New Albany-Plain Local School District officials say they are concerned about a potential multifamily housing development at the northeast corner of Hamilton and Dublin-Granville roads.

New Albany-Plain Local School District officials say they are concerned about a potential multifamily housing development at the northeast corner of Hamilton and Dublin-Granville roads.

"We're not trying to stop the development," school board member Cheri Lehmann said. "We couldn't if we wanted to. But we definitely want to make it a better development for our community and the schools."

Lehmann said Feb. 27 the development has been planned for at least four years, and part of the land is zoned for multifamily residential homes. Board member Michael Klein said Casto, a Columbus developer, now proposes to change 73 more acres to multifamily residential and increase the building heights from 30 feet to 60 feet. Lehmann said that could result in 2,200 housing units, which could add an estimated 761 students to the 4,441 currently enrolled in New Albany schools.

"That's a pretty significant increase," Lehmann said.

Lehmann said the new students could cost the district an additional $8.9 million in operating costs.

Board member Natalie Matt said 761 students equates to a new school building.

Lehmann and other school district officials planned to attend the Northland Community Council's development commission meeting scheduled Feb. 29 to voice their concerns.

Superintendent April Domine told the school board Feb. 27 the district planned to meet with Casto officials Feb. 28 and to send a letter to the three boards reviewing the zoning: the Northland Community Council's development committee, the Columbus Development Commission and Columbus City Council. Details of the late-afternoon meeting were not available before ThisWeek's press time Feb. 28.

School board president Laura Kohler asked if district officials have any leverage in the zoning.

"The school (district) is not part of the criteria on the check list of development and what's necessary for city council to approve the development," Domine said.

Domine said the district hopes to work with the developer and reduce the effects on the district. She said other developers have agreed to donate land or funds to help districts affected by new developments. But she said there is no legal requirement for developers to work with the local schools.

The development at Hamilton and Dublin-Granville roads includes more than 130 acres with some commercial and office space. It is in the city of Columbus and part of the Win-Win agreement that allows Columbus students to attend suburban schools.