Monday, March 24, 2003

New city zoning maps available to inspect



By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

For four years, the Cincinnati Planning Commission has been working on the first comprehensive rewrite of the zoning code since 1963.For the most part, the debate over the pros and cons of the new code has been academic.Until today.

Zoning maps that apply the code to every parcel in the city are being released today by the Department of Community Development and Planning "The old maps won't work with the new code," said Land Use Administrator Steven Kurtz.

City officials hope the new zoning code will help make the city more "developer-friendly" - a favorite mantra of Mayor Charlie Luken - by simplifying the regulations and codifying more hard-and-fast rules. Existing rules are often left to the interpretation of hearing examiners, who often see things differently, Kurtz said. If zoning officials have done their job, there should be few surprises, he said.

The city also hopes the new code will help the city's historically low home-ownership rate by promoting more "infill" housing on vacant lots in high-density neighborhoods such as Price Hill and Mount Adams. The new code reduces the minimum lot size for a single-family house from 5,000 square feet to 2,000 square feet in those neighborhoods.

Existing incompatible uses aren't going to be zoned out by the new code - although the maps will reflect changing land use patterns. For example, properties that have been zoned for business in the past - but which have long since reverted to residential use - will be rezoned to reflect their current use, he said.

The Planning Commission is expected to vote on the zoning maps April 25. City staffers hope to get City Council approval in June, before the summer recess.

The zoning maps are available for inspection at the Planning Commission office during the following hours:

• Today, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

• Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

• Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• Thursday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

• Friday, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• March 31, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• April 1, 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

• April 2, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

• April 3, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

• April 4, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Planning Commission is at Two Centennial Plaza, 805 Central Ave, Suite 700.

Neighborhood-specific maps are also being sent to community councils, branch libraries and recreation centers.

E-mail gkorte@enquirer.com




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