New Albany News

New Albany City Council

Tabled zoning requests should be back on Sept. 2 agenda

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New Albany City Council on Aug. 19 tabled a commercial zoning request and a residential zoning request, but both applications are expected to be heard at City Council's next meeting Sept. 2.

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.

L Brands had requested the site be changed from agricultural to limited-general employment for general office and warehouse distribution.

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

The New Albany Planning Commission tabled the request July 21 and city officials met Aug. 7 with 22 neighboring residents, most of whom live on Harrison Road east of the site, to come up with changes to the plan.

City Councilman Sloan Spalding said 32 people attended the New Albany Planning Commission's Aug. 18 hearing on the zoning request.

Spalding said neighbors are concerned about landscaping, which would be used to screen their properties. They also are concerned about light pollution from a parking lot that could be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.

Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany's community-development director, said the commission recommended approval of the project with some conditions.

According to staff reports, the conditions include a 100-foot building setback from Harrison Road and Innovation Campus Court; a 75 percent opacity screening be provided using evergreens; off-site screening paid for by the developer on neighboring properties; LED downcast lighting; and a leisure trail built on Harrison Road within 10 years.

Chrysler requested City Council table the item because City Council has to wait 10 days before voting on a zoning that has been recommended by the planning commission.

City Council tabled the zoning 6-0, with Chip Fellows absent.

Chrysler told City Council in May L Brands 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.

The residential zoning request would change 19 acres west of Bevelhymer Road and north of Camden Drive from agricultural to residential for a subdivision to be called Millbrook.

Both the Rocky Fork-Blacklick Accord Implementation Panel and the New Albany Planning Commission gave the project positive recommendations July 17 and 21, respectively.

Chrysler said city officials were concerned about the subdivision's design, which has several lots backing up to a small creek.

She said city officials would like to see the creek preserved instead of being made part of a backyard.

Chrysler said it has been difficult in the past for the city to maintain a riparian corridor along streams that are close to residents' backyards.

Changing the layout of the subdivision could require the developer to increase the price point of homes on site from $550,000 to $600,000 or $650,000, she said.

City Council members had voiced concerns about the density of the project during first reading of the legislation July 1.

Chrysler said the plan is to incorporate two homes on the site into the subdivision and add 28 more.

She 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.

Chrysler said the developer, Canini and Associates, might be willing to purchase up to four acres elsewhere in the city and include that as part of the project's open space to reduce the overall density of the subdivision.

Chrysler requested City Council table the zoning to allow city officials to continue to work with the developer on the project.

City Council tabled the zoning request 6-0.

 

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