Stop Rezoning in Mt. Auburn Hillside District

Stop Rezoning in Mt. Auburn Hillside District

January 1, 2020
Petition to
Signatures: 313Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Joshua Berner

The Issue:

Proposed zone change from Single-family zoning (SF-2) to Planned Development in Mt. Auburn which would allow for Uptown Properties to construct two multi-family structures consisting of 175 units and a 272 space parking garage. 

Community Concerns:

As residents of Mt Auburn, we are concerned about a development proposal that stands to permanently alter the health and character of our neighborhood. While we support a strong, inclusive, healthy community, the proposed high-density development plans for the south end of Auburn Ave. and Bigelow St. serve only to detract from that idea.

  • Extreme Changes to Current Zoning.
  • Inconsistency with the Mt Auburn Community Plan.
  • Hillside Stability Concerns.
  • Air Quality and elimination of the majority of the wooded areas.
  • Insufficient parking.
  • Inequities of contribution.

Extreme Changes to Current Zoning

Currently, the property owned by Uptown Properties is zoned as Single Family (SF-2). This district allows high density, small lot, single-family developments. The minimum lot size is 2,000 square feet per home. Practically speaking Uptown Properties site plan utilizes approximately 102,000 square feet of buildable area.  If laid out similarly to the lots on Bigelow St. & Josephine St, where lots size ranges from approximately 2000 square feet to 4000 square feet, that would result in the construction of approximately 34 new homes. Uptown is currently proposing more than 6.5 times this many apartments. This added density is not only in opposition to the stated goals of the Cincinnati Zoning Code, but it also raises many other concerns for the community which are outlined below.

According to section 1400-03 of the Cincinnati Zoning Code the proposed development is in direct opposition to a plethora of the stated purposes for the code’s existence. See below.

The Cincinnati Zoning Code is adopted to: 

(b) Preserve the character and quality of residential neighborhoods. 

(c) Foster convenient, harmonious and workable relationships among land uses. 

(d) Achieve the arrangement of land uses described in the comprehensive plan for the development of the City as may have been adopted by Council. 

(e) Promote the economic stability of existing land uses and protect them from intrusions by inharmonious or harmful land uses. 

(h) Prevent excessive population densities and overcrowding of land or buildings. 

(i) Ensure the provision of adequate open space for light, air and fire safety. 

(j) Ensure that development is compatible with the environment, particularly on the hillsides and along the riverfront. 

(k) Promote the conservation, protection, restoration and enhancement of the historic resources of the city. 

(l) Lessen congestion in the public streets by providing for off-street parking and loading areas for commercial vehicles. 

Discordance between Developer’s Plan and the Approved Community Plan

We have an official Mt. Auburn Community Plan that has been formally adopted by City Council.  This plan includes stated goals and objectives for our community to make it the home that we know it to be. The stated goals include:

  • Encourage the preservation of hillsides as they are perhaps the most significant natural feature of Mt. Auburn.
  • Respect the neighborhood scale at the Auburn Avenue/Dorchester Avenue intersection when development occurs.
  • Increase the owner-occupancy ratio.
  • Encourage new residents to move into Mt. Auburn and purchase homes.

The developer’s concepts are patently at odds with the neighborhood plan.  

Hillside Stability Concerns

In recent years, Cincinnati has experienced a number of landslides in places where development has eroded the stability of the hills.  This has resulted in hills sliding onto Columbia Parkway and others sliding into neighbors’ houses in Mt Adams.  Now more than ever, we need to be vigilant and question the wisdom and safety of building on our hillsides.  No one should be comfortable supporting development within Hillside Districts without indisputable proof that the development will not impact the stability of the hill or inflict unnecessary expenses onto individual private property owners.  

Air Quality & Wooded Areas

Within the urban core there are very few places left that are blessed to have the old growth forest that we have in Mt Auburn.  Where there was once dense forest cover extending all the way down the river, now exist as only a single band of tree cover along the hillside.  Though the neighborhood has been developing since 1819, for over 200 years this forest has remained primarily undisturbed.  Creating fresh air and harboring a diversity of wildlife.  As forests burn around the world, we should be fiercely protective of what little remains in our city.  Mt Auburn has been a place of refuge and clear air for Cincinnatians for 200 years.  This is part of the neighborhood’s character and identity and should be of extreme importance to all of us. We should not support greenfield development that destroys important community assets when there is significant underutilized land that could better stand to be repurposed and developed.

Insufficient Parking

We have yet to see an acceptable plan as to how the developer proposes to account for the hundreds of additional cars being brought into the neighborhood.  Even with building a new parking garage, resident and visitor parking will undoubtedly spill over on to existing neighborhood streets thus eliminating spaces that current residents (most without dedicated parking due to the age of the existing buildings) have relied on. This will alter how our neighborhood functions  - making it more difficult for current residents to park and/or entertain as they have been able to for years.

Inequities of Community Impacts

The current development proposal is an “all take, no give” arrangement. It inflicts significant negative impacts on the existing neighborhood without bringing any positives. This development will only put a strain on our current community members.  The additional traffic and parking concerns stand to reduce our ease of living as well as our property values.  There is absolutely nothing that current community members gain from this development. This development does not bring any new shops, restaurants, or community amenities.  It does not remove any eyesores.  It does not clean up contaminated property.  It does not bring new jobs. This is not a piece of land that anyone in our community was saying “If only someone would come in and develop this property.”

By signing this petition you stand with other residents to OPPOSE:

  • Extreme changes in zoning: Rezoning from SINGLE FAMILY to a Planned Development to allow HIGH-DENSITY housing. This type of spot zoning in established neighborhoods allows developers to change zoning requirements for the benefit of the developer and to the detriment of other property owners. 
  • Greenfield development that destroys important community assets. 

By signing this petition you stand with other residents to SUPPORT:

  • The preservation of hillsides as they are perhaps the most significant natural feature of Mt. Auburn.
  • The preservation and character of an existing and well established Mt. Auburn neighborhood.

Public Meeting:

Cincinnati City Planning staff will be gathering public comment to be used in the staff’s report to the City Planning Commission and City Council on 1/6/2019.
Location: Two Centennial Plaza
805 Central Avenue, Seventh Floor, J. Martin Griesel Conference Room
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Date: 1/6/2019 at 4:00 p.m.
Please attend and share your concerns! If you are unable to attend please direct written statements to the Department of City Planning.
Samantha McLean, City Planner.









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Signatures: 313Next Goal: 500
Support now