Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hillside planning 'underway'

Planning for the development of Cincinnati's hillsides is "underway", city manager Milton Dohoney Jr. writes in a report to City Council.

The report is in response to a June letter from Mulberry Views LLC president Joe Gorman to council suggesting that the City convene a Hillside Charrette to facilitate market-rate development of the hillside between Over-the-Rhine and Uptown.

The targeted area includes city view property roughly bounded by .

Dohoney says that Cincinnati's Scenic View Study has identified Mulberry, Seitz, Sycamore, Dorsey and Goethe streets as having high-quality views.

"The City agrees that the hillsides are one of Cincinnati's most valuable assets," Dohoney says. "Single-family infill development, especially with desirable views, could be instrumental in increasing the homeownership rate of the City."

The City's Department of City Planning recently began a study with the Hillside Trust to determine whether changes should be made to the hillside regulations in the zoning code to promote more responsible development, and developers such as Gorman have been invited to participate in those meetings.

In his letter, Gorman wrote that, without public participation, development of the area dense with empty lots is "impossible".

Dohoney also believes that community participation in the planning efforts will be crucial.

"The Planning Department will be starting a citywide comprehensive planning process in 2009," Dohoney says. "Hillside issues will be addressed on the local level so that citywide recommendations can be input into the plan."

Gorman also requested that the City provide the resources to build the infrastructure necessary to make the hillside attractive for private development.

Dohoney points out that financial assistance to build project infrastructure such as retaining walls, water and sewer lines, and streetscape improvements is awarded by the City's Department of Community Development through its twice-yearly Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) cycle.

The next cycle will be advertised in the fall.

"Capital funds available to provide infrastructure are very limited at this time and the NOFA process maximizes the impact of those scarce funds on the City’s homeownership rate," Dohoney writes.

Previous reading on BC:
Gorman: City needs 'hillside charrette' to connect OTR, Uptown (6/24/08)


Matt Ross said...

This is good to see. It's unbelievable that this hasn't happened already, though it is an extension of the worst parts of OTR...

UncleRando said...

These hillsides were at one time built up with housing. It can happen again, but we should plan accordingly for it in a developer's world where they always seem to want to max out a site.