It wasn’t about drainage at all. Rather, an irrational fear of density doomed the West Street Mews.


The single most hilarious aspect of Coffey’s resistance is the juxtaposition of these two statements, both coming from the Wizard’s mouth.

“I don’t think it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure people profit.”

“You have to have green space for people. You have to, it’s a healthy [necessity] for people.”

Or, while it isn’t Coffey’s job to make money for a developer — not receiving some from one in particular might be the root of the problem in this instance — it’s very much his job to decide how much green space is healthy.

Many persons residing in major cities, or even some renting at Break Water, likely have a different view of green space versus density. Maybe it’s why they decided to live in a 190-unit apartment complex as opposed to a ranch house in Georgetown.

When I asked my councilman Greg Phipps for his reason voting no, the reply was terse: “Too dense.” He mentioned nothing about drainage or green space.

Oddly, Phipps’ own mayor just recently unveiled a 20-year comprehensive plan. It’s already been used by Jeff Gahan — the guy who in effect wrote it — as justification to reduce public housing units.

And yet at roughly 35 separate places in this document, the word “density” is used in a positive fashion to describe the sort of development needed in the epicenter of the city, and near the core.

I was told that the developer of West Street Mews referenced the comprehensive plan at least four times during the city council presentation last Thursday. That’s four times more often than Coffey and Pat McLaughlin did in their comments to the News and Tribune’s Erin Walden.

Drainage didn’t doom the development so much as incomprehension in terms of what has become the weakest and most inconsistent city council in recent memory. In the case of the West Street Mews, Al Knable is right.

“We ask people to look at us, take a risk and invest in New Albany all the time and I think we shut the door on somebody who had the guts to try to make some money with us and help us out.”

Drainage concerns doomed proposed New Albany development

Turns down development 5-4

NEW ALBANY — New Albany City Council members are split when it comes to a proposed development at two vacant lots on West Street.

A request to build 26 townhouses on a vacant lot at 1105-1109 West Street was turned down 5-4 during a city council meeting last Thursday. With the request denied, the developer can build a fraction, 12 units, of what was planned under its current R-2 zoning.