Commission busy with overlays


GALENA — The Harlem Township Zoning Commission met April 24, 2023, for a hearing regarding Planned Unit Development – Mixed Use District Overlay procedures for its zoning resolution. Strategic planners and consultants were on hand to field questions.

It was explained that an “applicant must meet 37 different criteria for their development plan to be approved,” the meeting minutes said.

There was discussion of definitions and language in the article and adding “an additional condition of approval that states if an applicant chooses not to join a Joint Economic Development District, the commission has the right to deny the development plan.” There was discussion as to whether members of the commission should do an onsite walkabout.

A resident asked, “Why is there a threat of annexation?” He was directed “to go on and watch the one-hour long video that would clearly explain the threat of annexation to Harlem Township.”

A second hearing that night was regarding Mixed Use Overlay. Local residents, planning officials, and Trustee Carl Richison were either present or watching via Zoom.

It was said the Mixed Use District was in the southern end of the township along Fancher Road.

“The purpose is to create an appropriate mix of uses to create diversity and housing options; to create walkable communities; to provide accessible open space; to provide recreational areas; to create design characteristics that integrate into the surrounding area; to create unified development projects; water and sewers would be necessary for this type of development; helps prevent the southern end of Harlem Township from annexation,” meeting minutes said.

Discussion followed to make the proposed article consistent with the zoning resolution and architectural drawings. In an answer to a question of how the districts were determined, it was based on research of the Intel development in Chandler, Arizona.

Both hearings were recessed until May 1, holding two hearings on articles of the zoning resolution. Typos were corrected and minor language changes were made.

One hearing was on Mixed Use Overlay Districts. During the public comment portion, it was said the goal of the township’s Strategic Planning Committee is “to match the density of Columbus’s zoning in Harlem Township to protect from annexation. They were able to accomplish that goal by creating the boundaries that they did for the Mixed-Use District,” the meeting minutes said. It was noted that if approved, it could be subject to a referendum.

“Members of the public were having a side conversation. (Chair Mike) Kabler asked that if they wanted to continue their conversation, they remove themselves from the meeting to do so.”

They moved on to the second hearing regarding Planned Unit Development. To avoid confusion, the article title was changed to Procedure to Apply for a Mixed-Use Overlay District, and other changes were made.

For the third meeting, a property rezoning application was withdrawn. The two discussed zoning articles were approved, and a hearing for two more articles was scheduled for May 22. That two-hour hearing was on procedure to apply the Conservation Subdivision Standards and Clustered Residential Conservation Subdivision District. The meeting was then recessed to May 30.

The commission also held a workshop on May 8, going over the Harlem Township Zoning Resolution. There was discussion if there should be stand-alone articles for Planned Residential Clustered Districts and Clustered Residential Conservation Districts. The commission was told no other townships were dealing with this issue. It was decided that there would be one set of procedures for Mixed Use Districts and another for all Residential Conservation Districts.

The Zoning Commission consists of Kabler; Vice Chair Joni Manson; members Brittany Hoperich, Virginia Lewis and Tom Nied; and alternate Bruce Hamill. Mike Cannon is the director of zoning. Steve Eisenbrown, Bruce McClary, and Jim Steelesmith of the Strategic Planning Committee and Scott Sanders of the Regional Planning Commission also attended some of the meetings. They meet at the firehouse, 3883 S. State Route 605, Galena.

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak photographs and reports on stories in eastern Delaware County and surrounding areas.

No posts to display