2014 Annual Report
The community development department is in charge of administering the building and zoning codes of the City as well as property maintenance code enforcement. The department was re-organized in 2014 and now consists of three full-time staff, which includes a director, zoning and code compliance officer and a building and development office manager, with support from the customer service staff and an inspector in the public works department. The City contracts for building, electrical and plumbing plan review and inspections with outside agencies. In addition to building permitting, the community 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.
The new Christ Hospital Outpatient Center and medical offices on the southwest portion of the Vintage Club property is nearing completion. A new 80,000 square foot building and a 20,000 square foot building were built by the developer, Brandicorp, with the City committing to construct a 321-space parking garage under a portion of the larger building. These medical office buildings will open in May of 2015.
The community development department continued discussions with the developer regarding future plans for the rest of the commercial section of the property. At the other end of Montgomery Road, the City acquired approximately 11.5 acres of property known as the Gateway Redevelopment Area (GRA) at the northeast corner of Montgomery Road and Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway. The site consists of the former Chevrolet dealership at 9292 Montgomery Road and the former Ford dealership at 9260 Montgomery Road as well as approximately 2.5 acres of land purchased from Hamilton County abutting Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway. The City demolished the former Chevrolet dealership building and plans to issue a Request for Qualifications in 2015 in order to partner with a high quality development team on an integrated, mixed-use project that is complementary in scale and design to the adjacent historic district and sensitive to the real estate market. Ohio National Financial Services completed work on the addition to its parking garage in 2014.
Efficiencies in building design allowed them to add more employees within their existing building; however, the existing parking garage was not large enough to handle the additional staff. An additional 202 parking spaces were added to the garage. There were other positive developments in the City during the year, including the opening of fifteen new businesses. The long-vacant First Financial Bank building at 9360 Montgomery Road was occupied by a wealth management company. Work was completed on Montgomery Hill, the ten-unit condominium townhouse project at Main Street and Remington Road that had been stalled for many years by the downturn in the housing market.
The builder for Montgomery Hill applied for and received approval for an additional three-unit building across the street from Montgomery Hill at 7925 Remington Road. Work had begun on this project at the end of 2014. Only three commercial building permits for new construction and expansion were issued in 2014, which is significantly lower than the 18 permits issued in 2013; however, the total value of improvements in 2014 was also lower than in 2013.
The total value of new commercial, commercial additions and alterations was $12.8 million in 2014 versus $17.1 million in 2013. The residential sector was busy in 2014 with the building department issuing 39 permits for new homes and 97 permits for residential remodeling/room additions. The total value of residential construction was estimated at $21.5 million. The number of teardowns also increased dramatically in 2014.
The City issued 30 demolition permits in 2014, which is the largest number of residential demolition permits issued in a single year. The number of residential demolition permits was significantly higher than in past years, with the exception of 2013 and 2005, which saw 22 teardowns each. Since 2001, there have been a total of 186 teardowns in the City.