Following multiple announcements about plans for Planet Oasis in Berkshire Township, township administrator Jeff George on Aug. 29 said its developers have not yet taken the first step that's required before anything can happen.
George said that first step is to file an application that must be approved by the township zoning commission -- a requirement for any development in the planned mixed-use district in which Planet Oasis would be built.
Since Blue Horseshoe Ventures announced the Planet Oasis project June 28, Blue Horseshoe CEO David Glimcher in August has made two more announcements about the 350-acre entertainment complex planned east of Interstate 71 and south of U.S. Route 36/state Route 37.
Glimcher announced the company signed a deal with UltraStar Multi-tainment for a $40 million indoor entertainment center and also unveiled plans for a $10 million e-sports arena at the site.
Blue Horseshoe also announced in June that site work on the $2 billion Planet Oasis would start in December.
The Planet Oasis site is in a planned mixed-use district described in Article 16 of the township zoning code.
George compared the planned mixed-use district's zoning designations as possible options sitting in a cloud over the district's parcels. The district "offers an opportunity for the end user to pull down that cloud and use the (planned mixed-use district) zoning with township approval," he said.
At an Aug. 23 zoning commission meeting, commission Chairman Paul Disantis also used the cloud analogy to explain the planned mixed-use district to an audience of about 15 residents.
"It's a type of zoning you can bring down over a specific area," he said.
He also told the residents the township had yet to see a Planet Oasis application.
Most of the residents who spoke voiced objections or concerns about Planet Oasis.
Some said they attended the meeting because the commission had discussed possible changes to the planned mixed-use district described in Article 16.
Commission member Andy Kerr said the commission considered merging Article 16 with another zoning code section, Article 17.
Both cover planned mixed-use districts. Article 17's area is north of Route 36; Article 16's area is on both sides of the highway.
The idea was to see if the two districts could be covered by a single section of zoning code.
But Aug. 23, the commission voted unanimously to scrap the plan and leave articles 16 and 17 unchanged.
Several residents mentioned a maximum 45-foot building height in the Article 16 district, while Article 17 allows 85 feet in two of its zones. An 85-foot limit would benefit Planet Oasis, they suggested.
As a result of the commission's vote, a developer who seeks to exceed the height limit would have apply for a divergence, Disantis said, which would require the zoning commission's approval.
Before the vote, Kerr said he had concluded the plan would not provide significant improvement, nor change the way development plans are reviewed.
"In my opinion, scrap this whole thing," he said. Each of the other commissioners said they agreed.
Disantis emphasized that discussion about articles 16 and 17 was unrelated to Planet Oasis, and began before developers announced the project.