Town hall meeting attendees share strong opinions on future of College Avenue, proposed connector roads

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Carmel City Councilors Tony Green and Tim Hannon held a town hall meeting Aug. 9 at City Hall to allow residents to share feedback about proposed updates to the city’s comprehensive plan, which serves as a guide for future development.

The comprehensive plan, which is updated approximately every decade, has already been reviewed and edited by the Carmel Plan Commission and will go before the city council for a vote soon, possibly at the Aug. 15 meeting. Because public comment on the plan was not permitted when the council’s land use committee reviewed it, Green and Hannon held the town hall meetings to gather direct feedback.

Many attendees were residents of Carmel’s southwest district, which includes Home Place and is represented by Green. Hannon is an at-large councilor. Kevin “Woody” Rider, an at-large councilor and president of the city council, also attended the town hall meeting.

The following addresses some of the topics covered at the meeting.

College Avenue a typical corridor?

Meeting attendees from the Home Place area overwhelmingly indicated that they don’t want any part of College Avenue to be designated as a typical corridor in the comprehensive plan. Typical corridors, which are not part of the existing comprehensive plan, are thoroughfares where development is recommended to be more intense than the areas surrounding them.

Most typical corridor designations that passed through largely residential areas were previously removed, but College Avenue remained.

The councilors told attendees that major redevelopment is likely to occur at 106th Street and College Avenue in the not-too-distant future whether or not College Avenue is a typical corridor. Redevelopment could occur elsewhere along College Avenue, too, but removing the typical corridor designation could slow the process, councilors said.

An amendment is expected to be proposed when the council discusses the comprehensive plan draft to remove College Avenue as a typical corridor.

‘Phantom connections’

Some residents asked about the city’s plans to construct a proposed road shown on the comprehensive plan draft’s thoroughfare plan map between the intersections of 96th Street and Westfield Boulevard to Pennsylvania Street and College Avenue. The proposed road follows a path through an existing neighborhood, generally along 101st St.

Joshua Kirsh, engineering administrator for the City of Carmel, said that there are no plans to build the road in the near future, as it has not been funded or designed.

Rider said talk of extending the road has been happening for longer than the 15 years he’s served on the city council. He described the project as a city “dream, not a plan.”

Hannon said several other “phantom connections,” or roads that don’t yet exist, are in the comprehensive plan draft, including a new road to extend Richland Avenue south to 126th Street and connections between Circle Drive and Clay Terrace Boulevard.

Road construction updates

The meeting also included updates from Kirsh on several road construction projects around town.

The city had hoped to reopen Smoky Row Road between U.S. 31 and the Monon Greenway before the start of school Aug. 10, but uncooperative weather and other issues led to delays. Kirsh said the project should be substantially complete by December.

Roundabouts under construction near Carmel High School on Main Street at Richland Avenue and Lexington Boulevard are not complete, but the city was able to reopen Main Street to east and westbound traffic by the first day of school.

Construction of a roundabout at 116th Street and Range Line Road is progressing on schedule, Kirsh said, with work expected to be substantially complete in the next month.

Work continues to widen and upgrade the Monon Greenway between Carmel and City Center drives, with the project expected to be complete by October.

Comp plan committee amendments

The Carmel City Council’s land use committee met Aug. 8 to review the comprehensive plan draft. Amendments made by the committee include:

  • Adding a new objective to “protect single-family neighborhoods from dissimilar adjacent uses with respect to scale of buildings, building materials, lighting, noise and other incompatible impacts.”
  • Adding a new objective to “encourage the responsible use of energy through conservation of electricity in the night time lighting of non-residential buildings after normal hours of operation.”
  • Adding a conservation corridor designation along River Road between Haverton Way and 116th Street.
  • Adding a multi-use path segment between Rohrer Road and the Monon Greenway
  • Adding a multi-use path along Spring Mill Road from 96th Street to 106th Street
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