The Retreat guidelines approved


Powell City Council approved a development text for The Retreat and The Retreat at Cardinal Hill subdivisions during its meeting Tuesday. The approval came in response to the communities’ deed restrictions expiring at the end of last year, leaving them in need of guidelines to continue the high standard of one of Powell’s first subdivisions.

The development text was first recommended for approval by the Powell Planning and Zoning Commission at its Dec. 11 meeting. Council held the first reading for the development text during a January meeting, which included a large contingent of residents from the subdivisions weighing in with their thoughts.

“Our board of trustees recognized two years ago our expiring deed restrictions needed to be replaced,” Retreat Association President Dan O’Brien told council in January. “Why? For one reason: in order to preserve property values, we needed guidelines and restrictions regarding the use, modification, and maintenance of neighborhood property. Further, these restrictions needed to be enforced.”

Through many meetings, O’Brien said the development text received a “3 to 1” approval rating, although he acknowledged there are still some who don’t want any restrictions or limits placed on property modifications or enforcement on required minimum maintenance standards for their Retreat property.

As part of the development text, the Retreat Architectural Review Committee (ARC) will be created to offer any recommendations on proposed modifications or improvements to property within the subdivisions. Those recommendations will be submitted to the city, which will still have the final decision on whether or not to issue a zoning certificate.

Councilman Daniel Swartwout, speaking during Tuesday’s meeting, said the initial document discussed in January had many issues, some of which he questioned the potential legal ramifications. However, after further discussions with all parties involved, he said he felt comfortable moving forward.

“Through the process that we have worked through, from both the input of those who are in favor of this text and those who have some significant reservations about this text, I believe we have arrived at something that I feel comfortable voting yes on … I have spent a tremendous amount of time with the residents of The Retreat and Cardinal Hill, both in favor and opposed, and I think the working together of both sides of this issue have brought us to a document that I feel very comfortable with.”

Swartwout asked Gene Hollins, Powell law director, whether the city would have the ability to abolish the development text should issues arise that puts the city in a precarious position as a result of the development text.

“It’s a living document,” Hollins said. “It’s living in the sense that if it were to put us in a position where we were subject to litigation, one of our options would always be to simply go back to the status quo.”

Councilwoman Melissa Riggins, who was the lone council member to vote not to approve the development text, said the development text isn’t simply renewing the restrictions that expired last year; it’s imposing additional restrictions.

“I’m concerned with government, i.e. the City of Powell, stepping on the property rights of these property owners,” Riggins said.

In addition to the infringement of rights, Riggins said she is also concerned with the precedent the development text will set throughout all of Powell.

“If we do it in this situation, who else is going to pop up in other various subdivisions or other areas of the city and try to do the same thing,” Riggins asked.

Councilman Jon Bennehoof suggested the city should adopt a citywide policy to avoid having to “jump through these hoops” each time a subdivision’s deed restrictions expire and a need for new guidelines develops in the future.

Pictured is the entrance to The Retreat subdivision at the corner of Retreat Lane and Olentangy River Road in Powell. is the entrance to The Retreat subdivision at the corner of Retreat Lane and Olentangy River Road in Powell. Joshua Keeran | The Gazette

By Dillon Davis

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Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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