East 4th Street is a shining example of the new Cleveland. It's mix of restaurants, shops, offices and residential is as vibrant as it is illegal. Yes city zoning codes written in 1929 essentially did not allow for residential mixed with other uses.
"If you did that and the current zoning code was applied you'd have to have front yards on all those buildings," said Robert Weeks of the Urban Land Institute. "East 4th, many parts of Euclid Avenue are illegal, you couldn't do that, so if that's the case why do we have a code that doesn't incentivise what we want to see," he said.
"We're not advocates, we're educators," Weeks said of the Urban Land Institute's role in helping the city. "ULI's mission is to promote the sustainable and responsible use of urban land," he said. "We want to bring the best practices in urban design to policy makers, designers and developers."
One such way the city is looking at areas like Ohio City is Form Based Zoning, allowing for multiple uses of a single piece of land creating a dense walkable community. "We're not advocates of the form based code but that's one of the best practices that can be applied to city codes," Weeks said.
The 1929 zoning code was written at a time when the city was looking to separate residential from heavy manufacturing. "Bringing them back together isn't saying that we're going to put factories right next to houses," he said. "That's not the intent but the idea is to get the buildings like this to have a mix of use."
In Ohio City on Tuesday, residents heard from city planners about how these changes would apply to their neighborhood in an effort to get their feedback. Some residents expressed concern over the speed with which changes could occur as well as the need for oversight to keep developers in check.