Thursday, August 5, 2010
Covedale Illustrates why Cincinnati "neighborhood" designations are out of touch with reality
The recent request of Covedale Neighborhood to be separated from Price Hill, illustrates why the current neighborhood designations are out of touch with the "real world'
First the city designated neighborhoods are too large. Neighborhood development occurs largely at the block level. People come in to a small area and start fixing up properties, they have a vested interest in their area and have 'identity' with it not some larger "neighborhood designation" established decades ago by the city. People who are vested in an neighborhood are not likely to be concerned about an issue 10 miles away. True even representation on Community Councils rarely occurs and its very easy to "stack' a community council with people with a particular agenda that is not the overall interest of a community or the direction that community is headed.
If you look at the city neighborhood map, it ignores things like geography, architecture, and common history. Neighborhood designations were created by city planners not the community they effect and as we are seeing today those boundaries are no longer relevant.
For Realtors it is a nightmare. You may have houses that could bring more money but because of their neighborhood designation prices are held artificially low. Ultimately that effects tax valuations and keeps tax revenues lower than they should be.
The time has come for the city to move forward and address this issue. It is an issue that should be dealt with by residents, not city planners. Residents should be able to form their own neighborhood organizations and establish their boundaries and register with the city. Disputes over boundaries could be resolved by a mediation committee.
The City of Indianapolis, for example, has over 700 registered neighborhoods and block clubs . now that might seem like a regulatory nightmare, it isn't. City planners have their own maps for "big picture' development and neighborhood groups deal with everyday issues. It works extremely well.
We need smaller targeted development rather than broad strokes, and we need to understand that smaller is better and more effective in areas like development, zoning and crime watch issues.
As with most things "change' is difficult for our city government. They need to abandon the map above and allow for the creation of neighborhood that have real meaning to the residents that live there.