Last spring, the MLCC began working with the City of Cincinnati to address the increasing levels of new development taking place in Mt. Lookout and Hyde Park. As part of this effort, the MLCC participated on the Subdivision and Zoning Working Group which was appointed by City Council to explore options to address concerns regarding home demolition and lot splits. The Working Group was comprised of representatives from the City Planning Department, City Council, Mayor’s Office, Home Builder’s Association, Board of Realtors, Hyde Park Neighborhood Council and Mt. Lookout Community Council. Tasks included revising the City’s Subdivision Rules and Regulations and exploring the possible formation of Neighborhood Conservation Districts. Below is an update on these efforts.
Subdivision Rules and Regulations
(Note: The term “subdivision” refers to practice of splitting a single lot into two or more parcels)
One of the major tasks undertaken by the Working Group was to review and revise the City’s Subdivision Rules and Regulations, which would apply to all 52 of the City’s neighborhoods. After sharing drafts of the Group’s recommendations with our communities for input, the Working Group presented its recommended revisions to the City Planning Commission on Dec. 20. The Commission approved them unanimously and the revised Subdivision Rules and Regulations went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Some key elements include:
–Language that encourages developers or others planning to split a lot to make preliminary development plans available for public review and input prior to filing a subdivision application.
–More stringent criteria pertaining to the creation of rear (or panhandle) lots.
–A new requirement that signage be posted on all lots for which subdivision applications have been filed. Posted prior to the City approving the applications, this signage will indicate that a lot split is being considered at that location and will state where to find more information and how to submit comments.
–A reduction in the number of lot splits that classify as a Minor Subdivision from five lots or less to three lots or less.
Neighborhood Conservation Districts
In August 2018, the Working Group completed draft legislation that would allow a new Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) chapter to be added to the City’s zoning code. A new concept to Cincinnati, NCDs are planning tools commonly used to preserve distinct neighborhood characteristics threatened by new development. NDCs vary between communities and can be tailored to fit the needs and wants of specific communities. NDCs can be similar in concept to Historic Districts, but are less rigid and offer more flexibility in terms of restrictions to be applied. After studying NCDs in other cities, the Working Group agreed that forming NCDs for Mt. Lookout and Hyde Park would address many of our neighborhoods’ development concerns and prepared draft NCD plans for both Mt. Lookout and Hyde Park, both of which focused exclusively on managing the size, scale and placement of new houses on lots within our neighborhoods.
Both the City Planning Commission and the City Council’s Economic Growth and Development Committee approved the proposed legislation that would allow communities to create NCDs, and they approved both Mt. Lookout’s and Hyde Park’s proposed NCD Plans. The final step before these could be implemented was to get approval from the full City Council. However, before a vote could be taken, the proposed NCD legislation and NCD plans were pulled from Council’s agenda by the Mayor’s office and no vote was taken. At this point, City Planning is no longer exploring the creation of NCDs.
Upon further discussion with the Mayor and city representatives, it’s our understanding that there was concern that implementing multiple NCDs across the City’s 52 neighborhoods could be difficult for the City to manage among its existing staff, and that Mt. Lookout’s and Hyde Park’s NCD plans were too restrictive to development. Although we understand the basis of these concerns, the MLCC Board still thinks there is merit in NCDs and would like to explore refining the concept with the City in 2019.
As part of the current discussions about accelerated development in Mt. Lookout and Hyde Park, many residents have expressed concerns regarding the City’s tax abatement program for new development. The tax abatement program is under the management of the City’s Economic Development and Zoning Committee. Therefore, questions and comments regarding tax abatements should be directed to the City Council representatives who sit on that committee:
Due to the level of community interest in the tax abatement issue, the MLCC is looking into coordinating an opportunity for our residents to meet with City representatives and discuss this issue in more detail. More information about this meeting will be posted as it becomes available.
PERMIT REQUEST NOTIFICATIONS
The MLCC has received notifications of the following demolition and subdivision permit applications in Mt. Lookout. These permit requests are scheduled to be reviewed by the City Planning Commission on the dates indicated.
|ADDRESS||TYPE||STATUS||HEARING DATE||EMAIL ADDRESS FOR COMMENTS|
|3507 Principio||VARIANCE REQUEST – Front and Rear setback relief||HEARING SCHEDULED
805 Central Avenue, Suite 702
|1206 Hayward Avenue||VARIANCE REQUEST – Rear setback relief||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|3224, 3228, and 3232 Linwood Avenue||DEMOLITION
|3527 Kroger Avenue||DEMOLITION
|1228 Grace Avenue||SUBDIVISION||DENIED; UNDER APPEAL||TBD||TBD|
Information Packets for all upcoming City Planning Commission meetings are posted at the bottom of the City Planning Commission’s webpage. Meeting packets also include application materials as well as the City Planning staff’s analysis and recommendation (Staff Report) for each application.
Comments regarding active applications can be submitted in person at the scheduled Planning Commission Meeting or sent via email to the contacts listed above.
You can also proactively keep an eye on the status of specific permit requests and when they are scheduled to be reviewed by visiting the City’s ezTrak Online Service webpage.
The Mt. Lookout Community Council is committed to working through the above issues with the City, and representing the interests of our community. We will continue to update our website with new information as it becomes available.
If you have questions or comments that you would like to share with the MLCC Board, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.