I believe that the single most pressing issue facing our community is the lack of long term planning; at present, we do not address the effects of increasing development and tourism that have become the norm in Carmel. As a result, our community is plagued by a number of issues: parking and traffic congestion; continuous residential development that affects entire blocks at once; overuse of the city’s resources caused by over tourism; the loss of businesses that are owned by and serve residents; and the decreasing availability of affordable housing in the village. All of these issues combine to make Carmel less of an integrated community.
I believe that these items would reestablish our connection to a planned future:
* Re-establish the Design Review Board. The Planning Commission has no time for long term planning, so these issues continue to bedevil our community. These problems can be somewhat mitigated, if not solved, as a priority of a city commission with resources and authority. What better commission than the Planning Commission?
* Provide staff resources so that sustained efforts can be made to determine how other communities with substantial tourism have tackled these problems, and to provide our own solutions (from which the planning commission could choose) if necessary.
* Develop a healthy working relationship between the City Council and the reconstituted Planning Commission so that the long-term planning work is done at the commission level, where there will be adequate resources and time, rather than at the council level, which would instead be charged with monitoring the work as it proceeds. The City Council must be willing to delegate duties under a set of parameters that will work for both bodies.
* Develop a healthy working relationship between the City Council and the public, so that as the Planning Commission’s work progresses, the public will have ample opportunity to comment, and as the City Council’s “implementation” work is done, the council will have the respect it needs to proceed down a difficult path that is understood by the community.