Olentangy Valley News

Senior housing, controversial apartments

Snags delay pair of Powell developments

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Two high-profile developments are on hold after Powell City Council tabled discussions of their final development plans last week.

At council's May 20 meeting, developers requested the city table approval of plans for the Center at Powell Crossing apartment and retail site and a Spectrum Retirement Communities senior-living complex for unrelated reasons.

In the case of the senior-living facility, Denver-based Spectrum asked for the delay on a vote in order to continue looking for a solution to sewer-capacity issues at the site. The city also tabled a discussion on the annexation of the five-acre site, located between Presidential Parkway and North Hampton Drive on the east side of Sawmill Parkway. The property currently is located within Liberty Township.

City Manager Steve Lutz said Spectrum's contract to purchase the land and the annexation proposal both hinge on the sewer issue being solved within about a month.

"This along with other sites in the area lack sewer capacity," Lutz said. "Spectrum is still working on that issue and their deadline ... will be coming up in June."

Lutz said Spectrum has been working closely with Delaware County and other developers in an attempt to find a solution and move ahead with its 130-unit facility.

"They've started conversations with other developers in the area who are facing similar limitations ... to see if they can pool their resources together to help lower the cost of providing sanitary sewer," he said.

Lutz told council members he was not confident that Spectrum would be able to reach a solution in such an abbreviated amount of time.

"They have an uphill battle," he said. "One thing, especially with Spectrum, is time is not on their side. To try to get this resolved in the next couple weeks may be difficult to do."

Previously, Spectrum officials said they had discussed multiple plans to increase sewer capacity at the site with county officials and were trying to select the best option.

After council tabled the Spectrum discussion, the developers behind the Center at Powell Crossing asked council to delay discussion of their 64-unit, mixed-use apartment complex until a traffic study could be finalized.

The development, which would be located at 147 W. Olentangy St. just west of the CSX railroad tracks, has met with steady opposition from a vocal group of city residents. The group has cited concerns about housing density and increased traffic in their complaints.

Council delayed a vote on the complex's development plan in March to allow Trans Associates to complete a traffic study of the area and suggest changes the developer and city could make to reduce congestion.

Lutz said the traffic study has been completed, but the developer wanted to wait until costs of potential improvements could be finalized before going back before council.

"What they were unable to do was to get their final cost estimates," Lutz said. "As part of this plan, the developer's going to be responsible for any improvements which are adjacent to their proposed development. Until they have those costs, they did not feel comfortable moving forward."

Council is expected to discuss both developments again at its meeting Tuesday, June 3.

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