GALENA — An open house was recently held in Berkshire Township to review zoning along the U.S. Route 36/state Route 37/Interstate 71 corridor.
The Berkshire Township Board of Trustees partnered with Delaware County’s economic development team to get feedback from residents, workers, commuters, and business owners “about what feels most appropriate to develop in that area and to make sure that the current zoning code is in line with that desire,” the township said in its invitation.
Those who were unable to attend on Sept. 24-25 could also take an online survey. Questions included frequency of travel along the routes, use of the area (shopping, commuting), and whether the corridor is attractive. It was asked if the following improvements and developments were needed along the corridor: dining, family entertainment, green space, housing, offices, retail, shared access, walking trails or bike paths. The survey also asked about preferred setbacks from the road: 30, 50, 100 or 175 feet.
It was asked whether future development would cause concern because of decreased property values, increased crime, increased traffic congestion, loss of green space, missed opportunities, neglect, tax revenue and unplanned development.
In 2017, Berkshire Township approved a zoning resolution establishing a Planned Mixed Use District with an overlay area in the township. The township said the 36/37 PMUD will “further the purpose of promoting the general public welfare, encouraging the efficient use of land and resources, promoting public and utility services, and encouraging innovation in the planning and building of appropriate types of retail, office and residential development.” This is said to be achieved “by permitting flexibility of design in order to promote and accommodate environmentally sensitive and efficient use of the land, thereby allowing for a unified development.”
There are permitted uses within the PMUD, coded in accordance to the 2012 North American Industry Classification System, generally shortened to the acronym NAICS. The wide range of permitted uses includes greenhouses, retail bakeries, bowling centers, electronics and appliance stores, gasoline stations, food and beverage stores, educational services, restaurants, technical services, theater companies and dinner theaters, passenger car rental and leasing, postal service, industrial, warehousing, radio stations and laundry services.
The Ohio Department of Transportation will begin work on the I-71/US 36/SR 37 interchange expansion next month. The $31.9 million, two-year project “will construct a new interchange along I-71 between Cheshire Road and US 36/state Route 37 (Delaware Sunbury Road) in Sunbury,” the ODOT project page states. “The interchange will connect I-71 to Sunbury Parkway, a proposed roadway that is to be built by developers and connect to US 36/state Route 37. Future local projects will widen Sunbury Parkway and extend the connection from I-71 to the west. Work is expected to begin in November 2021 and continue through June 2023.”
An ODOT spokeswoman said the state did not attend Berkshire’s open houses, “but did provide a graphic of the current phasing plan for the interchange.”