Thursday, June 10, 2004

Arts center ruling delayed

By Perry Schaible
Enquirer contributor

INDIAN HILL - Council members want to gather more information before deciding whether restrictions on a proposed cultural arts center here will stand.

They will visit the Greenacres Foundation's extensive compound and several surrounding residences, they said Tuesday evening.

"It's not something that we want to rush into, because ... there are strong opinions on either side," said Mayor Thomas Rink.

Some 100 people attended a special meeting at the Indian Hill Primary School as Greenacres appealed eight restrictions placed on the cultural arts center by the village's planning commission in April.

Officials for Greenacres, a private, non-profit operating foundation, said those restrictions, put on music and the size and number of events per year, are inconsistent with those placed on similar organizations in the community.

"If the exceptions by the planning commission imposed on this site were applied to other things, ... none of those organizations could function with these restrictions that we have," said C. Francis Barrett, legal counsel for Greenacres. "It would be better to allow this to go forward and review it and if there's a problem, address it at that time."

Carter Randolph, executive vice president of the foundation, said at capacity the proposed arts center will hold 250 people, but realistically it's only 180. There will be parking for 125 vehicles.

Officials want council to allow them to hold 38 outdoor events per year - a maximum of 26 for 125 to 250 people and 12 for more than 250 people. They are opposed to the limit of 16 - 12 for 125 to 250 people and four for above 250 - placed by the planning commission.

Residents such as Gary Beck, of Blome Road, are worried about the traffic and sound that the center might create. He supports controls on the foundation.

"It's hard for others to walk in our shoes, and it's easy to be enthusiastic from afar," Beck said.

Greenacres was founded in 1988 by civic leaders and prominent arts patrons Louis and Louise Nippert.

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