Construction of an age-restricted housing development could begin this fall, according to Aaron Underhill, an attorney for the developer, Epcon Communities.

The project cleared a development hurdle May 15, when New Albany City Council members approved a rezoning request for 35 acres at 7100 New Albany Condit Road (state Route 605), near Central College Road. The property is owned by Yerke Real Estate.

All council members present voted in favor of the rezoning; Colleen Briscoe and Glyde Marsh were absent.

Before Epcon can begin construction, New Albany's planning commission and City Council would need to approve the final plat, and council members also would need to approve the final development plan, said Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany's community-development director.

Epcon will file the final development plan and final plat with the city in the next week, Underhill said.

The development is slated to have 105 units that would cost $350,000 to $550,000, Underhill said. Build-out of the community could take three to four years, he said.

Residents' concerns

During the May 15 meeting, a few residents expressed concerns about traffic that the development could cause, as well as noise from air-conditioning units on the houses.

Underhill said Epcon is studying ways to address the air-conditioning-unit noise but hasn't identified a solution. Epcon representatives hope to address the concern at a public hearing for the final-development-plan application, he said.

Epcon's traffic study indicates that restriping some turn lanes on Route 605 would be one of the only required changes to streets, Underhill said. Several new street connections are being made by Epcon as part of the project, at the developer's expense, he said.

One of the residents mentioned Jersey Drive as a concern.

Jersey Drive runs through both the neighboring Wentworth and Links neighborhoods, Chrysler said. It currently ends at the Yerke property, she said, but "Future Road Extension" signs are posted to distinguish it from a dead-end street, she said.

The road would be extended into the Epcon development as part of the project.

"Any concerns with traffic calming relating to Jersey Drive are likely to require city action, as the calming would occur to the east in the existing subdivision within right of way that Epcon does not (and will not) control," Underhill said.

Age restriction

The 105-unit development would come with a mandate, according to the federal Housing for Older Persons Act, that all the units have at least one resident age 55 or older, Underhill said. In addition to the 55-year-old age specification, Epcon plans to restrict anyone under the age of 21 from living in the community, Underhill said. With those two restrictions, the development should not generate any students for the New Albany-Plain Local School District, he said.

Underhill said the age restrictions are established both by deed and by zoning.

Under the Epcon property's requested planned-unit-development classification, an applicant submits detailed zoning regulations particular to the site and files them along with the application, he said.

Epcon's zoning text includes the age restrictions and provides that, if the requirements are not followed, zoning violations could be issued by the city, Underhill said.

Nottingham Trace, a 240-single-family-home community by Pulte Homes, also has an age restriction. Pulte's project used the same approach of restriction by deed and zoning, Underhill said.

The planned Pulte development is on 90 acres off Schleppi Road, near the new Rocky Fork Metro Park in northern Plain Township.

Parkland payment

Epcon also proposes to make a payment to New Albany or the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks system to make up for a shortage of code-required parkland on the project site, Underhill said.

Chrysler said the development is required to have both open space and parkland.

"The open-space requirement is 7 acres and they are providing 7 acres," she said. "The parkland requirement is 5.78 acres and they have 0.4 acre."

The parkland payment would be determined as part of the city's review of the final development plan, Underhill said.

The amount would be based on an appraisal of per-acre land values in the area of the nearby Rocky Fork Metro Park, he said. The money could help the city or Metro Parks acquire land or easements over property to make leisure-trail connections.

"The funds would be used as opportunities arise and at the sole discretion of the city or Metro Parks," Underhill said. "This method for making up the shortage will provide a benefit to the broader community, not just this project."