By Dustin Ensinger
A controversial proposed development in Powell will have to clear another hurdle before coming to fruition.
A group of residents have secured enough signatures to to place an initiative and a referendum on the November ballot that could prevent the Center at Powell Crossing from being built.
The petitions were certified Friday by the Delaware County Board of Elections.
The initiative would reverse Powell City Council’s 4-3 decision to approve the development that is set to include 64 apartment units and 16,000-square-feet of retail space on just over eight acres. The referendum, which was designed to serve as a back up plan, would give city residents an up or down vote on the development.
“Our purpose is to let the people have a voice – the final voice,” said Tom Happensack, the spokesman for the dozen or so residents that circulated petitions.
Happensack said there are several concerns with the proposed development, with traffic congestion at the top of the list.
“The major issue they have is where it’s at and the fact that traffic is really bad in that area right now,” he said.
Happensack also said there are major concerns about high-density development and the impact it could have on the Olentangy Local School District.
“People just don’t like the idea of apartments in the area,” he said.
Those that Happensack have talked to are also concerned about the city losing its identity as a bedroom community.
“They are worried about it losing its family orientation the more these high-density projects come in,” he said. “It’s kind of a fight against high-density housing in general.”
The second initiative will provide city residents with more of a voice in developing a new comprehensive plan.
“That is what the zoning commission and council are relying on in approving these thing,” Happensack said.
Council will determine the sufficiency and validity of the ballot measures at its Aug. 5 meeting, according to Powell spokeswoman Megan Canavan.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.