New Albany City Council on Dec. 5 approved a set of guidelines to help define development of about 17,000 acres, most of which is in Jersey Township.

President Pro Tempore Colleen Briscoe and Marlene Brisk, Mike Durik, Chip Fellows and Glyde Marsh voted in favor of the accord; Mayor Sloan Spalding and Matt Shull were absent.

New Albany leaders, along with their counterparts from Jersey Township and Johnstown, assembled a final draft of the nonbinding planning document, the Western Licking County Accord.

Jersey Township likely will approve the accord before the end of 2017, according Jim Endsley, a township trustee. Johnstown Village Council also has not voted on the accord, said council clerk Teresa Monroe.

One of the accord’s key goals is preserving the land’s rural character, said Adrienne Joly, New Albany’s director of administrative services.

“We heard that over and over again from folks in this area,” she said.

Other objectives include maintaining each community’s heritage and identity; managing residential growth; building on agricultural roots; advancing employment opportunities; and extending park and bike connectivity, Joly said.

New Albany City Manager Joe Stefanov previously said the accord was necessary because of factors that include construction and development along the state Route 161 corridor and the expansion of the New Albany International Business Park.

Going forward, New Albany officials plan to hold quarterly staff meetings with Johnstown and Jersey Township leaders, Joly said.

The accord was developed after a planning survey was conducted by Columbus-based planning firm MKSK.

Joly said New Albany paid $135,000 for MKSK’s services, covering the entire cost for the three local governments.

Stefanov previously said New Albany funded MKSK in full because the city has more resources than Jersey Township and was trying to be a good neighbor by including Johnstown.

Read the full story in the Dec. 14 edition of the ThisWeek New Albany News.