Powell's planning board has given its approval to an office and apartment building proposed for two vacant lots in the city's downtown.

The Powell Planning and Zoning Commission on Jan. 24 voted 5-0 to allow a 2,554-square-foot building planned at 189 and 199 S. Liberty St., just south of More Time For You, a cleaning and handyman business. The proposed structure would sit about one-third of a mile south of the city's Four Corners intersection of Liberty and Olentangy streets.

Powell resident Steve Wilke plans to move his Dublin-based Weichert Realtors office to the first floor of the new building and rent out the pair of two-bedroom apartments on the second floor.

Architect Tom Coffey said his client hopes to break ground on the project "as soon as the weather allows."

Rocky Kambo, Powell's assistant director of development, said city officials appreciate how the apartments fit into the overall design for the proposed building.

"We like the fact that they're subtle," he said. "They're secondary to the main purpose."

Kambo said the developer's plan to construct a 26-space parking lot also well exceeds the city's minimum requirements. The city's guidelines call for 19 parking spots, a number the planning commission could have reduced by half because the development sits within the city's Downtown Business District.

Kambo said the development is "very much in line" with the city's comprehensive plan.

"Overall, we are really excited about this development," he said.

Board member Trent Hartranft said he sees the Downtown Business District as a perfect place for the mixed-use building.

"I think it's a good fit for where it's proposed to go," he said.

Before approving the project, the board decided against sending the proposal to the city's Historic Downtown Advisory Commission for further review. Coffey, the project's architect, is a member of the commission, which is tasked with making sure downtown development projects conform with the city's architectural guidelines.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@twgallick