GALENA — On Jan. 21, 2022, Intel Corporation announced it would build a $20 billion microchip manufacturing complex in Jersey Township, Licking County. In March 2022, the nearest township the next county over formed a Strategic Planning Committee.

“Township officials quickly understood that the development risks have never been greater,” the Harlem Township website said, including sanitary sewer service from Columbus. In addition to the committee as an advisory body, a consulting firm was hired, “Crossroads Community Planning, LLC, to help identify specific strategies to implement the 2020 Comprehensive Plan, while acknowledging the fact that the Township is on the cusp of development.”

A Quick Strategy Guide was developed to supplement the 2020 Comprehensive Plan. “The Quick Strategy Guide provides additional recommendations in the areas of land use, communications, and administrative capacity to outline steps that the Township should take to be prepared for these development pressures,” the township said. After meeting with the public to go over the recommendations in January and February, the trustees adopted the guide on March 22, 2023.

The Strategic Planning Committee continues to meet, however, and here’s a recap of its meetings. On Jan. 3, Crossroads gave details on the 10 public meetings they would hold in 5 sections of the township. On Feb. 21, Crossroads representatives Molly Ridge and Holly Mattei “led a detailed and lively discussion of the text of the first draft of Section xx.01 (Purpose), Section xx.02 (Overlay Area), Section xx.03 (Effect of MU Overlay Designation), Section xx.04 (Permitted Uses), Section xx.05 (Prohibited Uses), and Section xx.08 (Mixed Use Development Plan Standards) of the proposed Mixed-Use Overlay District,” minutes said.

The committee next met on March 7.

“It was decided by a unanimous vote to leave the boundaries of the Mixed-Use Overlay District unchanged from the map that was presented during the community meetings in January and February,” the meeting minutes said. “Any request to change the boundaries of the Mixed-Use District can be handled by landowner application to the Zoning Commission at a later date. Maximum height of residential units in the Mixed-Use District was reduced to 35 feet; maximum height of commercial units in the Mixed-Use District remained 45 feet. Then the discussion moved to the first draft of the Clustered Residential Conservation Overlay District which will be, in most respects, in line with the existing Planned Residential Conservation Overlay District except for the density calculations that will take into account access to sanitary sewers.”

The committee also met the day before it went before the trustees, going over the third draft of the Mixed-Use Overlay Districts.

Following passage of the guide, they next met on April 4. Guests were Delaware County officials Monica Conners and Tyler Lane from the Office of Economic Development, and Regional Sewer District Director Tiffany Maag. Conners and Maag gave PowerPoint presentations. Ridge led discussion on the third draft of the proposed Clustered Residential Conservation Overlay District. Mattei said she would meet with Conners and Lane regarding the “One Columbus pipeline of economic development projects.” A Crossroads member would attend a Framework Licking County open house in Pataskala. At a later meeting it was later noted that, “Sanitary sewer infrastructure will probably extend into Harlem Township before it reaches most of Licking County; that will put increased development pressure on the township.”

The Strategic Planning Committee consists of Harlem Trustee Carl Richison, Director of Zoning Mike Cannon, Zoning Commission member Tom Nied, Board of Zoning Appeals member Jim Steelesmith, and at-large residents Steve Eisenbrown, Bruce McClary and Molly Snodgrass.

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at the above email address.