Sunbury asked to annex mall site

By Dustin Ensinger

March 12, 2014

A developer who failed to win approval for his plan to build an outlet mall in Berkshire Township is moving forward with his project.

Developer Pat Shivley has submitted an annexation petition for 128 acres he controls in Berkshire Township to be incorporated into the Village of Sunbury. The land would be part of the site of his proposed Northgate Development.

The annexation would cover land between Domigan and South Galena roads.

Additional annexations are in the works.

“That’s the first of our planned activities to move forward,” said Northgate spokesman Phillip Craig. “Right now we’re just taking steps to make sure Northgate becomes a reality.”

The township last year voted against approving a zoning change to the land currently zoned for agricultural use. Shivley has since filed a lawsuit against the township.

Beyond a failure to receive necessary zoning changes for the development, Craig said the decision to annex is due to Sunbury’s ability to provide sewer and water service to the area.

The Sunbury Village Council is expected to take up a resolution addressing service issues in the area Wednesday, according to Administrator Dave Martin.

Mayor Tom Hatfield could not be reached for comment.

Craig also said Northgate plans to announce a funding plan to build a new interchange south of the current Interstate 71-Ohio 37-U.S. 36 interchange in the coming weeks.

The Berkshire Township trustees are unified in their opposition to the southern interchange and the annexation.

Trustees Bill Holtry and Rod Myers hope to stave off the annexation by cutting a deal with Sunbury.

“We’re going to trust that our negotiations all along have paid off,” Holtry said.

“I’m very concerned and I’m hoping that possibly we can get with Sunbury and make some kind of agreement to deny this annexation,” Myers told The Gazette.

Shivley’s plan, in addition to the outlet mall, calls for 20 full-size soccer and lacrosse fields, eight to 12 baseball fields, a 60,000-square foot indoor sports facility with an adjoining hotel, and in the future, a natatorium with a fitness center. The plans also call for six to eight hotels between 600 and 1,000 rooms within walking distance to the outlet mall and sports facilities.

The outlet mall project alone is expected to bring more than three million visitors to Delaware County on an annual basis, according to the zoning application. Those visitors will spend more than $300 million per year and directly create more than 2,000 jobs.

The entire proposed development is expected to create up to 5,000 temporary jobs, up to 7,500 permanent jobs and generate more than $58 million in sales tax revenue.

National outlet mall developer Simon-Tanger plans to break ground some time this year on an outlet mall just northwest of the property proposed for annexation.