Sunbury revives stalled master plan


Sunbury is resurrecting its master plan committee.

During last week’s Village Council meeting, Mayor Tommy Hatfield said he recently met with Delaware County Regional Planning Commission Director Scott Sanders about resurrecting the master plan committee and creating a thoroughfare plan based on current changes impacting the village.

“We would like to schedule a December meeting and make this a working document,” Hatfield said. “It was 2013 the last time we talked about that, and we put a lot of work into that document. We want to close it so we have a baseline.”

In 2012, Village Council members and members of the Village Planning & Zoning Commission decided to update a 2004 comprehensive master plan that was drafted, but never approved.

Hatfield said with more changes on the immediate and distant horizon — some known, some unknown — the master plan would be a “living document” that would need to be updated every two or three years.

Changes noted within the village that were not visible in 2012 include 1,300 residential units – single-family homes, empty-nester condominiums and apartments; and the NorthGate commercial development on land recently annexed into the village.

The village’s 2004 master plan made various recommendations based upon assumptions that had changed by 2012.

Since 2003, the Nestlé property changed as the result of a 2005 development agreement with Dominion Homes, the old Miller farm is now the site of a Kroger store, there have been downtown streetscape improvements, additional sidewalks throughout the village, the Granville Street bridge was built, there was a major sanitary sewer plant upgrade, and the village is no longer in the water business.

During 2008, Village Council members considered a resolution to contract with Bird-Houk Collaborative to prepare a Sunbury comprehensive master plan. That resolution was tabled and finally defeated following the October 2008 collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market that drove the economy into recession. Council members decided they could not afford to pay $100,000 for a master plan that required an additional $25,000 traffic study, while they were also discussing eliminating employee pay raises.

In February 2012, Sanders attended a Sunbury zoning commission meeting where he discussed options for updating the 2004 document. At that session Sanders said since Sunbury’s 2004 document included a visioning phase, the old document could easily be updated by holding steering committee meetings open to the public.

That process started in November 2012, then ground to a halt in 2013 when council member’s attention was diverted to issues surrounding the Simon-Tanger outlet mall — specifically JEDDs, NCAs and traffic issues related to the outlet mall’s development.

By Lenny C. Lepola

For The Gazette

Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: [email protected].

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