Last summer, Home Stietz LLC and TLK Development came forward with a proposal to develop approximately 11.5 acres of land at the corner of Home and Steitz roads into a mixed-use development that would include a gas station, storage units, and office buildings. Community members in the immediate area of the proposed site were highly outspoken in their disapproval of the proposal, and the Powell Planning and Zoning Commission ultimately nixed the plan.
On Tuesday, after a year of reconfiguring their proposal, Powell City Council accepted the annexation of the land into the city and granted the developers approval on their final development plan for the land, which will be named “Middlebury Crossing.”
The plan includes two retail or office buildings on the southwest portion of the development, facing Home Road, and a 62-unit townhome and apartment community behind them. The residential aspect of the site will include 32 garden apartments and 30 townhouses.
In addition to the commercial and residential plans for Middlebury Crossing, the site has been chosen by the Delaware County District Library (DCDL) as the location for its new Powell branch.
After hearing the outcry of nearby residents on the original proposal last year, developer John Wicks met with those residents to discuss what types of use they would prefer to see from the site. The land has often been referred to as problematic in regards to future development for several reasons, including the high-voltage power lines that cut through the southeast portion of the site.
Both the developers and residents have often been praised throughout the process for their ability to come together and find a use that would satisfy both sides.
A library branch was discussed between the two sides following the failure of the original proposal and, fortuitously, DCDL had been looking to construct a new branch in Powell following its levy renewal last November. While several sites were being considered for the new branch, the location at Home and Steitz roads had seemingly been the preferred spot from the beginning, and the library branch was approved for the site in March.
Councilman Daniel Swartwout asked during the Tuesday meeting about the financial impact the development would have on the city, something he said hadn’t been discussed throughout the process.
Rocky Kambo, assistant director of development for the city, referenced the city’s comprehensive plan and “strategic annexation,” and the ultimate determination of whether it would be a good use for the city from more than just a financial standpoint.
“Does it bring services to the residents? Does it help bolster what the city of Powell is all about?” Kambo considered. “In this particular case, we’re essentially bringing in commercial lands within the city … we have limited commercial lands as it is within the city of Powell.
“So, in staff’s opinion … annexing more commercial lands within the city is a strategic annexation. We have, in this particular case, some commercial lands upfront (in the proposed development), and then the apartments in the back are taxed at a commercial rate as well.”
With the annexation and final development plan approved, the only remaining loose end for the development is what the library will look like. Once the library settles on a building plan, the proposal will need to be approved by the city.
DCDL Director George Needham said the library is still in the process of reviewing building proposals from architects and they “are still quite a way from having any designs.”
During the planning and zoning approval of Middlebury Crossing in May, DCDL Board Vice President Michael Butler said the building is expected to be two stories. He added the hope is to begin construction on the library later toward the end of this year with a completion date in 2021.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.