By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
EAST PRICE HILL - It was neighbor against neighbor Wednesday night as Price Hill residents debated a $20 million condominium development before a Cincinnati city architect.
Supporters, including Price Hill Civic Club President Pete Witte and several small businesses, say the 56-unit Mount Hope Avenue condominium project would bring sorely needed investment in the city's most rapidly declining neighborhood.
Opponents, including East Price Hill Improvement Association President Frank Hollister and most adjoining property owners, say they favor development - but not at any price.
It was the second time city architect Robert H. Richardson has heard the issue. He rejected the plans Sept. 5 because the project was too big for the hillside, which enjoys special zoning protection.
But the developer - with support from Mayor Charlie Luken - asked for reconsideration.
Developer Craig Hilsinger of Cheviot plans to build the $300,000 to $450,000 luxury condos with views of downtown Cincinnati and the Ohio River.
A new plan he submitted this week calls for an even bigger development - six stories instead of five - but with architectural changes to make the building seem less horizontal.
Critics say the building still takes up too much of the hillside.
"I look at Mount Adams and see nothing but buildings," Hilsinger responded. "Is there anyone in Price Hill who would argue with the economic and social success of Mount Adams?"
"They're a different class of people," shouted Agatha Ridder, 81. She said the people in the upscale development wouldn't necessarily support East Price Hill businesses.
Richardson will make his decision by Oct. 12.
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