Setting new standards

A plan that could help make commercial and industrial areas in New Albany better looking over time has been put forth at the Board of Aldermen.

Scott Dunnam, alderman-at-large, has introduced an ordinance to set minimum design standards for new construction in commercial and industrial areas.
It would not apply to existing buildings unless they were undergoing a major remodeling that represented more than 50 percent of the building’s value.
The proposal provides for continuity of design on all sides of the building and would require exterior surfaces to be brick, cement stucco, wood or wood simulated materials. Metal, vinyl sided or flat-faced cement block would not be permitted.
The proposed ordinance also would require parking and loading areas to be concrete or asphalt and construction of concrete or brick sidewalks on property facing a street. It also would require the planting of shade trees and landscaped islands in parking lots.
By failing to set forth reasonable standards for design, we have allowed too much of our commercial and industrial areas to consist of, at best unremarkable, and at worst unsightly, buildings that are not aesthetically pleasing.
It is uncertain when the plan will be presented for a public hearing because Dunnam is expected to miss the next meeting of the board. When it does come up, we think it deserves the serious attention of all New Albany residents.
It’s not a quick fix, but it will contribute to a better looking city over time.