New Albany leaders are collecting one more round of feedback from residents before drafting an updated strategic plan.
City officials on Jan. 16 held the Engage New Albany workshop at the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library to review progress and recommendations with residents.
Those who attended -- an estimated 75 people filled the library meeting room, with some standing -- were able to submit feedback after the presentation, and residents will be able to do the same via a survey on the city's website, newalbanyohio.org, through the end of January, said Adrienne Joly, director of administrative services.
The strategic plan is the key policy guide for New Albany City Council, boards, commissions and staff members in evaluating land-use, development and infrastructure decisions, as well as public investment and private development, Joly said.
The city's first master plan was adopted in 1998, and it has been updated every five years, she said.
MKSK, a planning, urban-design and landscape-architecture firm in Columbus, is leading the process under the direction of the community-development department, Joly said. The firm's total fee for the work is $212,800, she said.
A steering committee comprising representatives of neighborhoods, businesses, government agencies, community groups and local institutions will guide the plan's development, Joly said.
MKSK principal Chris Hermann said city officials would work on drafting the plan.
A community open house will be held in the spring to share the draft with residents, Hermann said. The plan is slated to be adopted in the summer, he said.
Hermann said the city organized its recommendations into six topics: land use, the village center, mobility, parks and recreation, sustainability and community well-being.
For land use, for example, the city is considering a recommendation to include additional housing in the village center in such areas as the Ashton Grove, Ealy Crossing and Keswick neighborhoods, he said. New houses would have single-floor plans with elevators to cater to empty nesters who want to be close to the village center, he said.
Age-targeted housing also could be a possibility for the eastern portion of the city in Licking County, Hermann said. Housing in that area would need to be age-restricted to over 55 to ensure families only are in parts of the city within New Albany-Plain Local School District boundaries, he said.
Although the city is considering the future of its residential options, it alsos is looking at new opportunities for retail.
New Albany historically has made a choice to keep its retail offerings to the village center, Hermann said. But now the city is considering allowing limited retail options in places outside the village center, such as along Beech Road, to serve the employment growth there, he said.
Resident Sandra Hirschl said she wants more restaurants in the city to which she could walk.
Her husband, Jeff, said they moved to New Albany two months ago from Youngstown, choosing the community because they heard good things about it. They live in the new Nottingham Trace neighborhood.
Sandra Hirschl said with the number of large companies the city has, she would have thought more restaurants would be near businesses for the employees.
Another resident, Wolfgang Teran, said he is curious what type of retail options the city would consider adding to the village center.
"I'm OK with what we have," he said.
For resident Elizabeth Eckels, attending the strategic-plan workshop was a way to share her opinion and understand city activities.
"I'm extremely grateful that they give us these opportunities," she said.
Eckels said preserving the feel and function of New Albany is important to her.
She travels frequently for work, she said, "but I love to come home."