Berlin Township recently held its first zoning meeting of 2022, although there were no hearings.
Instead, Zoning Commission Chair Steve Flaherty said he wanted “to set the tone for year” and go over the accomplishable goals and objectives for 2022. “Building is still going rampant” in the township, Flaherty said, and there is interest in potential development at the Berlin Business Park. “It’s going to be an active year.”
Things are so busy that the township trustees approved getting assistance from the Delaware County Regional Planning Commission (RPC), Flaherty said. RPC will be able to see how future developments will impact neighboring townships. Their work will begin in February.
Flaherty noted that “we don’t have an economic development department in the township, but we’re allowed to do our own economic development.” He separately cited the example of New Albany annexing over 3,000 acres of land to attract a business, while next mentioning Intel Corporation, saying, “there’s no reason we can’t go after something like that” in Berlin’s overlay cloud.
The meeting was held two weeks prior to the announcement that Intel would build fabrication facilities for semiconductor chips in northwest Licking County. When an audience member asked for clarification about the type of chips being manufactured, Flaherty said they are silicon wafer chips and not potato chips. “That doesn’t make them any less appetizing,” he joked.
Flaherty also cited the Orange Commerce Park, Dublin’s Innovation Campus, and recent projects in Berkshire Township as successes.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be chasing our own destiny,” he said, meaning Berlin should be proactive and not reactive in terms of getting preferred industries into the business park. “If we wave the flag at what we want for the residents, we have a better chance of attracting it. Like attracts like.”
One of the things that sets Berlin apart, Flaherty said, is the uniqueness of the Evans Farm neighborhood.
“Delaware County has the ability to tap into a very diverse, robust workforce,” he said. Marysville to Delaware to Johnstown could become a new “innovation arc to Columbus,” Flaherty said.
Topics of discussion at the wide-ranging nearly two-hour meeting also included zoning for 5G cell towers, which are shorter than regular cell phone towers. The commission canceled the meeting scheduled for Jan. 25 since there were no applications. It was reported that the trustees approved the Berlin Bluffs project with modifications.
In other township news, the Fire Department and EMS participated in ice rescue training at the Alum Creek State Park office pond last week.
“There is no such thing as 100% safe ice!” the state park reminded followers on its Facebook page.
As readers may recall, last November Berlin Township residents approved a tax levy renewal for its Fire Department starting in 2022 for five years at 2.95 mills by a margin of 72% for to 28% against.
Berlin also posted on its Facebook page that it is seeking volunteers to serve on the Parks and Trail and (fiscal) Audit committees.
“If you are interested in joining either committee, please send an email of interest to Trustee Meghan Raehll at: [email protected],” the post said.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.