Carmel Plan Commission questions target buyer of townhomes, duplexes proposed near 146th Street, Gray Road

CIC COM 0530 Andrews PUD
A neighborhood with 46 townhomes and 14 duplexes is proposed south of 146th Street and west of Gray Road. (Image from documents filed with the City of Carmel)

A neighborhood developers say will target empty nesters is proposed south of 146th Street and west of Gray Road, but proposed amenities and floorplans led some members of the Carmel Plan Commission to conclude the project might appeal more to families with children.

Schafer Development is requesting a rezone of 14.3 acres from residential to planned unit development, meaning development standards would be specific to the property and codified by city ordinance. The Michigan-based developer is proposing 46 townhomes and 14 duplexes built by Pulte – with both housing types starting in the $500,000s – as part of the project known as Andrews PUD.

With proposed amenities including a dog park and community garden and floorplans including townhomes with stairs, Christine Zoccola was among plan commission members who questioned the developer’s vision for the project at a May 16 meeting.

“There’s nothing that says empty nester about this,” she said. “People who are downsizing to the empty nester house are not looking to go up and down stairs, so I want us to plan for what it’s actually going to be.”

Speaking on behalf of Schafer Development, professional land planner Jon Dobosiewicz said Andrews PUD would not have age restrictions for residents, but one way it would aim to attract empty nesters is by prohibiting items such as trampolines, basketball goals and similar items.

Several nearby residents or their representatives remonstrated against the development during a public hearing. Josh Marraccini, who spoke on behalf of the adjacent Stafford Place HOA, said neighbors are concerned children who live in the Andrews PUD – which is not set to have a playground – will use the Stafford Place playground and park.

“We don’t want to get stuck with a lot of higher costs,” he said. “We don’t want to have a high impact on our current park from the (neighborhood) that was proposed to be a 55-plus residential area.”

Other concerns expressed during the public hearing include vehicles cutting through nearby neighborhoods to reach the development and higher density proposed than what exists in surrounding areas.

Plan commissioner Joshua Kirsh said he’s “not in love” with the proposed development but that higher density projects benefit the city as a whole.

“When we look at density, we have to recognize that our neighbors to the east have built big, expansive neighborhoods that are economically unsustainable,” he said. “So, to have some pockets of density that help sustain our city streets and the other amenities we have grown accustomed to in the city, that’s not a horrible plan, either.”

The commission’s residential committee is set to review the project in detail at its June 6 meeting. The full plan commission will vote on the rezone before sending it to the Carmel City Council for a final vote.