Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Property plan kept on the hook in Norwood

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NORWOOD - Council hesitated Tuesday to ready prized property for future development.

After a public hearing in which no one spoke, members agreed to wait until their Feb. 25 session to vote on approving a planned unit development (PUD) designation for property bounded by Interstate 71, Edwards and Edmondson roads.

The designation would give planning commissioners more control over any development that eventually replaces the neighborhood that now stands there.

The property is just north of Rookwood Commons, where two developers - Anderson Real Estate and Miller-Valentine Group - want to build Rookwood Exchange.

Offices, apartments, condos, shops, restaurants and a parking garage would comprise the $125 million expansion.

"The sooner we do this, the better. It's a couple years too late already," Councilman Keith Moore said Tuesday night.

Councilman Will DeLuca urged a slower approach.

"There's a lot at stake right now," said Mr. DeLuca, who failed to send the PUD proposal back to planning commissioners. He wanted to shrink the proposed PUD area.

Meanwhile, both developers and residents who own the targeted property say the PUD designation is inevitable. After all, they said, city administrators proposed the tag first.

Yet they continue to pull at council.

About 60 of the 79 property owners have agreed to sell. The others have hired an attorney, Tim Fischer, to fight the possibility of Norwood using eminent domain to take their properties.

Council also is considering the developers' request to hash out a redevelopment agreement that would consider the use of eminent domain for any holdout properties.

"Obviously the vision has not changed. Obviously the timing for us is now," said J.R. Anderson of Anderson Real Estate.


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