Mayor Ed Kelley was quoted in a Sun Press article saying that the Lee-Meadowbrook development will not go forward if the CH-UH Board of Education will not approve an 11 year, 80% tax abatement.This abatement would apply to both the commercial and residential parts of this property.
I am glad Kelley passed the buck to them because our BOE has shown true leadership in their decisions about Milliken and Plan B. They can agree to disagree and work through tough issues, ultimately making the best decisions for the future of our community.
I urge the CH-UH Board of Education and the Cleveland Heights City Council to deny this request for yet another tax abated project at Meadowbrook-Lee.
The facts are there: the city has verified for me that we taxpayers have already spent $1 million to prepare this land for development. We have done our fair share to encourage private development of this city-owned land. Now let the market decide if there is need for more retail and apartments.
According to the developer’s own presentation to the Board of Education, he can make the project work without the tax abatement. If the developer does not need the tax abatement, why give it to him?
Let’s also consider these facts, as provided by the US Census and Case Western Reserve’s NEOCANDO research center.
In the 20 years from 1990-2010, Cleveland Heights’ population went from 54,052 to 46,114, a loss of 8,000 people. We added 594 housing units and the housing vacancy rate almost tripled from 3.89% to 11.14%.
So, we now have less people, more new housing and almost three times the housing vacancy rate than we did in 1990.
More relevant is that during the 10 year period 2000-2010, the vacancy rate of the city’s housing units went from 4.06% to 11.14%–nearly tripling. This is not in keeping with the rest of Cuyahoga County.
These numbers do not support building more housing.
I took a walk along Lee Rd a few weeks ago; there are many vacant retail spaces and all of the apartment buildings had signs indicating vacancies, including several large apartment buildings around the corner from the proposed Meadowbrook-Lee development.
We all want new development in our city, but the tax abatement is a separate issue. We would be taking money from our schools, and undermining the market for the existing retail and apartment buildings in that area.
I wish the developer all the luck in the world, but I do not want to give him my tax dollars, any more than he probably wants to give his to me.