Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cincinnati attempts to abuse Section 106 process Again! Hearing July 15th

2131Colerain (blue building) and the one right of it, are intact historic structures on an intact block, the demolition of these buildings would  have an adverse effect on the neighborhood. Amazingly neither structure has been deemed historic eligible by the Urban Conservator.
In a move to deliberately circumvent the public notification and engagement of the Preservation Community. Larry Harris, the city Urban Conservator, is holding a section 106 review hearing in a deliberate back door attempt to get over 100 properties already declared a public nuisance without the benefit of proper section 106 review, "reviewed". 
Also deemed , not eligible, by the conservator was this Italianate mansion

These properties, many of which are already put out for bid using Federal CDBG funds are the latest attempt by the City of Cincinnati to circumvent the Historic Preservation review process and presumabaly get as many set for demo using Federal dollars which in todays tough political climate, are funds that may be going away.

This 1860 Italianate cottage on beekman is part of a cluster of brick structures. We presume the reason for this being 'ineligible ' due to the window and door, The only non historic elements on an otherwise  time capsule structure
The 'public notice' sent by Mr Harris was emailed to exactly 22 people 2 of which were city employess Ed Cunningham and Al Taylor.

Suspiciously absent from this list were Community Council leaders, neighborhood groups and even Cincinnati Preservation Asociation which is the local consulting party for section 106 review.. The 'notice' was sent out on Friday and this 'sham hearing" is set for Friday July 15th at 10 am at the J. Martin Griesel Room. there are 134 properties on that list and of them only 6 have been determined to have any 'historic value acording to the Urban Conervator Larry Harris who holds an architecture degree but not a degree or training in Historic preservation. Those 'deemed elibible' should undergo an evaluation by city inspections to determine if stabilization should occur, that is if that part of the Section 106 review proces is even followed.

Ironically , many of these properties have changed hands and the owner of record appears to not have even been notified, raising the question if the city could face lawsuits  due to the lack of process.

The historic preservation community has been scrambling in an attempt to collect data and do research on this many properties. Many believe this process may violate state law due to the timing of the notice and the lack of widespread public notice. Additionally Knox Hill Neighborhood Association held a special board meeting and have authorized the filing of a new Federal citizens complaint with HUD . At  least two other community groups are considering a similar complaint and Knox Hill has already sent out emails to Congresional leaders Monday, currently reviewing HUD and CDBG funding abuse.

Larry Harris the Urban Conservator may be reached at 513-352-4848 FAX 513-352-4853 or by email at larry.harris@cincinnati-oh.gov

Please let him know how YOU feel about this latest attempt to abuse the section 106 review process.

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