FutureHeights supports moving forward with Top of the Hill

To the Editor:

FutureHeights sent the following letter to Cleveland Heights City Council on Oct. 19:

FutureHeights supports a mixed-use development project at Top of the Hill and urges council to adopt the Planning Commission’s recommendation to initiate the Planned Development Overlay District Procedures and Rezoning Process. FutureHeights staff and board members participated in the Aug. 30 design focus group meeting, attended the Oct. 10 community meeting, and reviewed the updated plans and renderings.

We are pleased with the responsiveness of the developer to our comments and [those of] others in the community. However, we are also aware that there remain community concerns about several important issues: traffic/parking, compatibility/quality of architecture, and the 30-year tax abatement. In addition, we are unsure that all business owners and residents in the neighborhood understand the project and have had a chance to provide input and suggestions. It appears more communication and dialogue are needed.

We share community concerns about the impact of the project on traffic volume and parking—issues that are already evident in the neighborhood. We became aware on Oct. 17 of the impact of the project on residents of apartments on Lennox and Surrey roads, who currently use a portion of the existing parking lot. We trust that the developer and city will work with neighborhood residents and businesses to resolve current issues and mitigate any new ones that result from the project.

We share the community’s desire that the project’s architecture be compatible or complementary with the early 20th-century architecture in the neighborhood. We recognize, however, that the historic homes and commercial buildings in the neighborhood are significant and valuable precisely because they cannot be replicated in our current time. Therefore, we support construction that is of our era, and of high-quality materials that will withstand the test of time. In addition, the building at the point should create a signature gateway to Cleveland Heights in its own right.

As the city's community development corporation, we understand the need for tax-abatement for this project. As residents, we know well the tax burden that homeowners face in our city; however, we know that this development would not be possible without this incentive. Our city needs development in order to shore up our tax base and reduce the tax burden in the long run. A high-quality mixed-use development at the top of Cedar Hill will also enhance the reputation of the city, appropriately increase density to support existing businesses, and improve the quality of life for existing residents by providing goods and services that they need, including the addition of new housing options.

We look forward to working with the city, the developer, Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District, residents, local businesses and other stakeholders to ensure a thorough process that will result in a development project that will strengthen the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood and our city.

Deanna Bremer Fisher and Julia Kious Zabell

Deanna Bremer Fisher, Executive Director of FutureHeights
Julia Kious Zabell, President of FutureHeights Board of Directors

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 11:16 AM, 10.30.2018