At two recent special meetings, there were plenty of questions and comments about the Route 36/37 corridor that runs through Berkshire, Berlin and Brown townships and from Delaware to Sunbury.
The Delaware County Commissioners requested the public meetings on Oct. 3 and Oct. 5 to get input on future planning development along the corridor. Economic Development Director Bob Lamb and officials from the Columbus planning firm NBBJ talked to the public and showed maps of the corridor.
Lamb said the county currently has 200,000 residents; and is expected to grow to 350,000 in the next 30 years.
The County wants smart growth, which it says will “enhance and diversify the economic base of the county, while still meeting market conditions.” At the same, the recommendations need to tie in with existing Ohio Department of Transportation plans.
“Traffic is atrocious and getting worse by the day,” said one resident at the Berlin Township meeting, held Oct. 5. Of the three townships in the study area, Berlin may be the one most impacted.
However, the Berlin residents were told that ODOT wants the corridor to remain a high-speed truck route, and not have as many intersections as Route 23.
Some residents were also concerned with increased residential development near property zoned as agricultural.
“A lot of the land is already owned by developers,” one person said. “They’re just waiting for sewers (to be installed).”
Some said there should be infrastructure in place before any businesses arrive, so as to avoid the decay present in some areas of Columbus.
Others said the countryside will be gone in a decade, and wished to “leave as much alone as you can.” One person said they moved to Delaware County to avoid the sprawl of Southern California.
“We know it’s coming, we can’t stop it,” was one comment that was heard, but there was also the request of putting in buffer zones of trees or green space between commercial and rural areas.
Residents also said the proposed Sunbury Parkway, a mile south of 36/37, should be included in the study area. They were told that it has its own development plan.
The residents were told the planners and the county were going to look at all the options, but by doing nothing, the growth would be harder to control.
“It’s a long process, but we’d rather be proactive than reactive,” said Steve Flaherty, a Berlin Township Trustee.
When told the study involved a 50-year build-out, one old-timer shrugged his shoulders and said, “I won’t be around to see it.”
For more information about Delaware County Economic Development, please go to www.delawarecountyecondev.com.