Parking Permit Policy On Deck for Over-the-Rhine

With parking requirements poised to be lifted in the urban core, the City of Cincinnati is moving forward with implementing a Residential Parking Program for Over-the-Rhine. The program is being finalized and could appear in City Council chambers in the near future.

In 2015, the city studied and proposed an on-street residential parking permit program for the historic neighborhood only to have Mayor John Cranley (D) veto the measure after a contentious 5-4 vote in favor of the program from City Council. At the time the Mayor favored charging residents up to $500 per permit for the program, a measure UrbanCincy supported at the time. The prior program would have cost $108 for an annual permit and would have had a cap of 450 total permits for the southern part of the neighborhood.

A map of the proposed Residential Parking Permit Program for Over-the-Rhine

Following the veto, City Councilman David Man (D) directed the administration to study the parking conditions of Over-the-Rhine and develop a set of recommendations to help guide the city in its decision making on the policy. The City hired Walker Consultants to conduct a study, which extended over several years and engaged various Over-the-Rhine community stakeholders.

The results of that study have been released and the city is moving quickly to act. Under the plan developed by the city, residential parking permits will cost $150 per year with a cap of 500 total permits. Of those permits, half of them would go to qualifying low-income residents who will pay a reduced annual rate of $25 a year.

Permits will allow residents to park in non-metered residential streets as well as “flex” areas on main commercial streets in the neighborhood. In a memo to City Council, Director of Community and Economic Development Phillip Denning recommended that permit numbers and cost should be regulated by the City Manager so costs and numbers for the program can change over time as the city gets feedback and measurable data from the program.

The initial costs are estimated at $180,000 to install signage and start the program. Annual operations costs are pegged at $73,500 and are expected to be covered by the permit fee income generated from the program.

If approved by City Council the program could be implemented by the end of the year.

The cost and number of permits have been a point of contention from residents in the neighborhood who voiced their concerns at a City Planning public staff conference for the removal of parking requirements in the urban core.

In his report to City Planning Commission for the Urban Parking Overlay Senior Planner Alex Peppers wrote that “the primary concerns voiced by residents were for the permit cost, the total number of permits issued and the lottery system in which they are issued, lack of community engagement, and how the City would conduct enforcement.”

No official council hearings have been set regarding the program however the first step of Walker Consultants recommendations which will remove off-street parking requirements in the urban core will be discussed tomorrow at City Planning Commission and again at the Economic Growth & Zoning Council Committee Meeting next Tuesday at 9 AM in City Council Chambers at City Hall.

Candidates’ Forum to Focus on Historic Presevation, Urban Planning Topics

The candidates for Cincinnati City Council and Mayor have faced off in a number of debates and forums over the past several months. However, one forum being held tomorrow will be of particular interest to readers of UrbanCincy.

The Candidates’ Forum on Preservation will focus on historic preservation and related subjects, including policies on new development in historic neighborhoods. Fourteen city council candidates and both mayoral candidates will be in attendance and answering questions on these topics.

“The forum will discuss the role historic preservation plays in other important city issues, such as planning, neighborhood revitalization and economic development,” said Rob Nayor, Program Manager for Preservation Action.

Courtis Fuller of WLWT will serve as the host of the forum, which is being presented by Cincinnati Preservation Association, Cincinnati Preservation Collective, Over-the-Rhine Foundation, and Preservation Action. Candidates will not be ranked or endorsed based on their views. The event is meant to be informational and to allow the public to understand the candidates’ views on these issues.

The event will be held on Tuesday, September 19 at Memorial Hall, and will start promptly at 6:30 p.m. The venue is accessible via Metro routes 21 and 64 on Elm Street; routes 1, 6, and 20 on Central Parkway; the Cincinnati Bell Connector stop at 14th & Elm; and the Red Bike station at 14th & Elm. Parking is also available in the Washington Park Garage.

Month in Review – August 2013

During the month of August, UrbanCincy covered several new developments and events in the city’s urban core. We also published two editorials that generated much response from our readers and the local community. Our  top 5 most popular stories for August 2013 were:

    1. Final Designs Revealed for $125M Dunnhumby Centre Tower
      The long-awaited renderings for the Dunnhumby Centre at Fifth and Race have been released.
    2. It’s Time to Consolidate Local Governments in Hamilton County
      This editorial by Randy Simes has generated over 100 comments on UrbanCincy. Randy was also invited onto 700 WLW to discuss the idea with Scott Sloan, and the Cincinnati Business Courier also provided their own analysis of the idea.
    3. Over-the-Rhine Impresses More Than 30,000 Spectators for LumenoCity
      Paige Malott and John Yung provide photos from the event that attracted over 30,000 visitors to Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
    4. Cincinnati Eliminates Center City Parking Requirements, Neighborhoods Next
      Randy Simes analyses the city’s move to deregulate parking within the urban core.
    5. Greg Landsman: Riding the Cincinnati Streetcar to Success
      In this editorial, City Council candidate Greg Landsman explains why he supports the Streetcar and why it should be extended to Uptown.

 

MC3 Group to partner with Northside Business Association to revive historic property

A public-private partnership between the Northside Business Association (NBA) and local development company MC3 Group has resulted in a $200,000 grant from the City of Cincinnati to rehabilitate the Landman Building, located at 3929 Spring Grove Avenue. After an unrelated funding request fell through, funds were reappropriated through the city’s Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program (NBDIP) due to the project’s shovel ready condition.

The venture will redevelop the property into office space, potentially with street-level retail or entertainment. The building and its location are seen as a key to success in the “South Block” of Spring Grove Avenue and the recent investment that has been made in the area. MC3 has developed the surrounding properties, with a $675,000 renovation project taking place across the street. There are also plans for a new restaurant and bar next door.

“The proposed project will support the business district and the community as a whole,” stated MC3 Group in the proposal submitted to the Northside Business Association. “It will take a prominent troubled and obsolete property and repositioning it as an attractive and productive asset for the community.”

The shortlisted tenant for the space is Cincinnati State, who would potentially use the space as a sustainable research and development facility or as part of their renowned culinary program. The $680,000 project was also funded through $100,000 of cash or in-kind equity and $380,000 from the Northside Bank & Trust.

Northside Business Association treasurer Don Beimesche says that the neighborhood is especially thankful for the financial assistance that has taken the project off the drawing board and into reality.

“Without the financial assistance from the City of Cincinnati, the Landman Building would remain a vacant eyesore between two renovated buildings at the gateway to the Northside Business District,” Beimesche concluded.

Landman Building photograph by UrbanCincy contributor Jake Mecklenborg.

City Council to vote on Streetcar bonds

Streetcar at Findlay MarketCity Council is expected to vote today on whether to approve $64 million in bonds toward funding the Cincinnati Streetcar.  Providing this local funding greatly increases the likelihood of receiving federal funding for the remainder of the cost of the project.  Cincinnati was passed up in the first round of TIGER funding due to a lack of local financial support.  Several additional federal funding sources are available, including one specifically targeted at urban circulator projects such as streetcars.

On April 19, Council voted to support $2.6 million of funding to keep the project moving forward.  Council members Quinlivan, Cole, Qualls, Thomas, Berding, and Bortz voted in favor of the funding in April, and are expected to also approve the bond issue today.

Twenty-nine citizens spoke in favor of the Streetcar project at the April 19 council meeting, while only two spoke against it.  This overwhelming community support certainly played a role in council’s decision.  To ensure council continues to support the Streetcar and pass today’s critical bond issue, please attend today’s session if you are able and register to speak in favor of the project.

Today’s meeting will begin at 2:30 at City Hall.  To show your support of the Streetcar, show up 15 minutes early to fill out a card to speak at the meeting.  Alternatively, you can e-mail your comments to City Council.

Get live updates from today’s council meeting by following the #CincyStreetcarVote tag on Twitter.