NEW ALBANY — By a unanimous vote, the New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals upheld the administrative decision to require a second Planned Unit Development District, or PUDD, application for the proposed Summit Springs development.
The project — which would be located off State Street — received a PUDD approval in May of 2008 from the New Albany City Council, which allowed the multimillion dollar residential and commercial development to move forward.
A stipulation of a PUDD distinction is that the applicant must again appear before the New Albany Plan Commission within 18 months for a secondary review.
However neither the development firm or the land owners, Pat and Pam Kelley, brought forth a secondary review to the plan commission within 18 months of the PUDD approval.
The Kelleys’ attorney, John Kraft, didn’t argue that the timeline wasn’t met, but rather based his appeal of Plan Commission Director Scott Wood’s decision to require a second PUDD application on vested rights. At least $500,000 has been spent on the project already, according to Kraft.
Kraft used as examples letters and e-mails sent by then-Deputy Mayor Carl Malysz and then-Mayor Doug England to the Kelleys in 2009 and 2010 — which stated that the project was to be included in a tax-increment financing district and was OK to proceed — to support his appeal.
He also referenced a letter from Wood to the project planners in 2012 which stated only a secondary review of the development would be needed as a reason that the property owners felt the project wouldn’t need another PUDD approval from the council.
The Kelleys and the development firm, LDG, spent a great deal of money, including paying for city right-of-way for an extension of Daisy Lane to serve the project as a result of their belief a second PUDD approval wouldn’t be required, Kraft said.
“Why in the world would the Kelleys buy the right-of-way...and the Daisy Lane extension...for a project that wasn’t going to go forward?” Kraft said.
Though some board members acknowledged there was some lack of clarity in the process, they said Wood ultimately upheld the 1996 city ordinance to require a second PUDD application if the 18-month timeline isn’t met.
“I think there was plenty of time for them to approach [the plan commission for a secondary review,]” said board of zoning appeals member Steve Schmelz.
A second PUDD vote on the project was slated to be weighed by the city council in November, but LDG pulled the request, citing a lack of interest in the project by council members.
LDG or the Kelleys can still apply for a second PUDD approval if they chose to do so, however Kraft has said the issue may ultimately be decided in court.