For years, the home located at the intersection of Grace Drive and East Olentangy Street in Powell appeared destined to become a bed and breakfast. But after numerous delays with the project ultimately derailed those plans, the home may finally have a new calling.
During Wednesday’s meeting of the Powell Planning and Zoning Commission, commissioners approved a preliminary development plan for Good Night Investments to renovate and expand the current building at 80 E. Olentangy St. in order to convert the home into a private social club called The Venery. Previously, a sketch plan for the project was reviewed by the commission in November of last year.
The Venery aims to offer unique wines and liquors to its members, doing so in an intimate setting, according to documents for the proposal. Membership for the private club is expected to be capped at 192 members.
Along with the renovation of the existing building, a 1,750-square-foot addition will also be constructed to the back of the existing building. To make way for the addition, which will be constructed to mimic the existing structure, the garage and rear porch will be removed. However, in order to maintain the original structure, the home’s front porch will remain with the new project.
Entry to The Venery will be off of Grace Drive, which will lead to a parking lot containing 14 spaces. Elise Schellin, the city’s development planner, said the access point will be as far north on Grace Drive as possible to relieve possible congestion issues for the traffic signal at the intersection of Grace Drive and East Olentangy Street.
It is anticipated that additional parking will be available for club members in both the Powell Liberty Historical Society and shopping center lots across the street. The commission requested a full parking plan be included when the developers submit for review of a final development plan, including agreements with second parties to utilize its parking lots.
“The location at East Olentangy Street and Grace Drive is a prime spot for commercial redevelopment that will help to enhance the vibrancy of our downtown, while also providing a unique service to the community,” the city’s review of the plan states.
Staff review of the project concluded, “It will upgrade an existing home, bring more people into the downtown core, and help to promote Powell as a destination.” The lot’s location within the city’s boundaries for its Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) also lends the site to a business that serves alcohol, documents for the plan suggest.
While there is general support from the city for the project, Commissioner Shawn Boysko pointed out there are several details missing from the developers in the preliminary development plan.
“There are seven items still missing, and it’s hard to address this,” he said on Wednesday, highlighting the lack of landscaping, site lighting, and building materials details, among other things. A video walk-through of the site was presented, but Boysko asked that the developers present more of a “tangible” form that lays out the details for review.
Commissioner Trent Hartranft said that with the developers “having a good idea what we’d like to see” with the remaining details as part of a final development plan, he was comfortable voting to move forward to the next phase.
Commissioner Shaun Simpson said of the proposal, “I think, concept-wise, it works extremely well. I think something like this has the opportunity to bring quite a few people into the city for different activities, different events, and I think that is pretty spot-on with what would work.”
The preliminary development plan was approved unanimously by the commission. The next stage in the approval process is the submission of a final development plan for consideration.