Carmel BZA denies variance for insurance office in vacant Main Street home


The Carmel Board of Zoning Appeals on Feb. 27 voted 3-2 to deny a variance to operate an insurance office on a residentially zoned property at 4991 E. Main St.

Marshall Holdings had petitioned to renovate the vacant home, which is between Carmel Clay Schools’ administration building and the Carmel Dads’ Club’s Badger Field, into a State Farm Insurance office. Several neighborhoods are nearby.

The proposal drew remonstrance from dozens of nearby residents, including many with concerns about increased traffic – especially at the end of the school day – and aesthetic changes potentially affecting property values.

Elizabeth Marshall, an insurance agent who sought to renovate the building for her office, said she had been eyeing the site since she first saw it was for sale in August 2022. She said it had been in poor condition and believed the upgrades would benefit the area. She said the impact on traffic would be minimal.

“To be honest, I was like, ‘Wow, what a terrible eyesore in a city of such beautiful homes,’” Marshall said. “I didn’t go into it anticipating it would be so opposed.”

BZA member Leo Dierckman joined fellow commissioners Leah York and Alan Potasnik in voting against the variance.

“There’s no requirement that you go with this location. You’re not living here. You don’t own it. I don’t see any hardship when there’s plenty of other opportunities and there’s other residential uses along the same strip of property,” Dierckman said. “This could easily be utilized, ultimately, as a residential, single-family home.”