New Albany News

New Albany Co. development

Neighbors want to preserve trees near Straits Farm


Neighboring residents say the New Albany Co. acquiesced to their wishes on several points of contention over Straits Farm, a new 51-home development on Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road.

Still, they asked New Albany City Council on Aug. 6 for a few more concessions regarding a tree-preservation zone before the final plat for the subdivision was improved.

City Council ultimately approved the final plat in a 5-0 vote, with Colleen Briscoe and Chris Wolfe absent.

The New Albany Co. is building 51 single-family homes that will be marketed to empty nesters on 18.6 acres south of Maplewood Cemetery and on the west side of Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road.

Randy Bank of Jonell Square thanked city officials and the New Albany Co. for working with residents throughout the zoning and development process.

But, Bank said, he still is concerned that large, mature trees north of his home could be destroyed as the subdivision is built.

Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany's community development director, said the New Albany Co. agreed during the zoning process to keep a 30-foot preservation zone on the south side of the property, which borders Jonell Square.

The homes on Jonell Square already have a 30-foot preservation zone south of the New Albany Co. property line.

New Albany Co. officials agreed to keep a 20-foot preservation zone on the west side of the property bordering Ackerly Farm Road and to connect to sanitary sewer lines from the north instead of the south to further protect the southern tree preservation zone, Chrysler said.

The company will plant 44 trees in the south preservation zone and let neighboring property owners add more trees to the preservation zone, even though it is not their land, said Tom Rubey, development director for the New Albany Co.

Chrysler said as an extra precaution, city and New Albany Co. officials walked the site with residents and installed a construction fence on the south side of the property to prevent construction vehicles from getting close to the tree canopies while roads and other infrastructure are built.

The fence will be removed when the homes are built, Rubey said.

Bank asked if the New Albany Co. would remove one lot directly north of his property from the project.

He said the lot is small and has a gas easement running through it. Construction trucks would not be able to park on the easement and would have to drive through the tree canopy to get to the site.

Bank said he is concerned when the home is built on the lot, contractors would cut the tree canopy to get construction vehicles on the site.

Rubey did not agree to remove the lot from the project.

"(Home construction) may require branches to be trimmed," Rubey said. "There is some chance that trees will die if you change the hydrology of the area. If you're going to do as much work in the area as we're going to do, it has an impact on the trees. I know the trees will not die because of the compacting of the roots from construction equipment."

Rubey said trees most likely will die in the preservation zone in the future "because of a change in the hydrology of the whole area."

Rubey did agree to another resident's request to stake off tree canopies on the west side of the lot during infrastructure work.

He also said he would work with New Albany officials to determine if there is room on the southern-most cul-de-sac -- north of Jonell Square -- for a sidewalk on the south side of the road.

Chrysler said city officials will have to determine if the sidewalk is permitted since it might be too close to the 30-foot preservation zone.