Olentangy Valley News

Golf Village expansion splits City Council

Connector could turn into 'hairy situation,' says one councilman

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Two Powell City Council members oppose a plan to expand the Golf Village subdivision because they fear a planned connector driveway will cause trouble.

At its June 4 meeting, council voted 4-2 to approve a plat so construction can begin on the new section, located at the northwest corner of Golf Village. According to plans, the two disconnected sections of Hickory Rock Drive would be linked, with 20 new lots situated along the new stretch of road.

Councilwoman Sara Marie Brenner was absent.

Councilmen John Bennehoof and Brian Lorenz opposed the plan because of a memorandum of understanding that forces the city to allow a driveway to be constructed connecting Hickory Rock Drive and Home Road, directly through the yard of a resident who lives on Home Road.

The agreement was struck when the land was still in Liberty Township, prior to its 2002 annexation into Powell. The owner of the Home Road parcel refused to sell it to the original Golf Village developer unless it agreed to allow the access driveway to be built once work on the new, adjacent residential section was finished.

When Powell annexed Golf Village, it agreed to accept the township's zoning plan -- including the driveway agreement.

Because the 1.129-acre parcel in question was never annexed -- it remains in Liberty Township, surrounded by the city of Powell on three sides -- city officials have no power to change the zoning now.

Bennehoof and Lorenz objected to the arrangement on multiple grounds.

They said the driveway could encourage cut-through traffic. Bennehoof also said the residence would have access to the new city sewer lines.

"They're getting all the benefits of being in the city without being in the city," he said.

Lorenz suggested the possibility of Liberty Township allowing a commercial development on the site. The result could be commercial traffic cutting into the neighborhood, he said.

But Powell Director of Development Dave Betz said the driveway is a "non-issue." He said it's highly unlikely the township would allow commercial zoning -- and if it did, the city could disallow commercial traffic from accessing the neighborhood because part of the driveway will sit on city property.

Regardless, Betz said the city's hands are legally tied if it wants to finish the new residential section.

"We are obligated to follow the Golf Village zoning plan. That's what we have to approve," Betz said.

Lorenz said he was "not comfortable" voting to approve the plan.

"I think it's going to be a hairy situation, guys," he said.

Construction on the new residential section will begin this year.

Also at the June 4 meeting, council heard the first reading of a plan for another residential development. It calls for 23 new single-family condominium homes to be built on 5.58 acres located at the southeast corner of Sawmill and Home roads.

Betz said the condo development will be similar to the Village of Powell condominiums located at the corner of Seldom Seen Road and Liberty Street.

A second reading of the plan will be held at council's June 20 meeting.

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