The Ohio Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus Feb. 14 compelling Powell to place a referendum on the May ballot for voters to decide whether or not to let Arlington Homes build 48 single-family homes called Harper’s Pointe.
The property is the 8.75-acre site of the Powder Room shooting range off of State Route 750 in Powell that was rezoned downtown residential from planned commercial and residential by city council in November.
City council voted 5 to 2 against the motion to add language to ordinance to send it to the ballot.
Brain Ebersole filed a writ of referendum Feb. 9 with the Ohio Supreme Court.
“Ebersole has sought the wrong legal relief in the wrong court,” the court’s judgement states. “The city has no clear legal duty to place the matter on the ballot.”
The court’s judgement also states the proper course of action would of been for Ebersole’s to challenge the “validity of the ordinance.”
Ebersole did not return phone calls seeking comment.
“This is good for the citizens of Powell,” said Joseph Miller, attorney with Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP representing Arlington Homes.
“If Mr. Ebersole were ever to refile, the only losers will be the taxpayers of Powell,” Miller said. “We believe the proposed development of the Powder Room is a great thing for the City of Powell.”
Len Pivar, owner of Arlington Homes, said he lives in Powell and wants to do something nice for the community. He said his plans are to build small homes costing $400,000 for empty nesters looking to downsize.
“There’s nothing in there to attract families,” Pivar said. “What we’re planning will add value to homes in the area.”
Pivar said there is nothing preventing families with children from moving into the community.
Pivar said the homes will be in walking distance of Powell’s restaurants and bars which will not add to the traffic. He said Arlington Homes did a traffic study that showed a 50 percent reduction in traffic.
“The city’s traffic study showed a 75 percent reduction in traffic,” Pivar said.
Pivar said the venture has become very costly.
“This has been going on for two years,” he said. “All the cost of legal fees could have gone to the property.”
According to Pivar, the developed property could bring $350,000 annually to the schools without adding children. He said the city could also gain $2.6 million in tax funds, according to county auditor estimates.
Pivar said he wants to remove the old lead ammunition from the grounds of the shooting range. He said every time it rains the lead leaches into the soil.
“The lead will be removed to EPA standards,” Pivar said.
Megan Canavan, director of communications for Powell, in an email said, the city always thought a downtown residential district would be consistent with the city’s recently updated comprehensive plan.
“The plan was recently adopted after a great deal of public input and participation,” Canavan said. “The downtown residence district zoning provides the community with the architectural controls to assure development occurs in a high quality fashion consistent with its surroundings.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.