News and Tribune

May 22, 2013

New Albany firehouse seen favorably by plan commission

BZA will make final determination next month

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY —

The New Albany Plan Commission provided a favorable recommendation Tuesday to an administration-backed proposal to move the Green Valley Road fire station to Daisy Lane. 

Kroger is looking to expand its State Street shopping center location, and is in the process of finalizing a purchase of the Green Valley station from the city. 

Mayor Jeff Gahan’s administration has proposed to construct a new firehouse adjacent to the former Camille Wright pool site and across Daisy Lane from the Holy Family Catholic Church campus. 

The New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals had previously approved allowing the fire station on the Camille Wright site, but the administration elected to use that property for the new outdoor aquatic center. 

Next month, the board of zoning appeals will weigh the special exception request for the adjusted firehouse site. 

David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for the city, said New Albany has purchased the necessary homes and properties in order to construct the aquatic center and fire station. 

He said the city “won’t have any neighbors to deal with, basically” for the two projects since the properties will be publicly owned. 

Scott Wood, director of the plan commission, said he preferred the new location for the firehouse. 

He said concerns from residents that fire engines would be blasting sirens throughout the day have been heard, and that New Albany Fire Chief Matt Juliot has agreed to keep the noise to a minimum while still following necessary safety regulations. 

“They’re not looking to wake up people unnecessarily at night,” Wood said. 

He added that the new firehouse will have “good access to various parts of the city” and suggested the commission give the proposal a favorable recommendation. 

“This would be something that would be a benefit,” Wood said. 

Last week, New Albany City Councilman Dan Coffey said Kroger should pay the entire cost for constructing a new fire station. 

Initially, administration officials said the purchase price of the Green Valley fire house would cover the cost of building a replacement station. 

However, city officials have discussed adding certain safety amenities to the new station that could drive up its construction price. 

Since the request is for a special exception to permit the firehouse along Daisy Lane, it will be voted on by the board of zoning appeals. 

The city council would make the final determination on the proposal if the request were for a planned unit development district.