Monday, April 11, 2016

Green Mouse Q and A: How the Summit Springs hilltop clustermuck got to this point.

On Tuesday, Jeff Gahan's handpicked Redevelopment Rubber Stamp Commission will consider the future of Summit Springs, a hilltop commercial development off State Street. The city's TIF Gift to this latest monstrosity is to be road tacked to the hillside.

Behold the aesthetic monstrosity of Summit Springs, coming soon to our low-density State Street corridor.

The Green Mouse has found a disgruntled informant close to the top. As information comes in, it will be published here.


Where did the trees go?

A developer has decided to place a hotel and other businesses on top of that steep hill, and apparently, the trees were in the way.

When did this get approved?

It didn’t. Well…kinda.

It’s a little confusing unless you are a Krafty lawyer. The property owners have been trying to develop that hill since 2003. Most recently, in 2012, the proposed plan failed to gain support from City Council. However, the night City Council was to vote on it, the property owners withdrew the plan.

A couple months later, the property owners returned with the intention of reviving a plan from 2008. This particular plan had received primary approval from the Plan Commission and approval from City Council in 2008. However, because the property owners did not obtain secondary approval from the Plan Commission within 18 months as stated in city ordinance, the 2008 plan was no longer valid.

Now, the property owners must have known this. Otherwise, why would they go through the trouble and cost of getting another plan approved?

Since the property owners couldn’t get the needed votes from the 2012 City Council, they needed to devise a scheme to bypass City Council … enter the 2008 plan. They took the 2008 plan before the Board of Zoning Appeals but the Board saw through the scheme despite being threatened with a lawsuit. The property owners held true to their promise and sued the City of New Albany and the Board of Zoning Appeals.

This is where the story becomes unclear.

The city’s attorney, Stan Robison, requested a change of venue which ultimately moved the proceedings to Scott County. The local reporter (Daniel Suddeath) who had been covering the proposed development left the News and Tribune. Any and all coverage of this news story was non-existent during this time until now, when the hill has been stripped bare and the property owners want to build a road.

Whatever happened in the courtroom was clearly in the property owners’ favor. So, when did this plan gain approval? In 2008, by the city’s then Plan Commission and City Council, with the assistance of a judge at some point in the last two years. All of this was done without the property owner ever filing and getting approval for a secondary plan that would provide the details of the proposed development, which breaks city ordinance. So, it was not approved using the process set forth by the city.

How wonderful it is to be above the law. I wonder what else has been done without proper approval ... wait, don't ask me to answer THAT one.


John Halta said...

This is outrageous. I grew up hiking and camping in those woods all year-round. I remember seeing an old faded sign that said it was a wildlife sanctuary on the State Street side. I moved away from New Albany about 15 years ago, and this was the last bit of old woodland left around the city as I recall. How can someone do this? Had people fairly been given notice of what was about to happen, those trees would still be standing.

Newalbany1813 said...

Bat and bird's nests huh? Sounds logical. You mean bats and birds have nests in the rare undeveloped wooded areas of New Albany? Egads! We must cut them all down! Everyone, grab your chainsaw and start chopping down the trees. Also, when are are the church steeples getting torn down as those are known bat and bird nest attractors? Let's just keep building until we run out of land. What do you say?

Parts of downtown still crumble. Houses still line the streets of our city that appear abandoned. We build more and more subdivisions with houses stacked right on top of one another, eating up all the land, trees, and bird and bat nests. Develop the areas that need developing; areas where the town is dilapidated and in need of new life. Don't chop down trees and sell off the rare wooded areas that are left in this town. Land owners stop trying to get rich and instead have some character. I've seen it time and time again. People sell off their property with dollar signs in their eyes, with no regard for what will become of it and how that might be harmful to neighbors. Same assholes who build a McMansion next door to a 1,200 square foot house from the 50s. Come on. This isn't Texas. Same assholes who flatten out the top of the knobs. Same assholes who blame bat's nests for all of it.