Carmel’s updated comprehensive plan targets certain corridors for more intense development


The Carmel Plan Commission discussed a proposal to designate several major roadways as typical corridors, meaning their recommended uses could be slightly more intense than the areas surrounding them, at meetings held Nov. 29 and 30 to review several updates to the city’s comprehensive plan.

Refreshed approximately every decade, the comprehensive plan provides guidelines for development or redevelopment throughout the city. The plan is nonbinding but can help city leaders shape the Unified Development Ordinance, which sets planning and zoning rules for the city. The city is working with consultants from Greenstreet and YARD & Company to update the plan.

The comprehensive plan was last updated in 2009. The version under consideration differs from the existing plan by creating development pattern areas, which groups sections of the city by predominant physical and natural qualities, rather than land classifications, which can be scattered throughout the city.

The development pattern areas include typical corridors, major roadways that provide citywide connectivity and shared neighborhood amenities. They differ from the development pattern through which they run by allowing buildings to be one story higher and building coverage of a lot to be 20 percent greater.

While generally supportive of creating typical corridors, several commissioners said they’d like to see the designation removed from 116th Street from Spring Mill Road to the city’s western boundary. The area contains low density residential neighborhoods and estates, but according to the proposed comprehensive plan would recommend buildings of up to three stories along the roadway.

Commissioner Christine Zoccola said she’d like to see the area remain a “green corridor” and retain the natural beauty along the roadway.

“It’s a beautiful countryside drive,” Zoccola said. “I’m very concerned about opening that door and losing something that’s really, really beautiful.”

Mike Hollibaugh, City of Carmel director of community services, said the project team will assess concerns and suggestions made by plan commission members and the public.

“We believe the corridor designation is an important aspect of the plan which will be improved as a result of the public input received so far,” Hollibaugh stated in an email. “The updated draft that is returned to the commission will be a much better document than what we started with, that will accurately reflect feedback from the committee meetings.”

The plan commission is set to meet at 6 p.m. Dec. 7 at Carmel City Hall to continue discussing the comprehensive plan update. See the proposed comprehensive plan and leave feedback at