Delaware City Council on June 11 discussed a proposed annexation from Liberty Township that would do a good deed for the Boy Scouts of America.
Council members passed a resolution indicating what services the city would provide if it annexes Camp Lazarus, a 221-acre Boy Scout camp on U.S. Route 23 just south of the city. Land across Route 23 along Cheshire Road already is part of the city of Delaware.
City Planning Director Dave Efland said the Boy Scouts are seeking annexation to allow the camp – which he called "a very unique piece of property" – to be connected to the city sanitary sewer.
"We've been talking to them well over a year at this point," he said. "I'm tempted to say close to two years at this point. ... But I also think it's a pretty cool use to have in our community, to be honest with you, at our front door, literally on 23."
"This is one of those rare annexations that does not require a great deal of city services," City Manager Tom Homan said. "(It will) add to our open-space inventory for the community without impacting our services greatly."
Efland said a series of zoning changes will be needed to accommodate an archery and rifle range at the camp. Discharge of firearms is illegal in the city.
Delaware attorney Mike Shade, representing the applicant, said the range is exclusively for the use of Scouts earning merit badges; it is not open to the public.
Efland said he, Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski and City Attorney Darren Shulman are working on drafts of the zoning changes.
Shade said most of Camp Lazarus is covered by a conservation easement, which stays in place and restricts development even if the Scout camp were to shut down.
Sanitary sewer service will allow the camp to expand some facilities, he said, but the camp will continue to be a prominent green space.
Much of the camp, he added, is part of Seymour Woods State Nature Preserve, which he called a state park "for perpetuity."
Efland said the services resolution is the first step required by the Ohio Revised Code in the annexation process.
Shade said Delaware County commissioners are set to discuss the annexation June 25.
Also last week, council on a third reading approved an ordinance to annex 89.6 acres at 2781 Airport Road.
The annexation was sought by Planned Communities Inc. for property owned by Francis and Mary Lou Wilgus. The site is north of a future Sawmill Parkway extension.
Council also slated a public hearing for 7:40 p.m. June 25 to rezone the land from agricultural to light manufacturing.
Homan said the city's industrial park was created about 50 years ago and is almost at capacity.
"These types of properties," he said, "that are in and around the airport and industrial park provide ... additional opportunities for business expansion and relocation. We're seeing some of that on Innovation Court off Sawmill Parkway, with some businesses there."
Development of the annexed property likely will be a long process, Homan said.
Extension of utilities probably will require a public-private partnership, he said, which are common with such projects.