Catching up on Berlin Twp. matters


The Berlin Township Board of Trustees met regularly in the second half of 2023, and here are highlights from the meeting minutes.

• A special meeting was held on July 10 to discuss Sunbury Parkway, routes 36/37, and the Berlin Business Park with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the county. 

• On July 24, the trustees discussed specifications for commercial driveways, specifically 3 Bs and K Road in the city of Sunbury. Jackie Buell was hired as assistant cemetery sexton, and the trustees looked at Welcome to Berlin Township signs. There was also discussion about a Joint Economic Development District with Shawnee Hills, as well as the grand opening of the new Berlin Middle School.

• “Joe Pichert, Assistant Fire Chief of Berlin Township, shared his gratitude for the opportunity to serve the community since October 2004, in his farewell speech,” to start the Aug. 14 meeting. The trustees “thanked him for his service and sacrifice to Berlin Township, especially during the more challenging times.”

There were hearings regarding commercial development on Piatt Road, and the Northport Residential Hotel. It was said that working on the Berlin Business Park “is that it’s not so much what the use is, but what it looks like, smells like, and sounds like.”

• Asphalt estimates for the fire station, township hall and cemetery were given on Aug. 28. An emergency meeting was held the next morning to approve repairs to a fire engine that had a blown head gasket.

• A nearly-seven-hour meeting was held on Sept. 11. Jeff Evans was promoted to assistant road supervisor, Jerry Valentine was appointed assistant zoning inspector, and the Elysian at Alum Creek had a public hearing.

In addition, “R.J. Sabatino with T&R Properties and Berlin Apartments LLC, applicant and owner said he has a few points he would like to enter into the record,” minutes said. “He said they come before the board this evening to review the outstanding issues caused by Berlin Township that they have not experienced with any other township in this county and in the state of Ohio. Also, on a national level in the United States they find no community using such contradictory instructions for zoning permits and allowances for density, setbacks and restrictions when creating overlays and multiuse planning and allowances for density for commercial, industrial and multifamily zones.”

This was countered by residents saying that “the developer purchased the land knowing the land use expectations and knowing what the zoning was at the time,” and they were “getting very frustrated that we have a developer that wants to push something down their throats that is not what they want and not what they approved.” The trustees then unanimously approved a resolution to deny the applicant’s request to re-open the zoning application that had been originally denied on June 12.

• On Sept. 25, the three trustees approved the township’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan and thanked the Delaware County Regional Planning Commission for its help.

• Plans for the Shanahan Road project was presented “where they are proposing to widen Shanahan Road from Route 23 to North Road to three lanes and the county is proposing to build this as a county project with a fixed contribution from both Orange Township and Berlin Township,” Oct. 9 minutes said. They approved the cooperative project agreement. Also at the meeting, a job description for a township administrator position was approved.

Sabatino was at this meeting, not speaking during the public comment portion, but requested three times later if he could speak, and was told he could speak at the public comment portion of the next meeting.

• At the Oct. 23 meeting, it was noted that a trustee corrected some facts about the Berlin Business Park that were in a Columbus Dispatch article.

• Representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation spoke to the trustees about various projects at their meeting on Nov. 13. The trustees approved widening the culvert on Dale Ford Road.

• The trustees ruled on Nov. 27 that a modification of an approved zoning plan for “properties presented by Rockford Homes” was considered major. There was also discussion of drainage in the Cheshire Market area. The trustees accepted a letter written on behalf of the board to the residents about the “Berlin Township Business Park Overlay Update.”

• The Buckeye Swim Club, 1875 Peachblow Road, requested an extension on submitting their final development plan at the outset of the Dec. 11 meeting. A four-month extension was granted.

• A Dec. 18 special trustee meeting concerned accepting a fact-finding report.

• Organizational and end-of-year meetings were held on Dec. 27. It was said that “Berlin Township filed an appeal in the matter of TowerCo and the lawsuit case regarding the unauthorized cell tower on OLC property. She recently received feedback from a resident who had concerns about the towner and wanted to know more specifics as there appear to be safety concerns… we will continue to make the appeals until we do not have any recourse going forward.”

The trustees are Chair Ron Bullard, Vice Chair Ken O’Brien (who said on Dec. 11 that he would attempt to continue on as a trustee if he can despite being elected as Delaware County treasurer) and executive member Meghan Raehll. Also attending are Fiscal Officer Claudia Smith and Fiscal Officer Assistant Theresa Taylor. The board meets in Township Hall, 3271 Cheshire Road, Delaware.

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

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