Interim Development Control Overlay District Number 81
for Hyde Park and Mount Lookout

revised 12/26/2018:  new paragraph added at the bottom...

On June 6, 2018, Cincinnati City Council adopted Interim Development Control (IDC) Overlay Distric No. 81, "Hyde Park/Mt. Lookout District", in the Hyde Park and Mount Lookout neighborhoods as an overlay distric for a period of three months.  This Emergency Ordinance took effect immediately, and will be in place until September 6, 2018.  During the period of the IDC, all demolition permits filed in Hyde Park and Mount Lookout are required to go through additional review by the City Planning Commission.

Along with the IDC, on May 18, 2018, Cincinnati City Planning Commission temporarily suspended Chapter 6 of the City’s Subdivision Rules, requiring all subdivisions of land within Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout to be reviewed by the City Planning Commission. This suspension is in place for a period of 100 days, expiring on August 25, 2018.

During this time, City Planning Department Staff will be facilitating a study of residential density patterns, including the study of identifiable historic, architectural, and physical attributes embodied by property in the Hyde Park and Mount Lookout neighborhoods to determine if there are any necessary amendments to the Cincinnati Zoning Code and/or Subdivision Regulations that will help preserve and protect the long-standing, character-defining features and density patterns of those neighborhoods. The city asks this study to be completed in the 3 months this IDC is in place.

To assist in this study, City Council created a Working Group of seven people to work together diligently together over the period of these next three months to discuss and agree upon any proposed changes. One member of the Hyde Park Community Council Executive Committee is one of the seven on the Working Group (see highlighted text below).

Section 6.  That there is hereby created a working group of seven members including one member of the Hyde Park Community Council Executive Committee, one member of the Mount Lookout Community Council Executive Board, the Mayor or his designee, one member of the Economic Growth and Zoning Committee or the member’s designee, one member of the City Planning Commission, two members of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Cincinnati, one of whom represents a large residential home builder and one who represents a small residential home builder, and one representative of the Cincinnati Board of Realtors.  Each group or entity comprising the working group shall select its representative to the working group.  The committee shall be staffed by a representative of the City Administration selected by the City Manager.  The working group shall provide a report on its recommendations for zoning code map amendments, zoning code text amendments, and other relevant code and policy changes to address concerns related to demolitions in the Hyde Park and Mount Lookout neighborhoods to the Economic Growth and Zoning Committee within ninety days of the effective date of this ordinance.

The first meeting of the IDC Working Group was Tuesday, June 19, 2018. We agreed to weekly meetings on Thursday mornings at 8:00am in the II Centennial Plaza building (likely 5th floor), with a large public meeting to report progress to the community at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church Little Theater at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, July 24th.  Note that this committee’s pervue does not include tax abatement; reviewing possible Conservation District rules from other cities and beginning to develop recommendations for Cincinnati rules is the expected agenda for the next few weeks.  Meetings are public, but voting members are limited to those listed in Section 6 above.  HPNC President, Bob Smyth, is Hyde Park’s official representative in this study group.

The second meeting of the IDC Working Group was Tuesday, June 26, 2018.  We reviewed some of the many conservation district guidelines furnished as a model (Beacon Hill from San Antonio seemed well regarded), and discussed possible priorities for our group.  The main output was the request that each of the 8 official members submit their top 3 priorities for this IDC to Jared Ellis by Monday, July 3. 

paragraph added 7/7/2018:  The third working group meeting was Thursday, July 5, and we began to establish short term and long term goals.  We were charged with preparing the amendments to the zoning code, and rewrite to the lot split regulations for review on July 12.  On July 6, members of the IDC working group appeared before the city's Planning Commission to ask to extend the 90 day term of the IDC to 1 year to allow more time to develop the necessary consensus for the possible conservency district regulations.  The planning commission voted unanimously to support the extension.  The extension must be approved by city council before it can take effect.  That vote is tentatively scheduled when council returns from summer recess on September 6.

paragraph added 7/31/2018:  There was a public meeting on July 24 to present the progress of the working group and to gather public comment.  A draft of the revised subdivision rules was presented.  The draft rules require all lot splits go before City Planning Commission (current requirement is 5 lots or more), tightens up lot subdivision rules, restricts panhandle lots, .  Creation of legislation to create a conservancy districts in the city was discussed.  Given limited available time, initial conservancy district guidelines will have to be fairly broad, and will probably govern building envelope, and building placement (rather than specific elements of style).  Public comment received asked for increased notification of building demolition application, and concerns about clear cutting trees and vegitation (especially during demolition or construction).  Still expect to submit a draft of the lot splitting rules, and an initial draft of some conservancy district guidlines that govern demolition and new construction to City Planning Commission on August 17. 

Paragraph added 8/14/18:  At the 8/14/18 regular monthly board meeting, the Hyde Park Neighborhood Council Board voted to support the draft updated subdivision regulations (draft revised 8/8/18), the draft enabling legislation that allows the city to enact neighborhood conservancy districts (Chapter 1436 also dated 8/8/18), and the Hyde Park Neighborhood Conservation District plan to cover the Hyde Park Neighborhood Council boundaries (less the current business overlay districts) that describe maximum building envelop for replacement housing where a demolition is involved.   These documents are all products of the IDC81 working group to be presentedfor endorsement at the Cincinnati Planning Commission meeting on August 17. and to Cincinnati City Council by Sept 6 at the expiration of the current IDC81.

Paragraph added 8/20/18:  At its 8/17 meeting, the Cincinnati Planning Commission voted to accept city planning staff recommendations related to IDC81.  Cincinnati Planning Commission recommends to city council to pass the proposed legislation allowing creation of Neighborhood Conservation Districts in Cincinnati, and to enact the proposed Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout  Neighborhood Conservation districts.  Cincinnati Planning Commission recommends the narrower extension of the IDC81 until 12/31/18 in order to draft requirements for building new housing on vacant lots (currently only demolitions are directly within the IDC81's scope of work).  Cincinnati Planning Commission also voted to support the draft revisions to city code related to lot splits and the demolition/building permit process to allow needed vetting by the affected agencies before presentation to city council (also expected by year end)

Paragraphs revised 9/6/18:  IDC81 was the main topic of Mt. Lookout's regular August Meeting on 8/20/18 at Christ the King Church.  On 9/5/18, Cincinnati City Council's Economic Growth and Zoning subcommittee voted 4-0 to support the creation of Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout Neighborhood Conservation Districts, and support a 3 month extension of a limited IDC81, and to forward their recommendations to the full city council for their for enactment at council's regular meeting on 9/6 in room 300 at City Hall.  

At the September 6, 2018 Cincinnati City Council meeting, council voted to table legislation allowing the creation of Neighborhood Conservation Districts.  The original IDC81 also expires on Sept 6.  Its charge was to create rules that govern the demolition and replacement of housing (on the same lot).  The IDC81 working group created rules governing replacement structures that were contained in the Neighborhood Conservation District (legislation now tabled).  It would appear with the tabling of the NCD's, rules governing replacement structures are simply the underlying zoning code.  This also suggests that there is no change from the setup before the IDC81 was created, except that all lot splits must be reviewed by the planning commission.

City Council also extended IDC81 in a limited way IDC81 for 3 months.  The limited extension of 3 months was only requested to allow time to create rules for "new" housing constucted on vacant lots (both long term vacant, and new vacant lots created by lot splitting).  What they said in council today, was that the IDC81 extension was to allow time to finish the update of the city's lot splitting regulations (draft legislation already completed, and out for comment by the numerous affected agencies).
Also mentioned in council that if the NCD legislation returns to the agenda, it needs to apply city wide (and that requirement was outside the charge of the IDC81 working group.  My understanding of the limited IDC81 is to allow time to create rules for housing to be built on vacant lots (however they came to be vacant).  The original IDC81 created rules for demolition and replacement structures on the same lot.
So at best, you could say, its is back to the drawing board, and frequent meetings of the IDC working group.  At worst, you might suspect NCD;s are dead.  I did not know there was organized opposition to the NCD's until this afternoon, when the realtor organization (who were a voting member of IDC working group) showed up in council, and announced their opposition of the NCD's...

paragraph added 11/2:  On 10/31, Cincinnati City Council voted to restore the original provisions of IDC81.   Remember that on Sept 8, council had extended the IDC in a very limited way to only require planning commission review for projects building on vacant land.  With Wednesday's vote, the original provisions of the IDC are brought back.  Those provisions require review by Cincinnati Planning Commission of demolitions and lot splits in Mt. Lookout and Hyde Park thru the term of the IDC,  now expected to end on Dec 8.  After that, the governing legislation returns to the original zoning code.


paragraph added 11/13:  A city-wide neighborhoods review meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov 28 at 7pm, at  Two Centennial Plaza, 805 Central Avenue, 7th floor, Griesel Room A and B, Cincinnati OH 45202.  The review meeting is to gather comments on  how the new Subdivision Rules and Regulations will impact lot splits in each neighborhood.  The 11/13/18 DRAFT Subdivision Rules and Regulations are attached below

paragraph added 12/28:  IDC81 has expired, and the process for demolition and rebuild has reverted to the old zoning code.  That means for a single house demolition and rebuild, processing of the application will be done by city staff, and if a zoning variance is not required, notice of approval will be sent to adjacent property owners and the respective neighborhood council.

Updates to the city’s lot split regulations were approved by the city's Planning Commission on 12/21.  The new regulations take effect on 12/31.  The new regulations require lot splits of 4 or more to be reviewed by the Planning Commission (down from the previous 5).  Smaller lots splits (2, 3, or 4) can be approved by city staff, if you don’t have to build a street, or have major utility revisions, or have significant public comment.   When an application is filed, the applicant puts up a sign on the affected property to notify the neighborhood.  If city staff gets significant public comment, staff will require review of the lot split by the planning commission.  There are additional rules about panhandle lots, and they are no longer approved by right.  Note that application for lot splits will be accepted before the existing house is torn down (unlike the current process).  These new regulations will apply city wide, and will require a few changes to the city’s zoning code to allow the Planning Commission to grant zoning code variances (similiar powers are held by the city's Zoning Hearing Examiner)


IDC working group meeting minutes and other relevant documents are available thru the links below:

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