Blog › Was Oakwood a referendum on regional land use? Cincy votes for street car; Green building advocates call on Ohio to adopt latest code


Was Oakwood a referendum on regional land use? Cincy votes for street car; Green building advocates call on Ohio to adopt latest code

Marc Lefkowitz  |  11/10/11 @ 2:35pm

A slim majority of voters in South Euclid opted on Tuesday to plow ahead with big box development on the former Oakwood Country Club golf course. Citizens for Oakwood led the campaign against, and reflects that Northeast Ohio failed a big test case for regional cooperation around land use.

Oakwood is on land situated at the meeting point of South Euclid, University Heights and Cleveland Heights. If ever there was a regional issue, this was it. Citizens asked repeatedly for a regional discussion.

The governments in those cities never held this discussion; it seems that regionalism only exists as an abstract notion in the minds of the officials in our part of the county. This simply means that as citizens, we will have to continue to educate our elected officials.

We look forward to working constructively with all area residents who support sustainable land use planning to create a vibrant, healthy, resilient region and a bright future for our community.

On Tuesday, Cincinnati voters rejected a proposed City Charter amendment that would have prevented the city from participating for 10 years in any passenger rail improvements, including its planned streetcar. This was the second defeated ballot issue since 2009 that was intended to stop all passenger rail development in the city.

"Forcing young professionals to drive everywhere is a sure way to drive them right out of Ohio," said rail advocates All Aboard Ohio Director Ken Prendergast. "In the 21st century, if a city or a state lacks quality public transportation, that includes rail, it is going to have a tougher time competing for young professionals and their entrepreneurial spirit for creating the jobs of tomorrow."

Young people do not have the same love affair for cars that their parents or grandparents had. The share of miles driven by people aged 21 to 30 in the U.S. fell to 13.7% in 2009 from 20.8% in 1995, according to the 2010 Federal Highway Administration's National Household Travel Survey. This decline came despite the fact that the current crop of 20-somethings is the largest generation in American history.

The award-winning documentary, The Whale, is a touching account of what happens when a baby killer whale gets separated from his family and unexpectedly starts making contact with people along a scenic fjord in Vancouver. Featuring superstars Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson, the film's producer, Beachwood native Eric Desatnik, set up a special screening at Cleveland's Capital Theater and Chagrin Valley-that has turned into an extended run through 11/17 (this may be your only chance to see it on the big screen). More information.

The community development corporations of Cleveland's Near West Side are teaming up to promote holiday events occurring in Tremont, Detroit Shoreway and Ohio City as Yuletide on the Near West Side. The neighborhood partnership promotes the lifestyle and the festive activities taking place during the months of November and December in all three neighborhoods.

Events include special holiday programming at Cleveland Public Theatre and Bright Night, a celebration to light the new Capitol Theatre blade sign and kick off the Holiday shopping season in Detroit Shoreway; Holiday BrewHaHa ArtWalk and Christmas Bizarre in Tremont; and a Christmas Walk and four weekends of the Christmas Festival in Ohio City, including three 'pop up' shops. For a full list of events visit www.westsideyuletide.com

We're often asked where can you responsibly dispose of 'e-waste' like old computers. Household computer equipment can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays year-round at RET3 Job Corp., 1814 East 40th St., Cleveland. To learn more about RET3, a nonprofit that puts local people to work retooling old electronics then distributes the computers to community organizations and schools, call 216-361-9991 or go here. There is also additional information on Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District website on disposal of a number of items:

As nice as the ramp up of voluntary green building programs like LEED have been for the morale of sustainable development in Northeast Ohio, if the state adopted the latest building codes (the 2009 IECC) it would dwarf LEED in terms of energy reduction impact. Sierra Club and the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Green Building group have started an advocacy campaign for Ohio to join more than half the states in the nation in making energy reductions a standard. For an explanation of the impact of Ohio adopting 2009 IECC residential building codes, read Environmental Health Watch Affordable Green Housing Center director Many Metcalf's editorial in Cleveland.com. Then click on the Sierra Club action alert.

As a follow up to his local food legislative roundtable in Cleveland this summer, Senator Sherrod Brown introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill: The Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act. It includes provisions that would:

  • Improve crop insurance products available to small and diversified family farms.
  • Eliminate existing penalties for production of fruits and vegetables on land previously dedicated to row-crops.
  • Invest in critical infrastructure that would enable farmers and food-businesses to aggregate, store and distribute their products.
  • Increase food safety training and technical assistance resources for small and mid-sized farming operations as well as to small slaughterhouses.
  • Reduce barriers to institutional purchasing, better linking Ohio farms with Ohio schools, hospitals, and other institutions.
  • Enable SNAP recipients to purchase fresh, Ohio-grown food by helping farmers and direct sales markets acquire the technology necessary to accept electronic benefits.

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