Plain Township is updating its land-use plan to include zoning changes and annexations.

Plain Township is updating its land-use plan to include zoning changes and annexations.

Gary Smith, a planner completing the update, met with Plain Township trustees Feb. 15 and asked the trustees for recommended changes.

Trustee Dave Olmstead asked if the township needs to protect land along U.S. Route 62 (Johnstown Road).

"One of the major concerns I've got as we look at this is the volume of traffic on (Route) 62 and (state Route) 605," Olmstead said.

He said turning U.S. 62 into a business corridor could hurt the rural character of that area.

Smith said the township could create an overlay district for Route 62 that would clearly define a developable area and regulate the aesthetics.

Trustee David Ferguson said medical uses on Forest Drive in New Albany are bringing demand for more space north of the township.

To develop, property owners would have to be annexed into New Albany to receive city water and sewer services, Ferguson said.

Smith said development along U.S. 62 without city water and sewer services would be limited to storage spaces and other similar businesses.

Plain Township Fire Chief John Hoovler said traffic also has increased on Beech and Jug roads and Mink Street, because of traffic heading into New Albany's personal-care and beauty campus.

Olmstead asked Smith to look at all township boundaries for other issues.

Smith also asked trustees to consider how lots are developed around the Metro Park being developed in northern Plain Township, north of Walnut Street and east of Schott Road. Metro Parks recently approved the name "Rocky Fork Metro Park" for the park.

Smith said large, single-family lots of 3 to 5 acres have held value in the housing market.

The township land around the park is designated for one home per 2.5 acres, Olmstead said.

Smith said part of the land developed in the area could be donated to the park.

Since most of the developable land for the Metro Park is northern Plain Township, the trustees asked how much parkland will be developed. The remainder likely will be zoned or developed in the township, which means it will remain open space and a part of the township's land-use plan.

Executive director John O'Meara said Metro Parks is in a contract to purchase 127 acres, which will bring the total land acquisition to 777 acres. He said after that purchase, Metro Parks will have approximately $2 million left for land acquisition.

"I think it's likely that all money available (for acquisition) will be spent this year," O'Meara said.

O'Meara said Metro Parks will likely obtain more than 900 acres before the funds run out. Though officials had hoped to acquire more than 1,000 acres for the park, O'Meara said, local government funding and other tax revenue for Metro Parks have been cut.

"I think it will more likely be 900 (acres) and then the money will be gone," he said.

O'Meara said Metro Parks will retain the goal of acquiring more land in the future but it will depend on funding.

Smith said he will make changes to the land-use plan recommended by the township zoning commission and trustees before having both boards review the changes for approval.

Trustees will review the final land-use plan for adoption in two to three months.

Township administrator Ben Collins said the township is paying Smith $6,400 to update the land-use plan.

"The original version was developed in 2007 and was done at cost of $25,000, so this is a much cheaper overview or update to the existing plan," Collins said.