After years of debate, public meetings, a referendum vote and an Ohio Supreme Court case, it appears the battle over the future of the former Powder Room shooting range site has subsided.
Powell's Planning and Zoning Commission on April 12 voted 5-0 to approve the final development plan for the Harper's Pointe neighborhood on 9 acres between Beech Ridge and Grace drives north of Olentangy Street.
Arlington Land LLC submitted two versions of the plan to the commission last week: one featuring 48 houses, the other with 47 houses and a new connector road running between Beech Ridge and Grace drives.
The commission's approval called for the 47-unit plan with the connector road stubbed at the end of the property.
Multiple board members said the proposed street could improve traffic conditions in the area.
"I really want that road to go in," board member Joe Jester said. "I've wanted that since the very beginning."
Powell City Council in May 2015 approved a plan calling for 47 freestanding condos and the connector street at the site, but city voters overturned the board's decision that November.
Developer Len Pivar returned to the city in 2016 seeking new zoning for the site in order to build 48 houses. The new plan deleted the connector road.
Powell resident Brian Ebersole, one of the leaders of the referendum campaign, filed suit last fall asking the Ohio Supreme Court to require council put a second measure on the ballot so residents could vote on the "virtually identical" project. The high court rejected Ebersole's request.
Pivar said last week he's willing to add the connector road back into the plan.
"We are prepared to give up that lot and building to make it work," he said.
Powell Law Director Gene Hollins said city staff will continue to work with the owner of the neighboring shopping plaza known as the Powell Center to see if an agreement on the road can be reached. He said the conversation could be complicated by the owner's recent decision to market the property for redevelopment.
Pivar said he expects an agreement between the city and the shopping center's owner eventually to come to fruition.
"To me, it does nothing but enhance their property," he said.
Pivar said his gated neighborhood will feature a mix of one-, one-and-a-half- and two-story custom houses. He said the units will be marketed to empty-nesters who want to stay in Powell.
Pat Kijewski, daughter of the Powder Room site's former owner, said she's relieved the tumultuous development saga seems to be coming to a close.
"It almost brings tears to my eyes to think that this is finally going to happen," she said.