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New Rubric Shows Developers What Council Members Want Projects To Include

otr development
KEAN Development & Cincinnati City Planning Office
A now-approved project at Liberty & Elm in OTR received pushback for not including any guaranteed affordable units.

Cincinnati City Council Wednesday approved a set of priorities for new development projects. Council Member Greg Landsman says his rubric is the biggest change in the development process in a long time.

"This will be the first time we give developers and communities a comprehensive and clear sense of our collective priorities, from housing, to local jobs, to local minority inclusion," Landsman said.

The rubric doesn't mandate anything and isn't enforceable. Critics say it doesn't go far enough, and in particular doesn't adequately address the affordable housing crisis.

Several residents asked council to use a development scorecard from the Peaslee Neighborhood Center instead.  

"I think before we pass this ordinance we kind of [have to] put it back on the table," said NAACP Cincinnati President Joe Mallory. "And go back and talk to some of these community members who have worked hard to try to come up with a better scorecard and hear what their concerns are."

Landsman invited Peaslee to present its scorecard to the Budget & Finance Committee last month. Its presentation raised several concerns, and Landsman says he made minor adjustments to his plan based on its feedback.

Landsman says the Peaslee scorecard could be adopted in the future, but he's worried it's too restrictive and would discourage development.

Member Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney said her "yes" vote was difficult because of the opposition.

"And the opposition seems to be because this doesn't go far enough," Kearney said. "But this isn't a stopping point — and so I want the community to know this is just one small step."

The measure passed on a 7-2 vote, with "no" votes from Council Member Betsy Sundermann and Interim Member Steve Goodin.

Below — an example of how city administrators will use the rubric to evaluate a potential development: 

Priorities Rubric Illustrat... by WVXU News

Priorities Rubric Transmitt... by WVXU News

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.