The Hough form-based coding recommendations by the Cleveland City Planning Commission failed to pass because of a lack of affirmative votes in the Dec. 1st City Planning Commission meeting. One agenda item for the meeting was to approve the recommendation for the new form-based code pilots in three specific neighborhoods. Many residents in attendance from the Hough community had a resounding opposition to the new form-based code. Commission members heard their concern by abstaining from the vote, therefore, the recommendation did not carry.

The form-based code is to replace the 80-year-old Cleveland zoning code. The new code creates flexibility and streamlines the development process. The City Planning Commission has identified sections of Detroit Shoreway/Cordell, Hough, and Opportunity Corridor as a pilot for implementing the new tool. The City Planning Commission website states that if the pilot is successful, the new code will be expanded to cover more parts of the city as new neighborhood plans are adopted.

Lillian Kuri, the chair of the Cleveland City Planning Commission, pushed through the long and well-put-together presentation from Chief city planner Shannan Leonard. The initiative has been in the works for almost five years. A few of the barriers for the commission were COVID-19, Cleveland leadership changes after the election, and the changes made within Cleveland City Hall. Joyce Pan-Huang, the new City of Cleveland Planning director, expressed that the form-based code will benefit the City of Cleveland and its residents.

Although most of the residents of the community opposed the form-based code, there were some organizations represented that supported it. Representative Khalid Hawthorne from Famicos, a community development corporation, supported the initiative because the “old code was a pain in the butt and for developers, for the community, for CDCs, having this form-based code I think brings more predictability to the process.”

Some attendees to the public Zoom discussion.

Aisha Ivy, an E. 65th St. resident said, “Like everyone else has said, I grew up in this community. My mom was raised in this community and my grandmother and these houses have been here for years, and the people have been here for years and it’s disheartening to hear, well to be bullied. I would have never purchased my home next to a commercial building and I have grandchildren living with me.”

Although the commission and its partners have put in the effort to communicate with residents, the residents don’t feel the same. There were two suggestions made by residents to help with communication and build trust. One suggestion mentioned that there is a need for a better way to communicate directly with the residents. This way, there will be no need to rely on council members or other community meetings not designated for city planning. Another suggestion was to modify the code to accommodate residents in the process. In other words, it mandates that residents are included as part of the development process.

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