(Plain Press, April, 2016) Ohio City Inc. (OCI) announced on its website that a proposal for a comprehensive rezoning of the entire Ohio City neighborhood will be released to the public and discussed a community meeting on May 4th at Urban Community School, 4909 Lorain Avenue from 6-8 p.m. Ohio City promises to release copies of the proposal to block club leaders, neighborhood stakeholders and post it on its website prior to the meeting.
At a March 2nd meeting to discuss the proposed zoning changes, Trevor Hunt, a neighborhood planner for the City of Cleveland Planning Commission, said the current zoning code would not allow most of the houses in Ohio City to be rebuilt without applying for variances. He said the current zoning code is more in line with suburban development or neighborhoods like West Park with houses set back from the street and yards with garages. He said that for most Ohio City homes, “If you want to build on lots they are on now, with the current setbacks, you can’t do that.” He said the proposed zoning changes would allow for the current uses to be legal for people that want to build houses similar to those that are already in the neighborhood.
The plan also calls for changes along the Ohio City commercial corridors with restrictions on certain types of businesses.
Hunt explained that current zoning goes from most least restrictive industrial zoning, to commercial, to residential, to the most restrictive which is for parks and recreation. For residential housing restrictions are based on use, area and height. He said for example a certain type of residential zoning may restrict the square footage of a house to 2 times or 3 times the square footage of the lot it is on, depending on the way it is zoned.
Several residents expressed concern about the plan.
A resident feared the goal of the zoning changes was to fill every square inch of empty space in the neighborhood with housing. He feared the zoning could lead to more townhouses, which he called a “foreign concept.”
Another resident called for the effort to preserve the traditional nature of the neighborhood to include “allowing people of modest means to live here.” She feared the zoning changes would allow lavish housing to be built that would be unaffordable to working class people.
Ohio City Executive Director Tom McNair talked about a number of affordable single family housing being planned for Ohio City in the area South of Lorain Avenue. He also noted a goal of 10% of new housing being affordable. One resident thought 10% affordable housing was too small a goal.
Several residents called for OCI and the City of Cleveland Planning Commission to take more time to review the proposal with residents. One resident said two months is not enough time. He called for at least six months of discussion.
For more information about the proposed zoning changes visit the Ohio City Inc. website at: www.ohiocity.org.