Commercial overlay finalized with help from residents


After several public hearings, the Berlin Township Board of Trustees recently approved the commercial plans for the Berlin Business Park.

The Berlin Township Zoning Commission recommended plans for a commercial overlay on Oct. 29, 2019, but the “Berlin Township Trustees have held public hearings on the Berlin Township Zoning Commission’s recommendation and submitted the Board of Trustee’s proposed modifications to the Delaware County Regional Planning Commission for additional administrative review,” read the resolution that was approved. Following those hearings, the trustees “modified the recommendation of the Berlin Township Zoning Commission to address concerns, including density, permitted uses, and design standards.”

A year later, on Dec. 14, 2020, the commercial overlay was approved. At this meeting, the Thistle Gate LLC farm was removed at the property owner’s request from the overlay, and this became the final version of the plans. Trustees Ron Bullard and Ken O’Brien then approved the resolution, with Tom D’Amico abstaining.

Resident Meghan Raehll thanked the Delaware County Economic Development Department and the two trustees “for the truly great work in meeting with the residents for hours and hours on this BCO proposal specifically. I know me and a number of residents are grateful that anyone who wanted to have a seat at the table was welcome and that much of the neighborhood feedback has been thoughtfully integrated.”

Raehll went on to say, “I hope no party pursues the undoing of any of the collective hard work that was done by the residents or seeks to subvert the interests of the people who live in this community whether that be by decreasing buffers or increasing heights and densities, or going against the will of the Berlin Township electorate.”

The meeting minutes read, “Angela Brown agreed with Raehll and expressed gratitude to the trustees for working with all the residents and feels the product that has been agreed upon is one that everyone should be able to comply with and utilize it.”

The Berlin Commercial Overlay was created by the township and the county “to 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 commercial development,” said the article adopted by the trustees for the zoning commission. “The overlay encourages flexibility of design to promote and accommodate environmentally sensitive and efficient use of the land, thereby allowing for a unified development.”

The trustees adopted the Berlin Industrial Overlay on Nov. 23. The difference between it and the Commercial Overlay is in the types of permitted uses.

By Gary Budzak

[email protected]

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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