It's back to the drawing board for the would-be developers of nearly 12 acres north of Home Road.
More than a dozen residents spoke out during a June 13 meeting of Powell's planning and zoning commission against a proposed rezoning and annexation plan that included a gas station, commercial space and storage units at the northwest corner of Home and Steitz roads.
The proposed annexation would have pushed the boundaries of Powell north of Home Road for the first time.
According to documents submitted to the city by developer John Wicks, the parcel could be divided into three areas of use: more than 4 acres each for a gas station and convenience store and a separate storage business; and another 1.6 acres for up to a 21,000-square-foot retail and office building.
The original plan called for 4.8 acres nearest the corner of Home and Steitz roads to be dedicated to the 10,500-square-foot convenience store and gas station.
The land is zoned residential in Liberty Township, and Wicks said he mulled building houses, but a real-estate analysis submitted as part of the initial plan shows that "a residential use is not the recommended use for the property."
The analysis notes the high-tension power lines that run across the site and a tower on the property, as well as its proximity to "two major roadways," as reasons against residential development. It also states there are about 3,000 existing and planned homes within a 3-mile radius of the site.
Jon Petz shares about 200 yards of property line with the site and said the need for housing in the area remains strong.
He showed a video of several nearby residential developments -- many near or directly under the power lines -- and urged Wicks to reconsider "raping and pillaging that land for the maximum profitability."
Tracie Jenkins lives across the street and said she worries about leaking gas tanks, light pollution and lower property values that a gas station could bring. She suggested medical or dental offices, a park or a library as good alternatives.
"Will the city of Powell seriously benefit from a gas station in an area zoned residential? I don't think so," Jenkins said.
The June 13 meeting was to review a sketch plan -- the first step in the city's development process. Commission members do not vote on the plan but review it to make sure it meets code requirements and the city's comprehensive plan.
A city analysis found the overall proposal is "too intense" for the site and recommended removing the gas station, said Dave Betz, Powell's development director.
Zoning commission members agreed.
Joe Jester said the surrounding community views the proposal as a "nuisance."
"I don't support this application as it is laid here tonight," he said. "A gas station isn't right. A convenience store isn't right."
Fellow commission member Ed Cooper said there are better options for this type of development farther north.
"I do not believe I could support this project at this site. I will promise you I will not vote to change this zoning on this project," Cooper said.
Wicks said he would reconsider other commercial and residential uses. He said he wants a plan that neighbors "will be proud of and will frequent."
"This is clearly a hot button and we are not here to shove something down people's throats," Wicks said. "We're looking for ideas."
Any development plan would require approval from both the zoning commission and City Council.
Council also would have to approve the annexation, which would not have been possible before last spring.
In 2002, the city and township came to terms on a Cooperative Economic Development Agreement, known as CEDA, to guide future annexations. About the same time, the city annexed the large Golf Village subdivision, which sits at the intersection of Sawmill Parkway and Home Road.
A provision in the CEDA that prohibited Powell from annexing land north of Home Road for 15 years expired in May 2017.
The next zoning commission meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 27 at the Village Green Municipal Building, 47 Hall St.