The View from Ward 2
Housing, Planning, and Development Committee
On Monday, January 4th, the Housing, Planning, and Development Committee discussed two ordinances that would authorize the City to enter into a development agreement with the developer of the former Barry Buick and Spitzer properties JDSI as part of a 15-year tax increment financing program.
A tax increment financing program (TIF) is a financing tool available to cities that can be used to support public or private infrastructure improvements. The TIF works by allowing the increase in the assessed value of the property after the improvements are made to be exempt from real property taxes. For example, if a property is assessed at $100,000 prior to any improvements and is then assessed at $300,000 after the improvements, then the property owner only pays property taxes on the original $100,000 assessment. The TIF that we are considering is a non-school TIF. This means that Lakewood’s schools would receive the full amount of property taxes that would have been payable as if no TIF existed. The TIFs would be in addition to the 15-year Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) exemptions that work like TIFs, but require the developer to make 20% of its units to be affordable.
The authorization to enter into a development agreement is the first step in implementing the TIF. City Council will have to pass the Development Agreement Ordinance, the City then must enter and exit the chain of title for the properties, and then City Council must pass the TIF Incentive Ordinances.
The City estimates that during the proposed 30-year period the City will collect $116,779,445 in income taxes. Enacting the TIF will convert two former commercial sites into two newly constructed mixed-use properties that will collectively add 280 residential units, 3,000 square feet of commercial space, and 56 affordable housing units. The developer told the Committee that the affordable housing units will be indistinguishable from the market-rate units. In an effort to support diversity and inclusion, the developer has also agreed to use its best efforts to require 10% participation of minority business enterprises, woman business enterprises, disadvantaged business enterprises, and small business enterprises in the commercial space. The developer will also execute a Project Labor Agreement with the Cleveland Building & Construction Trades Council and its affiliates, which means that union labor will be used in this project, Lakewood residents will be employed during construction, and prevailing wages will be required.
The construction of these two complexes, which will be known as The View West and The View East, will be the first newly constructed apartments in decades. This will hopefully relieve some of the pressure in the rental market and make more affordable units available for rent. The Committee referred the ordinances out of committee and unanimously recommended adoption by City Council.
Beekeeping Ordinance Passage
Earlier this year, a resident approached me about becoming a beekeeper. I learned that, although there were many beehives in Lakewood, our zoning code did not include language permitting urban beekeeping. Since that initial conversation, I have worked to develop a beekeeping ordinance to officially allow beekeeping in Lakewood and to ensure that it is practiced in a safe manner. We have received input from local beekeepers, the County apiary inspector and the Ohio State Beekeepers Association, and at our City Council meeting on December 7th, we passed the ordinance.
New Tenant at former Campbell’s Popcorn Shop Site
Lou and Al’s Pies, Slices, and Ices recently signed a 10-year lease with two 5-year options at the former Ward 2 site of Campbell’s Popcorn Shop at 14730 Detroit Ave. This new restaurant will be a “60’s inspired, counter-service New York pizzeria” that will offer a menu of pizza, slices, salads, sides, sandwiches, and Italian ices with vegan and gluten-free options. The owners, Lout Tomczak and Alison Cargilio, plan to keep it local not only for their ingredients, but also by using local talent for their branding, uniforms, and menus. Please join me in welcoming Lou and Alison to our community!
COVID-19 VACCINE DISTRIBUTION
Who is eligible?
Phase 1B of Ohio’s distribution program begins this week. This phase specifically includes the following groups:
- Week of Jan. 19: Ohioans 80 years of age and older.
- Week of Jan. 25: Ohioans 75 years of age and older; those with severe congenital or developmental disorders.
- Week of Feb. 1: Ohioans 70 years of age and older; employees of K-12 schools that wish to remain or return to in-person or hybrid models.
- Week of Feb. 8: Ohioans 65 years of age and older.
When a new age group begins, vaccinations may not be complete for the previous age group. For example, someone in the first age group will still be able to be vaccinated once the next group begins.
How will I know when I can get vaccinated?
If you are part of Phase 1A or 1B (or are a member of another eligible group, like law enforcement, utility worker, etc.), the Cuyahoga Board of Health will notify you when a vaccine is available if you complete the following form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSftfqyyGgMPDWQlQKeSC7eIGzAkVkgNNDc0jt0BXAlXIzoWjw/viewform
Where can I get the vaccine?
Two good ways to find a provider are via the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) website (https://vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov/) and the Cuyahoga Board of Health (CBH) website (https://www.ccbh.net/covid-19-phase-1b-provider-list/). You must directly contact the provider of your choice from these lists to schedule a vaccine appointment.
Per both the ODH and CBH websites, as of January 17, 2021, the following providers are available in Lakewood:
Please note that those eligible to receive the vaccine are NOT limited to specific providers based on location. In addition to the providers in Lakewood, there are approximately 90 providers in Cuyahoga County, including the major hospital systems (Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, University Hospitals), as well as pharmacies and other providers in neighboring cities. Please make sure to check for the ODH and CBH websites for updates, as provider information may change.
What is the COVID-19 Vaccine and should I get it?
There are currently two vaccines that have received emergency use authorization from the FDA: Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. Both vaccines involve two injections, given 21 (Pfizer) and 28 (Moderna) days apart. I found the following articles helpful in explaining how the vaccines work, who should get the vaccine (e.g., children? pregnant women? people with prior infection?), and what you can expect after each dose: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-vaccine/art-20484859 and https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/health/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine.html. I am encouraged that the vaccines are becoming available to the public, and I plan to get vaccinated as soon as I am eligible.
Jason Shachner is the Ward 2 Lakewood City Councilmember. He is currently serving as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Lake County Prosecutor's Offices' Criminal Division. He can be reached at Jason.Shachner@lakewoodoh.net or at (216) 714-2150. If you are interested in subscribing to the View from Ward 2 Newsletter please visit https://mailchi.mp/shachnerforlakewood/newsletter.