The building and development department is in charge of administering the building and zoning codes of the City as well as property maintenance code enforcement. The department is comprised of two full time staff, the Director and City Planner, with support from the customer service staff and an inspector in the public works department. The City contracts with National Inspection, Inc. for building and electrical permits and inspections and the Hamilton County Health Department does plumbing plan review and inspections. In addition to building permitting, the development department is also responsible for strategic and long-range planning, economic and business development and general community development projects. It provides staff support to the Planning Commission, Landmarks Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals.
First Financial Bank opened for business in 2012
After several years of a sluggish national economy, new development and redevelopment opportunities began to emerge in 2012. Transformation of the old Perkins site into the Montgomery Gateway Center II began in earnest. The vacant Clossons site was redeveloped for the relocated First Financial Bank and Kenwood Lincoln Mercury refurbished the old Jaguar property and relocated from Kings Auto Mall. In total, 17 new businesses opened during 2012, nearly double the nine new businesses started during 2011. Some noteworthy additions included the opening of Clark’s Pharmacy, Walker Brothers Ice Cream, Peaches Skin Care, Vintage Marketplace, Hanamiya-Beautiful Japan in the Historic District and three new businesses in the Schoolhouse Plaza Shopping Center. That center is expected to join Montgomery Square Shopping Center and Village Corner as being fully rented.
Vintage Club Development
Artistic rendering of the Vintage Club when complete
Perhaps the most promising of all was the renewed activity at the Vintage Club. Positive movement on a development plan for approximately one-half of the 13 undeveloped acres in the ‘village’ section occurred in 2012. A large medical office building, a retail building and parking garage were included in final plans submitted by the developer at the end of the year. It is hoped that this project will proceed and be under construction in 2013. At the other end of Montgomery Road, the owner of the old Chevrolet site, following the development of a concept plan by the City with input from nearby residents, presented a plan to the Planning Commission which envisions a mix of new residential, office and retail use.
The City took proactive measures to encourage and attract additional development and new businesses. For example, the City hosted its second economic development luncheon for commercial realtors, owners of multi-tenant commercial properties and developers in order to share information on available properties, as well as to gather useful suggestions from the attendees on how the City could expand its economic development efforts. The City also entered into a contract with Ice Miller Whiteboard to identify strategies for the City to recruit new economic development. All of these activities were driven by the City’s five-year strategic plan.
A total of 24 commercial building permits for new construction and expansion were issued in 2012, a significant increase over the past several years. The total value of improvements was $14.1 million. It was not just the commercial sector that was becoming active. The building department also issued 20 permits for new homes and 51 residential remodeling/room additions. The total value of residential construction was estimated at $11.4 million.