westlake, whose home is just south of the proposed neighborhood, said he worries that future residents would trespass in his large backyard to walk to the nearby Target store. Much of Westbridge’s green space borders his yard, he said, and he has been prohibited from putting up a fence because of the pipe that runs underneath his property.

“(Future residents) are not going to want to walk a half-mile around,” he said. “They’re going to want to walk right through my yard.”

Commissioners sent the rezoning request to the residential committee, which next meets at 6 p.m. June 28. The full plan commission will have a final vote on the proposal after receiving a recommendation from the committee.


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