By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY — The New Albany City Council approved on first reading Monday a zoning ordinance that would allow the development of a 288-unit apartment complex off Grant Line Road.
SDR Development requested a change in the type of Planned Unit Development District classification for the property — which is located near Grant Line Elementary School in the two-mile fringe area — to allow the Stonecrest apartment complex to be constructed on the 15-acre tract.
Two more ballots will have to be taken on the ordinance, as drainage concerns were the focal point of the council’s deliberations on the request.
As proposed, the complex would include 625 parking spots based on a city code requiring 2.17 places per unit. New Albany Plan Commission Director Scott Wood said he would prefer the developer adhere to a standard closer to 1.75 parking spots per unit.
More parking means more costs to the developer, and it also equates to greater amounts of impervious surfaces which can increase flooding problems and generate more heat during summer months, Wood said.
SDR Development President Don Theineman said the company realizes that drainage is the top concern for the project.
“If it needs less parking, we need to address it that way,” he said.
The plan commission gave the zoning request a favorable recommendation last month, but the body and city staff attached 19 stipulations to the proposal, including drainage and erosion requirements.
Since the property is located in the two-mile fringe area, the Floyd County Commissioners would also review the drainage plan for the apartment complex.
Wood said SDR Development has plans to retain water on the site.
Flooding in recent years along Tye Avenue off Grant Line Road was mentioned by council members as a reason for concern. The county funded a drainage project in the Tye Avenue neighborhood to attempt to alleviate some of the stormwater problems.
If approved on final reading, SDR Development will likely be required to have its construction reviewed by a city-approved firm to ensure building requirements are met.
Councilman Kevin Zurschmiede said the city needs to examine construction more frequently so that when flood events occur, the public will know builders were monitored and required to follow drainage plans.
“I just want to make sure it’s done right,” Zurschmiede said.
Councilman Dan Coffey and Zurschmiede said the city needs to hire a full-time engineer who would be responsible for inspecting construction as it pertains to drainage.
The council will hold a work session on the proposal as well as parking standards and how they pertain to drainage prior to voting on the PUDD request a second and third time.
The ordinance passed on first reading 5-2, with Councilmen Pat McLaughlin and John Gonder voting against the measure. Coffey abstained from the vote, and Councilman Scott Blair was absent.
“I still think there’s things that need to be answered before we approve this,” Coffey said.
PUBLIC MEETINGS TO BE HELD
City Operations Director Michael Hall said during the meeting the administration will likely hold its first public information session on the planned aquatic center, multiuse sports facility and soccer fields for Binford Park next week.
Hall said the time is still being confirmed, but the first meeting will likely be held March 11 at Green Valley Elementary School. Hall said multiple meetings will be held on the projects.
Last month, the council approved a resolution that will allow the city to fund the projects with a tax-increment financing bond.
The News and Tribune will report the official time and place for the public information session when the details are finalized.