New Albany is amending its water and sewer agreement with Columbus to serve 135 acres being annexed into city limits.

New Albany is amending its water and sewer agreement with Columbus to serve 135 acres being annexed into city limits.

New Albany City Council approved a resolution Sept. 20 authorizing city manager Joseph Stefanov to negotiate an economic-development agreement for the exchange of services and to sign the final agreement.

Council approved the legislation with the condition that Stefanov finish negotiations at his discretion.

Columbus City Council also had to agree to pursue the economic-development agreement and exchange of services for the land. Columbus council members on Sept. 26 voted 7-0 to approve a similar resolution.

New Albany communications director Scott McAfee said Sept. 27 that negotiations on the agreement are taking place and are “pretty close to the end.” He did not know when the negotiations and the agreement would be completed, though he did say most of the key details had been worked out.

The draft agreement presented to council projects the city could pay Columbus 26 percent of net income tax revenue from any commercial, industrial and office buildings in the designated revenue-sharing area. The agreement also includes a one-time $6,000-per-acre fee that New Albany is expected to pay Columbus for “future nonresidential/noncommercial development” in the revenue-sharing area.

Columbus has agreements in place to provide water and sewer connections to New Albany and its residents. The current deal would clear up any uncertainty about Columbus providing water and sewer service in the 135 acres, as well as any other land in the area if future annexations occur, according to McAfee.

He said New Albany is in charge of how the land is developed and the maintenance of the infrastructure.

The current annexation request is for 135 acres in Jersey Township; the acreage was initially 180 by the property owner, the New Albany Co., but recently was decreased to 135 during the annexation process, according to McAfee. The land is east of Beech Road, south of state Route 161 and south of the city boundaries.

The annexation request currently is in the midst of a 60-day waiting period after Licking County commissioners approved the annexation Aug. 25. McAfee said, based on that timeline, a first reading for council to finalize the annexation is anticipated in late October or early November. A second reading would follow and make the annexation official.

Community development director Jennifer Chrysler said the 135 acres would be considered part of business park east, though the land may be marketed differently. For example, the portion of business park east that is north of Route 161 is known as the personal care and beauty campus because it includes businesses that produce beauty products and distribute and market them. The city currently is waiting on zoning details for the new land.

By adding more land to the business parks, the city is providing more opportunities for diversification, Chrysler said.

The annexation expands on previous annexations that began in 2001 and brought New Albany 1,300 acres in Licking County on the north and south sides of 161 and east of Beech Road. The majority of that land is owned by the New Albany Co.

The economic-development agreement Stefanov is negotiating includes the 135 acres being annexed and an adjacent 65 acres that previously were annexed from Jersey Township into New Albany.

The economic-development agreement includes a “revenue/equity sharing area,” which entitles Columbus “to share net income tax (revenue) generated within the new revenue/equity sharing area.”

Tom Rubey, development director for the New Albany Co., said the land could be used for larger parcels, such as Abercrombie & Fitch development north of Route 161.

He said the New Albany Co. is finding that many businesses are seeking larger parcels of up to 30 acres.