Thursday, October 18, 2001

Council delays vote on housing

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A majority of City Council members were ready Wednesday to vote for a plan limiting low-income housing projects in Cincinnati.

        But they never got a chance — and now a decision will be delayed for at least another week.

        That's because three council members blocked an attempt to vote on the plan without going through the usual review process.

        “I don't know what the rush is,” said Councilwoman Alicia Reece. “For me this is a very, very, very serious issue.”

        In order to vote on the plan early, seven of nine council members had to agree to change the rules.

        The plan, proposed by Councilman John Cranley and emphasized in one of his campaign ads, would restrict low-income housing projects in the city's poorest neighborhoods, while supporting them outside the city.

        It has drawn fire from low-income housing advocates, who say it would push the poor out of their homes at a time when the city needs more low-income housing.

        It has also been criticized by suburbanites as pushing low-income residents into their backyards.

        Mr. Cranley said several neighborhoods have been affected by low-income housing. Among those, he said, are Avondale with 1,270 units; Price Hill with 914; and Bond Hill with 330.

        He also said Over-the-Rhine, with more than 500 vacant buildings, has been destroyed by the concentration of low-income housing.

        “It is the right thing to do,” said Mayor Charlie Luken, who voiced support for Mr. Cranley's plan along with councilmen Pat DeWine, James Tarbell and Chris Monzel.

        Councilman Paul Booth said there shouldn't be a rush.

        “I know this is campaign season,” he said, noting that several city administrators have cautioned that the plan could affect the estimated $25 million the city receives in federal housing grants.


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