The Berlin Township Zoning Commission recently approved a final development plan for 24 homes on Cheshire Road.
The homes will be built on 16 acres that are part of the Piatt Preserve West development on property approved as a Planned Residential District.
Molly Gwinn, an attorney representing the applicant, said, “the entirety of Piatt Preserve West has 106 lots,” according to the meeting minutes. This will be the fourth and final phase of the development.
Piatt Preserve is in the Olentangy Local School District, near Cheshire Elementary and Berlin High School. In the course of the meeting, it was said that Gregory Road will dead end at Cheshire, “and there will be a viaduct that goes over it. It will still be kept for fire truck access, but it won’t be a throughway.”
A bike path will run through the property on Piatt Road, which will have 7.4 acres of open space.
There was discussion over the cluster of mailboxes and parking, and it was said there will be a pull-off area.
One of the commission members, Mike Bardash, is quoted in the minutes as saying, “Everything looks fantastic. He likes the plans of the houses and that they are all relatively large.”
The commission approved the resolution at its August meeting on the condition that with regards to the roofing, “when shingles are used, they shall be dimensional shingles.”
Berlin Township has a Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), which was part of a discussion at the zoning commission’s July meeting.
Board member Martin Johnson said in the minutes that the CLUP “is non-binding; it’s a strategic vision statement … The township is not doing any active development planning or trying to sell property; that is all coming from the property owners.”
He went on to say the zoning commission’s votes are “just a recommendation to the trustees. Also, it has to be balanced with the fact that even if it violates the CLUP, it’s the zoning regulation itself that is the legally binding definition of what development in Berlin Township is supposed to be.”
Major deviations from the zoning resolution is the only way an application can be denied, it was explained. The trustees, commission, and even residents in the form of a referendum can be opposed to a development, but if challenged, it would likely lose in court.
Chairperson Steve Flaherty said, “It’s a compromise; there cannot be no development, but there also cannot be obnoxious development, which sometimes is a developer’s first pitch.”
Flaherty said the members of the zoning commission live in the township, and “they all love the rural charm and moved here for that reason. They like the accessibility of everything but also the feeling of being out in the country. As fields are changed into homes, that is tough, but they do the best they can. The (commission) is here to serve the residents and to be the mediators and balance between high density and the rural charm and character of Berlin Township.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.