Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MSD LAND GRAB, coming to a neighborhood near you: Part 1

Without much fanfair, in typical Cincinnati "back room"  fashion, MSD will engage in huge landgrab of property. You may not know what a forfeiture sale is, but it is a sale held by the Auditors office yearly. Property which was not sold in previous tax sales goes through these forfeiture sales. Usually at the end of a very long list, is a short list of what is called CLRP requests . CLRP stands for the Cincinnati Land Reutilization Program.  CLRP was established by the city council in the 1990's and is is essentially a City Land Bank. It is managed by Ed Cunningham, who has no degree in Urban Planning.

In theory, CLRP is a great idea, acquire property no one would want and wait for a developer to come along to eventually return it to tax roles. On rare occasions it works. Then there are debacles like 292 McGregor , previously reported on this blog, where the city sells property to an irresponsible buyer, only to have it sit and further deteriorate because there is a lack of follow up. Usually that CLRP list is short, a property here or there, that the city needs for maybe a community garden or piece of property that has languished and is holding back a neighborhood because it hasn't been developed.

However this years list is 91 properties  thanks to a huge number of requests from MSD to obtain property. Now I put an email request to both Ed Cunningham and MSD asking for clarification as to the intended use of these parcels and received no response.

So when the sale takes place on the 31st, A large chunk of Cincinnati Real estate essentially goes off the tax roles, REMEMBER, the goal of CLRP is 'supposed' to be eventual redevelopment and return to tax roles..

So does MSD want these, or the city? To demo or develop? We do not know because we don't know who wants them on this list. We do know These Queen City Ave properties will sit across from a ;proposed' multi million dollar green space.
The question becomes what kind of redevelopment does MSD have in mind? For example why are buildings across the street from the proposed MSD Lick Run daylighting project on this list. Does MSD want them and if so for what? Does the city want them and if so, for what? We don't know because the reasons for these properties going on CLRP are not listed on the Auditors site and Ed Cunningham and MSD are not talking.
Same buildings 'depicted' as part of a very Hyde Park like development. but controlled by private development or whom? many question if the city wants traffic slowed down by development like this.and believe its just a dog and pony show.
FYI Part 2 tommorrow will talk about MSD and Lick-run, a  project which started out as good idea and now has grown to where MSD will wipe out an entire historic Business and historic district. in South Fairmount, forever destroying the historic character of that valley.

Why is MSD trying to acquire property in Sedamsville? Two properties and several lots? Sedamsville is in the process of National Historic district nomination. They wont get one of those houses because the taxes have been paid now. but why do you want property in Sedamsville?

Many have speculated that the real purpose of acquisition of these properties is perhaps 'disinvestment' . That CLRP will now be used to acquire land, give it to MSD and let it sit take it out of the hands  of private  development and by so doing you 'de-urbanize' areas like Fairmount and Sedamsville, both areas the city seem to write off years ago after they dumped section 8 housing into them after the 2001 riots, which inevitably causes those neighborhoods to further decline. MSD acquisition and disinvestment will eliminate whole neighborhoods from turnaround thereby causing a slow death that eventually lessens the strain on the sewer system... the actual goal of MSD. It is also called "right sizing" where cities decide to eliminate property and services to areas by letting them return to natural state, eventually closing off roads even. Detroit is doing that right now and so are other cities but they are doing it in broad daylight as part of a process that includes community involvement,  not behind closed doors with handshakes and long lists of properties going off tax roles.

There is a serious lack of 'transparency' going on here for city government. One might even question if there are violations of the state sunshine laws? Property acquired by a MSD with no public hearing, no explaination given as to their actual intent of the proposed use. MSD is a recipient of Federal funds a part of  project groundworks. I've sent an inquiry to EPA asking for clarification, when I get a response you will see it here.

One would think, this being an election year, that members of council ,up for re-election, would want to know why we are engaging is reducing the amount of property tax dollars the city has to work with? Maybe some who want those council jobs will take up the cause? It sounds like a campaign issue to me!

So what does this mean for you the taxpayer? Well, when you eliminate property from the tax roles, that means monies for essential services like Police, fire and schools gets cut because there is less property taxes coming in to pay for them. That means more levies  and assessment!s and eventually your property taxes go up!

You can see the complete is at the Auditors site. The CLRP parcels are on the end of the list, and yes you can bid on them. MSD will only get them if there are not bids.
http://www.hamiltoncountyauditor.org/tax_delinquent.asp


Tomorrow Part 2: MSD and the "glorified drainage ditch" that may destroy Fairmount

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