New Albany News

City Council could decide three zoning requests next month

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New Albany City Council is on track to decide three recent zoning-change requests in August.

City Council heard first reading July 1 of three applications, all of which were referred to the planning commission for review July 21.

Two of the requests are for residential properties and one is for a commercial property.

One rezoning request would change 19 acres west of Bevelhymer Road and north of Camden Drive from agricultural to residential.

Jennifer Chrysler, the city's community-development director, said two homes on the property would be incorporated into a subdivision.

The developer, Canini and Associates, would add 28 more homes to the property, which would be similar in look and price to the homes developed by Canini in the Tidewater subdivision on Central College Road.

Chrysler said the price point would be $550,000 to $700,000.

Chrysler said the density would be 1.57 units per acre. The city's strategic plan calls for town residential zoning in the area at 1.5 units per acre.

Mayor Nancy Ferguson said she is concerned about approving a zoning application with a density of more than one unit per acre, which has been the standard in New Albany.

The only deviation allowed is for the New Albany Co., which already has zoning in place for 702 homes. That figure has been placed in what is called the company's housing bank. If the company develops land at more than one unit per acre, it has to reduce the number of homes in the housing bank.

Canini and Associates does not have a housing bank, Chrysler said.

The other proposed residential zoning application would split about 2 acres at 5321 Harlem Road from a 10-acre parcel. The land would be used for one home, Chrysler said.

The commercial zoning request is for 71 acres north of state Route 161 and east of the Smith's Mill Loop Road in the Business Park East Innovation District.

Chrysler said the land needs to be changed from agricultural to limited general employment for general office and warehouse distribution for the expansion of L Brands.

L Brands is expected to move 500 employees in the company's personal beauty-products division from Reynoldsburg to a new facility in New Albany.

Chrysler told City Council in May the company is expected to invest $175 million in the new building or buildings, which would include 360,000 square feet for corporate offices and a 500,000-square-foot distribution facility in the project's first phase.

L Brands is the parent company of Victoria's Secret, PINK, Bath and Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel.

If the projects are given a recommendation by the planning commission July 21, City Council would review the projects again at one of its two meetings in August and potentially vote on the zoning changes.

In other business July 1, New Albany City Council:

* Approved the final plat for 33 homes to be built on almost 21 acres west of Johnstown Road and south of Temple Beth Shalom.

Chrysler said the project previously included 43 homes. It has been reduced to 33 and contains three reserve areas, which include the creeks and ravines that run through the property.

Tom Rubey, development director for the New Albany Co., said the lots would cost $125,000 to $160,000. Homes built on the lots are expected to cost between $700,000 and $800,000.

* Approved a final plat for 32 homes to be built on almost 28 acres northwest of Sedgwick Drive, south of the Highgrove subdivision.

* Agreed to apply for a $1,037,000 grant from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to link the city's 18 traffic signals with fiber lines so the city could monitor traffic from its service station and make adjustments to lights as needed.

The funds would pay to install the system and fiber lines where there are gaps. The project also would link the traffic signals to those on the border with Columbus to improve traffic flow in and out of the city.

* Agreed to advertise for bids to widen Beech Road north of state Route 161 to Jug Street, also adding a leisure path on the east side of the road.

The project would be paid for with a $240,000 grant and a $755,000 zero-percent interest loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission. The city is expected to contribute $995,000 from the economic-development fund.

The estimated cost of the total project would be $1,920,000.

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