Friday, December 13, 2002

Blue Ash planning documents available for public inspection

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BLUE ASH - Planning commissioners say they have just the right documents to guide them in determining how best to redevelop and revitalize the land that lies in the city's boundaries.

This week, they decided to recommend approval of the 2003 comprehensive plan and 2003 planning and zoning code - two important tools that should fit together "like hand in glove," said Bruce Henry, the assistant city manager and safety director.

"We're fairly well built out," he said. Now, "it's more redevelopment, revitalization and creative uses of space. And, anywhere we can, we're trying to preserve green areas and landscaping."

City Council members will hold public hearings Jan. 9 and March 13. They want residents' input before they vote on documents that will shape Blue Ash's future landscape.

Residents already have provided input during the 18-month endeavor to draw up the 2003 comprehensive plan, which is the city's fourth.

It stresses that industrial and warehouse structures should be replaced with higher-density office and business uses; an urban design corridor - with greater building setbacks and additional landscaping - should accompany Reed Hartman Highway; continued improvements should be done to Towne Square, and new commercial uses should be drummed up for the city's older homes and commercial properties.

"The revitalization efforts should continue in the future to address problems in older neighborhoods," the comprehensive plan reads. "There are a number of physical activities and programs that can be encouraged through the private sector by coordinating with Blue Ash Revitalization Inc.," a non-profit community group.

If the City of Cincinnati one day sells the Blue Ash Airport to its namesake, the comprehensive plan also recommends a new taxiway for the southeast edge and that some of the airport property be converted into office space and park land.

The city has succeeded at making the goals laid out in the comprehensive plan come to fruition.

This adherence "has allowed Blue Ash to be so successful," said Jim Sumner, a councilman and planning commissioner. "We'll maintain the balance of development that we have today while remembering our residential roots."


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