American Planning Association of Ohio
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January/February 2013

Last Word

by Wendy Moeller, AICP
Immediate President of APA Ohio

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the membership for their input and support during my term as the APA-Ohio Chapter President. I had a fantastic time serving the chapter and being its voice in the larger, national association. I also want to thank our chapter’s board of trustees who were all there with great guidance and feedback that helped things run as smoothly as possible. During my term, I not only had a chance to work with our members and representatives from many of Ohio’s communities but I also had the chance to get to know and work with a lot of great planners from other states who served as their chapter’s president during the same time. Though it was a great opportunity that will give me memories to last a lifetime, I am also happy to be passing the torch to Ann Klavora who I have no doubt will serve this chapter well. Thank you all again and I look forward to continuing to work with the chapter and board of trustees in the future.

Wendy Moeller, AICP is Principal and Owner of Compass Point Planning and APA Ohio Immediate Past President.  She can be reached at  

First Word

by Ann Klavora, AICP
President of APA Ohio

This edition of the Ohio Planner’s News provides me with my first opportunity to speak to the chapter membership as the newly elected APA Ohio President. I am looking forward to working with you all over the next two years.

I would like to thank Wendy Moeller, AICP for her excellent service as Chapter President over the last three years; her shoes will be hard to fill. However, I will have the support and assistance of an excellent board, including the officers elected at our December 2012 board meeting:

  • Vice President: Todd Kinskey, AICP, Hamilton County Department of Planning & Development
  • Treasurer: Rachel Ray, AICP, City of Dublin
  • Secretary: Nancy Reger, AICP, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
  • Professional Development Officer (PDO): Kristin Hopkins, AICP, Cuyahoga County Planning Commission

Planning for the 2013 APA Ohio Planning Conference is underway. Our biennial state conference will be held in Cleveland in mid-September at the new Cleveland Convention Center and Medical Mart. Watch your email for a save-the-date and call for session proposals. Sponsorship information will also be available soon. I am co-chairing the conference planning committee with Kimberly Wenger, AICP. Please feel free to contact either of us with questions, ideas or early offers of sponsorship.

Ann Klavora, AICP is Principal Planner at the City of Shaker Heights and APA Ohio President. She can be reached at

Three Lake County Cities Receive USEPA Funding for Watershed Improvement Projects

by Amy Brennan & Abe Bruckman, AICP, LEED-AP

Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc. (CRWP) and three Lake County cities - Mentor, Eastlake and Willoughby - received a $770,000 grant from the US EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for a series of green infrastructure projects at target sites near Lake Erie.

This project, led by CRWP will focus on projects that will improve water quality along Newell-Ward Creek, a tributary of the Chagrin River that flows into Lake Erie. These projects will reduce stormwater volume and treat nutrients, sediment, and temperature in urban runoff, promote sustainable land use, and economic development while educating residents and ensuring the health of the Chagrin River and Lake Erie.

At Willoughby’s Lost Nation Golf Course, 2,900 linear feet of stream and riparian corridor will be restored to improve aquatic habitat. CRWP will also work with Eastlake, Mentor, and Willoughby to reach out to Newell-Ward Creek residents (approximately 4,900 households) to promote green infrastructure practices and provide financing for rain gardens, rain barrels, and trees to more effectively manage stormwater.

Upstream within the City of Mentor, $350,000 will be used for stormwater management improvements within the parking lot of an aging shopping mall, which contributes to downstream flooding and water quality problems. The 114-acre mall is the largest single commercial property in Mentor and represents 7% of all impervious surfaces within the 7.8 square mile Newell-Ward Creek watershed. Mentor received $15,000 through the Lake Erie Protection Fund for conceptual designs, soil infiltration tests, and a cost-effective implementation plan using green infrastructure retrofits within the shopping center’s parking lots.

This plan, created by the Environmental Design Group of Akron, Ohio, introduces a new landscape design in a high-visibility lot near the mall’s food court entrance.

A ‘Permeable Promenade’ will feature best management practices and replace asphalt with prominent landscape elements and attractive surface treatments. This design maintains existing parking lot configurations and ties into existing stormwater infrastructure. The pervious paver walkway treats stormwater and creates a 20-foot wide pedestrian corridor to improve safety while maintaining existing drive lanes. 5,000 square feet of bioretention cells will treat stormwater and introduce trees to provide shading for cars and pedestrians. The new design will be a visual draw that the Mall will support with additional site amenities such as bench seating, accent and seasonal lighting. The Mall draws six million visitors annually, which will generate educational opportunities.

The project will also retrofit thirty existing catch basins with permeable concrete collars comprised of an approximately 12 x 12 foot excavation around existing catch basins and installation of porous concrete with a reservoir of stone underneath. This will hold stormwater runoff as it infiltrates into the underlying soil. These modifications will have the capacity to infiltrate stormwater volumes from a 2-year, 24-hour storm event (2.25 inches of rain in a 24 hour period) from the 75 acres of the mall parking lot.

The Mall owners and the City aim to improve the local retail experience by installing outdoor pedestrian environments in response to the trend of re-developing retail sites as lifestyle centers. Simon Property Group, the Mall owners, own or manage 350 retail real estate properties in the United States. An appealing and cost effective green infrastructure project at this site could foster similar efforts at other Simon locations. The Mall is on the City’s main commercial corridor, which follows an ancient beach ridge, suggesting that soil conditions along this route would support similar green infrastructure projects nearby.

Amy H. Brennan is the Director of the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc.  She can be reached at

Abe Bruckman, AICP, LEED-AP, is Grants Coordinator for the City of Mentor.  He can be reached at

Cincinnati's Central Riverfront Plan receives 'National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation’ from APA

The Cincinnati Riverfront Plan converted 195 acres of a vast wasteland, between the Ohio River and Cincinnati's Central Business District, into an economically successful and vital, mixed-use development. The plan is a result of a public participation planning process that started in October 1996 with the collaboration of the city and Hamilton County together with Urban Design Associates, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and the OKI Regional Council of Governments to give direction in two public policy areas — two new sports stadiums and an overall urban design framework for the development of the central riverfront.

Reconstruction of a freeway that separated the project from the central business district recaptured land enabling two stadiums to be built and construction of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Developing an innovative design enabled lifting the street grid and buildings out of the 100-year floodplain to above the 500-year flood level and tying it to transportation facilities and fronting it with an inviting riverfront park. The first phase is projected to return more than $276 million in annual economic impact once completed. The first six acres of a planned 45-acre public park, apartments for 300 residents (100 percent leased), and entertainment venues (retail space 89 percent leased), and creation of 900 jobs from both ongoing business operations and construction, now actively contribute to the liveliness of the neighborhood.

Visit National Planning Awards 2013 to read more about this project and other award winners.

Moving Forward the Creative Community in Columbus

by Vince Papsidero, AICP

In March of 2010, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman announced that the city was going to step up and invest big into East Franklinton, a 200-acre urban neighborhood due west of Downtown that had yet to benefit from urban investment. Previously the greater Franklinton neighborhood had been paralyzed by the 100-year floodplain of the Scioto River, experiencing a flood of historic proportions in 1913 that had hamstrung investment ever since. But in the past couple of years small hints of interest had occurred, generated by young artists and other entrepreneurs. The timing seemed right in early 2010 to make a big commitment.

The Planning Division undertook a neighborhood planning process with consultants to raise the prominence of this new initiative. A team lead by Boston-based Goody Clancy was selected and an 11-month planning process delivered a plan that was adopted by City Council in November, 2012. The market-based program called for over 500,000 square feet of arts, incubator and office space and around 4,400 new dwelling units over a 20-year period. The plan called for a denser, walkable, urban development scheme that would attract the “creative class” and incubate young businesses. Coffee shops, restaurants, bars and artist studios would line the blocks in a mixed use pattern of multi-story new lofts and rehabbed historic warehouses.

City Investment
The city began investing in the neighborhood prior to the Mayor’s 2010 State of the City. Columbus provided the neighborhood non-profit development corporation, Franklinton Development Association, with $900,000 to purchase a vacant, two-story warehouse for redevelopment. The city also obligated $150,000 to local investor Walt Reiner, who began rehabilitating the former Franklinton Post Office, the city’s oldest structure still on its original foundation.

Before the East Franklinton Plan was completed, the city initiated engineering for the two-way conversion of Town and Rich Streets, two arterials that link Downtown to the west side. Scheduled to be completed in October 2013, the city added gateway improvements at the eastern boundary of each road, both framed by clusters of railroad bridges. A public art component will be announced in this month, building upon the vision for the neighborhood. The gateways are to be completed by mid-2014. Also part of this project is the design of a low maintenance, metallic “banner” that will be sporadically (and safely) placed on city utility poles in the neighborhood. The design of these urban design improvements build upon the existing industrial character of the neighborhood, while adding an artistic interpretation.

The Planning Division is working with the Building and Zoning Services Department to create an Urban Mixed Use District with a design review board specific to East Franklinton. The neighborhood is currently a mix of residential, commercial and manufacturing zoning, with an Urban Commercial Overlay along West Broad Street. The new district will replace these existing districts, providing a flexible, urban focused zoning district in which a multitude of uses will be permitted by right, including ground floor retail and related uses. Design review will be the focus, implemented by the new design review board based upon the city’s successful University Area Review Board. This approach should facilitate investment by eliminating the need for individual rezonings and reducing variances.

On November 12th when the plan was adopted, Columbus City Council also created a new tax increment financing district for East Franklinton and expanded the existing Franklinton CRA to include the balance of the planning area. The city’s Public Utilities Department is also beginning preliminary engineering to upgrade/replace underground utilities, which are some of the oldest in Columbus.

That same evening in November, the city also created the NextGen Development Corporation, a new non-profit development arm of the city that will begin in East Franklinton its mission to facilitate redevelopment. The city has also allocated around $800,000 for initial land acquisition, targeting key properties. NextGen is to receive additional funding in 2013 to expand urban land acquisition efforts.

The plan emphasizes affordable housing and targets the creation of 650 new units as part of market rate private multi-family and live/work developments. The plan expects developers to meet these targets in exchange for city financial assistance.

Private Sector Response
An arts incubator has been under development for the past two years. 400 West Rich is a 125,000 square foot former warehouse constructed in 1910 that is slowly being transformed by Los Angeles-based Urban Smart Growth. Nearly 60 artists currently have studios in the building and another 30 are to open over the winter. Local entrepreneurs have opened Dinin’ Hall, a food-truck based lunch operation that hosts special events. A biweekly winter farmers market has been started and the developer is in the process of building out a bar and entertainment venue with gallery space. Urban Smart Growth has also proposed a 65-unit live/work residential product across the street from 400 W. Rich and is presently seeking local financing.

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority owns 11.5 acres to the south of 400 W. Rich that was identified in the East Franklinton Plan as critical to establishing the housing market. Formerly a public housing site, CMHA demolished the buildings in 2011 and will be issuing an RFP in early 2013 for a development partner. The plan calls for 1,100 units of mixed income housing with neighborhood retail, to be phased over 10 years. Part of the project is to include a land swap with the city to create a site on the banks of the Scioto River with long term potential as an owner-occupied condo tower and in exchange the creation of a neighborhood park within adjacent residential blocks.

FDA is negotiating a tenant/co-investor in their warehouse project that will create incubator space, an educational focus and event space to the 50,000 square foot building. Another local arts incubator concept, Wonderland has been looking at East Franklinton as well. Smaller businesses are taking a serious interest in the neighborhood. A restaurant commissary, bar and event space has been proposed in a former light industrial building. An investment group that includes NFL players opened a rehabbed neighborhood bar (The Rehab Tavern) that celebrates the plan and other neighborhood efforts in artwork on an interior wall. And residential developers are looking into East Franklinton, but no one has publicly stepped up. The ULI Columbus District released in early December a survey of the development community, which ranked East Franklinton one of the top three development priorities for 2013, along with Downtown and Dublin’s core.

Vince Papsidero, AICP is the Planning Administrator of The City of Columbus Planning Division and an At-Large Board Member of APA Ohio. He can be reached at

Lakewood Lights Up for the Holiday Season

by Ian Andrews

Detroit Avenue in Downtown Lakewood was transformed December 1 into a winter wonderland as over 12,000 people gathered for the Sixth Annual Light Up Lakewood Festival. Organized by LakewoodAlive, the festival featured a parade, fireworks, ice carving demonstrations, games, choral performances, children’s activities, entertainers, music, food trucks, and so much more. Light Up Lakewood has become one of the community’s signature events and speaks volumes about community pride and re-emphasizes the commitment so many make to further strengthen Lakewood.

Over 200 volunteers helped make the event possible along with the support of the City of Lakewood’s police, fire, road, and park crews. Additional support was provided by Lakewood Hospital, University of Akron Lakewood, Quaker Steak & Lube, First Federal of Lakewood, Discount Drug Mart, Target, Plantation Home and many more. Visit the Light Up Lakewood page to see photos of family and friends, generously provided by local photographers.

Photo by Craig Lovejoy

LakewoodAlive is a 501 (c)(3) economic development corporation whose mission is to improve the quality of life of residents by creating alliances with community leaders, leveraging community assets and expanding the pool of available resources in order to facilitate economic stabil¬ity and growth in the City of Lakewood.

A National Main Street™ community since 2005, the revitalization of downtown Lakewood continues as the focus of LakewoodAlive’s activity. In recognition of housing quality as Lakewood’s economic lynchpin, LakewoodAlive launched a housing outreach program in 2009. Funded with Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) dollars, this program connects low-moderate income residents with financial and practical resources to maintain the exterior of their homes.

Ian Andrews is the Executive Director of LakewoodAlive and former APA Cleveland Board Member. He can be reached at

APA Columbus Teams Up With Pecha Kucha Night Columbus: Design + Eat + Explore

by Aaron Domini & Christine Palmer

Pecha Kucha Night started as a simple idea for a one-off event, devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture as the first event held at their creative kitchen SuperDeluxe in Tokyo, in February 2003. Since then it has grown into an international movement. Columbus is no stranger to Pecha Kucha and has a local chapter Pecha Kucha Night Columbus.

The Columbus Section co-hosted a thought provoking event with Pecha Kucha Night Columbus in November. At this thought provoking event participants were challenged to get out of the “planning box” and inspire their audience with non-planning centered topics. This event was put on in tandem with the November Mixer for Pecha Kucha Columbus, which was formed by a group of community members in February of 2007. Each speaker followed the international Pecha Kucha format of showing 20 images and speaking about each image for 20 seconds. Pecha Kucha is about sharing passion and creativity, and is not a forum for sales pitches, commercial presentations, or self-promotional material. That creativity was furthered expressed through the location; it was held at a recently renovated warehouse space turned artist community, 400 West Rich in Franklinton.  Click here for more information on the recent transformation of the Franklinton community.

Topping off the event was live music and food provided by local food trucks located in the adjacent Dinin’ Hall — a unique and innovative street food hub located at 400 West Rich. Outdoors on the street, a bonfire and the 400 West Rich Gallery space were also integrated into the night’s program. The Columbus Section looks forward to hosting this exciting event again in there, with plans already underway for an APA / PK Columbus event at the Newport in February. If you are interested in taking part, contact Aaron Domini.

Aaron Domini is a Senior Planner with OHM Advisors.  He can be reached at

Christine Palmer is a Senior Planner with the City of Columbus.  She can be reached at

Ohio Balanced Growth Program’s New Resources for Local Governments: Ohio Land Use Conference and Regional Roundtables 2013

by Kirby Date, AICP

The Best Local Land Use Practices part of the Ohio Balanced Growth Program is culminating its third year as a statewide program with a unique daylong conference for planners, economic development professionals, developers, and elected and appointed local officials – followed up by regional roundtables for local discussion and collaboration.

The conference, titled “Linking Land Use and the Economy”, and co-sponsored with The Ohio State University Extension and Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs, was held on January 11 in Columbus. It featured discussion of tools and trends on land use in Ohio – and their relation to communities’ economic future. Scott Bernstein of the Center for Neighborhood Technology presented the keynote, providing an analysis of development market trends in Ohio, and implications for land use decision making. One of the major points he made was the substantial role transportation costs now play in household budgets, and the need for full disclosure of the impact of transportation costs on household and community infrastructure budgets. Plenary sessions included Carson Bise of Tischler-Bise, fiscal analysis consultants, presenting 25 years’ experience projecting the fiscal impacts of community decisions, with a focus on a current project for the City of Dublin. A developers’ panel at lunch responded to these two sessions, and a plenary panel looked at what some communities are doing to prepare for economic change as a result of oil and gas industry activity. Finally, breakout sessions addressed innovative storm water programs for revitalization, state incentives and programs, innovative local government land use decision making, and county-level agricultural economic development plans. For more information, and the conference powerpoints, see the conference web site here.

This fall, the Best Local Land Use Practices team has also rolled out a set of new resources for local governments. An all-new guidance document, “Linking Land Use and Ohio’s Waters”, presents background information on fifteen recommended practices, ranging from comprehensive planning, compact development and conservation development, to stream setbacks, innovative storm water practices, and historic preservation. Written for local governments, it includes extensive resources, example regulations, case studies, and more. A bibliography details key messages on the economic benefits of those practices in 150 research papers. As of the end of the year, a new video featuring local government officials, developers, and thought leaders discussing the benefits and rationale behind implementing the practices will be posted on the Ohio Balanced Growth Web Site. Technical assistance is available to local governments to help with implementation.

As a follow up to the conference and roll-out of the new resources, roundtable discussions will be held in eight regions of Ohio in March of 2013. More information as it becomes available will be posted on the Balanced Growth website.

Kirby Date, AICP, is the Program Manager for the Comminity Planning Program and faculty member of the CSU Levin College of Urban Affairs.  She can be reached at




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