Loveland, Ohio – On May 9th Jay Stewart the President of the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) presented the final recommendations to City Council with options on how to repurpose the City Building. Part of the recommendation was for Council to hold “public hearings” on the recommendations before proceeding with the project. Mayor Mark Fitzgerald asked for a motion to hold a hearing at the next meeting.
Both Weisgerber and Phelps wanted more than a “public hearing” style of opportunity for the public to weigh-in on the proposal. They want a more give and take opportunity for the public, where there would be dialogue, instead of monologue; a more informal format. Weisgerber said he wanted, “General sessions, informational sessions, or charrettes with the public to get input.”
Phelps said that this was the first-time the CIC has addressed City Council to discuss the repurposing of City Hall. He had the same questions as Weisgerber, and, “More.” He wanted to find out more about the process and how the CIC arrived at their recommendations, and why the three- story option was eliminated. Both Phelps and Weisgerber said that he would not be in favor of holding a public hearing at this point.
Fitzgerald thought Council should follow the recommendation of the CIC.
The motion by Vice-Mayor Angie Settell was voted down with a 3-3 tie vote. Fitzgerald, Settell, and Pam Gross voted, “Yes.” Ted Phelps, Rob Weisgerber, and Kathy Bailey voted, “No.” Stephen Zamagias was absent.
Weisgerber then moved to have no less than three open sessions with the public in Council Chambers, during after-work hours that all of Council can attend, to talk about design options and receive public input. The motion was seconded by. Bailey. The motion received loud applause from the audience.
Phelps said the meetings proposed by Weisgerber would allow, “Stakeholders, neighboring property owners, and downtown residents to weigh-in on the project.”
Fitzgerald then said he did not understand why Weisgerber did not want to begin with the formal type of public hearing at the next council meeting that was the recommendation of the CIC. He then abruptly shut off debate on the motion and called for a vote.
The motion also failed, with a 3-3 tie, reversing their votes on the earlier Settell motion.
During the open forum part of the meeting, Diane Powers asked Council to have three or four, “across the table discussions” to build trust and dialogue with the residents and stakeholders. She urged Council to “take some time off” before they position themselves, and take a vote.
Fitzgerald said he found it, odd that Powers would want to delay the recommendation of the CIC, because, “It would not preclude other meetings.”
Steven Smith also took a turn at the podium urging more community input on the project and explained in a detailed handout, how it could be accomplished.
These two LOVELAND MAGAZINE VIDEOs are of the Council votes.