New Albany News

Planning commission

City might loosen code for private swimming pools


New Albany officials intend to relax the city's code requirements for private swimming pools in response to a large number of variances requested in 2011.

"There were a large amount of variances requested last year, more than normal," said City Planner Stephen Mayer.

He said the variance requests, many of which related to setbacks from residences, caused staff members to look at section 1173 of the city code and determine that the code needs updated.

According to the current version of the code, a private swimming pool and accessory structures cannot be built within 15 feet of a house.

Mayer said the city plans to remove that part of the code, allowing pools to be built closer to homes.

The updated code will retain the required 15-foot setback from neighboring properties and fencing to buffer pools from neighbors.

Mayer said the change provides for easier design of pools while still requiring buffering for neighbors.

The board of zoning appeals, which reviews variance requests, has reviewed the potential legislation. The city's planning commission was anticipated to review the changes Nov. 19 but the meeting was canceled due to a lack of a quorum.

Mayer said the planning commission is anticipated to review changes to the pool legislation at one of two meetings to be scheduled in December.

The planning commission must make a recommendation to New Albany City Council, which has the final vote on changes to city code.

Mayer said City Council heard first reading of the changes this month and tabled the legislation to January, pending a review by the planning commission.

Also at its next meeting, the planning commission is expected to review the final plat for 12 houses in the Windsor subdivision and a final plat for reserve land in Upper Clarenton, which is part of the New Albany Links subdivision.

The Windsor subdivision contains 171 homes between Johnstown Road (state Route 62) and High Street. It is zoned for 371 single-family homes. The final plat to be considered by the planning commission includes 12 homes that will be built north of Pemberton Lane and west of Butterworth Green Drive.

The final plat for reserve areas in Upper Clarenton stipulates that the neighborhood's homeowners association now will be responsible for 4.7 acres and the city will maintain 5 acres.

The boundary for one of the reserves maintained by the city has been moved closer to the Sugar Run creek, which winds through the property. The property was supposed to remain wooded and now is being mowed, according to staff reports.