Olentangy Valley News

Powell council's nod to condos fills 'stagnant' plot

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Powell officials last week approved plans that will see 33 single-family condominium units built in the city.

At its Jan. 15 meeting, Powell City Council voted to approve plans for the units to be constructed on a 6.8-acre lot at the northeast corner of Seldom Seen Road and Village Park Drive.

Dublin-based developer Epcon Communities is heading the project.

Council voted 7-0 to approve a final development plan for the condominium complex without a second reading.

The project already had been approved by the city's Planning and Zoning Commission and officials said there had been no feedback from nearby residents after public notices were issued.

Development Director Dave Betz said the plot previously had drawn interest from developers but remained undeveloped in recent years due to the economic downturn.

"I'm glad that this project is coming in, because it finalizes a piece of land that has been stagnant for quite some time," Betz said.

He said the new units will be similar to those at Epcon's existing Seldom Seen Acres condominium development at the southwest corner of Seldom Seen Drive and Sawmill Parkway.

The development plan originally called for the construction of 44 condominium units, but that was whittled down to 33 units with a 10-foot separation between them during the planning process, Betz said.

Prices will range from $230,000 to $400,000, said Epcon Vice President Joel Rhoades.

He said the development is expected to draw primarily "empty-nesters."

"The average age when we look at the 45 communities we've built around central Ohio is between 55 and 60, and we would expect that to be the case here," he said.

Councilman Jon Bennehoof voted to approve the development plan, but only after voting against the measure to suspend normal rules and forgo a second reading.

He said it would have been better for council to take more time to consider the plans and give residents another chance to provide feedback.

Last year, he pledged to never vote to suspend the rule requiring a second reading for ordinances, which can be used by council for time-sensitive measures.

"I think it's important that we give due consideration," Bennehoof said. "I'm always going to vote 'no' (on motions to suspend the two-reading rule) unless it's a matter of public health and safety."

Mayor Richard Cline countered: "I agree that it is important that all council members give considered thought to every ordinance that they vote on, but I disagree with your premise that we can't do that on a single reading."

Also at last week's meeting, council briefly discussed the need to make contingency plans to provide whatever fire protection possible if the Liberty Township Fire Department's emergency levy fails next month.

With the Feb. 5 election less than three weeks away at the time of the meeting, Cline said it would be best to take a "wait-and-see" approach.

"We do need to be doing some contingency thinking, but I don't know how much of that will be beyond the idea stage until after the election," he said.

It's unclear how much time officials will have to plan if the levy fails; last month, Liberty Township officials issu-ed layoff notices to all fire department employees, all of whom will lose their jobs if it fails.

But the five-year, 5.6-mill levy has garnered more vocal public support than the levy that failed in November, and many local officials have expressed measured optimism that the issue will pass Feb. 5.

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