In a unanimous 2-0 vote, the Powell Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday upheld the Target zoning certificate, denying appeals by nearby residents and the Liberty Township trustees.

In a unanimous 2-0 vote, the Powell Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday upheld the Target zoning certificate, denying appeals by nearby residents and the Liberty Township trustees.

During a 25-minute hearing, BZA members Ed Cooper and Joe Jester said the controversial big-box retailer meets the guidelines for a 133,000-square-foot Golf Village store.

John W. Crowder, president of the Villas at Woodcutter condominium association, said after the hearing that residents will appeal.

The condominium community is the closest residential property to the 17-acre Target site.

The BZA ruling was "against the people of Powell," Crowder said. "I don't think the people were listened to."

Township attorneys will prepare findings of fact and conclusions of law that will be ratified at a public hearing in the coming weeks.

Dave Betz, Powell's development director, said earlier that starting with the date of the ratifying vote, there is a 30-day limit on appealing any BZA decision to Delaware County Common Pleas Court.

Cooper and Jester each presented reasons they felt Target was appropriate for the commercially-zoned area at the southeast corner of Sawmill Parkway and Home Road. (The third BZA member, Robert Hiles, recused himself in November, saying the engineering firm where he works has worked on the Target site.)

"In looking through the exhibits and looking through the testimony, I would agree that this meets the criteria for pedestrian scale as the zoning administrator was required to follow based upon the (city's) comprehensive plan and the CEDA agreement," Cooper said.

The CEDA - Comprehensive Economic Development Agreement - was signed in 2002 by the city and Liberty Township and guides annexation into the city. Trustees have said Target violates that agreement.

Target first announced plans to build in Golf Village last June.

Powell in October approved the store, which would be built at 7525 Guardwell St.

Since then, construction has been delayed by legal battles before the BZA and in Delaware County Common Pleas Court, as well as a pending appeal before the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals.

The BZA agreed to hear appeals from about 70 residents and Liberty Township, but declined to hear those from nonprofit resident groups the Community Oversight Foundation and the Golf Village Residents Association.

The GVRA appealed the BZA's denial to Delaware County Common Pleas Judge W. Duncan Whitney, who in March upheld Powell's ruling.

The group appealed Whitney's decision to the appeals court. A hearing on that appeal hasn't been scheduled.

Over the course of five hearings in May and June, opponents said Target will bring increased traffic and lower property values and isn't compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

Attorneys and witnesses for Triangle Real Estate, the Target site owner, disputed those claims, saying the store meets architectural and landscaping requirements, and is smaller than the maximum building size allowed on the site.

The store is pedestrian-friendly, meets the requirements of the Golf Village Development Plan, and is planned for the correct site for a big-box retailer, BZA members said.

"The area right now has established commercial and light industrial (zoning) surrounding it on three sides," Jester said. "I feel that this is overall a very clearly defined commercial area."

Cooper said the condos are "a buffer zone between commercial and single-family residential. That's generally what condominiums and apartments are used for."

Crowder said referring to the area as a buffer is offensive to Woodcutter property owners.

"We'll appeal all the way. Those condos are our homes ... we're all part of Powell," he said.

Dave Betz, Powell's development director, approved the store's zoning. It wasn't required to go through a public body such as the planning and zoning commission because Powell was administering zoning approved by Liberty Township in 2001, before the site was annexed.

Betz said Tuesday he is "glad the decision was in favor of issuing the zoning certificate."