Thursday, January 25, 2001

City officials trying to stop low-income housing project

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati city officials are attempting to wrest control of an East Price Hill property from the city's housing authority to stop a low-income housing project.

        Calling the 7-acre site on Considine Avenue one of the most attractive parcels left in the neighborhood, Councilman John Cranley says it should be sold to a private developer for “high-income, single-family homes.”

        To keep the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority from turning the site into an apartment complex, Mr. Cranley — with unanimous support from City Council — is pushing a plan that would freeze development long enough to secure a zoning change.

        “Once the zoning is changed, the property couldn't be used for what the (authority) wants, so they would have no choice but to sell it,” Mr. Cranley said.

        Don Troendle, housing authority executive director, refused to comment Wednesday. Through a spokesman, he said officials were studying the issue.

        The housing authority is a public agency providing low-income housing throughout Hamilton County. Founded in 1933, it owns about 6,800 rental units, including the Laurel Homes and Lincoln Court projects in the West End.

        The city can't take control of the property or change zoning without first getting an OK from the city's planning commission. Mr. Cranley said he hopes to have a hearing Feb. 2, the next meeting.

        Hamilton County auditor records show the value of the property is $371,000. But city officials say for years the authority has spurned attempts to sell it and have put a $2 million price tag on it to dissuade buyers.

        Mr. Cranley said once the site is secured for a single-family development, a private developer should buy the property. He said he wants to ensure the authority is paid a fair market price.

        Mr. Cranley, a Price Hill resident who was appointed to the council in December to fill a seat vacated by Todd Portune, said the neighborhood has enough low-income housing.

        Mayor Charlie Luken agreed, calling it a beautiful site that could be used to lure private developers away from the suburbs.


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