Powell City Council has approved the annexation of approximately 35 acres from Liberty Township into the city. The land, which is located on the south side of Home Road between the CSX railroad tracks and Old Liberty Road, has also been rezoned from a Planned Industrial District to Planned Commercial District.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, members held the second reading of both ordinances, which also included a preliminary development plan from Redwood USA, LLC for the vacant 70-acre site. Proposed by Redwood is a mixed-use development that will include both a skilled nursing facility and multi-family dwelling units.
The proposal is made up of two subareas — Subarea A and Subarea B — with Subarea A representing the commercial area on the north portion of the property. The skilled nursing facility is proposed to be approximately 64,700 square feet to accommodate 80 rooms, and the memory care facility is proposed to be approximately 65,000 square feet to accommodate 54 rooms.
Subarea B would contain a total of 327 multi-family units in 61 buildings. Each unit would include two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached, two-car garage.
The Powell Planning and Zoning Commission first reviewed an informal sketch plan for the Redwood proposal in July 2019, and members voted to recommend approval of the preliminary development plan at their meeting on May 12. During that meeting, members of the commission noted the parcels have sat vacant for more than 10 years, and given the logistical issues the site proposed due to its proximity to the Home Road overpass, interest from industrial developers has been — and would likely continue to be — nonexistent.
Among the challenging features of the site are two streams that bisect the site, as well as a wetland on the southern end of the site, the railroad tracks to the east, and the overall shape of the site. Todd Foley, of POD Design, a landscape architect firm representing Redwood, said the proposed development plan has been presented in a way that will preserve some of the natural features of the site.
Foley said of the site, “We know that there are a significant amount of challenges, but also opportunities at the same time with the site. We feel like the project and the plan we’ve brought before you is one that is able to tackle those challenges and presents something that presents benefits to the city in numerous ways.”
A 10-year, 75% Tax Increment Financing (TIF) has also been proposed as part of the development. Foley said the developers are estimating roughly $14 million would be generated from the TIF. After necessary site improvements, Foley said there would be roughly $12.8 million still remaining from the TIF for the City of Powell to use for improvements elsewhere in the city. “We think that that alone is a great start,” he said.
Vice Mayor Dan Swartwout asked whether or not the city has identified any particular projects the generated revenue could be used towards given the fact the location of the site exists at the fringe of the city. City Manager Andrew White responded by pointing out the TIF district the Redwood TIF would be a componet of is “fairly comprehensive and large,” extending “in various pieces, almost from Home Road to Franklin County.”
“We have not had specific discussions on an absolute project, but in thinking about this, that’s $12 million that could be invested in some infrastructure to significantly alter the experience of pedestrian thoroughfares along that commercial cooridor, or bike lanes, things of that nature,” White said.
In closing comments, Councilman Tom Counts said he was reminded of how important it is to have different types of housing for different types of people in the community, sharing a story of personal friends who sold their home in Powell but then had to leave the city because they couldn’t find the rental housing they were looking for within in the community. Counts said they have since moved back into the city after finding rental housing, and he added, “They are going to be just as good of residents in this type of housing as they were when they owned the house across the street, and I think we need to promote that. Single-family housing isn’t for everyone.”
With the approval of the annexation and the preliminary development plan, the developers will now need to come back before the Powell Planning and Zoning Commission and, ultimately, council for approval of a final development plan.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.