“Builds essential trust between the community and its elected and city officials.”

Loveland, Ohio – Resident Steven Smith said the proposal you can read below, “Puts citizens in the driver’s seat to develop a new Loveland Master Plan.” He presented it to Loveland Council and staff at the May 9 Council meeting. Majority Council members are at odds with many residents as they move forward with plans to demolish City Hall and replace it with a four-story building with commercial space at street level, city offices on the second floor, and residential units on the top floors.

Council has not come to an agreement on when or how to receive public comment on the project (Council can’t agree on when public gets chance to weigh-in on replacing City Hall).

Smith said that there are many advantages if Council embraces a citizen-led effort to create a, “Truly sustainable Master Plan.”  He admits, while it will delay immediate decisions on land sales, development, and major projects, he feels the investment of time and energy will yield important results.

Smith’s rational:

• Create a strong Master plan that enjoys the support of residents and surrounding communities (that are an essential part of the community and economy).

• Establishes community engagement as a principle for all future governance in Loveland.

• Builds essential trust between the community and its elected and city officials.

• Reduces the risk for back room deals that are not in the public interest.

• Opens the process for true input from all citizens and stakeholders – community groups, business, seniors, youth, those who call Loveland home but live outside the official city limits.

• Brings in additional tax revenue from well planned and executed development that both takes advantage of the unique nature of Loveland and the surrounding region and also protects our heritage.

Smith said the process he describes can be challenging, “But, it can also release the creativity of the people of Loveland and the surrounding communities. I believe they want and deserve that opportunity.”


Smith’s Proposal 

A Community-Led Process to Create a Sustainable Development Plan
for Loveland, Ohio

Proposition – It is proposed that the City of Loveland establish a community-led process for the purpose of creating a Sustainable Development Plan.  The Sustainable Development Plan (hereafter SDP) will replace in total the current 2011 development plan.

Objectives:  The SDP will achieve the following:

  • A resident-driven and accepted plan to increase livability and economic vibrancy
  • Expand tax revenues while enhancing and protecting Loveland’s unique history and architectural heritage
  • Protect and expand open space
  • Engage the creativity and expertise of the citizens of Loveland
  • Benefit from outside resources in planning and the built environment
  • Create a truly innovative SDP that will make Loveland a showcase for the region, the country, and internationally. 

Core Principles:  A community-led process to be legitimate and accepted must follow these principles:

  1. The community has ownership of and runs the process.
  2. All neighborhoods and economic groups are fully represented – in short, everyone has a seat at the table.
  3. Decisions are made by consensus.  City council and the community-led structure must agree in order to proceed. If they do not, then they must return to discussions.
  4. In the case where the community-led process and the city council cannot reach agreement, the issue goes automatically to public referendum and the committee of the whole decides.

Essential Structures:  Specifics vary, but these elements are frequently used:

  • Neighborhood Roundtables – to ensure full representation
  • Technical Advisory Committees – capacity building
  • Management and Economic Advisory Committees – capacity building and resource mobilization
  • Council of Sages – general advice, historical perspective, and conflict resolution
  • Steering Committee – brings together input, facilitates, avenue for communication
In recent months, Smith has twice spoken to City Hall about a better path forward.

The Steven Smith Bio:

Smith is currently an independent consultant and has worked in architecture and governance internationally and in the U.S. He is a trained physicist and mathematician. He is in the “Builds Environment” doing the re-refurbishment of Chevron’s headquarters in San Francisco. He has provided advice, field analysis, and conducted peace building throughout Africa for fifteen years. Clients have included numerous international NGOs, the United Nations, US government, and private foundations. In 2014, he facilitated support to Great Lakes peace process among UN system across six countries – DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. Built strong working relationships among government stakeholders, UN heads of agencies and technical staff, donors, and non-governmental organizations. He has developed plans for economic renewable, peace building, and creating resilient communities.

Rick Ogden Heating & Air Conditioning


Installation and maintenance of heating and cooling systems in Loveland, Ohio Rick Ogden Heating & Air Conditioning is a family owned company


  1. Thanks to everyone for your comments. I’d like to see Loveland citizens be a part of a formal visioning and planning effort to redo the master plan for the community. As I said, that will take longer, but the results will be a stronger community, higher property values, and improved quality of life.

  2. Mr. Smith consistently offers insighful, inspirational and intelligent counsel to our council and our citizens. Our community would be wise to listen to him and follow his advice. Failure to do so will cost the taxpayers money as well as the loss of our beloved hometown.

  3. One thing is for certain: there is no stopping Mark Fitzgerald and company. Their idea will soon come to fruition, and I for one welcome the latest proposal from our Loveland Council overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted and loyal citizen, I can be helpful in rounding up others in Loveland to help demolish city hall.

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