GALENA — The Harlem Township Strategic Planning Committee will hold 10 community meetings starting next week in the Community Meeting Room of the firehouse, 3883 S. state Route 605, Galena.
The committee, which was appointed by the Harlem Township Board of Trustees last March, is trying to preserve the rural character of the township despite development all around it. The committee consists of residents, zoning staff, Trustee Carl Richison, and consulting firm Crossroads Community Planning, LLC.
The committee first met last August 2022 to an overflow crowd at the Harlem Road United Methodist Church.
The committee issued a document — “Intel and Columbus on our doorstep” — prior to that meeting.
“We hear every day how much our neighbors love the charm and country feel of our township,” the document said. “But development pressures threaten what we value most. This threat has never been closer than it is now …”
Among the development is in the form of sewer lines from the city of Columbus, the Delaware County Regional Sewer District and potentially the village of Galena.
“Sewer lines bring developers” often building high-density projects, the committee said. Other communities, such as Genoa and Blendon townships, are also impacting the area. Another concern is annexation on the part of developers.
The committee surveyed residents and businesses last year, and the new meetings will outline proposed recommendations.
“This upcoming series of 10 community meetings will reach out to the residents of the township to explain how land ownership is changing in the township, how that will affect property development, what strategies we can use to try and preserve the rural character of the township in the face of these pressures and how those strategies are intended to work … and to gain public input,” committee member Thomas Nied told The Gazette. Nied represents the Harlem Township Zoning Commission.
Nied said a postcard was mailed or emailed to all township residents and landowners regarding the meeting with dates and times.
The postcard said the meetings will be organized by area, with the township divided into five areas: Area A is the northeast portion of Harlem (Tuesday, Jan. 17, 3-5 p.m. or 6-8 p.m.); Area B is the southeast portion of Harlem (Thursday, Jan. 19, 3-5 p.m. or 6-8 p.m.); Area C is the southwest portion of Harlem (Monday, Jan. 30, 3-5 p.m. or 6-8 p.m.); Area D is the northwest portion of Harlem (Wednesday, Feb. 1, 3-5 p.m. or 6-8 p.m.); and Area E is Center Village (Tuesday, Feb. 7, 3-5 p.m. or 6-8 p.m.).
“While all information shared will be the same at each meeting and are open to all, please try to attend meetings in your area,” the postcard said.
Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at the above email address.