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Westland Area to get new plan
The Westland Plan, a document that outlines land usage, will be updated next year, the first time any changes have been made to it since it was written in 1994.
Patricia Brown, Planning and Development chair of the Westland Area Commission, told her colleagues at the July 15 Westland Area Commission meeting that a city planner had approved their request for updating.
“We’re on the schedule,” Brown said. “They gave us priority.”
Communities have such plans to determine land use, urban design, transportation, and
recreation and parks within their area.
WAC is now looking for people in the Westland Area, which encompasses both the city of Columbus and Prairie Township, to interview to set the basis for what should be in the new plan.
“It’s up to us to select the stakeholders,” Brown said. “They can be individuals or
residents, or representatives of businesses or institutions.”
When information from those interviews is compiled, the community as a whole will be invited to give their view of what they want the area to look like in the future.
The Westland Area is outlined by the Conrail tracks on the north, I-270 on the east, Big Run South on the south and Hellbranch Creek on the west.
Brown expects it could be this time next year before the process reaches the stage where community meetings will be offered.
Looking for a logo
Meanwhile, Ashley Hoye, Community Relations chair, is working on a logo that would create an identity for the commission, an arm of the Columbus City Council.
He had presented several drawings at the last meeting and had them on display at the area’s holiday parade and activities on July 4.
People who visited the WAC tent could vote on which logo they preferred.
“It was fourteen to one,” he said, pointing out the favored rendition - a map of the Westland Area that shows both the city property and township property in different colors with the city of Columbus logo in the center.
Hoye and colleague Jo Ellen Locke were at the booth during the noon-time activities in the
Lincoln Village Plaza parking lot.
Visitors offered suggestions, Locke said.
“They suggested we collaborate with other groups,” she said, listing such groups as the Prairie Township trustees and the Lincoln Village Residents Association.
“There is no reason why we can’t have someone from the Residents Association as a member of the commission,” said president Mike McKay, who can appoint people to the commission to make it representative of the area of it serves.
Firefighters address Issue 1
Columbus firefighters, who routinely attend the monthly meeting, answered commission members’ questions about the Aug. 4 city income tax question on the ballot and how it would affect the fire department.
Should the issue be defeated, the fire department stands to lose 238 firefighters. In addition, there would be no new classes in 2010 and no replacements for the projected retirement of 50 officers through next year. As many as seven stations could close.
“It’s going to hurt our response time,” said Tom Keating, a firefighter at the Alkire Road station. “We’re shorthanded as it is now and paying overtime every day.”
The fire department has 1,510 uniformed firefighters staffing the administrative office, the fire alarm office and 32 fire stations. There are 34 paramedic engine companies, 15 ladder companies, five heavy rescue units and 12 EMS transport units.
In 2007 it gained international accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation, the highest validation for operational effectiveness and use of best practices in the industry.
Last year the department responded to 146,144 calls.
“Eighty four percent of them were EMS runs,” Keating said.
No August meeting
Since the commission is aligned with the city of Columbus, WAC follows a city schedule. Since city council doesn’t meet in August, WAC takes that month off also. The next meeting will be Sept. 16 in the first-floor meeting room at Doctors Hospital.
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