Proposed parking lot has Oakley residents none too pleased

Proposed parking lot has Oakley residents none too pleased

OAKLEY, OH (FOX19) - A proposed zoning plan for some property in Oakley to build a parking lot has some in the neighborhood upset with the idea.

The proposal would demolish three properties in the 3800-block of Edwards Road near Atlantic Avenue to build a 41-space parking lot.  The properties sit directly across the street from the Rookwood Exchange development.

"It is our property value, and it is our community and culture that we've worked really hard to attain," said Stacy Lehman, who lives on Atlantic Avenue.

An "Application for Zoning Relief" was filed by Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate in February to construct the parking lot.

In the proposal, the idea is to tear down the three homes, which are rentals, to make way for the parking lot to serve employee parking needs for those working at Rookwood Exchange.  The plan states the the 41-space lot will be free parking for employees on a "first come first serve basis."  The developer says that there is a short term reduction in parking on the property due to construction of a new hotel.

"For the short term, the proposal is to demolish the buildings on the subject properties and to add 41 open air parking spaces for employees who work at the retail stores and restaurants," that proposal states.  "The timely availability and location of these properties is an ideal solution for short term needs of the development."

The properties in question are inside Cincinnati city limits, while the Rookwood Exchange plaza is in Norwood.

"The thought of a parking lot coming into our street to fix a problem that's not Oakley's problem it makes us really sad," Lehman told FOX19 NOW.

The proposal states that the properties currently are in an Office Limited district meaning the area "provides for low intensity office development with limited commercial and mixed-use residential uses."  If constructed, the lot would only be accessible to and from Edwards Road, and would include a six-feet tall privacy fence, lighting, a a properly landscaped buffer around the property.  There would also be a crosswalk constructed to connect the new parking lot to the plaza.

As part of the proposal made by the development company, the property could become a space for smaller office usage in the long-term, especially once a Residence Inn Hotel with additional parking is finished in the Rookwood Exchange in 2018.

Lehman has started circulating a petition through the neighborhood that has garnered dozens of signatures in opposition to the plan.  She says neighbors are concerned with the potential for drug deals, safety to children and excess light and noise from the lot.

The Oakley Community Council has also written a letter in opposition, and has appeared in front of city leaders to plead their case.

In the letter, written last week, community council members say, "There are no benefits and overwhelming adverse effects from such development for the City of Cincinnati and neighborhood of Oakley."

"Oakley is one of the thriving communities in Cincinnati.  We wanted to preserve its charm and character," Lehman said.  "We take care of one another as a neighborhood and as a street."
Lehman told FOX19 NOW that a final decision from the city is expected in about two weeks.

To read the entire parking lot proposal, as well as the Oakley Community Council opposition letter, click here.

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