Powell and Liberty Township have agreed to enter into mediation regarding the city's allegation that township trustees breached the cooperative economic development agreement (CEDA) between the two entities.

Powell and Liberty Township have agreed to enter into mediation regarding the city's allegation that township trustees breached the cooperative economic development agreement (CEDA) between the two entities.

Representatives from both sides said they have agreed to seek the services of a former judge, but declined to announce the judge's name until he officially accepts the role as mediator. No date has yet been set for mediation to begin.

Liberty trustees have said in several letters to the city they are willing to talk with the city about its allegations made in an Aug. 7 letter to the township, but denied that the breach occurred.

The city said township Trustee Peggy Guzzo's involvement in a citizen-led initiative petition -- that established a 10,000-square-foot-limit for single-use retail buildings and a 65,000-square-foot limit for multiple-use retail buildings in the Sawmill Parkway corridor in Powell -- broke provisions of the agreement.

Those actions include: Guzzo's June press release announcing the initiative and the reactivation of a political action group called Citizens Action Protecting Greater Powell (CAPP) -- she signed the press release as "Liberty Township trustee" -- and Guzzo's $420 payment using personal funds for attorney fees for work performed on the initiative.

City residents circulated the petition in the spring to oppose big-box stores, such as a Target planned in Powell. On Aug. 19, Powell City Council approved the petition as an ordinance and sent it to its planning and zoning commission for study.

City manager Steve Lutz said mediation includes the guidance of an "impartial third party mediator -- a referee or facilitator -- to discuss issues and resolve the issue as a step before possible litigation."

"It provides the city and Liberty Township an opportunity to sit down and discuss the allegation," Lutz said. "To date, we've had no discussions and a mediator provides that opportunity."

Township administrator Dave Anderson said, "It gives everybody a chance to get the issues out on the table, to hear each other out. It will get addressed and the goal is to get to resolution without going to court."

The CEDA was signed in 2002, at about the same time Golf Village was annexed into Powell. It guides annexation of property from the township to the city.

The square-footage limits for the Sawmill Parkway are designed to keep big-box stores out of that area.

Powell development director David Betz earlier told the planning commission the city's planned Target store is exempt from the limits because it had been approved before the limits took effect.