By Lenny C. Lepola
Dominos continue to fall in the series of annexations west of Sunbury.
Three land owners of 255 acres stretching east to west from S. Galena Road to the west side of Interstate 71 in Berkshire Township have petitioned the Delaware County Commissioners and the Village of Sunbury for an Expedited Type II Annexation into the village.
In an August 8 email, Phil Craig, speaking for NorthGate Centre Development LLC, said the annexation would include land needed to develop a proposed new southern interchange at the existing U.S. 36/Ohio 37 E. exit off I-71.
“This interchange will provide the needed improvement to this exit already studied and soon to be impacted by the Simon Outlet Mall and preferred by (the Ohio Department of Transportation) as the best location for this new interchange,” Craig wrote. “In addition, it will aid in the future access for the NorthGate project, which will include developing land south of the interchange of I-71 and 36/37.”
Craig’s email said the county estimates that the new development area would be two and a half times the size of the Polaris area.
“The Southern alternative interchange at the exit of 36/37 has already been studied by ODOT and it has stated that it is the preferred alternative,” Craig’s email continued. “The exact placement of this Southern Interchange alternative is currently being studied by ODOT and (the Federal Highway Administration) and should be announced by ODOT in the next few months.”
Craig said the new interchange would provide for relief to the existing interchange as well as providing another east and west alternative to the existing U.S. 36/Ohio 37 E. interchange. He also said it’s imperative that the latest annexation request is approved by Delaware County and the Village of Sunbury in order to move forward with infrastructure improvements as the development proceeds.
“The Village of Sunbury recognizes that any development at this interchange without the proper infrastructure could and would hinder their community tremendously,” Craig wrote. “The project is moving forward steadily after Sunbury Village Council voted on July 9 to allow for 128 acres of Berkshire Township leading the Village out to South Galena Road to be annexed into Sunbury.”
When an annexation request is filed with Delaware County, the county requires the Village to pass a resolution stating availability of services like police and sanitary sewer, and conditions of those services, including financial responsibility for sewer extension into the area to be annexed.
The Delaware County Commissioners then make an up or down vote. If they approve the annexation request it returns to the village where it must sit for a statutory 60 days before it can be placed on a council agenda for discussion.