Befuddlement at the news as strange council bedfellows unite to defeat West Street Mews.


The News and Tribune’s Chris Morris recorded the quote as 6th district council representative Scott Blair tried to explain his opposition to a townhouse development off West Street in New Albany.

(Councilman Scott) Blair had other concerns. “There are just too many units for two acres. Seems too congestive for me,” Blair said.

Actually, normal usage of the adjective congestive lies in specialized medical applications, like congestive heart failure: “Involving or producing too much blood or other liquid in an organ.”

We use congested to describe “clogged,” “overcrowded,” or “overfull,” as when a lifetime of eating fatty fried food leaves one with congested arteries. In like fashion, overpopulated cities and crowded roads are said to be congested.

Bankers. Can’t live with ’em … can’t teach ’em the meaning of words like density and infill.

Meanwhile, “mews” might be trite and annoying developer-speak for townhouses in Coffeyville, but it jibes point by point with those same passages about infill and density included in the city’s new comprehensive plan — the one authored by Team Gahan to encourage housing precisely like this, and yet opposed last night by three of four councilman in Gahan’s own sad party, plus Blair (huh?) and Dan Coffey himself.

Maybe the project’s backers forgot to grease Dear Leader’s re-election wheels.

We are reminded of a bedrock truth pertaining to city council politics in New Albany, which won’t ever change for so long as Coffey remains a councilman, because the reason why the West End forever languishes is that Coffey himself opposes change in his own environs with clock-like regularity.

The Wizard simply cannot survive in a socio-economic habitat any different from the one he has cultivated (read: kept waaaay down) during more than two decades of underachievement. He can always get the votes he needs from absentee ballots collected at Riverview Tower; not so ironically, a building comprising public housing units slated for refurbishing rather than the guillotine.

Coffey is nothing if not consistent. Blair is nothing if not confused.

By the way, the Horseshoe Foundation non-binding resolution passed unanimously. Morris must have left the meeting before then. Ominously, with Elizabeth Beilman departed, New Albany’s about to get it good and hard from Hanson’s tone-deaf newspaper in terms of non-coverage — again.

Council votes down plan for townhouses

PUDD defeated by 5-4 vote

NEW ALBANY — It’s back to the drawing board for the proposed West Street Mews Development.

Thursday night, the New Albany City Council voted 5-4 to reject a PUDD request in an R-2 district at 1105-1109 West Street on third reading, which defeats the proposed ordinance. The proposal was to build 26 townhouses on the 1.9 acres of vacant property. Without a PUDD, only 12 units can be built there now under R-2 zoning laws.

“It’s back to the drawing board. This puts an end to this process,” said attorney Greg Fifer, who represented West Street Mews Development, after the meeting.

The development had already received approval from the New Albany Plan Commission. And one city councilman, Dr. Al Knable, said he thought it would be a great addition to the neighborhood.

“It would be nice to have this sort of dwelling in there,” Knable said prior to the vote. “The key to this is owner occupied. We need more of that in town. I think it would be one of the better developments in that part of town since I was a kid.”

However, after a long discussion, the change to a PUDD did not have enough support. Knable, Matt Nash, David Aebersold and David Barksdale voted for the PUDD while Scott Blair, Dan Coffey, Greg Phipps, Bob Caesar and Pat McLaughlin voted against.