Construction on a Target store within Powell has been put on hold.

Construction on a Target store within Powell has been put on hold.

On Aug. 22, Judge W. Duncan Whitney of Delaware County Common Pleas Court granted Liberty Township's request for a stay, which stops the store's construction from beginning.

The township is appealing the city's decision to approve a zoning certificate to Target to build a 132,000 square foot store near the southeast corner of Home Road and Sawmill Parkway.

The Powell BZA on June 24 approved findings of fact that support the city's decision to issue Target a zoning permit.

On July 18, Liberty filed an appeal of that decision in common pleas court.

On July 25, the township requested a stay.

At an appeal hearing Aug. 21, Whitney requested that the parties in the appeal turn in their briefs on the merit of the appeal by Sept. 18.

Both the city and the township have said that a cooperative economic development agreement (CEDA) between Liberty and Powell requires the city to use township zoning regulations in the Golf Village development, where the Target would be. The township and city signed the CEDA in 2002. It sets stipulations for Powell annexing properties from the township.

City development director Dave Betz in October 2007 ruled the Target application "succeeds at meeting the Liberty Township Zoning Plan for Golf Village, and the requirements of the Liberty Township Zoning Code in effect at the time of the annexation of Golf Village. ... By law I am obligated to approve the zoning certificate."

Township officials have said the Target store would be a major change. The CEDA says major changes must be made by a legislative authority (such as city council), not the city administration. A legislative decision would require public hearings.

Additionally, the township must approve major changes.

Township officials said their zoning regulations and the development plan call for "pedestrian-scale retail" buildings.

Township Trustee Peggy Guzzo said a store the size of Target would be a change in both the character and density of the scale, "going from pedestrian to larger scale."

Both city and township representatives were pleased with Whitney's desire to move forward quickly with the appeal.

Powell "appreciates the judge's expressing a desire to expedite and receive the merits of this case," said Steve Lutz, Powell city manager. "There are several parties, including residents and property owners, who are invested in the court making a ruling in this matter."

Township attorney Craig Paynter, said, "We're very impressed with the attention (Judge Whitney) is giving the issue ... and we are looking forward to addressing the merits of our case."