Following is information about recent development proposals and related topics in Mt. Lookout. We will update this page as new information becomes available.
Residential Development in Mt. Lookout Square
On July 16, 2019, the MLCC hosted a special meeting with our community to discuss redevelopment plans for four properties on Delta Avenue, just north of Mt. Lookout Square and UDF. Local developer, R2 and Towne Properties, requested the meeting to share their plans for redeveloping 1009, 1011, 1013, and 1015 Delta into 30 – 35 luxury apartments. These properties occupy a highly visible location in Mt. Lookout Square and this proposal has the potential to change the look and feel of this portion of the Square.
Paul Schirmer (R2 Partners) and Barry Rosenberg (Co-owner of Towne Properties) were at the meeting to discuss the proposed project in more detail. Key takeaways from the meeting include:
- The proposed development is the first of two phases. Phase A is comprised of four properties along the west side of Delta, just north of UDF. Phase B involves several properties along Linwood, north of UDF (excluding the Ramundo’s building) as well as the existing 29-unit apartment building behind businesses facing Linwood.
- Phase A (the Delta development) will aimed at “empty-nesters” with a target rent of $3,000 per month.
- The Phase A development will consist of five rental townhomes at street level, with 31 upscale one to two bedroom apartments behind them.
- A two-story parking deck, as well as surface parking behind the apartments will provide off-street parking for apartment/townhouse residents. Current plans include one parking space per bedroom.
- Access and egress to these units will be on Delta – five units north from where the property abuts UDF.
- The total acreage involved for Phase A and Phase B together is roughly 1.5 acres.
- Some minor variances will be required.
- Almost all properties involved are currently owned by R2 or are under contract with R2.
More information is included in the notes captured from the meeting, see below. Additional information will be added as it becomes available.
Earlier this year, Vice Mayor Smitherman established a Property Tax Working Group (PTWG) to study the steady increase of property taxes and to review our City’s tax abatement program. Since February, the Group has held regular monthly meetings and meeting notes are posted on the PTWG’s website.
According to the City’s website:
“The Property Tax Working Group is working to preserve the integrity of neighborhoods by protecting residents who have owned and lived in their homes over the course of many years. The working group aims to assure that these residents, who may be in danger of losing their homes due to rising cost of property taxes, have choices that will allow them to continue living in their homes and neighborhoods. The group will look at trends and best practices that have been utilized in other areas of the country, especially those related to the issue of rising property taxes in areas experiencing significant levels of development and redevelopment with the goals to make recommendations aimed at helping to keep senior and disabled citizens in their homes and communities. Additionally, the working group will review the City’s Tax Abatement Program.”
Significant feedback from the Mt. Lookout, Hyde Park and other communities has brought increased attention to the tax abatement issue.
This summer, the PTWG is conducting a survey to get community input about residents’ experiences related to their property and neighborhood. Survey results will be compiled and posted on the PTWG’s website and distributed electronically to working group members to consider as they develop recommendations related to tax abatements. To take the survey, click on the link below.
All Property Tax Working Group meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month, from 9:00 am – 10:30 am at Two Centennial (2nd Floor), 805 Central Ave. For more information, visit the PTWG website.
Subdivision Rules and Regulations
(Note: The term “subdivision” refers to practice of splitting a single lot into two or more parcels)
In 2018, 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.
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.
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.