Olentangy Valley News

Target, single-family homes, urgent care

Development boom awaits in Powell

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If all the development plans Powell City Council considered at its Aug. 20 meeting come to fruition, the city soon could be home to Target, an urgent-care center, a car dealership and a 119-home subdivision that will surround a new public park.

Kicking off the meeting was consideration of the first single-family housing development to come before council since 2005.

Metro Development LLC has proposed the development, dubbed the Reserve, on more than 69 acres on the south side of Home Road, just west of Steitz Road. Earlier this year, Powell annexed the land from both Liberty and Concord townships.

The homes, which city Development Director Dave Betz said will begin in the $400,000 range, will sit on a quarter of an acre. An open space in the center of the development will be used as a public park that will be accessible via a Home Road bike path.

As part of the annexation agreement, the development would join the Liberty Community Infrastructure Finance Authority that funds improvements in and near the Golf Village development.

City Manager Steve Lutz said the agreement was made as such because, without the Golf Village community, the Reserve will benefit from previous and future improvements to the area.

Another developer hoping to get the annexation green light is David Ruma, who would like to develop the Shoppes at Wedgewood and a Mount Carmel Health System urgent care along Sawmill Road.

A Target store and an adjoining retail space, seven outlots and the urgent-care center were zoned in May by Liberty Township's zoning commission. The 34-acre development area was the proposed home of Walmart in 2004, but years of legal action followed after the township denied a developer's application.

Despite going through the zoning process in Liberty Township, Ruma said it was always Target officials' intentions to approach the city about annexation.

Ruma said he and his clients "talked for two or three years about pre-annexation, and when this project really started to get legs, the conversation started to get a little more serious, and here we are."

Being serviced by the Powell City Police Department as opposed to the Delaware County Sheriff's Office was a plus, Ruma said, but another main reason for requesting annexation was to become part of the city's Sawmill Corridor Tax-Increment Financing District.

If the pre-annexation agreement is approved by both council and Delaware County commissioners, Powell City Council would vote to extend the boundary of that TIF.

Property taxes generated by the improvements in the TIF district are redirected to a special fund that is used to build infrastructure within the TIF boundaries.

"We're continually trying to find ways to fund infrastructure improvements without going back to the taxpayers, and this would allow us to do that," said Lutz, who suggested the TIF money that the Target development would bring in could fund a bike-path extension and the Sawmill Parkway Beautification project.

Although Sawmill Parkway improvements would benefit the entire area, Liberty Township leaders have voiced concern that Powell TIF agreements are having a negative impact on services funded through tax levies, specifically the fire department.

All Powell TIFs have exempted the Olentangy school district, but this would be the first development that would also pay full taxes to the Liberty Township Fire Department, said city Law Director Gene Hollins.

Hollins said the city would pay up front for $500,000 out of a total $900,000 in infrastructure improvements that must be done near and on the property.

Target would like to break ground by Oct. 1 in anticipation of a November 2014 opening, Ruma said. However, if previous annexations are any indicator, the process could take up to three months.

There are no immediate plans to begin development on the urgent-care center and there are no definite contracts on the outlots, Ruma said. The additional retail space that will be attached to Target hasn't been spoken for, either, but it will be completed at the same time as the store.

West Olentangy Street will receive commercial improvements as well, in the form of a remodeled automotive service facility and new race-car shop and automotive dealer.

The existing Auto Assets buildings at 378 W. Olentangy St. will be demolished to create parking spaces for the two new buildings that will abut Village Pointe Drive.

Auto Assets' plan proposes that one of the new buildings will be used as an automotive service facility, while the one behind it will sell automotive parts and act as a race shop.

Betz, who said having an automotive complex in Powell is "a personal bucket-list item," said the second phase of the plan will include a Germain car dealership that will sell only high-end luxury vehicles. He said he expects Germain's portion of the development to come before council soon.

All of the developments considered at the Aug. 20 council meeting were read for the first time. They will move to second readings at the Sept. 3 meeting and council is expected to vote on the developments and annexation at its Sept. 17 meeting.

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