Before the June 27 Sunbury Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the village held a public information session on the second floor of Sunbury Town Hall. The session was held to allow members of the public to ask questions and make comments about Sunbury’s comprehensive master plan update that was on the zoning commission’s agenda later that evening.
According to Mayor Tommy Hatfield, who sits as a voting member on the zoning commission, one major element of the master plan update is the village’s thoroughfare plan – what future roadways will be critical as Sunbury continues to grow and adapt to growth outside of the village’s jurisdiction.
Hatfield has been working towards updating a 2004 comprehensive master plan that was drafted but never adopted by members of Village Council. In 2012 Village Council members and members of the planning and zoning commission decided to update the 2004 comprehensive master plan.
The 2004 document made various recommendations based upon assumptions that had changed by 2012. Since 2003 the Nestlé property changed as the result of a 2005 development agreement with Dominion Homes, the old Miller farm is now the site of a Kroger store, there have been downtown streetscape improvements, additional sidewalks throughout the village, the Granville Street bridge was built, there was a major sanitary sewer plant upgrade, and the village is no longer in the water business.
In February 2012, Delaware County Regional Planning Commission Director Scott Sanders attended a Sunbury zoning commission meeting where he discussed options for updating the 2004 document. At that session Sanders said that because Sunbury’s 2004 document already included a visioning phase, the old document could easily be updated by holding steering committee meetings open to the public.
That process to update the master plan started in November 2012, then ground to a halt in 2013 when council’s attention was diverted by issues surrounding the new Tanger Outlets mall — specifically JEDDs (joint economic development districts), NCAs (new community authority), and traffic issues related to the outlet mall’s development.
A resurrected master plan committee began another round of meetings in late 2015 when Hatfield said he would like to see a master plan, complete with an updated thoroughfare plan, adopted by council by the end of the first quarter of this year.
“As you grow you have to have a plan,” Hatfield said in a January interview. “I understand that any plan continues to change and develop, but you have to have a place you build from, that helps you maintain a historical sense of pride and responsible growth.”
Hatfield said during that interview that he understands that not all growth is good; the challenge is to have the right kind of growth.
“One of our goals, at the top of our list, is to have a really solid thoroughfare plan,” Hatfield said. “The traffic around the I-71 interchange is already concerning to me. Having an effective thoroughfare plan is going to be vitally important to our well-being as commercial growth west of the village escalates, and that will take a lot of planning with Delaware County and the Ohio Department of Transportation.”
While the June 27 pre-meeting public information session had sparse attendance, Hatfield said excellent questions were asked that contributed to discussion during the zoning meeting.
Members of the zoning commission approved the 2016 comprehensive master plan. There will be a public hearing on the master plan during the first reading of an ordinance seeking its final approval at the Aug. 3 Village Council meeting.
To read complete versions of the master plan documents, go to sunburyvillage.com. Click on “documents” at the top of the home page, then click “zoning,” then scroll down and download “2016 Sunbury Comprehensive Plan,” “2016 Sunbury Land Use Map” and “2016 Sunbury Thoroughfare Plan.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093