FutureHeights urges CH ABR to 'conceptually approve' TOH
To the Editor:
The FutureHeights Board of Directors sent this letter to the Cleveland Heights Architectural Board of Review on Dec. 19:
Dear Members of CH Architectural Board of Review,
FutureHeights supports moving forward with a mixed-use development at Top of the Hill (TOH) and urges the Cleveland Heights Architectural Board of Review to “conceptually approve” the project, with final approval subject to the developers’ final architectural design.
FutureHeights believes the TOH project will bring many benefits to residents, far beyond the utility of the current surface parking lot and buffer space. A high-quality project that is appropriately sized and sensitive to the existing business district and residential neighborhood will increase our tax base and reduce the tax burden of current residents in the long run. It will add new housing options to attract new residents and enhance the reputation of the city. It will appropriately increase density to support existing businesses and add vitality to the business district. And, it will improve the quality of life for existing residents by providing goods and services that they need. In addition, we hope that the developer will make a meaningful contribution to the Cedar Fairmount SID in order to strengthen that organization and the community activities it sponsors.
The FutureHeights Planning & Development Committee has continued to monitor the progress of the project and has reviewed the latest plans and renderings submitted by the architects. We believe that the concept, scale, and overall design direction of the project are appropriate for the site. While we share the community’s desire that the project’s architecture be compatible with the early 20th century architecture in the neighborhood, we recognize that our historic homes and commercial buildings are significant and valuable precisely because they cannot be replicated in our current time. We, therefore, support construction that is of our era and of high-quality materials that will withstand the test of time. We also encourage the project architects to further develop the concepts for the two public green spaces in the plan to ensure that they will meet the community’s needs.
Building anything in a developed area is always difficult. We have been inspired by the many residents and other stakeholders who have paid attention to this process, have asked good questions, and have made their concerns and aspirations known. It is important that we “get it right” and hold the developer to the highest standards. We are encouraged that the developer has continued to incorporate stakeholder input into the project and that the architecture and site plan have continued to evolve. This responsiveness engenders confidence that the project is proceeding in the right direction.
We trust that the city’s Architectural Board of Review will engage in a rigorous process. We are involved, and will continue to comment and question as we go forward.
Deanna Bremer Fisher and Julia Kious Zabell
Deanna Bremer Fisher, Executive Director of FutureHeights
Julia Kious Zabell, President FutureHeights Board of Directors