Carmel city councilor’s town hall meeting covers proposed parking prohibitions near schools, increase in fraud reports

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Carmel City Councilor Jeff Worrell held a town hall meeting primarily for residents of the southern half of the city on Oct. 21 at the Monon Community Center. 

Attendees heard updates from city and county officials and had the opportunity to ask questions. 

Parking could be prohibited near schools 

Worrell, who holds one of three at-large seats on the council, asked for feedback on an ordinance he plans to introduce at the Nov. 1 Carmel City Council meeting that would allow residents within a 2,500-foot radius of a Carmel Clay Schools campus to determine whether they’d like to prohibit parking on their street between 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days. 

Worrell said he is proposing the ordinance because of problems arising with an increased number of parents driving their children to and from school this year. Because of a bus driver shortage, CCS stopped providing bus service for most students who live within a mile of their campus, leading to increased traffic near schools at the beginning and end of the school day. 

Worrell said some parents are choosing to park near schools to pick up their students rather than go through the designated carpool line. He said he has visited CCS campuses to witness the problem firsthand. 

“It is a zoo. It’s chaos,” he said, adding that some campuses are experiencing worse problems than others. “There are cars going the wrong direction. There are people parking in driveways. Because of the non-neighborhood parkers, it is every man and woman for themselves.” 

The ordinance would also address Carmel High School students who park in neighborhoods surrounding the school rather than in the school’s designated parking area. Currently, areas near CHS prohibit parking between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m., but with block scheduling and other changes since the rule was put into place, it has become somewhat obsolete. 

Worrell said exceptions to the prohibition on parking will be made for service vehicles and that residents on affected streets could provide permit stickers for approved visitors. A permit process also could be developed for other scenarios. 

Worrell said CCS administrators have expressed their support for the proposed ordinance. 

Fraud reports on the rise  

Carmel Police Dept. Chief Jim Barlow presented crime statistics for the year so far. Although most types of police calls are on trend with previous years, the department is seeing an increase in reported fraud. CPD has responded to 246 reports of fraud from Jan. 1 to Oct. 7. Carmel police received 324 fraud reports in 2020 and 243 reports in 2019. 

Barlow said much of the fraud is happening over the phone, with unsuspecting victims receiving calls from someone with accurate personal information about the victim, such as a birth date or names of family members. 

Much of this information is available online through a Google search or other methods, Barlow said. 

“Just because they have accurate information does not make them legitimate,” Barlow said. 

CPD has responded to the increase in fraud by assigning a detective to specialize in handling these reports. Barlow said CPD has recovered more than $1 million for those who have reported fraud. 

The police chief also urged residents to lock their vehicles, as CPD has received many reports of items stolen from unlocked vehicles in driveways and parking lots. 

Santa tours to return

Worrell announced that Santa Tours will return this holiday season, featuring Santa riding on a decorated city vehicle along various routes throughout Carmel to greet residents young and old. 

The city debuted the event in 2020 as a way to celebrate the holiday season in a socially distanced manner amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but it may become a tradition that’s here to stay. 

“(Last year) the kids were lining the streets, and it was the most joyous Hallmark thing I can think of,” Worrell said. “It was so heartwarming.” 


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