Cleveland Seeking Better Fortunes with a New Zoning Code

A ULI-led symposium in Cleveland is looking at how an update of the cit'’s outdated zoning code could revive some neighborhoods in the city.
October 30, 2015, 6am PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Kenneth Sponsler

During an all-day conference last week, Cleveland planners, developers, lawyers, community development officials, and architects came together to discuss, what was described as "an extensive dialogue on reshaping the code to encourage development and to make the city more attractive and livable." Reporting in The Plain Dealer, Steven Litt writes that the current code impedes walkability and separates land-uses, making it more difficult to create the pedestrian friendly environments urban dwellers are currently seeking.

One of the topics attendees are looking at is form-based zoning, which has been successfully implemented in several areas of the city. However, Cleveland's mayor is asking that the benefits of any zoning code changes be felt citywide.

As for Mayor Frank Jackson, he said he viewed form-based zoning as "a great tool, but as I tell my people, the measure of a tool is how it is used."

He said he would judge the new zoning on whether it enables economically challenged neighborhoods to participate in the growth that has occurred in a half-dozen popular areas, such as Ohio City, Tremont, University Circle and Detroit-Shoreway.

Developer Ron Ratner of Forest City advised in his key note address to the symposium that the city be careful in its approach to adopting form-based zoning in the city—understanding that it won't work in all areas. "You can't force the market to create density and walkability, but you can reinforce it where it does work," he said.

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Published on Saturday, October 24, 2015 in Cleveland Plain-Dealer
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