Approximately 70 acres of land at 3041 Home Road could eventually give way to a 343-unit apartment neighborhood. Redwood, which owns developments in Delaware, Dublin and Marysville, has proposed the development, which would span four parcels of land that run parallel with the CSX railroad tracks south of Home Road.
As part of the proposal, Redwood is seeking annexation of two of the parcels, totaling approximately 35 acres and currently owned by Liberty Township, into Powell. In order to keep the annexation process moving forward, Powell City Council first had to approve a resolution of services for the land to be annexed.
Because of the time constraints stipulated in Redwood’s purchase contract with the current landowner, a vote on the resolution of services was necessary during the meeting for that contract — and everything the contract precedes — to carry forward.
Council discussed the resolution during its July 2 meeting. However, the resolution of services was met with concern from some council members, in part due to the lack of information present on the proposed use of the land.
“I am concerned we’re seeing this now, before (Planning and Zoning Commission) is going to see the sketch plan in a couple weeks,” Councilman Brendan Newcomb said. “I have a lot of questions. What are the expenses on this? What’s the impact on the schools … I feel like I’m being asked to invest in something that I don’t know anything about, and I’m very reluctant to do that.”
Councilman Brian Lorenz said that while he is generally in favor of annexation, he would vote against the resolution of services, because he felt the land could be better used.
“What I’ve seen to date is not something I feel is in the best interest of the city,” he said. “I think what could be put (on the land) could be more commercial or industrial.”
Both the parcels in Liberty Township and the two already in Powell are currently zoned for industrial use.
Councilman Daniel Swartwout pointed out the resolution of services would not lock the city into any type of commitment on the proposal by Redwood. Assistant City Manager Rocky Kambo clarified the resolution of services was simply an agreement by the city that, should the land be annexed into the city, the site would receive city services, such as police protection, street maintenance, storm drainage maintenance, and comprehensive reviews of the building plans from city staff.
Vice Mayor Tom Counts cautioned council it isn’t council’s position to pass ultimate judgment on what might be developed on the land before those development plans have even reached the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“This is no different than anything within the city or anything that is subject to a pre-annexation agreement,” Counts said. “And that is, a proposal comes through and it goes through our normal process. Our normal process is to let (Planning and Zoning Commission) go through all the nitty gritty of whether this project is an appropriate one for the city, and I think we need to allow it to go through that process.”
He added, “(Council) is the ultimate decision maker on (development proposals). But we’re not the first decision maker. We need to let it go through the process, and if we make the decision now to let this die, then we’re taking over the role that Planning and Zoning have been given.”
The resolution of services was ultimately approved with a 4-3 vote. Planning and Zoning will now conduct a sketch plan review of Redwood’s proposal at its next meeting, which will be at 7 p.m. July 10. Meetings are held in the city council chambers of the Village Green Municipal Building, which is located at 47 Hall St.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.