Delaware County announced last week that it will develop a 2,000-acre Berlin Business Park along U.S. Route 36 and state Route 37 in Berlin Township between the city of Delaware and west of Interstate 71.
“This project has the potential to be the economic driver for Delaware County,” said Bob Lamb, economic development director for Delaware County, in a press release. “We have been securing memorandums of understanding from interested property owners to allow the department to facilitate the development of this area. As you can imagine, there are a lot of moving parts when attempting to reposition that much property.”
There are two residential sections of the township that will be impacted: One overlay is bordered by Lackey Old State Road on the east, Baker Road on the north, Curve Road on the south, and Sweeney Road on the west; and the other overlay shares Baker to Berkshire roads as the western and northern boundaries, Three B’s & K Road and Fourwinds Court as an eastern boundary and extending south down Africa, Big Run, Dunham Three B’s & K roads. Utilities installation and construction is said to be starting shortly.
“This development will generate millions of dollars for public infrastructure improvements without increasing the tax burden on residents,” Lamb said. “This will better position our critical partners to meet the growing financial demands that they face, particularly the growth demands associated with the Olentangy Local School District.”
In recent years, Delaware has been the fastest-growing of Ohio’s 88 counties. The new Olentangy Berlin High School, the fourth in the district, just completed its opening year.
Delaware County and Berlin Township officials and representatives from Columbus-based engineering/architectural firm Burgess & Niple, the Olentangy School District, and the Ohio Department of Transportation met with local residents about the park at a packed meeting in April.
“My interest is in making sure things are done right,” Rob Platte, county economic development administrator said at that meeting. “This is an effort by the township and the county to get way ahead, to protect what’s already here and control what comes here.”
The idea is to keep this area of the Berlin from being overly commercialized, or to be annexed into Delaware or Sunbury.
The business park property will be zoned for commercial and light industrial business, plus retail and medical offices. Businesses that come to park would be eligible for: Bond financing; a Community Reinvestment Area 15-year, 50% tax credit; 50% sales tax exemption; and 20-year, 75% Tax Increment Financing.
An accompanying map calls the park “A DelCo Ready Partnership Project made possible by the following: Delaware County Finance Authority, Berlin Township Trustees, and the Delaware County Commissioners.”
The county and the Delaware County Finance Authority recently assisted on the development of the 100-plus acre, eight-lot Creekside Industrial Park in Orange Township, which would create more than 750 new jobs.
“When you see how quickly the lots are going in Creekside, it’s indicative of the need for these types of light industrial sites in Delaware County,” Lamb said. “There is a lot of available land in central Ohio, but we’ve done the heavy lifting that converts the land into available business sites. Based on what we saw at Creekside, we believe there will be great interest in the Berlin Industrial Park.”
In other Berlin Township news, there are road closures through July 1 for reconstruction at Piatt Road between Cheshire and Peachblow roads, and Cheshire between Gregory Road and Berlin Manor Drive.
The Zoning Commission will have public hearings for two tabled rezoning applications at the Township Hall, 3271 Cheshire Road, Delaware. There is a rezoning of parcels on Berlin Station Road from Farm Residential District (FR-1) to Planned Residential District (R-3/PRD) at 7 p.m. July 9. The Berlin Meadows development would involve rezoning property along Peachblow and Shanahan roads from FR-1 to R-3/PRD, with parcels of rezoned Planned Commercial and Office District (PCD) and Planned Industrial District. That meeting, tabled from February, is at 7 p.m. July 23. The Zoning Commission meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.
The Berlin Township Board of Trustees will have a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. July 8 for the rezoning from FR-1 to PCD for a proposed commercial/office center known as Hyatts Plaza at Hyatts Road and Columbus Pike in Lewis Center. This meeting was tabled from January.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.