A certificate of appropriateness was approved by the Powell Planning and Zoning Commission during the Jan. 11 meeting for the demolition of the former Country Carry Out building located at 35 N. Liberty St.
The two-story, 9,840-square-foot building, which was constructed in 1984, is currently owned by STZ Ventures but has sat vacant since 2019. Previously, it contained restaurant space along with the carry out on the first floor, as well as office space on the second floor.
The City of Powell, which is the applicant for the demolition, is proposing to demolish the building to open the approximately 0.88-acre site for potential mixed-use redevelopment in the future.
During the meeting, Powell Development Planner Elise Schellin said that while the building falls within Powell’s historic downtown district, the building has been determined to not be of any architectural or historical significance to the city.
Schellin also noted the city has been awarded a grant from the Ohio Department of Development’s Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program Grant Fund for the demolition of the building. If the demolition is completed by May 1, the city will be compensated for the costs.
Following the staff presentation, Commissioner Shaun Simpson said of the building, “This is a commercial building with a second floor that is non-ADA compliant. It’s not worthless but it’s of very little worth, so it needs to come down.”
Chairman Bill Little added, “To the best of my knowledge, there is not anyone in town who is going to picket for us to save the carry out, although long-term residents have a lot of memories of that building.”
Until any mixed-use redevelopment plans begin to take shape, the existing parking spaces on the site could be used as temporary city parking should the lot be reconditioned. Little noted that if the lot is reconditioned and the spaces are usable, the city should not allow any future developers to include those spaces as additional parking in plans.
On Friday, the city posted bid forms for the 35 N. Liberty Street Demolition Project on its website. Bids are due by 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3.
Prior to the demolition discussion, the Planning and Zoning Commission listened to a preliminary development plan for a residential development that would exist within the city’s downtown business district if approved.
Grand Communities, LLC is proposing to construct 20 single-family detached homes, to be known as Encore Park, on an approximately 2.4-acre site on the northwest corner of Depot Street and East Case Avenue. The site is just north of Nocterra Brewing Company and Pup-A-Razzi Pet Salon.
Previously, the developers came before the commission for a sketch plan review of the proposal on Aug. 10.
Part of the proposal includes the extension of Depot Street north to connect with Adventure Park Drive as part of the Keep Powell Moving initiative.
Since the proposal falls within the downtown overlay district, Schellin said the proposal will go before the city’s Historic Downtown Advisory Commission for a review of the project’s architecture on Jan. 19.
However, many questions were raised by both neighboring residents of the project and the commission during the discussion about the various details of the project, leading to the commission’s collective suggestion that the developers table the plans for further consideration of all the feedback issued during the meeting.
“It’s an important project, obviously to you, and, obviously, to us from a city infill standpoint,” Little said. “It’s a pretty substantial project. At this point in the preliminary development plan stage, I think we have a lot of questions, a lot of comments, and a lot of things to look into that, maybe traditionally in a preliminary development plan, we might be a little bit further along in consensus than that.
“It’s not uncommon for some of the larger developments that we’ve done within the community, particularly with ones that are a little bit complex, to table it. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Ultimately, the development team urged the commission to take a vote on the proposal as it currently stands, allowing them to work with the city and neighboring residents to alleviate some of the concerns while keeping the project on track. The commission ultimately voted to approve the preliminary development plan with a 5-2 vote; Commissioners David Lester and Ferzan Ahmed were the two votes against the project.