By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY — On second reading, the New Albany City Council unanimously approved permitting a 12-unit, townhouse-style apartment complex at 822 Northgate Blvd. off Grant Line Road Monday.
The proposal to permit the multi-family complex was brought forth by Receveur Real Estate and will require a third vote of approval by the council.
In 2008, the council OK’d a Planned Unit Development District for the property that allowed the site to be developed with offices. New Albany Plan Commission Director Scott Wood said some initial work was done on the property, but construction ceased before offices were built.
“The economy went in the tank. They stopped work,” Wood said.
As planned, the units would be two-bedroom and start at $750 monthly for rent. A representative with the real estate group said they would not seek government subsidies for the apartments, and that they would only be designed for rent, not purchase.
Though the ordinance passed unanimously, Councilman Dan Coffey questioned whether the city was accumulating an abundance of apartment complexes in one area.
He referenced the Stonecrest apartment complex that was approved by the council last month, though the project would be located about a mile from the Northgate Boulevard development.
Coffey said he wasn’t specifically referring to the Receveur project, but added the city should examine where such developments are being built.
Wood said it’s a fair question, and that the city should consider reviewing its comprehensive plan, which is now 14 years old.
It’s good practice to revisit comprehensive plans every five years, or at least every decade, Wood continued.
However with just a two-person planning staff, Wood said reviewing the plan would likely require the help of an outside consultant.
COUNCIL TALKS PAVING
Prior to the meeting, the council held a work session to discuss funding for paving for this year and beyond.
Earlier this year, the council tabled a proposal to bond $5 million to $6 million for resurfacing. Councilman Scott Blair wanted the body to consider funding paving projects without accruing interest from borrowing money.
The administration provided updated fund amounts for accounts that could be tapped by the council for resurfacing.
By the end of the year, the city is projected to have about $2.6 million in unencumbered Economic Development Income Tax funds at its disposal.
The city should expect to have about the same amount of EDIT funds available in 2014 as well, according to Shane Gibson, an attorney with the city.
Blair said during the work session he favors using $2.5 million in EDIT this year and next year for paving, but added the city needs a solid plan before it proceeds.
But Coffey countered that only appropriating a few million in funds would likely keep the city from catching up with what he described as a paving deficit.
“It’s not horrible, it’s deplorable,” Coffey said of the condition of many city streets.
He added that without a massive paving effort, council members would likely fight to reserve what funds are made available for their own districts.
Coffey opposed a $10 million paving bond under Mayor Doug England’s administration, as he questioned whether the amount was too much for what needed to be accomplished.
Councilman Greg Phipps suggested a compromise whereby the city bond a portion of funds to catch up with paving deficits and then proceed to budget EDIT funds for future resurfacing projects.
Many council members stated the city needs at least a five-year plan for paving, and some said money should also be set aside for sidewalk repairs.
A consensus on how to proceed wasn’t reached, and Council President Pat McLaughlin suggested another work session be held on the issue.