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January 7, 2013

Summit Springs developers appealing zoning process to New Albany BZA

Developers asking for 2008 PUDD approval to stand

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals will be asked Tuesday to overturn a ruling requiring developers of the Summit Springs project to seek a second land use approval.

City Plan Commission Director Scott Wood directed Summit Springs’ developers LDG to seek a second Planned Unit Development District, or PUDD, approval from the city when it elected to proceed with the project last year.

The development — planned for the area behind the Burger King restaurant near the Daisy Lane intersection off State Street — initially received a PUDD approval in May of 2008, according to Wood.

However, city rules specify a PUDD distinction expires if the development doesn’t occur within 18 months of the initial grant, he continued. Therefore Summit Springs was required to launch by November of 2009 to meet the guideline, according to Wood.

Summit Springs would include affordable housing units, office and retail space on about 12 acres of the more than 50-acre site. There have been concerns raised by residents and city officials over the steep slopes on the property, though LDG has stated it isn’t seeking to build on the hilly terrain.

The Louisville firm pulled the project before a possible New Albany City Council vote on the PUDD request in November. LDG Development Manager Michael Haas said in November there didn’t seem to be much support from the council for the near $30 million project.

“We didn’t feel real confident, so we withdrew and that’s where we’re at,” Haas said at the time.

However, if the PUDD approval from 2008 was allowed to stand, LDG wouldn’t need a second OK from the council to proceed with the development.

A message left for Haas Thursday seeking comment for the story hadn’t been returned as of press time.

Attorney John Kraft spoke briefly on behalf of LDG in November when he informed the council the request was being withdrawn. Kraft wasn’t immediately available for comment Friday afternoon.

Wood said a request to overturn such a decision isn’t “terribly uncommon,” though he added the objection to his ruling wasn’t mentioned when the PUDD proposal was removed in November.

“There was nothing expressed about this at all,” Wood said.

The second PUDD request had again proceeded through staff review and a New Albany Plan Commission vote. The commission gave the proposal a 6-2 favorable recommendation last year, and the final step in the process was for the council to weigh the matter.



 

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