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Old 01-01-2012, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Covington, KY
1,177 posts, read 794,901 times
Reputation: 357
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrill View Post
CarpathianPeasantView Public ProfileSend a direct message to CarpathianPeasantCarpathianPeasant... And if you really need something, don't bother to call the City Managers office since 9 out of 10 times you will not even get a call back.
Is there something in particular that you wanted to know?

I said you can still call the mayor -- and the message can be passed on from the mayor's receptionist (and if you call back, you might get an answer).
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:26 AM
 
2,300 posts, read 1,950,087 times
Reputation: 1066
You don't have to live within the City of Cincinnati long to learn the drill when it comes to enforcement of zoning issues or other services which the city ostensibly provides. You phone, you make your way through 5 or 6 (or more) individuals and departments until you reach the "right" person to help with your problem. Along the way, everyone you speak with is excruciatingly polite. They assure you everything will be fine, and will be taken care of in a timely way. You, too, are polite and cooperative. You thank them in advance.

Then NOTHING HAPPENS.

That's it. End of story. You can call back, continuing to be polite or even being a bit more forceful. Nothing you do will make any difference. NOTHING HAPPENS. And this way of doing business, unfortunately, is on visible display in all too many places you look around town. It's too bad, and the taxpayers and citizens deserve better.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:36 AM
 
1,068 posts, read 1,038,424 times
Reputation: 605
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrill View Post
Name me just one suburban city planning department which has denied a subdivision, strip mall, or any similar commercial development as being opposed to the good of the City, Village, etc. I watch the local access TV channel which portends to inform us, and all I see are rubber stamp politicians saying anything the developers want is GREAT! They get up with their charts, blueprints, and state everything is in order. Just because they are meeting the letter of the law does not mean it is in the best interests of the populace. But try to find any local politician who will state that.

The planning is so superficial I have no idea why it even exists. It is all nothing but a paperwork consortium to carry out the wishes of the local council big wigs and their cronies who helped elect them. The interest of the people be dammed.
Let's be clear on who you are upset with...you started the thread denigrating city planning departments, but here you seem to be pointing the finger at the politicians, but in a way that makes me think that you view them as one in the same. That's just not the case, and as other posters noted, the goals of planning are often in direct conflict with other stakeholders, particularly the politicians and developers. Planning is something of a lost art, primarily because too many chefs spoil the soup...again as noted above, it's watered down.

But forget all that, since you singled out SUBURBAN planning departments (because I know for a fact that the City of Cincinnati Planning Department often recommends against developments, only to be overridden by the pols), I agree that some seem to view any development as good development. Take Springdale, for example, I don't think they've ever been presented a plan that they didn't like. But the key motivator for Springdale is tax revenue. They get a lot more income from a new Walgreens than they do your average homeowner living in a 1200 sq ft, $80,000 ranch.

But neighboring Glendale, on the other hand, resists any such development, even as it closes in on nearly every border. Now, I don't know if Glendale has a planning department, but obviously the village has other goals and priorities.

Montgomery is a another interesting example. I've seen things go both ways in Montgomery. It seems that in recent decades, Montgomery has gone out of its way to undo the wanton development that occurred there from the 1950s through the mid-eighties, and more than once they've gotten sideways with the business community. Montgomery's rules for signage and facades are often regarded as draconian. And yet, there are some areas of Montgomery where long time residents are seething over unrestricted tear-down and rebuild projects that are changing the character and tax-base of neighborhoods. People who thought they were going to live in their houses forever, are now finding that option less affordable as tax rates increase because of the McMansion next door.

The bottom, line, I think you're painting with a pretty broad brush. There is certainly ample evidence everywhere of questionable development, but certainly not universally.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:11 AM
Status: "Summer's Fleeting" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Mason, OH
8,584 posts, read 6,159,306 times
Reputation: 1678
t45209... I understand that a broad brush reflective always has a deviant. I am just stating, as an overall perspective on the planning departments of the majority of the Tri-State communities, particularly the maligned suburbs, the actual planning has been no more than a rubber stamp for the desires of those affecting the political landscape. Where I reside in Mason, though I like it very well, I also recognize for the past two decades everything, annexation to the city, etc. has gone the way of the developers.

Very little actual consideration has been given to the eventual impact on the schools or anything else infrastructure wise within the city. And now we are faced with having to pay the piper. If these city planners are so well schooled, why cannot they raise the flag as to what is coming down the pike? Simple, who hires them?

Sarah said it very simply. Do you fight for what you know is right, or do you keep your job?
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis and Cincinnati
652 posts, read 876,703 times
Reputation: 491
Interesting to note that the "planning department' which when it comes to historic properties seems to feel its better to let them sit until the city demos them using CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds, which it gets a cut of for 'administrative' purposes is being sued.

This was pretty much swept under the rug (in true Cincinnati fashion) until I made it public on my preservation blog last week:
Victorian Antiquities and Design: City sued by local preservation advocate, Mike Morgan for failure to follow its own procedures and guidelines!

Seems that Mike Morgan who is a well respected preservationist and attorney, has been trying unsucessfully to be allowed to put a roof on abuilding he and his wife own on Walnut St and want to restore and move into . The city held 'back room meetings' failed to properly notify property owners or community groups and basically denied his application for a roof an other repairs , meaning the building continues to deteriorate BECAUSE of the City of Cincinnati.

He is suing the Planning Department, Urban Conservators office and the Historic Conservation Board.

If he wins, and I have read the full mandamus he filed, it could spur a state ethics violation since it is apparent that state sunshine laws were violated. Its also a taxpayer copmplaint which means others may join in the suit.

Frankly about time someone stood up to the city. The biggest thing holding the restoration and preservation of this city back are the very people being sued in this lawsuit
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:57 AM
 
2,300 posts, read 1,950,087 times
Reputation: 1066
Quote:
Originally Posted by restorationconsultant View Post
Interesting to note that the "planning department' which when it comes to historic properties seems to feel its better to let them sit until the city demos them using CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds, which it gets a cut of for 'administrative' purposes is being sued.

This was pretty much swept under the rug (in true Cincinnati fashion) until I made it public on my preservation blog last week:
Victorian Antiquities and Design: City sued by local preservation advocate, Mike Morgan for failure to follow its own procedures and guidelines!

Seems that Mike Morgan who is a well respected preservationist and attorney, has been trying unsucessfully to be allowed to put a roof on abuilding he and his wife own on Walnut St and want to restore and move into . The city held 'back room meetings' failed to properly notify property owners or community groups and basically denied his application for a roof an other repairs , meaning the building continues to deteriorate BECAUSE of the City of Cincinnati.

He is suing the Planning Department, Urban Conservators office and the Historic Conservation Board.

If he wins, and I have read the full mandamus he filed, it could spur a state ethics violation since it is apparent that state sunshine laws were violated. Its also a taxpayer copmplaint which means others may join in the suit.

Frankly about time someone stood up to the city. The biggest thing holding the restoration and preservation of this city back are the very people being sued in this lawsuit
It's tough for an individual to fight the level of incompetence and outright corruption that exists in City Hall. This is exactly the type of situation that needs to be addressed if citizens want the city to "move forward," in the words of the proponents of big projects like the streetcar.

On the other hand, you can bet that if this plaintiff were better connected, like the infamous "developer" Pauline Vanderhaer or that basketball-player scammer with the one-page, $500K grant application to restore the theater in OTR, the city would be falling all over itself to write him checks to actually pay for work on his privately owned property.

It amazes me that so few people seem to think there's anything wrong with the system, though.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:29 AM
Status: "Summer's Fleeting" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Mason, OH
8,584 posts, read 6,159,306 times
Reputation: 1678
I am sure there are those members of Planning Dept.s which are seriously trying to apply the skills they hopefully acquired for the job field. But it is apparent very little is effectively being done.

Here in Mason, there is a widening project going on for Route 42 from Tylersville Rd to the southern boundary of the City where it will meet up with a similar widening project for the Butler Co. portion of the road. Since it is a US highway, I am sure ODOT is calling most of the shots. The City has erected nice signs to please support the local businesses during the construction. But then I talk to the actual business owners and hear complaints such as I am only beng allotted one 25 ft wide curb cut access to my lot where I previously had over 100 feet. Why? Because the planners have decided the widened road should also include a parallel running/bicycle trail. Obviously you must restrict access to the road so the runners/bicyclists don't get run over. But this is a commercially lined road. The business owners have been waiting for years for the road improvements to replace a hodge-podge of partial widenings, drainage problems, and overall appearance. But in their zeal to provide an enhanced landscaping and a running trail through a commercial district, these same business owners are now going to be penalized. I inquired as to whether these reduced access points into the businesses would also be aligned such that traffic lights would provide a controlled access, and was informed Oh No that would be too expensive and restrict traffic.

The result will be a pleasant appearing road, nicely landscaped, but contributing absolutely nothing to the businesses aligning it, actually restricting their access.

Look at downtown Mason, which had a substantial reconstruction a few years ago. Route 42 is called Main Street downtown, same road, different name. Actually on the south side of town it is called Reading Rd, yep the same Reading Rd which goes to downtown Cincy. Again in an attempt to achieve that walkable feel, the planners went for onstreet parking through much of the downtown. This reduced an already narrow roadway to 1 lane each direction with planned parking on each side.
After it was built, the various business owners along the road would not shutdown their private driveways to small lots behind their individual business. I have lived here for over 35 years, and frankly have never parked in any of these lots. So the safety people came in, said the onstreet parking blocked a reasonable recognition of vehicles entering/exiting these private driveways, and negated the onstreet parking.

So nobody in their right mind attempts to go through Mason during peak hours, if you do you will cuss us to high heaven. So come and visit downtown Mason and observe all of the obviously designed onstreet parking and the diagonal lines and signs which render them useless. Come here during rush hour and cuss our stupidity at not having at least two lanes of parallel traffic through the center of downtown.

So what is my point? In the case of Mason, several businesses along Main street had small parking lots to their rear, most of which were marginally utilized due to small size, inconvenience and downright unpleasant. So to me an actual Planning Dept. looking out for the city's long term interests, would have proposed gaining the rights for a municipal constructed and maintained parking lot across the back of all of these businesses, eliminating ,the dividing fences and most of the private driveways invading main street. What a novel idea since it only involves common sense.

If the city would just step up and declare the onstreet parking as a mistake, and number 1 eliminate it. Then tell the businesses they will either cooperate in a city fiananced parking capability to benefit all of them or they can scatter on their own. This is my primary complaint against City Planning Depts. they seem to be totally subjugated to the desires of the politicos they work for.
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:01 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 12,790,540 times
Reputation: 9670
I've got kind of an "urban planning" curve ball; Cincinnati has most of the region's industry but yet all of the darn truck stops (read: legal, safe truck parking with facilities) are 15- 20 miles away in KY or 36 miles away in Franklin, OH. Heck the only time the darn rest area on I-275 (somewhere near Eastgate & SR 32) is used is for Commercial Vehicle Enforcement inspections. Somehow, trucking infrastructure usually falls in the "NIMBY" category...
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:51 PM
 
465 posts, read 107,982 times
Reputation: 129
I'm not describing how these cities look, I'm describing the role that planning plays in their develoment. Believe it or not, the development of portland and seattle are much more influenced by planners than other u.s. cities.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:54 PM
 
465 posts, read 107,982 times
Reputation: 129
What is a "walkable feel"? It makes me think of people crawling on the sidewalk on their hands an knees and moving their hands across the pavement as if reading braille.
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