A new housing development is one step closer toward breaking ground in downtown Powell.

At its regular meeting Oct. 10, the city's planning and zoning commission unanimously approved a preliminary plan proposed by developer Chris Bradley and the Camber Co. that would see 21 single-family homes built on a 5.3-acre tract.

No name has been chosen for the development.

The tract represents the majority of an 8.3-acre plot at 185 N. Liberty St. that sits between Adventure Park Drive and Depot Street, west of Liberty Street. According to city documents, the developer is set to buy part of the property from existing landowners.

The property is zoned as a residential district, which allows for 1-acre lots.

Assistant Director of Development Rocky Kambo said by rezoning the site to Powell's downtown residential district category, lots can be smaller and architecture can be controlled more closely by the city.

Kambo said he believes the development can add "more vibrancy to the downtown district," which he added will increase nearby property values.

"People within walking distance of the shops and restaurants leads to more life in the downtown core," he said.

Bradley said the development will be "specially geared toward empty-nesters."

The 21 homes will be built by Romanelli and Hughes, a detail Bradley said he was "most excited about."

"I believe that will drive the quality we're looking for in this small pocket neighborhood," he said.

The development will be connected to Adventure Park Drive to the north and Depot Street to the south, and Kambo said the city wasn't concerned by potential traffic issues.

"We don't see this as being burdensome on the existing roadways," he said.

The meeting was not the first for the potential development, and after making changes suggested by the commission, members praised Bradley and the Camber Co.'s willingness to work with them.

"I like what I'm seeing so far," Ed Cooper said. "You're listening to what we're saying. ... I think it's going great."

Bradley, Powell staff and commission members all agreed the Romanelli and Hughes homes should aim toward looking unique, with materials such as stone integrated in most elevations.

Concerns from commission members were few, and the group approved the preliminary plan unanimously after a short discussion. Ultimately, the commission felt the development was an appropriate use for the area.

Bill Little said he's recently become an empty-nester himself and called the potential development "right up my alley." While he hoped the homes would make garages less visible, he said he was excited about the project as a whole.

"I think this represents a great opportunity for Powell," he said, "and because it's in downtown Powell, I think we can make a unique statement."

Shaun Simpson said the development is a "great use of the land."

"Anything that brings more (foot) traffic to downtown without adding too much congestion is great," he said.

The city's planning commission must review housing plans before approving a final development plan, which will need to be approved by both planning commission and Powell City Council.

For more information, visit www.cityofpowell.us.