NEW ALBANY — Amid neighborhood concerns, a new multi-family development is taking shape at the corner of Green Valley Road and Daisy Lane.
The development addresses a clear need for additional housing in New Albany, but many homeowners in the area have expressed anxieties about privacy, traffic congestion and the impact the development may have on existing drainage issues.
One neighbor of the property, Rose Kerber, purchased her home on Green Valley Road in 2018, and says that she doesn’t think she would have made that decision had she known about the fate of the neighborhood.
“That was a beautiful property with tons of trees and grass,” she said, “and they tore it down and put concrete there.”
She is concerned that the development, which consists of three-story buildings, will not fit into the aesthetic of the neighborhood.
Developer Jacob Elder, however, believes that there is a demand for more residential development in the city.
“I think there's definitely a need for a higher-end luxury apartment complex in New Albany,” he said.
His planned development, The Villas at Green Valley, will boast open floor plans, abundant storage, 9-foot ceilings, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. The on-site clubhouse will contain a billiards room, workspaces, and an oversized workout facility.
“Adjacent to the clubhouse, we’re going to have an outdoor garden area,” Elder adds, “with a large green space,” to welcome tenants with pets.
While there has been a clear effort to build greenery into plans for the site, many resident concerns with the removal of the trees have less to do with aesthetics and more to do with privacy.
“We will have people overlooking our backyards, basically,” Kerber said. She and others attended a number of planning and zoning meetings in 2020 and 2021 to bring this issue to the city's zoning board, along with concerns about traffic congestion and stormwater drainage. She felt like the concerns of the residents were largely ignored.
“The city doesn’t listen to the people,” Kerber said.
According to Scott Wood, the director of the New Albany Plan Commission, these and other “legitimate community concerns” were addressed through stipulations that the commission adopted during the approval process for the 84-unit project. These stipulations include providing “typical residential landscaping, with a focus on retaining healthy trees at the perimeter of the site and providing additional buffering where appropriate” for the community.
Elder said that the planning team kept as many trees as they could on the property, and that the perimeter that is adjacent to Bohannon Drive will be “very lush with trees and privacy,” particularly in the summertime. He plans to work with neighbors on the Daisy Lane perimeter of the complex to “see what makes the most sense,” as far as a buffer line is concerned, suggesting that some taller pines or evergreens might work.
To further address the concerns of residents, the second entrance to the apartment complex was moved off Bohannon and onto Daisy Lane, and residential buildings were repositioned so that they do not overlook the yards and pools of residents on Bohannon. Other improvements include the widening of Green Valley Road to allow for a turn lane and better traffic flow. While this will not fix traffic congestion at the corner, Elder maintains that the goal is for the development to “not hinder traffic any more than what’s already there.”
Many of the approval stipulations from the plan commission in 2021 relate to stormwater drainage, which can be an issue for the area surrounding the new development due to the Falling Run watershed. To help with the city’s persistent drainage problems, the New Albany Stormwater Department now requires new watershed developments to maintain a 150% drainage capacity. This means that the Villas at Green Valley, as well as any other new watershed developments, must hold a greater capacity of stormwater on-site for longer periods of time, with the goal of improving the city’s overall drainage infrastructure gradually through those new developments.
While this one project won’t fix the problems with storm drainage immediately, it is a small part of New Albany’s long-term goal for drainage improvements.
The first construction phase for the Villas at Green Valley includes 48 units and the clubhouse. It is expected to be complete in late January 2023, with the remaining 36 units to be completed during the second phase in January 2024. The one-, two- and three-bedroom units will be pre-leasing later this year, priced from $950-$1,350 monthly.