At recent meetings, Sunbury Council has voted on issues affecting the growth and quality of life in the village.
One project the village is looking at is constructing a new parking lot at the corner of Cherry and Columbus streets. The concept plan includes drainage improvements, open space on the corner and 12-14 parking spaces.
At its meeting on April 18, council approved using impact fees for funding construction of the lot. Staff noted the Village Hall square has 140 parking spaces, and the new parking lot would correspond with Sunbury’s recent population growth. Council members were hoping the lot would be completed this summer.
Another project is at Fourwinds Court, between the White Castle and Cracker Barrel off of routes 36 and 37. Developer MTB has a rezoning request to make the farmland a commerce park that would possibly include a hotel. A public hearing was held in February, and the applicant requested a 60-day extension to work out details with the Ohio Department of Transportation.
“I fully understand the struggle of this lot with the power lines and everything,” Mayor Tommy Hatfield said at the time to the developers. “I’m excited about what you’re doing for Sunbury.”
Council has also heard some complaints that come with growth. On April 18, resident Katie Schuchter requested a stop sign at the intersection of Sunbury Meadows and Saffron drives, off of State Route 3. There are 25 mph signs posted in the residential subdivision, but Schuchter said delivery drivers and fellow residents are often driving at 35 mph.
“It’s not safe, and a kid’s going to get hurt. I hope we can find a solution. These are our kids,” Schuchter said to council.
Mayor Hatfield said the drives are quite wide, and Sunbury Meadows goes downhill slightly before it ends, contributing to the speeding. Suggestions included installing a Kids at Play sign and having police patrol the area more.
“We’re definitely going to take a look at it,” Hatfield said to Schuchter. “It’s going to take several things to get people to slow down.”
In other matters on April 18, council approved a $23,000 purchase order for storm sewer repairs, as well as the route for an upcoming 5K walk.
At an earlier council meeting this year, Corey Roscoe, Ohio state director for The Humane Society of the United States; Vicki Deisner of the Animal Welfare Institute; and Cindy Reynolds asked Sunbury to pass an ordinance regarding the tethering of dogs similar to what Delaware has. In addition to the cruelty to the dog, the barking creates a nuisance in the neighborhood. In January, the Humane Society of Delaware County thanked people for reporting a Galena property “for suspected animal cruelty and neglect.” Any ordinance would be complaint-driven, council was told.
At the end of the presentation, Hatfield told the women that he was a pet owner himself, but “we need to look at all sides of this. We’ll take this under consideration. My concern is that we have a law we can’t enforce.”
In February, Glen Marzluf of Del-Co Water told council that his company serves 1,885 Sunbury residents. Amid council members’ questions, Marzluf said the non-profit corporation’s chief concern was water quality.
The issues council discusses reflect the signs of change in the village, soon-to-be-a-city. For each stable company celebrating its 70th anniversary such as Sunbury Cleaners; or local business moving to a higher-traffic area like Voss Brothers Power Equipment; speculation abounds over every empty store front or open space. For example, where might a new high school go? (Answer: On a property of at least 100 acres.)
And then there’s the signs of the times that residents may not want to see that could change Sunbury’s small-town charm, such as the banners downtown that say human trafficking is in our backyard.