Where's the TOH public greenery and 'wow' factor?
Cleveland Heights Zoning Code 1165.05 (c), for large-scale residential development (more than 2 acres), calls for 30-percent active or passive open space. The present Top of the Hill (TOH) design falls well short of that requirement. The city has not justified allowing the diminished open space to be approved.
Only one place for public assembly is shown, and it is a skimpy space, intersected by a retaining wall, west of Nighttown. The Astroturf dog park in front of the Buckingham Condominiums is gated, and Buckingham residents cannot use it. The grove of trees currently on that site will be removed.
Let’s go back to Oct. 10, 2018, to a TOH meeting at the CH Community Center chaired by CH Council Member Michael Ungar, council's liaison with the developer, Flaherty & Collins. The approximately 130 residents who attended that meeting heard Ungar say that this project would be “the hill where it happens,” and “we were looking for something that would cause us as a community to be proud and to say, ‘Wow!’”
Now, this project is being rammed along to the city's desired completion, to serve as a Cleveland Heights icon. What is an icon? A person or thing that is regarded as a representative symbol.
We've all been watching. How can we help but watch? The icon will be in our face, whether we like it or not. It seems increasingly likely that the "wow" factor, the icon, will become a "whoa" factor.
Why did city council and city's professional staff do this?
Top of the Hill will not be a symbol of Cleveland Heights and its citizens, but rather an $83-million symbol of the desperation of Cleveland Heights city management to get something done on its watch.
Joyce and Steve Rajki
Joyce and Steve Rajki, 49-year residents of Cleveland Heights, are advocating for quality design and construction that will stand the test of time.