Council, residents at odds over new development in OTR

OTR residents express concerns over proposed unaffordable new housing

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati City Council will soon be voting on a project some Over-the-Rhine community members say will hurt low-income residents.

“This project may not be perfect, but we cannot close Cincinnati for business, and we cannot close it for development,” Councilmember Steve Goodin said.

The Liberty Elm project includes 294 new apartments, several thousand square feet of commercial space, and a parking garage. The project is something that doesn’t sit right with OTR Community Council President Maurice Wagoner.

“I haven’t seen anything that fits my income, let alone the people that’s been here longer than I’ve been here, and the development don’t care,” Wagoner said.

Property owners say they are not opposed to new development, and in fact, they welcome it.

However, some who spoke during Wednesday’s council meeting did ask how the development agreement supports the OTR comprehensive plan when there is not a single affordable unit guaranteed.

“I think walking away from an investment of this magnitude in this climate that has been vetted for two years on a site that has been troubled, I just don’t think that’s in the right interest of the city,” Goodin said. “We cannot walk away from this investment right now we can’t afford it.”

Community members say the development will take away from the history of OTR and will force people to move out of the area.

“We want 30% of the units to be affordable and that affordability can be at a range,” another resident said. “We can’t afford the rents ranging from $1,414 to $2,886 and an additional $236 for the extras.”

The Liberty Elm project has been in the works for years and it is the largest project in OTR. City Council will vote on it Thursday during their scheduled meeting.

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