Voters could block another Powell housing development


For the second time in as many years, Powell voters will be asked in the November election to stop a housing development from coming to fruition.

Voters will be faced with a measure that would overturn the zoning approved to make way for a 47-unit housing development at the site of the former Powder Room shooting range.

Len Pivar, the developer behind the project, said, “There’s a lot of false accusations made about traffic and other things.”

The development, he said, will replace two existing commercial buildings, both of which would create much more traffic if they were to remain open, which he said is a possibility if the housing project does not occur.

Pivar also said his development – which are detached homes and not apartments or condos as they have been characterized – will not put any additional burden on the school system because it is designed to cater to empty-nesters looking for small living space.

“We want retired people,” he said. “That’s what our market is.”

He also said the development will add more than $300,000 to the school system’s coffers each year and more than $1.5 million to the city.

The development will also include the removal of lead from the property and the addition of a roadway and stoplight to further ensure traffic moves safely in the area.

“This subdivision is so perfect for Powell,” said Pivar.

Brian Ebersole, who has led the referendum effort, said traffic is the biggest concern with the development.

“To add more condos, housing, people and cars right to that area is a dangerous situation and we want to prevent that without any real traffic solutions being presented at this moment,” he said.

He also disputed that commercial activities could again occur on the property, saying he would fight to prevent that as well.

“The other option is to not build or put anything in there right now until we get the traffic situation taken care,” he said.

Ebersole also said that, despite the development being marketed to retirees, it could still impact the school district.

“There’s nothing that prevents anyone from any age group from living in these condos,” he said. “These are officially called single-family condominium homes.”

Through a similar effort, a charter amendment, he and a group of citizens last year successfully put the brakes on a 64-apartment unit development that would have been accompanied by 16,400 square feet of retail space on just more than eight acres at 147 W. Olentangy St., along with another proposed development.

The opponents were also successful in passing a charter amendment that creates a commission that includes five homeowners associations’ presidents to draft the city’s next comprehensive plan. Opponents at the time said their aim was to stop high-density housing from being built in the city.

The charter amendment, which the city originally opposed, is currently being challenged in federal court.

By Dustin Ensinger

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Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.

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