Wednesday, November 4, 2009
74.96% of voters in 61.33% voter turnout
Residence D has been approved by Mariemont voters as a new zoning code classification, enabling multi-family development sensitive to our historic village architecture. Thank you for your support.
Let's stay involved to grow Mariemont smartly.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
These collective assets not only make Mariemont a nice place to raise a family but also a great community to “age in place.” Mariemont has many residents who raised their families decades ago and never left. They strongly wish to continue to live in their homes of long standing or move into a condo or apartment without the cares of maintenance. Mariemont also attracts new residents who moved into the community with the completion of Jordan Park. The quality of the neighborhood was a major selling feature.
The timing is perfect to leverage the assets of the Village since the aging population of America will reach 80 million with the retirement of the baby boomers. This segment is increasingly seeking housing options where they can naturally “age in place” in a community like Mariemont. Institutional settings such as senior housing or retirement communities are no longer the only option.
MariElders is another asset that is perfectly situated to deliver services to a growing senior population. Future services might include coordinating in-home health care, case management and social work services in addition to the current transportation, education and recreation activities.
Residence D will allow the development of condos and apartment buildings for this booming market. The new zoning classification has the density and height required to build desirable multi-story buildings with elevators and the other amenities required by this age group.
Mariemont is one of the few communities where a high quality, independent, healthy senior life-style is available. The assets are in place, the only missing ingredient is the right housing product. Vote YES on Issue 42 Residence D.
Q1: What is Residence D?
A: Residence D is simply a new zoning classification for regulation of multi-family (condominiums and apartments) over 4 units, on the Nov. 3rd ballot as Issue 42. It is a classification only, designed to regulate any future building projects of this type in the Village. Residence D would be added to the current Mariemont zoning code categories including Residence A, B, and C (single family houses, 4-family apartments, and larger apartments), Business B, and Industrial I.
Q2: What is the intent of Residence D?
A: Residence D is meant to regulate new proposed multi-family development in the Village so that it fits into Mariemont’s unique architectural context.
Q3: What will Residence D cost me as a taxpayer?
A: Nothing. In fact, any new Residence D developments will offset future tax burdens for Mariemont residents as new multi-family projects will provide additional real estate, income and estate tax funding to the Village and the school district. (Jordan Park condos alone yield $191k in property tax back to the community over and above the previous land use.) Additionally, any new projects would presumably increase local business revenues as well as increase neighboring property values.
Q4: Why does the Village need new zoning?
A: No current zoning exists specifically for multi-family buildings over 4 units which allow them to resemble Mariemont’s historic buildings. Existing Village large density buildings were either a) built before zoning was enacted in 1941 (the 1924 MacKenzie apartments, for instance), b) built under inadequate Residence C zoning allowing expansive parking and non-historic setbacks, or c) were built under Residence C but with variances to allow historical reproduction of the older buildings' heights and setbacks (for example, the Jordan Park condos). Approval of variances, however, creates legal loopholes which can expose the Village to future unnecessary risk.
A: Residence D was jointly created by the county regional planning agency and Mariemont Planning and Zoning committees in a series of public meetings held over the past year. (Early concepts of mixed use development and Major Road designations were not included in the final Residence D ordinance.)
Q6: How do Residence D regulations differ from the new Miami Rd. (Jordan Park) condos?
A: Residence D regulations limit buildings to a maximum attainable 45 ft. height (2’ shorter than Jordan Park) with a 35 ft. setback from any adjacent single family homes (15’ more setback than Jordan Park) Similar to the new condos, however, Residence D would require underground parking, maintain the 10 ft front setback to extend the Village square and mandate Architectural Review Board (ARB) approval.
Q7: Where can Residence D be used?
A: The Residence D classification can be used anywhere in the Village but a developer must apply for a zoning change (requiring 4 steps of agency review with public input) for any proposed building site. The expected use of Residence D is most likely on the blocks adjacent to the Village Square where this type of development was envisioned in the 1921 Nolan plan.
A: Only if a) the Residence D ballot issue is approved and b) if any subsequently proposed project receives a zoning change and c) if any existing property owners wish to sell will a new development proceed. If existing apartments require removal, it is anticipated that most if not all tenants who wish to continue renting within the Village will have the opportunity to do so, as 574 apartment units currently exist with an estimated 8-10% vacancy rate. Additional apartment units are also available within the extended school district. Residence D allows for construction of new apartments.
A: As part of a zoning change process, the Architectural Review Board (ARB) must issue a Certificate of Appropriateness before a project is sent to the Planning Commission, Zoning Committee and Village Council for approval. ARB will insure that the architectural style, massing, and materials fit the Village character. The site plan, parking and access to a project will also be reviewed to protect the adjoining neighborhood. With each step in the zoning change process, public input is received.
Q10: Why is 45 ft. height so important in the Residence D zoning?
A: The 45 ft height generally concurs with historic high density building heights in the Village. Similarly, in order to make the economics work for new multi-family construction, the number of units on a site needs to be concentrated to generate the required revenue to pay for land and underground parking. Additionally, Tudor style architecture requires the 45 ft height for steep-pitched roofs. Finally, first floor elevations are established above finished grade to accommodate underground parking requirements.
A: The Mariemont Inn is 45 ft tall (add for chimneys). Additional building heights in the Village include: the 1924 MacKenzie apartment building at Beech and Murray (42 ft plus chimneys), Executive Building (55 ft), Mariemont Strand (41 ft), Dale Park junior high (55 ft), and the Parish Center (51 ft, not including tower).
Q12: How will traffic be managed?
A: The ARB reviews the location and access to parking garages and lots to insure that multi-family projects do not disrupt neighborhood streets. The review process can reject a development if project is deemed to create a negative impact in the neighborhood.
A: Residence D requires one space per bedroom for residents and .25 spaces for visitors, with 60% of the spaces located underground to prevent a negative impact on the aesthetics of a neighborhood. Surface parking impact will be further minimized with Residence D due to added landscape buffers.
Q14: Does Residence D affect the historic district in the Village northwest quadrant?
Q15: Will tax abatements be used for new developments?
A. Subject to Village council approval, any property owner within the Community Reinvestment Area may receive a 15 year 50% property tax abatement if the project exceeds $50k. In the case of new multi-family developments, granting a tax abatement is beneficial for the Village as it a) influences new home buyers to relocate within the community and b) enables Village infrastructure improvements by the developer (for example, an enlarged storm drainage and retention system was built to serve the immediate neighborhood as part of the Jordan Park project).
Q16: What are the benefits of Residence D?
A. Residence D will provide a) an expanded tax base for both the Village and the school district, b) updated Mariemont zoning including architectural review, c) new housing stock in both condos and apartments, d) fulfillment of the original town plan, and e) senior housing options within the Village, all within the context of new buildings fitting appropriately into Mariemont’s historic setting.
Q17: Who supports Residence D?
A. Residence D is endorsed by the Mariemont Board of Education*, Mariemont Preservation Foundation (MPF), MariElders, Mariemont Civic Association, Mariemont Park Board, Garden Club of Mariemont, Mariemont Planning Commission, and Mariemont Village Council.
* The Mariemont Board of Education is in favor of Mariemont Residence D zoning in so far as it will provide additional tax dollars which will assist the Board as it continues to offer an excellent education to the students of the district. The Board of Education also expresses its belief that the citizens of Mariemont have the ultimate right to decide as they vote on the issue in November.
Q18: What happens if Residence D is not approved by voters?
A. In the absence of Residence D zoning approval, new multi-family development as an extension of the Village square would not be feasible under current zoning. The public hearing process to revise the existing Residence D ordinance could theoretically start anew, however its quick approval would not be anticipated (this current attempt to update zoning code is 15 months old). With an unknown timetable for approval of an unknown new zoning ordinance, it would not be likely that any current development plans and their funding would remain intact.
Q19: As a supporter, what can I do as a Mariemont resident?
A. Display a yard sign, donate to the Neighbors for Mariemont PAC, distribute flyers and vote YES on Issue 42 Residence D.
A. If Residence D is approved by voters, future projects will require council approval. If you support Residence D, it is also important to select council candidates who strongly endorse Issue 42.
Q21: How do I know which council candidates support Residence D?
A. The Town Crier is hosting a Candidate Forum Oct. 27, 7:00pm at the Elementary School auditorium. Candidates will be asked prior written questions by the moderator. To submit a question, please email Claire Kupferle at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, you can refer to the following article for candidate viewpoints:
Sunday, October 18, 2009
As a planned community from inception, the founders of Mariemont were able to create an ideal community based on sound planning practices incorporating principles of garden city design as a reaction to the crowded conditions of Cincinnati's basin. Planning principles included shaping the new community to the landscape and existing streets and streetcar line, plotting an industrial sector (for tax base creation) isolated across the ravine, and developing infrastructure for a self-sustaining community (Resthaven farm group, pensioner homes, steam plant, etc).
Nolen's 1921 plan located all these landmarks, all centered upon an active and dense village core of Inn, shops, and mixed use housing radiating from the town square. As rendered, the square's buildings were 3 story structures on the square and the diagonal streets (Miami both north and south of the square, and Madisonville). With the economy in decline through the 1930' s, however, only the Inn was built (however without extension to the northeast), while shops and offices along Wooster were realized significantly smaller than planned, and the block residential buildings radiating out from the square were built as smaller apartment units in the 1950's.
Developers see opportunity to build in the village to create amenities desired in the marketplace (entry level condos, senior living apartments, flat condo units (as opposed to townhouses), new green construction, etc). Residence D will allow zoning to regulate new development to fit within the historical context of the village, fulfilling the original intentions established at Mariemont's inception. What would John Nolen say if he was out walking the 2009 streets of Mariemont? "Vote YES on Issue 42 Residence D."
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Vote YES on Issue 42 Residence D, and pick a strong council.
preliminary zoning study:
*NEW* application for National Historic Landmark status by Millard Rogers (see for Village history and detailed address information):
Friday, October 16, 2009
housing stock status:
The village has maintained its housing value even through this current recession, as the community continues to retain existing residents and attract new families as well. We can thank Mary Emery for the well conceived town plan (walkability, available necessary services, architectural context and landscape) and the award-winning schools for Mariemont's ability to retain its value. As homeowners age, however, many wish to forsake their own building maintenance requirements yet remain in the village. Until the construction of Jordan Park, however, only limited options for condominium living were available in the village while no condo options offered single level flats available by elevator (units with no interior living space stair).
At the same time, Mariemont's apartment housing stock (built between the 1930's and 1950's) is aging quickly. As seen in the current school facilities issue, dated building infrastructure of that vintage requires costly maintenance or replacement and, combined with landlords' tax and energy cost burdens and limited market rents, many apartments are unable to keep up with required maintenance and repairs. Many apartment buildings in the village are financially stressed and visibly so, as evidenced by irregular building maintenance and unkempt grounds.
New housing stock is required to expand village housing options for prospective condominium owners, particularly entry level buyers, residents looking to downsize from their current residence, and seniors. Similarly, new energy efficient green housing stock is also required for apartment tenants as landlords are increasingly unable to maintain profitability in their aged structures. If Residence D is approved, new residential development projects will be possible and Mariemont will continue to retain its property values and grow for the future. Displaced residents from apartment buildings subject to redevelopment, meanwhile, generally have the opportunity to relocate within the village's 500 apartment units if so desired (as seen with the Jordan Park project). Vote YES on Issue 42 Residence D.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
- constructing multi-family buildings in the likeness of historic Mariemont architecture is not possible under the current zoning code
- Residence D zoning ordinance will cap building height at 45', extend front setbacks to match the village square, increase side and rear setbacks, include below grade parking and will establish architectural review to regulate new building design
- Residence D is a proposed floating zone, meaning any future proposed project requires a zoning change for approval (with public input included in 4 separate reviews throughout)
New multi-family housing over 4 units would be regulated with passage of the Residence D zoning classification, with the general intent of creating buildings which can complete the original 1921 Nolen town plan of Mariemont. Currently, any new condo or apartment proposals would be built under outdated zoning ordinances which would allow extensive surface parking, incompatible setbacks from neighboring buildings, and no design review by the village Architectural Review Board (ARB). Enactment of Residence D would enable and require new buildings to fit into the historic fabric of Mariemont and extend the town square.
When Mariemont was planned and developed in the 1920's, John Nolen (the country's pre-eminent town planner at the time) laid out the village with respect to the garden town communities researched by Mary Emery's advisers. The plan featured large scale buildings around the town center and along its associated diagonal streets, including Miami Rd. and Madisonville Rd. Due to the Great Depression of the 1930's, however, only a few elements (the northwest quadrant historic district and the Inn included) of the original plan would be built. When building resumed, the community was largely completed with single family detached housing under a new suburban type zoning code appropriate for the time (no zoning code was in effect until 1941).
As the baby boomer generation matures and seniors desire housing to age in place, demand is growing for multi-family buildings. Jordan Park on Miami Rd is a good example of this new housing product, and it was built with the intent of completing the Nolen plan and emulating the historic architecture of the village. Dated zoning codes, however, required zoning variances to allow the new building to obtain the height and setbacks typical of the historic buildings in the village. When another condominium project was proposed for Madisonville Rd., however, planners determined that issuing additional zoning variances would create ordinance loopholes not in the best interests of future village development, and declared furthermore that a new zoning classification was required to proceed.
With the aid of the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission, a study of appropriate zoning for the village was initiated. Based upon the commission's recommendations, multiple public meetings, and Planning Commission, Zoning Board and council reviews, the Residence D ordinance was unanimously approved, then challenged and ultimately placed on the November ballot for voter approval.
benefits of new zoning:
The new zoning classification proposes to restrict building heights to 45' max. to the peak (attainable only with max. setback) above grade (thereby not exceeding the Inn height), increase side yard (35' vs. 20') and rear yard (30' vs. 25') setbacks from single family homes, designate 10' as min. front yard setback to encourage extension of the village square, mandate 1 parking space per bedroom and additionally provide .25 visitor parking spaces per unit (with 60% of parking spaces to be placed underground). The ARB will be responsible to ensure that new buildings proposed under Residence D will serve to enhance the character of the village (via the use of traditional materials, contextual design (namely Tudor, Georgian or Jacobean), appropriate massing and greenspace, etc.).
With regard to building heights, Jordan Park was completed at 47' above grade while Residence D will cap building height at 45' as noted. A 45' height will allow traditional Tudor design with its steep roof pitch, 9' floor to floor and 6' elevation above street, all factors required for market construction. The proposed height is very similar to the height of the MacKenzie building (42') and the Strand (41'), and significantly lower than the Executive Building (55'), Dale Park school (58'), and the Parish Center (51').
As Residence D is a floating zone, it does not have an established geographic area (nor any Major Road designations as envisioned during preliminary public review) in the village until a building application is made. At that point, a zoning change is requested with public input to determine the subject property's appropriateness for Residential D development, followed by Planning Commission, ARB, Zoning Committee, and village council public approvals required for project commencement. Based on the zoning change review process, no unreasonable areas of the village will undergo Residence D development, most particularly the Historic District protected with National Historic Landmark status.
Residence D allows and influences new multi-family construction to be built in the tradition of Mariemont's large scale buildings. Without the new zoning ordinance in place, extensive surface parking, inappropriate design, and insensitive setbacks are all allowable under currently inadequate zoning. Vote YES for Issue 42 Residence D.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Ann & Joe Schneider
Bev & Chuck Kranitzky
Molly & Chuck Stewart
Dennis & Cynthia Wolter
Tom & Marty Allman
Dan & Barbara Policastro
John & Elizabeth Betemps
Val & Dave Garber
Gail & Peter McBride
Beverly & David Walters
Melissa & Dave Schmit
Bob & Donna Welch
Sharon & Rex Bevis
Jerry & Beth Garrison
Jane & Peter McDonald
John & Peggy Altman
Mark & Rebecca Bruggeman
Karen & Bill Herkamp
Frank & Angie Raeon
Jeff & Courtenay Andrews
Gail & Bill Dold
Karen Monzel Hughes
Millard & Nina Rogers
Andy & Courtney Black
Keri & Dennis McGraw
Ken & Joy White
Peggy & Karl Braun
Jo & Alan Henning
Kim & Steve Pipkin
Randy & Mary Beth York
Joe & Christine Miller
Kevin & Lea Veeneman
Michael & Natalie Barnes
Ellen & John Fakes
Lisa & Martin Koepke
Nancy & Joe Stelzer
Jennifer & Scott Degerberg
Robert & Michelle Rich
Kim & Ted Beach
Amy & John Fischer
Michael & Sharon Lemon
Mike Benson & Shelly Paden
Pam Pfeiffer Gaines & Terry Gaines
Gretchen & Charlie Thomas
Stan & Bobbie Bahler
Jennifer & Bill Ebelhar
Peggy & Don Keyes
Barb & Bob Blum
Rebecca & Mark Groppe
Susan & George Peck
Peter & Cindia Wren
Kristen & David Arends
Sandy & Terry Donovan
Tricia & Ian Jack
If you care to send a $20 PAC donation to Neighbors for Mariemont, forward e-mails to your friends, volunteer to distribute flyers and even host a neighborhood coffee session, that would be nice too.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
- both the village and school district project increased need for tax revenue
- Mariemont has very limited land opportunity to expand its tax base
- Jordan Park (built with variances under Residence C) yields $191k annually in property tax to the village and schools over and above previous use
- a proposed project on Madisonville Rd. estimated to yield $273k annually above existing use
- net new income, estate, and business taxes project additional revenue
- Residential D can offset your property taxes
Residence D offers one of the few current opportunities to expand the village tax base and limit residents' property tax liability. Village and school district expenses have increased over recent years and both anticipate budget shortfalls in the near future. As each entity has undertaken reasonable expense reductions, tax levy increases remain the only feasible option to maintain budgets unless services are reduced or eliminated for both residents and students.
The school district is funded by local property values and state subsidy (state is currently funding 26% of local school district budget (approx. $2 million) until 2012, and is further projecting funding only 16% of local budget afterward). At the same time, the state is considering House Bill 1 which proposes to add unfunded school obligations (pre-school and all day kindergarten) while reducing funding. Additionally, the school district is considering a necessary facility plan to consolidate and upgrade schools. Preliminary budgets show costs around $38 million over 15 years, equating to a 6.5 mil levy. At $35 per mil (i.e., per $100,000 house valuation), a homeowner of a $300k valued home would be taxed at an annual rate of $680 for the facility issue alone, not considering any additional levy costs due to reduced funding and added requirements.
While the school district has not determined how it will proceed with any future funding requirements and does not propose a levy this November, the village government will however have a 4.75 mil levy on the ballot to offset a forecasted $.5m deficit on the $3.5m budget. Short of passing a tax levy, the village options would consist of some combination of service and expense reduction (a potential loss of 6-8 employees out of 25 total) and/or increase in the earnings tax rate. Currently, the village General Fund is operating at a loss of $400k/yr, with the fund balance expected to be negative in 2011.
current tax base:
In the village, tax base expansion opportunities are limited due to the current land use and lack of available property for new taxable development. Industrial land is maximized along Mariemont Ave. in the area historically named Westover (including the Kellogg facility among others), and the new retail development along Red Bank is only partially taxable for the school district (school taxes for the Ford transmission plant land have been historically appropriated for the Cincinnati school district). As the industrial and business district use is currently maximized, the tax base is effectively capped, leaving the majority of the tax burden shouldered by village apartment building owners and homeowners.
Residence D tax base benefits:
With the passage of Residence D, responsible multi-family construction will be possible in the village. New condo and apartment units could replace aging and financially stressed apartment buildings to the benefit of the tax base, as already proven with the Jordan Park condos on Miami Rd. Even considering their inclusion in the existing Community Reinvestment Area (which allows 15yr 50% tax abatement in the business district and historical area), the condos annually yield $165k to the school district and $26k to the village over and above the previous land use (aged apartments).
New projected development on just 2 blocks along Madisonville Rd. proposes to yield approx. $238k annual net gain to schools and $35k to the village over the current use, assuming village council assumes a tax abatement under the existing CRA. If a tax abatement is not applied (or in 15yrs when a tax abatement expires), the Madisonville Rd. development on its own will deliver over $580k property tax annually to the schools (and $85k to the village) at today's valuation. Note that these revenue figures are property tax only and do not include any added income tax (46% of village revenues) or estate tax associated with the proposed additional new residents, nor any increased business tax revenues from the business district. (All real estate tax computations by HCDC (Hamilton County Development Co.)).
The village and schools require increased funding. With no other new tax base proposed in the village, Residence D will allow new housing development to replace aging properties and subsequently relieve the tax burden on village residents. Vote YES for Residence D.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
1. Residence D is a new zoning classification for multi-family buildings on the Nov. ballot
2. Residence D was created with public input and is endorsed by all local major civic groups
3. no viable zoning exists in the village for new condos / apartments to match our historic structures
4. Residence D is a floating zone, with future sites subject to the zoning change process
5. new multi-family's would be slightly shorter with greater setbacks from houses than the existing Jordan Park condo project, plus maintain underground parking and ARB approval
6. with passage, Residence D can add buildings which blend into the Mariemont fabric, increase our tax base, and provide new housing options for seniors, entry level buyers, tenants, and new residents alike AT NO COST TO THE TAXPAYER
7. Vote YES for Residence D
Residence D is a proposed new Mariemont zoning classification designed to regulate larger scale multi-family residential buildings (similar to classification 'B' which zones business use, classification 'I' which zones industrial use, etc.). It was originally drafted by the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission, received resident input for over 4 months in public meetings, and was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission and Village Council. Currently, the Residence D ordinance is subject to voter approval on the November ballot. Unlike other ballot issues, Issue 42 does not add any cost to the taxpayer.
Residence D classification is required because the village does not have a viable ordinance in place for multi-family buildings over 4 units to emulate the standards of our historic building design. Our existing apartments and condos were built either prior to zoning enactment in 1941 or built with variances to the Residence C zoning classification (not a desirable practice as variances create legal loopholes for future developers to subvert zoning law).
As a zoning classification, the ordinance simply defines how new multi-family's should be built in the village and does not specify any particular areas of development. If Residence D goes into effect as a new zoning ordinance, any new proposed multi-family project using Residence D zoning would separately submit for a zoning change for its particular site and be subject to additional public review in Planning, Zoning, and council approvals.
By ordinance, Residence D restricts building height to 45' (i.e., no taller than the Inn), increases side and rear yard setbacks, mandates underground resident parking, and requires Architectural Review Board approval. Compared to Jordan Park (new condos on Miami Rd.), Residence D is 2' lower and requires 15' more setback from neighboring houses).
By effect, Residence D has the potential to dramatically increase the village and school tax base, promote responsible residential development maintaining the historic character of the village, and provide a variety of new housing options for both entry level buyers and seniors alike.
Residence D is endorsed by:
Mariemont Architectural Review Board
Mariemont Preservation Foundation (MPF) Board of Trustees
MariElders Board of Trustees
Mariemont Park Board
Mariemont Civic Association
Garden Club of Mariemont
Mariemont Village Council
Mariemont Planning Commission
Mariemont Board of Education*
*The Mariemont Board of Education is in favor of Mariemont Residence D zoning in so far as it will provide additional tax dollars which will assist the Board as it continues to offer an excellent education to the students of the district. The Board of Education also expresses its belief that the citizens of Mariemont have the ultimate right to decide as they vote on the issue in November.
Please stay tuned to this blog for development of these topics. Thanks MB
Friday, October 2, 2009
With best wishes,
Millard F. Rogers, Jr.
Trustee, Mariemont Preservation Foundation
Over the next few weeks, we intend to explore Residence D's value to Mariemont with weekly blog topics as follows:
- tax base considerations
- need for updated zoning
- new housing stock
- fulfillment of the original town plan
- senior housing options
Please feel free to comment, add your endorsement, opinionate and otherwise inform Mariemont voters about this pending election issue. If you wish to get involved, the Residence D grassroots committee (Neighbors for Mariemont) has direct needs for distribution of yard signs and flyers, PAC donations, and neighborhood coffee hosts.
And don't forget to VOTE YES for RESIDENCE D on November 3. Thanks MB