The New Albany Planning Commission on Jan. 23 recommended approval of a 108-acre zoning amendment that could pave the way for an outlet mall.
The New Albany Co. owns the land, which is north of state Route 161 and west of Beech Road and has recently drawn interest from retail developers.
Planning commission members voted 4-0 to recommend the change. Neil Kirby, Brad Shockey, Ray Silverstein and David Wallace were in attendance and Joe King was absent.
The application will be reviewed in February by New Albany City Council, which makes decisions on zoning-change requests. City Council heard first reading on the zoning amendment Dec. 17.
Tom Rubey, development director for the New Albany Co., said he has been contacted by Horizon Group Properties and other retail developers interested in the property.
Horizon Group Properties recently released information about opening an outlet mall at the location. Two other outlet malls recently were proposed near the Interstate 71 and routes 36/37 interchange in Delaware County, about 10 miles north of Polaris Fashion Place.
Rubey said the New Albany Co. has not sold any of the 108 acres and he does not have any development plans to present to the city at this point.
He said tenants of the city's Personal Care and Beauty Campus have requested retail developments, such as gas stations and restaurants, in the area. The business campus is east of the 108 acres, on Beech Road at the Smith's Mill Road loop.
Adrienne Joly, New Albany's deputy community development director, said any development plans for the site would have to be reviewed by the planning commission.
Kitzmiller Road resident Susan Davis told the planning commission there already is too much traffic on Smith's Mill Road, which links Kitzmiller and Beech roads, and provides access to the 108 acres.
"As it is, I can't get out of my driveway twice a day," she said.
The zoning amendment would switch the land from a limited general employment district and infill planned unit development to a comprehensive planned unit development. It also would cap the amount of retail on the site at 92 acres and limit retail uses on an adjacent site.
Rubey said the New Albany Co. owns 100 acres east of Beech Road and south of the city's Personal Care and Beauty campus that has a retail zoning designation for 93 acres. The company is negotiating with a proposed user, which he could not name, that does not need retail zoning in that location.
He said the New Albany Co. included text in the proposed zoning amendment that would cap retail to 92 acres on both sites, which total 208 acres.
Rubey said the potential business would not be similar to the others in the business park to the north but it would be "complementary" to the park.
Attorney Jack Reynolds of Smith and Hale of Columbus said the 100-acre site includes 43 acres being annexed into New Albany. The land will remain part of Jersey Township and in Licking County after the annexation.
New Albany City Council on Nov. 27 approved a resolution allowing City Manager Joseph Stefanov to enter into the annexation agreement with Jersey Township that will share 50 percent of the incremental increase of property-tax revenues on the land for 15 years. The incremental revenue will be tied to a tax-increment financing district on the land.
Jersey Township trustees approved the annexation agreement Jan. 22.
Reynolds said the annexation request will be sent within a week to the Licking County Commissioners for their approval.