New Albany News

Plain Township

Fire station upgrades on the horizon

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Plain Township officials in 2014 plan to review potential improvements to the fire station and update the Maplewood Cemetery master plan, the township's land-use plan and the personnel policy.

Plain Township trustees approved up to $1,500 Nov. 6 to assess the structure and systems at the fire station, 9500 Johnstown Road.

Fire Chief John Hoovler said the building is approaching 18 years old and township officials want to evaluate the roof, heating and cooling system and interior to develop a timeline for any needed improvements.

The trustees hired Roger Fields and Kevin Hoffman to do the work.

Hoffman, of Kevin S. Hoffman Associates Architects of Columbus, is the architect who designed the building, and Fields, of Roger D. Fields and Associates of Columbus, is the mechanical engineer who designed the building's systems, Hoovler said.

Firefighters began studying kitchen improvements in 2013. That work also will be completed in 2014, Hoovler said.


Maplewood Cemetery

Plain Township Administrator Ben Collins said trustees will review the cemetery master plan and "determine what steps to take next."

"We'll look at structures and what do to improve, generally discuss landscape and burial options and the potential for a columbarium," Collins said. "Our staff still is recommending that take another look at (columbarium) placement and how to plan for it."

A columbarium is a vault that holds urns containing ashes.

Trustees talked about adding a columbarium when reviewing the master plan in 2012.

Collins said township officials are studying how neighboring townships use columbaria.


Land-use plan

Plain Township began reviewing its land-use plan at the end of 2012 and placed the work on hold in 2013 pending completion of New Albany's strategic plan, which should be finished this year.

"We wanted to review New Albany's strategic plan to see if we could work toward plans that would complement each other," Collins said. "We'll pick up again 2014. We wanted to try to make sure there are no conflicts."

Collins said the township might also review its zoning resolutions, specifically the sign code and conditional-use sections, for clarity.

"The existing sign code is in need of better organization," he said. "It has been somewhat confusing for residents and property owners."

The township's legal counsel also requested trustees "clarify language in the conditional-use" sections of the code and make minor amendments, Collins said.


Personnel policy

The trustees began updating the personnel policy last year, adding new positions created in the fire department and updating sections that were out of date.

The trustees reviewed a few chapters at the end of most meetings in 2013 and are expected to finalize changes in 2014.


Website monitoring

Because the township launched a new website in the summer of 2012, Collins said, township officials will evaluate the site's traffic to determine if any improvements need to be made.

"The new website was utilized a lot and received a lot more traffic, especially during the summer months," Collins said. "We'll look at the usage and see if any improvements are still needed."