Three Golf Village residents want to give Powell voters a chance to vote Nov. 4 on whether big-box retail belongs along Sawmill Parkway.

Three Golf Village residents want to give Powell voters a chance to vote Nov. 4 on whether big-box retail belongs along Sawmill Parkway.

The three on June 17 filed an initiative petition for a proposed city ordinance seeking to ban "large non-residential establishments from the Sawmill Parkway corridor." The three still need to collect signatures.

The petitioners are John W. Crowder, president of the Villas at Woodcutter condominium association, Sharee J. Dugic and Jill M. O'Reilly.

Crowder and Dugic both live on Timberside Drive, in the Villas at Woodcutter, the closest residential property to the proposed Target site.

O'Reilly lives on Village Club Drive.

If approved by voters, the ordinance would prohibit any single retail building larger than 10,000 square feet or any single retail building with multiple uses larger than 65,000 square feet in the Sawmill Parkway corridor.

The corridor is defined in the proposed ordinance as "all land adjacent to the existing and proposed extension of Sawmill Parkway and all land situated within one half mile along either side"

The petition also states that any existing buildings over 10,000 square feet within the corridor, or those which have been granted a zoning certificate but not yet built, may not be "reconstructed, enlarged or added to" after the ordinance takes effect.

The proposal would apply to the Sawmill Parkway corridor "for all land currently within the corporation limits of the city of Powell."

The plan also states, "It is the intent of this regulation to prohibit large non-residential establishments along the Sawmill Parkway corridor so as to prevent erosion of the residential character of the city and to promote the small greenbelt community character of the city and its surroundings as described in the comprehensive plan and encourage pedestrian scale buildings."

Powell officials last week voiced concern of the legality and enforceability of such an ordinance, and are seeking a legal review from law director Gene Hollins.

Hollins was out of town and a message seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.

During the June 17 Powell City Council meeting, members said they questioned whether such a restrictive ordinance would survive a constitutional challenge.

"I don't believe it will," said councilman and attorney Richard Cline.

Council also asked development director Dave Betz to prepare a summary of existing and proposed businesses which the ordinance could affect.

Once the required signatures are collected, council is forced to put the proposed ordinance on its agenda, said Steve Lutz, city manager. If council votes it down or tables it, the initiative still will appear on the ballot, he said.

"Council is not required to take any action on the proposed ordinance until after the required number of signatures is collected," Lutz said.

"We're looking into the questions that were raised by city council," he added, "and have not put together a report yet, but the responses to their questions will be addressed at an upcoming council meeting."

Crowder testified May 22 before the board of zoning appeals, saying he believes Target will result in a loss of property value that will be "financially devastating" to his neighbors.

"Most of that traffic will be circulated right around here ... where we live," Crowder said. "We just don't see how they can consider that pedestrian-friendly."

Dugic also testified during the BZA hearing, saying the view from her porch will be "nothing but a pile of pavement" and called the landscape buffering "a six-foot bunny hill with a stick tree."

Although not a petition circulator, Liberty Township Trustee Peggy Guzzo said last week in a press release she supports the effort.

Guzzo said she has reactivated CAPP, Citizens Action Protecting greater Powell, originally formed in 1997 to support two referendums she filed in the city.

"The decision to re-activate CAPP was spurred on by the current Target and Wal-Mart prolonged legal battles the township and the city of Powell have been engaged in," Guzzo said in the release.

"This initiative will be a wonderful opportunity for the people to let their voices be heard and for the elected officials to know for sure the wishes of the citizens."