LEWIS CENTER — Berlin Township may look into using ground penetrating radar for Fairview Memorial Park to see if there are any unmarked graves or utilities.
During their meeting on Dec. 14, Trustee Tom D’Amico told trustees Ron Bullard and Ken O’Brien that a decision needed to be made whether to get imaging done.
“Bullard stated that he feels like it makes sense to have it done,” the minutes read. “His only concern about it is, that the information that is retrieved, is the information that is needed, being that of knowing what is where. O’Brien agrees but stated that he would like Fairview Sexton Tim Foor to put in writing exactly what it is that we need.”
D’Amico said he would ask Foor “to do an analysis as to what it is that we need to make the future placement of vaults workable in the spaces that we have.”
Foor said “he feels it would be in the cemetery’s best interest to have it surveyed. He stated the ground penetrating radar would be an effective tool to establish which plots are and are not able to be used,” the minutes read.
The matter came up when the excavator told Bullard “that unless it can be figured out where the graves are at exactly, he does not want to have anything to do with Fairview Cemetery.”
Meanwhile, during a special meeting held virtually on Dec. 3, trustees voted to suspend lot sales at Fairview until further notice. It was confirmed they had the authority under Ohio law to close the cemetery to future sales or new sales, but the township is liable for plots that have already been sold.
“The board has determined that a temporary suspension of sale of cemetery grave spaces or cemetery lots is necessary for the regulation, protection, and preservation of the cemetery, and to avoid offense to public sensibilities,” read the legislation.
The trustees discussed legal fees in the matter, as well as deed transfers. D’Amico also discussed raising the prices at Fairview since equipment from Cheshire Cemetery was being used to work there, which was also approved.
D’Amico, who was named liaison to the zoning and cemetery departments at the township’s year-end meeting, said he and Foor are working on reviewing and renewing the rules for Fairview. A resolution was also passed that authorized department spending limits of $500 per month at Fairview Cemetery. Rates were set, noting that opening and closing sites, and backfill rates have increased. There was also discussion about mowing the part of the cemetery that isn’t in the township. The total cemetery fund, for one active and three inactive cemeteries, is $137,000.
In October 2020, The Gazette reported Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David M. Gormley deeded Fairview to the township after the previous owners were convicted on theft charges for not following through on services at the cemetery. The township owns two tracts of land at the cemetery comprising 11.9 acres. A third section of 8.3 acres that is undeveloped is being sold to the Islamic Society of Central Ohio.
Fairview Memorial Park is located at 5079 Columbus Pike in Lewis Center.
At the Berlin Township Board of Trustees organizational meeting on Dec. 28, Bullard was named trustee chairman, O’Brien was named trustee vice chairman, and D’Amico was named trustee executive member. The trustee meetings will be the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6 p.m. (one meeting only June-August on the second Monday), and a year-end meeting at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 27, all at the Berlin Township Hall, 3721 Cheshire Road, Delaware. However, the meeting rooms will remain closed until further notice due to COVID-19, so the meetings are being held virtually. The public may speak, but limited to three minutes at the beginning and end of the meeting. “The time can be extended, but this allows us to maintain order,” the resolution read.
A collective bargaining agreement between the township and the Berlin Township Professional Firefighters was also approved, good through June 30, 2023. Also, Marcia Funk and Nick Schwab were voted to be board of directors representatives for Berlin on the Ohio Township Association Risk Management Authority.
The trustees approved a motion to pay for two parcels of land for widening on Piatt Road. Also, new roads were accepted in the Brookview Manor subdivision: Brookview Manor Drive, Cliff View Drive and Ravine View Drive.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.