City Council Questionnaire
One factor that leads to segregation in housing and schooling (racial and/or economic) is zoning decisions, for example, restrictions on multi-family zoning. What are your thoughts about our current zoning map (which limits rental properties, commercial spaces and mixed-use configurations), and the feasibility of welcoming a more economically diverse population to our city?
The trend toward density in neighborhood business districts is as strong as ever. “The Walkable City” written by Jeff Speck serves as a guide for me and many who care about this enhanced density in neighborhoods and small cities. There are many successes in The City of Cincinnati. During my time, there were Planned Developments, approved by the Planning Commission, that lead to diverse housing stock, with mixed income populations. A prime example of this change, to support density, was the development in Walnut Hills near Woodburn Avenue. Housing stock has been enhanced, walkability has skyrocketed, the businesses are quite healthy. A main street was changed to two-way vs. one-way, enhancing walkability. Without the acceptance of a Planned Development, which changed aspects of current zoning in that area, the density would have never been achieved. We can and should support density around our business district. Density should include housing stock for various income levels.
We own two four-family buildings in Wyoming, and live in one of them. My husband and I take pride in providing high quality, affordable homes. The Economic Development Commission is assessing our current housing stock, with a focus on affordability. As opportunities arise for mixed-use configurations, I am supportive of changing zoning to support a more economically diverse population.
As one that walked every street and stopped by every house in Wyoming during my campaign, or when visiting neighbors and friends, I believe Wyoming City has a unique beauty and offering for an economically diverse population. Improvements and changes aligning with the preferences and aspirations of its residents should always be considered. I believe safety, modernization, and infrastructure are key ingredients. The diversity of housing and areas, the excellent school system, make Wyoming a great place to be in Cincinnati area. Therefore, changes in the zoning map should be carefully considered, with long term consequences in mind. When acting with good intentions, the impact on safety, housing, businesses, schools, parks, and all that make Wyoming a desirable place to be should be carefully balanced.
I am eager to learn more about the zoning challenges referenced in this question. One of my strengths is a nearly insatiable desire to know and understand things. I am eager to understand the city’s challenges, what has been done to address the issues, and what ideas residents have to ensure an improved quality of life is accessible by all of us.
I think it would be important to examine the current map and understand where there are opportunities around Wyoming. We need to work with our committees and commissions that work closely on this topic and ensure that they have diverse perspectives.
On a national level, trends are accelerating the need for more high-density housing – both for the aging population and as housing affordability impacts younger generations. Locally, our strategic masterplan lists multiple strategies including “Review the zoning code and consider potential amendments that may be necessary to accommodate desired housing types at appropriate densities and with appropriate design standards” and “Consider the need to increase housing options within the community (e.g. empty nesters, young or single adults, and young families).” We need to follow the strategic guidance of our city’s masterplan. We can also use our community assets to welcome diverse populations to our businesses and events like Fall Festival, Village Green programming, etc.
Zoning decisions certainly have ripple effects. I am open to exploring solutions that increase economic diversity of residents, but I don’t want to see Wyoming become a commercial target.