New Albany City Council on April 2 approved a zoning change for "empty-nester" housing on Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road.

New Albany City Council on April 2 approved a zoning change for "empty-nester" housing on Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road.

The vote was 4-0, with Chip Fellows and Chris Wolfe absent and one seat vacant.

The zoning change from agricultural to an infill-planned unit development will allow 51 detached, single-family homes on 18 acres owned by the New Albany Co. between the Reserve subdivision and Maplewood Cemetery.

The homes would be marketed as "empty-nester" housing, with first-floor master suites and no community playgrounds, said Tom Rubey, development director for the New Albany Co.

Three neighboring residents asked questions about the project at the April 2 meeting.

David Herzberg of Ackerly Farm Road said he supports the development but is concerned the backyards will be too close to his neighborhood.

The zoning change includes a 20-foot setback from neighboring homes.

Jennifer Chrysler, the city's community development director, said the land would be classified as a conservation area, which means nothing can be built there, the grass cannot be mowed and nothing can be planted.

"The idea is that it's left in its natural state as much as possible," Chrysler said.

Councilman Glyde Marsh asked if the New Albany Co. could reduce the 100-foot setback from Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road and move the houses closer to the road and farther from existing homes.

Rubey said the setback from Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road is needed to maintain the rural character of the road.

However, Rubey said, he would look into the possibility of moving the homes farther from the conservation area. He said he would review the house plans and the path of an extension of Strait's Lane before committing to increase the preservation zone or move homes farther from the zone.

Rubey said two gas lines and a 40-foot easement run through the property, which also limits what can be done.

City Council approved the zoning change with two conditions:

• The developer will build structures 30 feet from the rear property line adjacent to existing developments or provide opaque screening similar to the New Albany Country Club development standards.

• The developer will create a 20-foot preservation zone on the west side of the development adjacent to existing developments.

The zoning change was recommended for approval March 18 by the planning commission.

The planning commission will review the final development plan and final plat of the subdivision at a future meeting. City Council also must approve the final plat.

In other business April 2, City Council agreed to spend $600 for members to ride in a horse-drawn wagon in the Founders Day and Fourth of July parades.