Berlin Township not only has an Architectural Review Board (ARB), but it has also already met a couple of times this year.
At its organizational meeting on Jan. 19, Christina Littleton was named chairperson, and Kristin Yorko was named vice chairperson. Berlin’s website said Quinn Hoffman, Jennifer Ludwigson, and Berlin Township Trustee Ron Bullard are also on this committee. Liberty Township is the only other township in Delaware County with architectural review standards, Bullard said at the meeting.
Berlin’s ARB meets on an as-needed basis in the township hall, 3271 Cheshire Road.
“The ARB’s main goal is to serve in an advisory capacity providing a recommendation whether design standards are met” for Articles 15 (Berlin Commercial Overlay) and 19 (Berlin Industrial Overlay) of the township’s zoning resolution. BCO and BIO are in the approved Berlin Business Park.
On Feb. 8, the ARB reviewed the Berlin Mixed Use Development as it relates to BIO in a public hearing. The process is to first have the submission reviewed by the Delaware County Regional Planning Commission, the ARB, then the Berlin Township Zoning Commission, then the Berlin Township Board of Trustees.
“The proposed Berlin Mixed Use Development BIO development is located on 30.85 acres of undeveloped land at the southwest corner of Lackey Old State Road and U.S. Route 36/State Route 37 in Berlin Township and Delaware County, Ohio,” said the site narrative for the preliminary development plan and zoning submittal. “Currently, the property is used as farmland/agriculture and residential but falls within the planned Berlin Industrial Overlay district designated in Article 19.”
R.J. Sabatino, of Dublin-based T&R Properties, asked for the review of industrial warehousing on three parcels. The 30.85 acres is currently zoned Farm Residential.
“Mr. Sabatino went on to share that this project will be kicking off Berlin Industrial Park,” the meeting minutes said. “He stated that he would review the first phase with the group. In this project, Reed Parkway was to the West, and there will be a new road to the south — Plunkett Road. There will be a right in and right out access off of 36/37. In the proposed plan, the first buildings being constructed will be the northernmost two buildings. Each are 120,000 square feet.”
The board expressed concerned about the red and gray colors of the buildings, similar to a recent project in Grove City, saying color shouldn’t stand out with potential multi-family housing on the property. There were also questions about parking, semi-truck access, a J-turn at routes 36/37, green space, and more information about tenants.
In public comment, there were concerns about Reed Road, which would be three lanes with sanitation and water stations. It was said the speed limit would be lowered from 45 mph to 35 mph on Plunkett and Reed roads. Light and noise pollution and lowering the speed limit on Lackey Old State Road was the concern of other residents. “County roads have a speed limit of 55 mph unless an engineering study shows a lower one is appropriate,” was the response to the latter.
Next was a review of the ARB checklist, with items such as lot depth, setbacks, building height, design elements, signs, lighting for the multiuse paths, street trees, pavement, environmental sensitivity, buffering and screening.
“Parking was a point of discussion — Ms. Littleton and Ms. Yorko said that detail was not shown on the plan, and it is not necessarily meeting the current suggestion,” the minutes said. “Discussion of the ambiguity of the parking details proceeded with Ms. Yorko and Ms. Littleton. They bought up how the square footage of a building would increase, yet parking spaces are reduced, which is seemingly conflicting.”
The ARB voted unanimously “to make the recommendation to the Zoning Commission that the T&R Properties BIO Submission does not meet the Berlin Township ARB Standards.”
The T&R team asked to review the checklist before its meeting with BZC on Feb. 28. The ARB met in March for a work session to formalize its review process. As of May 24, T&R has a “For Lease” sign on the site.
Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at [email protected].