Two developers who own Powell properties want city council to address what the men called a downtown parking shortage.

Two developers who own Powell properties want city council to address what the men called a downtown parking shortage.

Both Vincent Margello and Chris Freiheit voiced concern about two "high-volume" businesses that have been allowed to move into the downtown without "adequate onsite parking." They addressed council Sept. 21.

In particular, they are concerned that the July opening of the Easy Street Caf, 5 S. Liberty St., and the slated October opening of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, at 8 N. Liberty St., will tax downtown parking.

Documents from the city show 10 onsite parking spaces for the 5 S. Liberty St. property and four onsite spaces on the 8 N. Liberty St. property. The numbers of spaces include handicap designated spaces.

Margello's downtown property includes the building housing Local Roots restaurant, 15 E. Olentangy St.

When he developed the property in the 1980s, the then-city council and the city code required him to provide one parking space for every two seats for the restaurant. His private parking lot to serve his commercial properties has 117 spaces.

Freiheit's downtown commercial property includes the Powell Liberty Antique Mall, 22 N. Liberty St. His downtown property includes two private parking lots totaling 20 spaces.

Both say their private parking spaces will be used if customers of businesses without enough onsite parking find those lots full.

That would leave fewer spaces for their tenants' customers, which could harm their businesses, they said.

Margello said, "Each commercial building built in the city should comply with the code and have the number of onsite parking spaces required" for the business type.

Both developers said the building at 8 N. Liberty St. was approved for retail, and city zoning commission documents show a parking plan must be submitted if a business use change is planned.

Margello said he cannot find any record of that happening.

City council asked the city staff to look into Margello's claims and to review copies of city documents that Margello gave to council.

Margello asked that the city not issue a certificate of occupancy until the parking issue is "cured."

City employees and council members have said they are looking into the parking issue, but are not convinced a problem exists.

They are encouraging people to use public parking lots and on-street parking. Signs have been installed to direct people to those spaces. The city has 191 downtown public parking spaces.

Jeff Stavroff, spokesperson for the property owner of 5 N. Liberty St., said he had no comment at this time.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams CEO John Lower said, "We hope to contribute to a vibrant downtown Powell, and if parking ever becomes a problem, we will work with council and area businesses to help solve it."