This year's Richard Shatten Public Policy Case Competition looked at the future of the former Coast Guard station at Whiskey Island. Cleveland officials have been discussing the possibility of turning the station into an environmental history interpretive center with a small restaurant.
April 2008 Archives
30 April 2008
Cleveland State University and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority will share the costs of restoring three WPA murals that were salvaged from the former Valleyview Homes in Tremont. Two of the murals will be installed in the University's new student center once it is built. Another piece of art from the complex will be installed in a community center at Tremont Pointe.
At a meeting in Toledo yesterday, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher called on the Ohio Senate to approve the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. He also said the state should "develop an industry cluster based on companies that deal with safe, clean water."
(via Crain's Cleveland Business)
Cleveland's Board of Zoning Appeals approved variances for the planned Mayfield Lofts condominiums in Little Italy, and did not request additional changes in its design.
29 April 2008
Because sales of the Lofts at Avalon Station have been below expectations, Shaker Heights City Council allocated $190,000 to be used as incentives to lure buyers to the condominiums.
Yesterday, Cleveland City Council approved a $1.5 million, 30 year low-interest loan for the rennovation of the Capitol Theatre at Detroit Avenue and West 65th Street.
28 April 2008
The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved a proposal to require one bicycle parking space for every 20 car parking spaces. The proposal also calls for reducing the number of required car spaces by one when six bicycle spaces are provided.
A Plain Dealer editorial draws connections between a recent report on the potential financial benefits of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, ballast water legislation recently passed by the U.S. House, the nascent water technology industry, and the Ohio Senate's stance on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.
Last week, developers Doug Price, Scott Wolstein, and Nathan Zaremba spoke (MP3, 55.0 MB) at a City Club panel discussion titled "Cleveland Plus: Turning the Corner in Downtown Cleveland". It was the first talk in the four-part "Cleveland Plus: Turning the Corner" series. The next event will be a panel discussion about University Circle developments on July 23.
25 April 2008
Steven Litt feels that the developers of the proposed Mayfield Lofts condominiums in Little Italy should be granted the zoning variances that they are seeking. Some residents feels that the six story, 24,000 square foot building at Mayfield Road and East 119th Street would be too tall.
The Plain Dealer's Tony Brown narrated an audio slideshow about the ongoing renovation of the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square.
Cleveland State University professor Alan Weinstein was interviewed on the American Planning Association's podcast (MP3, 13 MB) about the impacts of the foreclosure crisis on urban planning.
Christopher Leinberger, a self-described land use strategist and developer, will be the featured speaker at this years's Historic Downtown Cleveland Luncheon Forum . His May 13 talk is titled "Why the Downtown Turnaround is Essential to Metro Cleveland's Future".
A group of Solon residents that supports the rejected senior housing development is suing the City of Solon and the group Solon Taxpayers Against Rezoning. They are charging that a referendum zoning provision in the City's charter is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs include relatives of TransCon Builders President Fred Rzepka. Some speculate that the case could help the Coral Co. gain approval for its proposed Central Parc development.
Avon City Council recently approved two rezoning requests for land near the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. An 18 acre site at Jaycox and Chester Roads was rezoned to permit commercial development, and a 32 acre site at Nagel Road and I-90 was rezoned from residential to general business. City Council tabled two other rezoning requests for properties at Center and Detroit Roads that are involved in a legal battle.
Owners of properties near the I-77 interchange at Route 82 had mixed reactions to Mayor Alai's proposal for rezoning the area. Broadview Heights voters will have the opportunity to vote on two rezoning issues in November.
John Carroll University officials presented their new campus master plan to University Heights City Council on Monday. The University is interested in expanding its footprint in order to provide additional athletic fields, residence halls, and surface parking.
A business on Transportation Boulevard is contesting an eviction notice filed by the City of Garfield Heights. Last month, the City took ownership of the building that houses the company.
The Maple Heights City School District is seeking public input on its school reconstruction plans. Residents are invited to sign up for committees on each of the schools.
The Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Geauga County Planning Commission, and the Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District are evaluating the soil, stormwater runoff, and wetlands at the former Geauga Lake site in Bainbridge and Aurora.
The owner of Pearl Road Auto Parts in Cleveland wants to build a 168 foot tall wind turbine on the property near I-480. The zoning for that area limits structures to 115 feet, so a variance is required before construction can begin.
23 April 2008
Case Western Reserve University is pursuing plans to build the Case Innovation Center for Energy and Medicine at its West Quad. The $105 million project includes a 100,000 square foot building that would house three of the University's cutting-edge programs.
The Cleveland Clinic will partner with the North Union Farmers Market, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, and the OSU Extension to establish a new farmers market and two new farms on Clinic-owned land in Cleveland.
Cleveland City Council is expected to approve the sale of the King-Otis Cleveland Mounted Police Stables on East 38th Street to the Ohio Department of Transportation. ODOT intends to lease the building back to the City until it is ready to begin its planned Innerbelt realignment, at which point the stables will be demolished.
The University Circle Design Review Committee unanimously approved colorful designs for the Circle 118 Townhomes, a proposed 17 unit townhouse development at Euclid Avenue and East 118th Street.
GreenCityBlueLake examined the green renovation of the historic Baker Electric Building on Euclid Avenue in Midtown.
22 April 2008
While cleanup efforts have resolved most point source pollution problems facing the upper Cuyahoga River, nonpoint source pollution and combined sewer overflows continue to be a challenge to improving water quality. On Thursday evening, the Ohio EPA will hold a public meeting about the possible impacts of a proposed water treatment plant in Mantua.
The Cuyahoga County Commissioners are expected to vote on Cuyahoga County Airport runway extension plans at their meeting on Thursday morning. The cities of Highland Heights, Richmond Heights, and Willoughby Hills oppose the plan, but the Commissioners say they need to consider economic factors in addition to the opinions of the airport's neighbors.
Next month, the Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association will vote on whether to pursue recommendations identified in the Regional Economic Revenue Study. Chairman William Currin, the mayor of Hudson, declined to identify the recommendations (PDF) prior to the meeting.
The Plain Dealer reviewed the history of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, the controversial decision to cap its funding at $120 million, and the program's potential direction in the future.
In an editorial, the Plain Dealer described the proposed Opportunity Corridor as "a broad-spectrum development" that is "entitled to more, rather than less, Statehouse help."
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency awarded $2.5 million in loans to nonprofit organizations working in six Cleveland neighborhoods. The funds will be used to revitalize model blocks in Buckeye, Detroit-Shoreway, Fairfax, Glenville-Wade Park, Slavic Village, and Tremont. The Jennings Center for Older Adults in Garfield Heights and North Ridge Commons (an EDEN project in Cleveland) were also awarded loans.
21 April 2008
A vacant gas station at Chester Avenue and East 105th Street in Cleveland has become an eyesore, and serves as an example of how a determined landowner can create difficulties for redevelopment efforts.
The City of Garfield Heights is attempting to evict tenants from buildings it is acquiring via eminent domain. The City intends to take 56 parcels for roads leading to the under construction Bridgeview Crossing shopping center.
Solon's police chief changed his mind about the proposed Central Parc development, and said that it would not create a need for additional police officers. City Council will discuss the mixed-use development at a work session on April 30.
At a work session last week, Shaker Heights City Council discussed the final plans for the redevelopment of the Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district. Council is expected to vote on the plans on April 28.
Update: the Plain Dealer provides additional details.
A hearing in the Southwoods Case was held last week in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Developer DiSanto Enterprises withdrew its federal case against the City of Solon, but several residents are seeking an injunction against the development.
Brunswick officials say that Cabela's still plans to build a store at Center Road and I-71, although there have been rumors to the contrary.
The City of Parma was one of ten cities selected by the American Institute of Architects to receive technical assistance under the Sustainable Design Assessment Team program in 2008. The City intends to develop a sustainability plan.
(via Blog on the City)
An ordinance passed by South Euclid City Council will allow residents to legally install rain barrels. It's believed to be the first rain barrel legislation in the area.
Leaders in Lakewood are working to devise a strategy for dealing with the foreclosure crisis.
17 April 2008
The documentary The Return of the Cuyahoga and current Cuyahoga River restoration and conservation efforts were the subjects of this morning's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN. The guests were filmmakers Larry Hott and Len Materman, and also CPC director Paul Alsenas and Jane Goodman of the Cuyahoga River RAP.
In a supplement to a report from last year, the Brookings Institution estimated that implementation of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy would lead to a $2.1 billion to $3.7 billion increase in residential property values in the Cleveland metropolitan area.
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park, in conjunction with Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, is currently accepting proposals (PDF) for long-term leases of three farms in the Park: the 16 acre Martin Farm in Bath Township, the 10 acre Leyser Farm in Brecksville, and the 25 acre Gleeson Farm in Valley View.
Update: WKSU has more details.
The Cuyahoga County Commissioners were expected to approve the K&D Group's bid to purchase the Ameritrust complex at their meeting this morning.
Update: the Commissioners accepted the bid.
Environmentalists are concerned that new federal wetlands mitigation rules could weaken the Ohio EPA's standards. State officials have been unsatisfied with the quality of wetland mitigation banks and encourage developers to create replacement wetlands on or near development sites. The new federal rules, which are preferred by developers, name mitigation banks as the best option.
Editorials in the Akron Beacon Journal, Plain Dealer, and Record Courier encourage the U.S. Congress to allocate funds for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to purchase threatened privately-held properties within its borders. Beacon Journal columnist Steve Hoffman says that the park's regular visitors must pressure members of the local congressional delegation.
16 April 2008
At Friday's NOACA Governing Board meeting, staff members described four ways that the agency could pursue (PDF) a regional economic development agenda: creating a land use vision for the region, writing a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy consistent with federal EDA guidelines, compiling an inventory of local development projects, or developing regional economic development policies. Board members from Lorain and Medina Counties continue to hope that changes in the agency's scope will lead to revisions of the weighted voting provision.
The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority may have reached an agreement to sell 8.8 acres in the Flats to developer Scott Wolstein for $11.44 million. A spokesperson for Wolstein, however, cautioned that the negotiations remain complicated. Eaton Corporation is interested in developing the site in the planned Flats east bank development for its headquarters.
Update: the Plain Dealer finds the news encouraging.
The Ohio Department of Transportation's new Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force will hold its inaugural meeting next month in Columbus. It will encourage conversations on three key issues: promoting a multi-modal system, generating economic development, and maximizing public investment. A final report is expected by this fall.
Update: the West Side Sun News and the Plain Dealer have more information.
In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Weatherhead School of Management professor Scott Shane says that Northeast Ohio philanthropies and governments need to invest more in economic development activities, and suggests tripling annual investments in JumpStart.
14 April 2008
The Ohio EPA has cited the owners of City View Center for at least 20 environmental violations, including a buildup of methane gas and seepage of polluted water into storm and sanitary sewers. The shopping center in Garfield Heights was the first major commercial development in the state to be built atop a closed landfill.
Euclid officials recently approved the first phase of Providence Baptist Church's plans for a branch church and about 110 houses on 68 acres on the City's southeast side
In the third and final article in its series on water issues, the Plain Dealer examined ways that the Cleveland area could utilize its wealth of water for economic advantage, and noted the recent Global Water Ventures of Cleveland feasibility study.
Meanwhile, a pair of newspaper editorials weighed in on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The Morning Journal says that "best thing [State Senator Time Grendell] can do for Ohio is drop his objections entirely and help get the Great Lakes pact approved as soon as possible." The Plain Dealer called Grendell's proposal for a constitutional amendment "a laughable idea designed to prevent or slow passage of the water deal."
The Plain Dealer explored the efforts of OneCommunity, the nonprofit organization working to connect public and nonprofit institutions in Northeast Ohio to an ultra-broadband network.
The Village of Boston Heights reached a tentative settlement (PDF) with the developer seeking to build big box retail and possibly a hospital on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club. Village leaders approved a similar development last spring, but it was rejected by voters in a November referendum issue. The developer responded by suing the Village. Residents are now considering litigation of their own.
11 April 2008
Elected leaders from across a 16 county Northeast Ohio region signaled their willingness to pursue regional land use planning and revenue sharing. Details will be released at a May 15 meeting of the Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association.
In its annual foreclosure report, Policy Matters Ohio said that although "foreclosure filings are still more heavily concentrated in urban counties, greater growth is occurring in outlying areas." Foreclosure filings in Ohio rose by 6.7% in 2007, but increased by 22.3% in Lake County, 21.4% in Geauga County, and 17.8% in Medina County.
At a public hearing in Twinsburg Township, some residents expressed their support for the proposed Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center, but were concerned that the City of Twinsburg might attempt to annex the property. Developer Bahman Guyuron characterized the situation as a race between his project and the proposed mixed-use Central Parc development in Solon.
Central Parc is facing a potential delay due to issues surrounding the planned expansion of a stormwater detention basin near North Huntington Drive. The development could also create increased costs for the City due to the projected need to hire additional safety personnel.
Parma officials decided to invest at least $240,000 over the next three years to draw attention to the Ukrainian Village that has emerged along State Road.
Although sales have been slow and the company may be experiencing financial difficulties, Gordon Priemer of Heartland Developers says that plans for the Avalon Station condominiums in Shaker Heights are moving ahead at "full force".
Frustrated by the lack of local governance over natural gas drilling, the recently-formed Northeast Ohio Gas Accountability Project is calling for the return of gas well regulatory authority to municipalities.
The Inglewood Historic District in Cleveland Heights may be added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Construction of the railroad quiet zone project in Brook Park began earlier this month. Phase one construction is scheduled to end in May.
The Senior Transportation Connection of Cuyahoga County will take over Middleburg Heights' senior transportation operations by April 15. The City anticipates savings of nearly $20,000 a year.
Richmond Heights City Council voted to officially oppose the proposed runway extension at Cuyahoga County Airport.
A 240 unit upscale apartment complex has been proposed for a 30 acre site on on Center Ridge Road west of Porter Public Library. The Westlake Planning Commission tabled the plans to allow residents more time to supply input on the proposal. The site was the subject of a prolonged legal battle prior to being rezoned in 2005.
The owners of Solar Shopping Center are planning $10 million in renovations to the center at Aurora and SOM Center Roads in Solon. Their plans also call for the expansion of the Giant Eagle supermarket from 56,000 square feet to 80,000-90,000 square feet, plus the construction of a GetGo gas station, additional retail space, and an unidentified restaurant. The project includes a proposed office to retail rezoning, which would require voter approval.
The City of Euclid and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland may purchase up to 17 foreclosed homes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and refurbish them for resale.
The Chagrin Falls Board of Zoning Appeals tabled developer Larry Shibley's plan for the commercial portion of the property at Williams and West Orange Streets because it lacked sufficient parking. The BZA approved his condominium plans in February.
The Board of Zoning Appeals also approved a variance for the residential development at the Windsor Hospital site, authorizing the construction of 38 houses instead of the permitted 31.
The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to soon begin installing replacement noise barriers along I-480 in North Olmsted. They expect to complete construction by the end of this summer.
Dennis Kucinich supports the plans for a diverging diamond interchange at I-480 and Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn.
Parma Heights officials are unhappy with the condition of the Greenbrier Crossing construction site at Pearl Road and West 130th Street.
10 April 2008
Wisconsin legislators reached a compromise in language for the adoption of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, and are are expected to ratify it at a special legislative session on April 17. Ohio State Senator Tim Grendell, the state's most vocal critic of the Compact, said he would be willing to drop his opposition if Ohio voters approve a constitutional amendment that he is drafting. Senator Grendell, Ohio State Rep. Matt Dolan, and author Peter Annin were among the guests on yesterday's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN, where they discussed the Compact.
Reviews of Caught in the Middle: America's Heartland in the Age of Globalism, a new book by former Chicago Tribune editor and columnist Richard Longworth, say that it "takes us through a Midwest that is facing rapid change" and provides "sober advice on how to alleviate, if not eliminate, the region's pain."
Anecdotal data indicates that locally, the foreclosure rate is increasing more quickly in the outer-ring suburbs than in Cleveland or its mature suburbs.
A board committee of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority recommended reopening the Dike 12 confined disposal facility located northeast of Burke Lakefront Airport. The facility has not accepted new dredge material since it was closed in the mid-1970s, but settling of the fill has created more space.
Industrial Realty Group has begun demolishing buildings at the Cleveland Quarries site in South Amherst to make way for its planned $500 million residential community. The new development has been named the Quarries at Beaver Creek.
08 April 2008
The Musical Arts Association is interested in selling 600 acres at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but the Park cannot afford to purchase the land. Park officials are also concerned about the possible sale and development of the privately-owned Brandywine Golf Course in Peninsula. America's Heritage For Sale, a new report from the National Parks Conservation Association, says that the Park needs $8 million to purchase the properties.
Update: the Plain Dealer published a map and additional details. WKSU also reported on the issue.
The U.S. EPA awarded $74 million in brownfields grants to projects in 43 states. The City of Cleveland received $200,000 for the cleanup of the nine acre Chemical and Minerals Reclamation site on Crescent Avenue. Cuyahoga County received $400,000 to perform Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments at sites across the county and $1 million for its revolving loan fund.
Update: the Cuyahoga County Department of Development has more information.
Olivet Institutional Baptist Church dropped its plans to move from Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood to Twinsburg. The church will instead refurbish its Quincy Avenue campus.
Update: the Twinsburg Sun offers additional details.
The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $1 million grant to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority for public road improvements in the Flats east bank development.
Olmsted Falls City Council established a moratorium on demolitions of historical buildings and landmarks while it works to correct contradictory language in the municipal codes.
In the second part of its series on water issues, the Plain Dealer looks at the legislative debate surrounding the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, and adds an infographic and a FAQ on the Compact.
Toledo's Blade includes a look at John Austin's suggestions for improving the Great Lakes economy, and a column by Tom Henry that says that Lee Fisher "should have known better" than to suggest that Ohio might "sell Great Lakes water to thirsty parts of the country".
(via Great Lakes Blogger and Economic News from Ohio's Regions)
04 April 2008
The cities of Berea, Brook Park, Olmsted Falls, and Rocky River are continuing their plans to establish railroad quiet zones. Brook Park remains on target to become the first multi-crossing quiet zone in Ohio. Bedford, meanwhile, is waiting for news from the Federal Railroad Administration about its planned quiet zone.
For the second time, the K&D Group was the sole bidder for the Ameritrust complex in downtown Cleveland. The bid was for the $35 million minimum set by Cuyahoga County. The developer's plans are similar to its earlier proposal, with a mix of hotel, residential, and office uses in renovated and new space. The company hired the firm of Westlake Reed Leskosky to design the proposed new office tower at Prospect Avenue and East 9th Street. Channel 3 has images of the proposal.
The Twinsburg Township Zoning Commission is considering a rezoning request by the developer of the proposed 803,731 square foot Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center. The Zoning Commission is also contemplating the development's traffic implications. Developer Bahman Guyuron wants to begin construction as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Peter Rubin of the Coral Co. says that his proposed Central Parc development in Solon needs to be built first in order to reach its full economic potential.
Members of Richmond Heights City Council are trying to decide whether to support or oppose the planned Cuyahoga County Airport runway extension. Many residents are firmly opposed to the extension.
The Ohio EPA has selected a preferred plan for cleaning up contaminated soils in the central-west portion of NASA Glenn Research Center in Brook Park. A public meeting will be held on April 14.
In a study funded by a 2005 TLCI grant, eight alternatives were identified for reconfiguring the intersection of Snow and Engle Roads in Brook Park. The proposals call for improving the intersection's safety and efficiency, while simultaneously freeing land for redevelopment.
The City of Parma Heights will build a walking path in Greenbrier Commons. The construction, funded by a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant, should be completed by mid-June.
Mayfield Heights City Council upheld a Planning Commission decision and rejected Global Country of World Peace's request to build a wellness center and conference center on Lander Road. The organization had previously sought to build a peace palace on the site.
Although Alcoa is pursuing permits to demolish all 28 buildings of the Ivex complex in Chagrin Falls, including the 1841 mill, the company says its intention is to sell the buildings and property for an adaptive reuse of the site. Alcoa is also planning to lower the height of the Chagrin River dam and stabilize the riverbank.
Update: Alcoa revised its application to remove references to demolitions of historic structures.
03 April 2008
The Lakewood Observer reports that Lakewood officials signed a memorandum of understanding last year to sell Kauffman Park to developers, but that the new mayoral administration considers the agreement to be "off the table".
At a Lake Erie development summit in Toledo, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher mentioned the possibility of selling Great Lakes water, but quickly retracted the statement. At the same event, John Austin of the Brookings Institution spoke about the new Vital Connection report. A Morning Journal editorial says that "the main impressions left by the conference are that communities throughout this region must work in unison to the benefit of the entire Great Lakes area".
An editorial in the Plain Dealer says that the Republicans in the Ohio Senate who have been blocking approval of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact "should find the uproar over Fisher's comments instructive". The Plain Dealer also prepared a presentation that summarizes the Compact.