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How Fluid Is A Master Plan Designed to Be?

June 6th, 2009 · No Comments

One thing has puzzled me since I moved back to Cleveland, and it’s about adherence to the City’s Master Plan.  I know these plans are and should be fluid. But I always had the nagging suspicion that Cleveland is pretty good at looking the other way regarding her master plan. Am I wrong?
Now here is an article in the Plain Dealer about Midtown development, what the Master Plan and the development peeps perceive for the area, and what seems to be in the works instead.  Michelle Jarboe covers this very well, interviewing Chris Warren, Jim Haviland, etc., people with either a vested interest or emotional commitment to making the Euclid Avenue Corridor work.  I would say, and maybe this is naive on my part, that even the people with monetary vested interests also have a commitment to making the Corridor work.
When the Master Plan says Midtown is supposed to attract private development, what does that mean, exactly?  When the Cleveland Planning Commission was dog and ponying their Connect Cleveland updates to our Master Plan, they said the idea was to encourage cluster development, transit oriented development, trails and park development and connection, depending on where you looked at the plan.  But they also seemed to say it wasn’t etched in stone.  That makes no sense to me because, for example, I have a four family home with an ancient two family home zoning that doesn’t even exist anymore.  Yet, adherence to the rules seems to only apply to some.
It seems to make for confusion which hinders development.  Am I wrong to think this way?
A technology center, large one at that, was planned for the area. Then the commercial market went south.  Then non profits said let’s get the space ourselves and put in social service places, homes, senior housing, etc. And a mental hospital. 
Is the Corridor good for a Mental Hospital because after all, it is in a medical area?  Or should we all wait for the market to improve and a technology center to be built there?
Sometimes this place makes me crazier than a bed bug (I might need that hospital eh?).  I honestly don’t know the answers here. The article says ‘real estate’ peeps are happy with the senior housing, social services, mental hospital because 500 or so jobs will be created and then people will want to live close to where they work.
We are already an established medical city. No doubt there.  We aspire to be as established in technology.  But we aren’t all the way there yet.  So is a mental hospital better there than a tech center?
I would most definitely love to hear your thoughts on this.
The first commenter on Michelle’s article is not one of the usual nut jobs who comment, krazyk47 said this:
 This is an important article, and underscores one of the main conflicts holding the city back… As soon as you get developers interested in investing a bunch of special interests jump in and claim their due, which kills the potential for private development.
I’m Not saying that the public housing/ mental hospitals don’t belong in cleveland, or that private interests should always trump public policy… but in this case I would side with Midtown cleveland and the private developers… (check out the PD article for the rest of the story).
If you go to Midtown Cleveland Inc’s website, you can see the pdf of the goals of the master plan as they supposedly relate to this area. This is how they open their pdf:

The organization’s city-adopted master plan,

Beyond 2005: A Vision for MidTown Cleveland,

enhances MidTown’s distinct sub-districts through

transit-supportive development, which leverages

the investment in the Euclid Corridor Transportation

Project to foster a mix of residential, commercial,

office, civic, and green spaces.

That sounds to me like it could include a hospital AND a large tech center – but it is still a very good question, should a spot assembled by a development corporation for one purpose be used towards a different purpose?

Peace Out – 3C



Tags: Cleveland Real Estate · economic development · Ideas · neighborhood news · Ohio Rail and Transit · transit oriented development

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