Delaware City Council on June 22 approved a rezoning amendment for a portion of the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Portions of the fairgrounds have now been rezoned from its previous designation of R-3 (One-Family Residential District) and B-3 (Community Business District) to R-3 and B-3 Planned Mixed Used Overlay District (PMU).
The rezoning covers the approximately 101 acres of the fairgrounds that exist within the city of Delaware; the remaining acreage exists within Delaware Township. Should Delaware County wish to annex the township portion of the fairgrounds into the city in the future, it would simply need to request that the PMU be extended to include that portion. Delaware Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland said it “makes sense to plan for the entire area, even though the proposal only applies to the areas with the city currently for the time being.”
In addition to the rezoning amendment, council also approved a Preliminary Development Plan for the fairgrounds to set the standards and uses for the various areas of the fairgrounds.
According to city documents, the rezoning and conceptual masterplan were initiated by the Delaware County Board of Commissioners, in conjunction with the Delaware County Fair Board, “to provide a guide for future development of the fairgrounds.” Efland said the rezoning of the fairgrounds began as a discussion following the approval of the new 4-H building, which is currently under construction, in order to zone it appropriately for its unique uses.
“It really reflects the uses in the fairgrounds, historically and now, and some (uses) moving forward,” Efland said of the rezoning.
Under the development text, the fairgrounds are broken down into seven planning areas. Those planning areas are the junior fair and agricultural area (Planning Area One), merchants and coliseum area (Planning Area Two), amusement area (Planning Area Three), campground and open space area (Planning Area Four), track and grandstand area (Planning Area Five), motorplex area (Planning Area Six), and parking area (Planning Area Seven).
“The Development Plan and Text for the Delaware County Fairgrounds recognizes that this site, located in the city of Delaware and Delaware County (Delaware Township), has served and is intended to serve as the home of the county fair for many years to come,” the city’s staff report states. “All of the uses, functions, and areas that are associated with the 10-15 days of the preparation, fair time, and disassembling of the county fair within the fairgrounds area will continue.”
However, the report goes on to state the Development Plan and Text “are planned to identify the uses, areas, and development standards of the fairground and facilities beyond the week or two of fair times … but rather for the year-round functions and operations.”
In Planning Area One — the junior fair and agricultural area — the staff report states the area “offers opportunities for an expanded range of community meetings and gatherings, small concerts, business meetings, as well as community gatherings such as weddings and graduation receptions.”
With additional and enlarged facilities, such as the planned agricultural center building and covered riding area, the report states the area could accommodate an even broader range of uses and events.
Of Planning Area Three, or the amusement area, the report states the open area that is primarily used for rides during the fair can also serve as a flexible area for other uses throughout the remainder of the year. Uses referenced in the report include community events, commerce and retail events, and fitness competitions.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.