Industrial zoning

 Industrial zoning has become such a sensitive issue in New Albany that the Board of Aldermen has delayed approving a revised comprehensive plan for the city to discuss further the industrial zoning topic.

We think that was the right move. The proposed comprehensive plan maps earmark some areas for industrial use, but do not define what kind of industry is suitable in which areas.

Sam Russell of Slaughter & Associates, the group that developed the plan, said specific industrial designations are not necessary because the plan is supposed to be just a broad blueprint for the city’s future.

Russell said cities are moving away from designating categories of industry in their zoning regulations. Zoning designations always can be changed by ordinance without involving the overall comprehensive plan, he said.

Bill Rutledge, attorney for a group of landowners who opposed location of an asphalt plant near Munsford Drive on the west side of New Albany, disagreed.

He said courts have ruled that cities have to follow the comprehensive plan and labeling an area industrial without defining it could make it difficult to prevent unwanted industries in certain areas.

We think that in a perfect world, Mr. Russell is right. 

But zoning in New Albany is not a perfect world and property owners are justifiably concerned about what is built next to them.

Given the controversy that has surrounded this issue, spelling out at least two levels of industrial zoning in the comprehensive plan and in the city’s zoning ordinances makes sense to us.

We are supportive of locating industries near Munsford Drive and along U.S. 78 on the western edge of the city. But the kind of industry that goes there is something the board should consider carefully.