|Protecting unique and even ordinary structures is why we have a section 106 review process.|
Could it be this process is more complicated that they first realized and frankly they are very "late in the game" if they expect to complete this process by 2012 when they need EPA sign off? In fact, truth be known, they were not even dealing with this issue until I brought it to their attention after letters sent out to the community in may announcing demolitions this spring..
|Do we sacrifice buildings like this or do we engage the public in a way to work the project around them?|
Frankly the fact they have already acquired property without even knowing which plan would be accepted shows a reckless disregard with taxpayer funds, OR, it indicates that there is only one plan, their plan and all the public meeting are mere " theater" on their part to look a if they are engaging the community? While that might work in the world of local Cincinnati "back room deals" that doesn't work in the federal arena, especially in an Election Cycle.
What MSD and their consultants, do not realize, is that section 106 review doesn't work that way, especially on a major project like this where Federal mandates and federal funds are involved.
The views of the public are essential to informed decision making during 106 and it is the responsibility of the agency to seek and consider the views of the public. The delegated authority (in this case MSD) MUST provide the public with information about the project and allow the public to comment. Members of the public may also provide views in their own initiative for the Federal agency to consider, For example, a plan with reduced daylighting that preserves the Fairmount Historic business core in conjunction with a redevelopment plan.
When a governmental entity begins an 'Undertaking' the 106 term for a project. The project qualifies as an "undertaking" according to the section 106 regulators [36CFR 800.3(a)] a section 106 review must be completed.
|These properties across from MSD's project need to be part of the APE because they are historic eligible and could be "adversely impacted" by the loss of residential historic housing across from them.|
Determining the APE is the most critical step in the entire section 106 process. ONLY after an APE has been determined can one process with the remainder of steps of the section 106 process. With this project and the fact MSD has acquire some 84 properties in the valley during the forfeiture sale the area of the APE is greatly expanded. For example MSD has acquired property within and adjacent to Knox Hill's proposed historic district. If MSD presumes the APE to only be between Queen City and Westwood and go forth with that 'assumption' they may be surprised when the OHPO rejects their section 106 because the APE is too small and clearly other potentially historic property that may be outside the boundaries but adversely effected by it are no include. That means "back to the drawing board and a much larger APE must be developed and expanded section 106 review must be done. It also means MSD need to publicly disclose the purposes of those acquisitions and their intended use as part of this project in the present or future.
I encourage MSD to get out of the "smoke filled back room" and engage in a transparent public process.
Email Ms Lodor at MSD firstname.lastname@example.org or our Mayor, email@example.com and tell her that we want an open process.