Berkshire zoning develops comprehensive plan

By D. Anthony Botkin -

Berkshire Township’s Zoning Commission held a special meeting last Thursday to continue updating the township’s comprehensive plan.

Scott Sanders, Delaware County Regional Planning Commission executive director, handed the commission a 34-page document containing chapters 6 through 10 of the draft plan.

According to Sanders, the commission had previously discussed future development patterns for large lots, conservation subdivisions, regular planned residential developments and other design elements.

“We’ve done the beginning and then we did the end,” Sanders said. “Now I’ve brought you the middle part.”

The commission considered policies for current and future housing, age-based and workforce or affordable housing.

“Because we’re out of the recession — (housing) has ramped-up,” said Jeff George, administrator.

Sanders said the age-based housing is usually for older residents who are empty-nesters looking for smaller single story homes that are easy to care for.

A lot of communities are concerned about the look of the homes because “it doesn’t look as high value as what they’re looking for to support the schools,” Sanders said. “On the other hand they don’t generate the kind of student population that other typical neighborhoods would.”

Sanders said the traffic impact to the township is less due to “fewer trips” because of the lack of school-age children.

George said he was curious about the term “workforce or affordable housing” listed in chapter 6 the draft.

“It’s a way to make the phrase affordable housing more palatable to people,” Sanders said.”It’s not that you’re trying to bring in people that are looking for affordable housing.”

Sanders said “workforce or affordable housing” applies to apartments and other housing for people who work service oriented, lower wage type jobs.

According to The Delaware County Affordable Housing Market Study included in the draft of the township’s draft plan, the demand for “workforce or affordable” housing continues to increase.

The commission also discussed:

• The township’s economic conditions and attracting new businesses to the township. Currently majority of businesses are located in northwest corner of I-71 and US 36, State Route 37. The newest business is the Simon-Tanger Outlet that has brought renewed interest in the area.

• According to the draft plan, many of the roads were were laid out in the nineteenth century. The township continues to develop the need for new arterial roads will increase.

• Utility upgrades such as water, sanitary sewer, telephone, electric, natural gas, cable television and high-speed internet.

By D. Anthony Botkin

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.