New Albany City Council has begun a series of planning sessions to research development trends, and residents are invited to attend.

New Albany City Council has begun a series of planning sessions to research development trends, and residents are invited to attend.

City officials said the sessions were planned because of recent expansion in residential development.

"Years ago, when I was on City Council, we would have regular 'workshop' meetings on items that were in need of an in-depth look," Mayor Nancy Ferguson said. "We would meet on the second and/or fourth Tuesdays of the month to look at or be educated about things that needed more time than we had at a regular meeting.

"In the early 2000s, the need for those meetings became more rare and the workshops were just scheduled on an as-needed basis," she said. "When the recession hit in 2008, there was a housing slump and no new residential developments were introduced, making the need for a 'workshop' even more rare."

With the recession several years past, Ferguson said, city officials are seeing more proposed residential developments. That prompted Ferguson in May to ask if City Council would be interested in holding a series of planning workshops.

"Lately, though, housing is picking back up," Ferguson said. "New subdivisions are being proposed and development issues are being discussed again.

"(City Manager) Joseph Stefanov and I discussed the idea of having some guest speakers come to (City) Council meetings to discuss new trends in residential development and the changing demographics being experienced as the baby-boomers retire, downsize and move to other communities."

The first meeting was held Aug. 12 at the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

It featured guest speaker Terry Foegler, who served as Dublin's senior planner and city manager before becoming Dublin's director of strategic initiatives and special projects.

Foegler also worked with the Ohio State University and the city of Columbus on the South Campus Gateway development on High Street.

Adrienne Joly, New Albany's deputy community development director, said several government officials and a few residents attended the first session.

Joly said Foegler told them the population is changing, which could change future residential needs. She said the audience learned that as baby boomers get older, planners are seeing a shift in housing needs from people who have many children to people who live alone or couples who do not have children.

According to Foegler's presentation, "The growth being focused in these different household types (increasingly single-person households and households with no children) will likely result in very different housing market demands than what drove our markets over the past 40 years.

"(A) significant gap exists between what we have been building (and in many cases planning for), and what will likely be the additional new housing types needed to accommodate our region's growth. Under all scenarios, the nature of this new demand created by the household types will likely lead to a relatively far more compact form of development for our region than what we have experienced over the past 40 years."

Foegler also talked about some pedestrian-friendly developments in Dublin.

Joly said some of the concepts Foegler referred to are incorporated in New Albany's village-center plan, which encourages pedestrian traffic and residences mixed in with businesses.

The next planning session is scheduled at 6 p.m. Aug. 26.

Joly said the speaker has yet to be announced.

The meeting likely will be held at New Albany Village Hall on Johnstown Road.

"All meetings and workshops are open to the public and we encourage any of our residents who might be interested to attend," Ferguson said.