Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Lebanon aims to get noticed

Drivers may see gateways

Enquirer Contributor

        LEBANON — City leaders want motorists to know where they are when they enter Lebanon on state highways.

        They want to create noticeable gateways at city entrances. The gateways themselves, which are still being developed, could include some kind of marker surrounded by landscaping and a patch of green space, said Doug Johnson, the city's director of planning and development.

        The city is taking the first step tonight with legislation to declare almost five acres along U.S. 42 as an easement necessary for public use. That means the city can buy the property without the owner's permission because it is deemed necessary for a public purpose, in this case, use as a municipal entryway, signage, parks and green space.

        Other city entrances along Ohio 48, Ohio 63 and Ohio 123 could end up with gateways. Preliminary plans identify seven gateway locations.

        “As you drive into these areas, (we) want you to get a feel of what Lebanon's all about,” Mr. Johnson said. “It's going to be a pretty unique concept.”

        As part of the project, the city is expected to amend its zoning map and zoning text to identify the gateway locations and setback requirements for them, Mr. Johnson said. The setbacks would allow the gateway to remain visible once the area around it is developed.

        He said a proposed zoning map amendment, identifying the gateways, could be sent to the city planning commission in early summer. That board would send a recommendation to city council for final consideration.

        Lebanon officials have researched the gateway efforts of other cites, Mr. Johnson said.

        A neighboring community, Union Township in Butler County, is also beginning a gateway project. A landscape architect is putting together designs and selecting locations for the landmarks, said Scott Bressler, the township's projects manager.

        “We want to give West Chester a sense of identity,” he said. “We want it to be a really class look, a nice tastefully done look.”

        Cincinnati has been building gateways at the edge of downtown and has three gateways installed.

        “We wanted to make the city presentable for visitors,” said Bob Richardson, city architect for Cincinnati. “We originally developed 10 areas for gateways downtown.”

        Enquirer reporter Richelle Thompson contributed to this story.



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