Community

Downtown Master Plan - Process Begins

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The Master Plan process is beginning. The first meeting of the downtown planning committee will be held tomorrow evening - November 5, 2018, 6pm at City Hall. Click here for agenda ( p1-14) . Click here ( p15-33)

Eye On Loveland has been following the decision of the current council to spend $128K of taxpayer money to fund another Master Plan. Listen to our podcast to hear our thoughts on the issue.

Stay tuned for future developments and information. We encourage everyone to attend this meeting and learn more about the decision making process that will affect all of us who live, work and play in Loveland, OH.

Loveland is Changing - Be A Part Of It. Let your Voice Be Heard.

We would love to hear what you have to say so send us an email at eyeonloveland@gmail.com. Please follow us on twitter @eyeonloveland and facebook at eyeonloveland. Be sure to sign up to receive regular updates and subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes,apple.com - eyeonloveland.

 Eyeonloveland.com - Be Informed. Be Involved. Be Influential.

Pamela Gross - President - Follow me on Twitter @ lovelandpam

Original Post from August 7, 2018

Albert Einstein is credited with saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. It seems that Loveland City Council doesn’t think Mr. Einstein is correct since they recently voted to spend $128K of taxpayer’s money on yet another Comprehensive Plan. See Attached

As a business owner I know the importance of planning so it is not that the city should not have a plan for development and future growth; what I am questioning is whether hiring a firm at a cost of $128K to create another master plan is the most effective and financially responsible way to achieve the cities goals.

Many in the community may not know that the city commissioned a comprehensive plan in 1993 and since that time had at least nine plans and development updates prepared and paid for with taxpayer money, see attached, one as recently as 2011. See Attached. There was also a comprehensive plan workshop, paid for by taxpayers, held in September 2015. See Attached. Some of those results were included in the current proposal and identified areas that were in most need of attention. See attached.

Most of these reports can be found on some shelf in city hall. Which leads me to the question, why are we paying to have another report prepared that will most likely have the same recommendations as the others? Why is the primary focus of this "new" master plan, downtown Loveland? The above mentioned map shows this area as stable and in transition. Instead of spending additional taxpayer money, why are we not looking at the previous plans? Why don’t we review the reports, what was accomplished, what wasn’t and why and then update the ideas based on current needs. Why do a replication of what we’ve already paid for many times over?  Don’t you think it is time we try something new and different, something that will produce actual results? 

We should look at how Over-the-Rhine and other communities were redeveloped. It was through a private citizen and stakeholder group – 3CDC that invigorated downtown Cincinnati. These types of organizations developed a strategic plan, a vision that was created by business owners, residents and experts in development, not a committee created by the government, made up of members of a connected political group or officials beholden to elections.

In these days of tight budgets, it is more important than ever that planning dollars be spent as productively as possible. Sadly, Mayor Bailey, Vice-Mayor Weisgerber, Councilman Ted Phelps, Tim Butler, Kent Blair and Neil Oury voted to spend $128K of taxpayer’s money on another comprehensive plan that is likely to join the others on the city hall book shelf.

Listen to our podcast – New Dust for New Master Plan - to hear more about this discussion. 

eyeonloveland.org - Be Informed. Be Involved. Be Influential 

Follow us on Twitter @eyeonloveland, like us on Facebook @eyeonloveland and send us a message at eyeonloveland@gmail.com 

Pamela Gross - President - Follow me on Twitter @ lovelandpam

Creating a Historic District in Loveland - Follow Up

Partial map of proposed historic boundaries

Partial map of proposed historic boundaries

On Thursday, October 25th there was a meeting of the Historic Preservation Design Review Committee (HPDRC) There were several members of the public who attended, some who own property in the proposed boundaries. Many questions were asked, some were answered, however many questions remain unanswered, particularly relating to what the government can and can’t do regarding personal property.

Why does this matter? Much is unknown regarding the power and authority of this committee and it’s five unelected members. Is the City of Loveland creating the biggest and most powerful HOA and doing so without full engagement of those most affected i.e people who own personal property in the proposed historic boundaries?

Please listen to our podcast - what is the deal with historic boundaries - to learn more.

Stay tuned for more information. Have questions? We encourage you to attend the next committee meeting ( a November meeting has yet to be scheduled)

Original Post Follows:

What is a historical district? Should certain areas in Loveland be designated as historic? Is the purpose of creating this district so the city can preserve property or develop the property? These questions and many others are discussed on our recent podcast - What is the deal with historic boundaries?

Earlier this year City Council created a new committee - The Historic Preservation Design Review Committee ( HPDRC) This committee is made up of six residents who will decide the boundaries of the proposed historic district, adopt regulations, and must approve any repairs and improvements to structures, including personal residences, located within the historic district.

According to the design review fact sheet “owners of properties within the City of Loveland Historic District Boundaries must obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) for any action affecting use, exterior appearance, new construction or demolition of the designated historic structure.”

Eye On Loveland is currently researching this very influential and powerful committee and will keep you up to date on the decisions made by this group of six unelected individuals. Their decisions will affect many business owners and residents which is why their actions should matter to all of us.

Some of the questions we have asked the committee members include - how did you establish the historic boundaries? Why are there no details regarding the discussion and determination of the boundaries in the meeting minutes, something that is required by law? One of the stated reasons for establishing this district is to “improve property values.” Why then is an elected represetative’s home, Vice Mayor Rob Weisgerber, in the historic boundaries? Vice Mayor Weisgerber spoke at a recent committee meeting, however there are no details on what was said? Why was Vice Mayor Weisgerber privately meeting with one member of this committee?

We did get an answer from the group regarding their decision on the historic boundaries - which consists of all of downtown extending up E Loveland Ave ( the picture at top of this page shows this street, the blue box is the Vice Mayor’s home) and the five points intersection going up the hill and includes the building at the top. Listen to the podcast here to learn more. We did not receive any answers on the other questions. Stay tuned as we continue on our quest for information.

Please visit the lovelandtattler.com and read the latest article on the historic district - building the history of Loveland.

We would love to hear what you have to say so send us an email at eyeonloveland@gmail.com. Please follow us on twitter @eyeonloveland and facebook at eyeonloveland. Be sure to sign up to receive regular updates and subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes,apple.com - eyeonloveland.

 Eyeonloveland.org - Be Informed. Be Involved. Be Influential.

Pamela Gross - President - Follow me on Twitter @ lovelandpam

 

 

 

PACE Legislation = Good Governance?

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The original post was modified on October 25, 2018 to now include our podcast on this issue. Click Here to listen to - The Hitchhiker’s Guide to PACE Transparency.

Did you ever read the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams? The novel lampoons government bureaucracy, the endless red tape, paperwork and the numerous hurdles and blunders of a political system.

In a nutshell it is a story about Arthur Dent, whose home is in the way of a planned local road. Coincidentally, earth is in the way of a intergalactic highway. Obviously bureaucracy knows no bounds in or out of our solar system. One day, Mr. Dent wakes up and realizes his house is about to be bulldozed and complains that the government did a terrible job of making their plans known. He is told that the plans have been on “display” for his approval or disapproval in the cellar of the planning office. It was up to him to come and find the information.

Sitting in Loveland council chambers on October 17th, for a special meeting called on a Wednesday night and awaiting the vote ( again) regarding PACE financing, I heard several comments from various council members regarding the handling of this complicated and never before implemented legislation:

Vice Mayor Rob Weisgerber stated “all of council and the public were able to hear the dialogue in regard to the pluses, minuses, risks and how there is no real risk to the city.”

Councilman Tim Butler stated “questions have been addressed and answered.”

Mayor Kathy Bailey states “anyone could come to a meeting and speak in open forum.”   

After these comments I couldn’t help but be transported to the “hitchhiker’s galaxy” and its central theme about bureaucracy and blunders associated with the political system. I realized at this point that I was watching what many people fear about our government – by all appearances and actions the majority of council acted in a way that is not good governance for the city.

Let’s review why I say that, and we will start with the legislation itself. I am going to give you the CliffsNotes version of events so if you want a more detailed look at the entire process, documentation and discussion, CLICK HERE  

The legislation was created for the owners of West Loveland Holdings Ltd and presented to council as an “emergency.”  The city must adopt five pieces of legislation to accommodate funding through the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. This is a special type of financing that requires a municipality to levy a special assessment and create an energy special improvement district (ESID). While this program is not particularly new in Ohio, having been established around 2009, it is new to the city and has never been implemented in Loveland. City Manager Dave Kennedy states in his legislative memorandum “the program and presented legislations are complicated, and a best effort to explain the process is included in this memo.”

Mayor Kathy Bailey states “Mr. Malof had invested a lot of money in the city and is trying to move his project forward with a simple request.”

After legislation was presented a member of the public spoke and asked questions, the owner of the building and his representative spoke in favor of the financing. No other business owner, developer, or person who had utilized this financing spoke and no one presented the downside of the program.

Four of the seven council members asked questions - Blair, Butler, Weisgerber and Settell. Councilman Neil Oury was prepared to vote yes on the legislation without publicly asking a single question. Since many of the questions remained unanswered the legislation was put on hold until the next meeting.

Councilman Tim Butler states “that this was a complicated process and encouraged citizens to direct their questions… to a council member.”

Several emails were sent to all Council members seeking answers to questions related to the legislation, only Councilwoman Settell responded. Other emails were sent on October 8th, this time Councilman Oury responded not answering the questions but providing several links to websites about PACE financing. Vice Mayor Weisgerber also sent a response but did not answer the questions.

One of the questions never answered was “if there is a default on the loan(s) what happens to the building and what is the role of the city regarding any default?”

The legislation was then put on the 9/25/18 council agenda but was taken off the agenda right before the start of the meeting, therefore there was no discussion on the legislation. A side note, this was done improperly by parliamentary rules.

Legislation was again brought before council on 10/9/18 as an “emergency.” Councilwoman Settell asked further questions that were not addressed. There were no other questions or discussion from the other council members. The legislation failed to pass with a 5-1 vote.

This brings me back to the special council meeting held on Wednesday, October 17th and my “hitchhiker galaxy” moment. Whenever a special council meeting is held there is no opportunity for the public to speak. It was then I realized that transparency and participation as defined by the majority of council and expressed in the comments listed above consists of the public coming to them, to council chambers, no outreach on their part to individuals, questions asked by the public may remain unanswered, a few questions may be asked by council members but no detailed explanations are given regarding their decisions and no discussion regarding the impact to the city long term. What I learned - that this legislation was created to accommodate one person and one development. That was what was most important to the majority members of council. Legislation passed 6-1. Settell was the no vote.  

Let us know what you think. Was this good governance? Was this important and complicated legislation sufficiently vetted? Send us your comments at eyeonloveland@gmail.com

For more information on this issue check out the lovelandtattler.com - the silencing of Loveland

Please follow us on twitter @eyeonloveland and facebook at eyeonloveland. Be sure to sign up to receive regular updates and subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes,apple.com - eyeonloveland.

 Eyeonloveland.org - Be Informed. Be Involved. Be Influential 

Pamela Gross - President - Follow me on Twitter @ lovelandpam

 

 

 

Creating a Historic District in Loveland

Partial map of proposed historic boundaries

Partial map of proposed historic boundaries

What is a historical district? Should certain areas in Loveland be designated as historic? Is the purpose of creating this district so the city can preserve property or develop the property? These questions and many others are discussed on our recent podcast - What is the deal with historic boundaries?

Earlier this year City Council created a new committee - The Historic Preservation Design Review Committee ( HPDRC) This committee is made up of six residents who will decide the boundaries of the proposed historic district, adopt regulations, and must approve any repairs and improvements to structures, including personal residences, located within the historic district.

According to the design review fact sheet “owners of properties within the City of Loveland Historic District Boundaries must obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) for any action affecting use, exterior appearance, new construction or demolition of the designated historic structure.”

Eye On Loveland is currently researching this very influential and powerful committee and will keep you up to date on the decisions made by this group of six unelected individuals. Their decisions will affect many business owners and residents which is why their actions should matter to all of us.

Some of the questions we have asked the committee members include - how did you establish the historic boundaries? Why are there no details regarding the discussion and determination of the boundaries in the meeting minutes, something that is required by law? One of the stated reasons for establishing this district is to “improve property values.” Why then is an elected represetative’s home, Vice Mayor Rob Weisgerber, in the historic boundaries? Vice Mayor Weisgerber spoke at a recent committee meeting, however there are no details on what was said? Why was Vice Mayor Weisgerber privately meeting with one member of this committee?

We did get an answer from the group regarding their decision on the historic boundaries - which consists of all of downtown extending up E Loveland Ave ( the picture at top of this page shows this street, the blue box is the Vice Mayor’s home) and the five points intersection going up the hill and includes the building at the top. Listen to the podcast here to learn more. We did not receive any answers on the other questions. Stay tuned as we continue on our quest for information.

Please visit the lovelandtattler.com and read the latest article on the historic district - building the history of Loveland.

We would love to hear what you have to say so send us an email at eyeonloveland@gmail.com. Please follow us on twitter @eyeonloveland and facebook at eyeonloveland. Be sure to sign up to receive regular updates and subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes,apple.com - eyeonloveland.

 Eyeonloveland.org - Be Informed. Be Involved. Be Influential.

Pamela Gross - President - Follow me on Twitter @ lovelandpam

 

 

 

The Votes Are In - What Is The Look of Loveland?

The Works - 36%

The Works - 36%

Loveland Station - 30%

Loveland Station - 30%

Bishop Building Concept - 24%

Bishop Building Concept - 24%

The votes are in and according to our community poll, these are the top three looks of Loveland. Does this identify a singular look or is Loveland destined to be the town of many facades?

Since the posting of this community poll, there have been dramatic changes to several buildings downtown - two of the bond furniture buildings have been painted black and the roof of the building that is the home of the music academy is also black. Discussion at the September 4, 2018 planning & zoning meeting addressed the changes with comments that included “ they are trying to create a steel look, which is consistent with the architecture of the 50’s.” Is this now another look being introduced into the downtown?

Each of the “winning” looks above are very distinctive and very different. The city is spending $128K on a master plan, what look will this committee decide best reflects the downtown? What facade will the historic committee determine as the face of Loveland? What will the master plan in conjunction with the historic committee come up with as the downtown look.

Be sure to check out the newest article from lovelandtattler.com - Building the history of Loveland to learn more about the historic committee. Eye On Loveland’s newest podcast, which will drop on Thursday, will continue the discussion about the committee and explain how their actions and decisions will affect our community.

We want to hear from you - Should the city have many facades or should our city have a more uniform look and feel? Send us an email at eyeonloveland@gmail.com.

Please follow us on twitter @eyeonloveland and facebook at eyeonloveland. Be sure to sign up to receive regular updates and subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes,apple.com - eyeonloveland.

Eyeonloveland.org - Be Informed. Be Involved. Be Influential 

Pamela Gross - President - Follow me on Twitter @ lovelandpam

 

Party Time on the Taxpayer's Dime?

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Who among us doesn’t enjoy a party? Special events are fun, and the City of Loveland has a long tradition of celebrations - 4th of July and Christmas in Loveland. These events are sponsored by the City, are family oriented with lots of activities for the kids and allow our residents to connect and celebrate our community.

Our newest podcast - The City of Taxpayer Funded Parties - addresses the issue of special events held in our city by private businesses and whether the taxpayers should subsidize the organizations that hold the events. Should taxpayer’s be reimbursed for the city resources needed for the festivities, particularly when the private entities keep the money that is generated from the event, whether it be the entry fee or the sale from an alcohol booth?

We discuss the purpose and importance of a special event and fee policy, what questions should be asked before council approves events and open container permits and whether the city should allow one private organization to run all events in the city because the organization relies on events to raise revenues and it would be a financial detriment to their business if the city did not allow for this subsidy. We also talk about other issues and concerns related to special events so please join us, won’t you?

Again, check out the recent podcast and let us know your thoughts and opinions. Send us an email at eyeonloveland@gmail.com. If you haven’t listened to the other podcasts, check those out as well and get up to date on what’s happening in Loveland.

Please follow us on twitter @eyeonloveland and facebook at eyeonloveland. Be sure to sign up to receive regular updates and subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes,apple.com - eyeonloveland.

 Eyeonloveland.org - Be Informed. Be Involved. Be Influential 

Pamela Gross - President - Follow me on Twitter @ lovelandpam