In a unanimous vote Monday, the Liberty Township Board of Trustees approved amending the township’s zoning resolution as well as the rezoning of 15 parcels of land along Steitz and Home roads from Farm Residential (FR-1) to a Planned Overlay District (POD).
The Liberty Township Zoning Commission voted 5-0 in January to approve the rezoning measure and recommend to trustees the amendment to the township’s zoning resolution.
Before the trustees voted, Trustee Shyra Eichhorn stated the one thing she has always stood behind is the township keeping its own separate identity.
“I stick by that today,” she said. “However, I think it is extremely important that we work together with the City of Powell for the betterment of the community as a whole.”
The rezoning actions came at the request of the property owners — three multigenerational families (Pearls, Jacksons and Schirtzingers) — and the Schottenstein Real Estate Group, who has proposed an upscale mix-use development plan.
“This development is the catalyst to regional economic development cooperation and planning,” said Steven Cuckler, attorney for the property owners and the Schottenstein Real Estate Group. “It’s great that the township is supportive of this approach, and I am hopeful that the City of Powell will be as well.”
According to Donald Hunter, senior vice president of the Schottenstein Real Estate Group, the comprehensive master development plans approved Monday by the trustees will contribute to the infrastructure improvements along the Home Road and Sawmill Parkway corridor and generate over $200 million in property taxes for the township over the next 30 years.
“This smart, low density, mixed-use plan provides an upscale development standard that Liberty Township has been seeking for many years,” he said. “We have proposed a development that has appropriately scaled and planned uses, from large single-family home sites to senior independent or assisted living, and from empty-nester specialty homes to medical office development. This plan calls for the best use of the land and will help generate an economic boom to the area.”
According to the Schottenstein Real Estate Group, the property east of Sawmill Parkway will support the housing demands expected from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center that was approved by Powell City Council last year.
However, on Feb. 27, Powell City Council’s attorneys sent Liberty Township a letter requesting a public meeting with the trustees to discuss the adoption of the Home Road Planned Overlay District. The city states the plan is inconsistent with the township’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
“…the POD will permit the development of an estimated 1,300 units, rather than the approximately 500 single-family units permitted … Included in the planned 1,300 units in the POD are 500 multi-family apartment and/or condominium units,” the city’s letter states.
During regular township business, the trustees authorized Matthew Huffman, administrator, to set a date for the public meeting with Powell City Council.
“We just sent the letter last Thursday,” said Powell Public Information Officer Megan Canavan. “We would like to continue to move forward with the whole committee meeting, because Liberty Township’s action doesn’t change the talking points stated in the letter.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.