What is the Village Center Plan?
Since 1998 when New Albany’s first strategic plan was developed, the city has committed to creating a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly Village Center with a mix of amenities that would bring people together, much like the traditional town centers of the late 19th century. Our 2006 Village Center Plan and 2011 Village Center Strategy identified the need to incorporate more retail and residential development as well as public spaces and cultural amenities to achieve that goal. According to research, the suburbs that are performing well are those that create mixed-use, walkable places for residents and employees. We know from our own surveys that residents want more restaurants and shops in the area. It is also important to businesses that want to locate in areas where employees have convenient access to these amenities.
Why is New Albany increasing the density of Village Center?
New Albany was ahead of the curve in anticipating the popularity for mixed-use, walkable communities. As a master-planned community, New Albany collaborated with residents and businesses in developing a shared vision for our Village Center. We are now bringing that vision to life. As the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission noted in 2011, “Density, done right, is the result of good principles and planning that can provide our daily needs and amenities efficiently without appearing cluttered or feeling crowded. Just as sprawl has many drawbacks, density has benefits. It allows compact and efficient use of land; efficient delivery of services; ease of travel on foot; and vibrant activity. It can draw a community together rather than push people apart.”
Why is the city increasing the density of Market Square?
Building out Market Square was the initial focus of development in Village Center because of its location and potential to connect many civic facilities and amenities, including the library, post office and City Hall as well as other parts of Village Center. Market Square is almost fully developed according to our plans and, as a result, we are seeing increasing private investment in this area as well as other parts of Village Center. Now, the restaurants and retail shops that residents have wanted for so many years are choosing to locate here.
How do luxury apartments on Main Street benefit the city?
The 2011 Village Center Strategy identified a need for a mix of types, sizes and density of housing “in order to have all-day activity and the social and economic investment needed to support essential village core entertainment, restaurants and retail.” According to insight2050, a report from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Columbus2020 and the Urban Land Institute – Columbus, an unprecedented 81 percent of new population growth in Central Ohio will be households without children, including Millennials and “empty nesters” who want walkable neighborhoods, mixed-use environments and smaller homes. We also know from our economic development efforts that businesses are locating where the skilled workforce wants to live and work. The private investment we are seeing is a response to market demand for this type of housing. The city’s job is to ensure that this private development conforms to our strict architectural standards so that development is effectively integrated into the community.
Does this type of development make it more expensive to maintain our infrastructure?
No. In fact, this type of housing is often described as “tax positive” because we derive income tax from it and it puts less strain on city services. Maintaining the infrastructure and providing city services in denser developments costs less than continuing to expand outward, which requires building and maintaining new roads and increasing our service area for police and other city services.
Will luxury apartments make our schools more crowded?
We do not anticipate an increase in the school population as a result of the luxury apartments. According to insight2050, a report from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Columbus2020 and the Urban Land Institute – Columbus projects that 81% of Central Ohio’s population growth will come from households without children, including Millennials and “empty nesters,” The new apartments are designed and scaled to attract households without children.
What does the city plan to do about parking concerns at Market Square?
We know there is a need to address the parking shortage at Market Square. We are assessing the cost and viability of various solutions. As with all of our planning, the city will work collaboratively with residents and business owners to find the appropriate solution. Options that have been successful in other town centers like ours include regulated, two-hour metered parking on streets, a parking deck over the existing parking lot, a parking garage adjacent to the existing parking lot, utilizing or expanding existing city parking lots and off-site parking for retail employees. View Market Street Parking Changes
How will the city avoid the traffic congestion that comes with more development?
As a master-planned community, we have a distinct advantage in being able to manage traffic flow because we have thoroughfare and future road network plans. We now have four highway interchanges that enable residents and employees to access State Route 161 more quickly and conveniently from multiple locations. We also have SmartRide New Albany, an express COTA bus that runs weekdays from New Albany to downtown Columbus and back. In Village Center, we anticipate that many people will choose to walk to restaurants, shops and other amenities. We are working with the schools to remedy congestion when children are dropped off and pick up. We are also analyzing the extension of Market Street to State Route 161 to further disperse traffic.
How will we preserve green space in New Albany with all the new development?
For nearly 20 years, the city has planned to transform Rose Run into the recreational backbone to Village Center and “the physical, visual and emotional heart of the community,” according to the 2003 Rose Run Greenway Corridor Study. When Rose Run Park is completed in late 2019, it will become a key civic asset and gathering place that underscores New Albany’s commitment to community, connectivity and the environment. Phase Two will enable us to expand and integrate the greenway into other parts of Village Center. In addition, all of our plans call for the preservation of green space throughout the city.
How can I get more information about the city’s plans?
If you have questions, please contact the New Albany Community Development Department at 614.939.2254. You can view the city’s plans at https://newalbanyohio.org/answers/city-plans-studies/.