Although more than 200 new houses are planned for 90 acres in northern New Albany, the effect on the New Albany-Plain Local School District would be minor, according to local officials.

The project still is in the planning stages, and a necessary rezoning has not been approved.

Tom Rubey, director of development for the New Albany Co., said the company plans to sell property west of New Albany-Condit Road (state Route 605) and south of Walnut Street to Pulte Homes later this year. The land is off Schleppi Road and near the new Rocky Fork Metro Park in northern Plain Township.

The 240 single-family homes would be age-restricted to buyers 55 years of age and older, he said. The age restriction would apply not only to the property zoning but also to the housing deeds, he said.

According to a report prepared by Underhill & Hodge LLC, the development is estimated to add 17 students to the school district. Rubey said the community would take five to six years to complete.

The cost to educate the 17 students would be $212,619, according to the report. When the community is built out, it is estimated to generate $1,590,960 annually in property-tax revenue for the school district.

New Albany spokesman Scott McAfee said the land needs to be rezoned before the city can consider the project.

New Albany City Council first reviewed a proposal to rezone the land Jan. 3.

Members of the Rocky Fork-Blacklick Accord Implementation Panel -- a body of representatives from Columbus, New Albany and Plain Township that makes nonbinding recommendations on development with the accord guidelines in mind -- then reviewed the plan, McAfee said.

He said the panel in March recommended approval of the project.

On April 17, the New Albany's Planning Commission recommended that City Council approve Pulte's zoning request, which would change the zoning for 95 acres from agricultural and limited general employment to infill planned-unit development.

City Council is expected to consider the rezoning request in May, McAfee said.

If council members approve the rezoning, Pulte may submit a final development plan back to the city's planning commission, he said. If the planning commission approves, the project may move forward.

The housing development would have four access points from local roads, McAfee said. One would be from Route 605, one from Schleppi Road and two connecting to Upper Albany, an adjoining Columbus neighborhood.

Age-restricted neighborhoods also have less traffic at peak times, he said, because fewer residents commute to workplaces.

He said Pulte also hired the EMH&T engineering firm to conduct a traffic study on the local roads before proceeding.

Pulte Homes spokeswoman Valerie Dolenga said the houses would be 1,700 to 2,800 square feet. Pricing is estimated to start at $350,000, she said.

She confirmed the community is age-restricted by deed to those who are 55 and over.

She said the main living space in the houses would be on one floor, including the owner's suite.

"While many plan to downsize (as they get older), they still want plenty of space to entertain," Dolenga said.

The upper level would include loft spaces and bedrooms, she said.

Amenities will include a clubhouse, leisure paths, open spaces and pocket parks.

Pulte plans to begin land development this fall and hold a grand opening next year, Dolenga said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah