NEOSCC Board approves release of Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Framework and Products
Member organizations to now consider Vision for approval
The Board of Directors of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC) yesterday voted to release the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision, Products and Framework documents to NEOSCC member organizations for review, consideration and potential vote of approval. The NEOSCC Board will take a final vote on approval of the Vision at its February 25, 2014 meeting. You can review the board meeting presentation above.
“Over the course of the last year, NEOSCC has engaged residents, elected officials, and experts throughout our 12-county region in a rigorous scenario planning process to identify the choices we can make now to help create a Northeast Ohio that is more vibrant, resilient, and sustainable in the future,” said Hunter Morrison, NEOSCC Executive Director. “Based on input and feedback from residents and leaders, the overarching objectives of the Vibrant NEO 2040 Regional Vision seeks to pursue are:
- Promote investment in Northeast Ohio’s established communities;
- Protect our soil, water, air, and ecologically sensitive areas;
- Improve our regional fiscal health;
- Develop our regional economy with accessible employment opportunities;
- Enhance our regional transportation network;
- Cultivate and celebrate our local assets and places of public value;
- Expand our parks and open-space network; and
- Preserve and value our prime farmland as a regional economic asset.”
This fall, NEOSCC and the Vibrant NEO 2040 team presented the objectives and potential recommendations during a series of public meetings, seven subject matter caucuses and to its board. Utilizing the feedback received, nine recommendations and 41 initiatives emerged as the foundation for the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision and Framework.
“We recognize the recommendations and initiatives are not “one size fits all” solutions,” added Mr. Morrison. “We understand that some of initiatives will not be applicable to all parts of the 12-county region. Lastly, implementation of individual initiatives will be a decision at the local level. The intent of NEOSCC in developing the Vibrant NEO 2040 regional vision and framework is that its recommendations, development standards, indicator targets, and action products be available for implementation at the Metro and local levels at the option of their respective decision makers.”
The recommendation and initiatives, derived through a comprehensive development process over the course of 2013 and driven by the preferences and values of Northeast Ohio residents, are essentially steps and tools for realizing the Vision NEO 2040 Vision.
The nine Vision NEO 2040 Recommendations, and their related Initiatives, are:
Please note that NEOSCC recognizes that the recommendations and initiatives are not “one size fits all” solutions. We understand that some of initiatives will not be applicable to all parts of the 12-county region. Lastly, implementation of individual initiatives will be a decision at the local level. The intent of NEOSCC in developing the Vibrant NEO 2040 regional vision and framework is that its recommendations, development standards, indicator targets, and action products be available for implementation at the Metro and local levels at the option of their respective decision makers.
1. Focus new residential and commercial development on sites within established communities
- Initiative 1.1: Encourage infill and redevelopment through the use of tax credits and other direct and indirect public incentives.
- Initiative 1.2: Fix it first: continue to privilege projects that maintain the existing road network in a state of good repair, rather than building additional capacity.
- Initiative 1.3: Improve the ability of municipalities and townships to analyze the long-term impacts of new development and better manage their own development.
- Initiative 1.4: Continue development throughout the region in accordance with local zoning requirements and preferences, but prioritize public subsidies to projects within the region’s established communities.
- Initiative 1.5: Require the users of new sewer extensions that serve previously unsewered areas to pay the full cost of service.
- Initiative 1.6: Consider instituting a land value tax to replace existing improvement-based property assessment and taxation methods.
2. Develop a robust network of regional job centers connected by multimodal transportation corridors within and between counties
- Initiative 2.1: Strengthen regional job centers—and the corridors that connect them—by diversifying and intensifying land uses and investing in strategic local economic development within them.
- Initiative 2.2: Use transit oriented development (TOD) to create stronger, more accessible, regional job centers.
- Initiative 2.3: Implement a tiered approach to local parking requirements.
3. Pursue the remediation, assembly, marketing, and redevelopment of abandoned properties at both the local and regional levels
- Initiative 3.1: Develop and maintain a regional vacant industrial and commercial properties database and criteria for determining the most appropriate successive use, whether for redevelopment, green infrastructure, food production, or parks, or natural areas.
- Initiative 3.2: Expedite permitting and remove barriers for adaptive reuse of abandoned buildings and empty lots.
- Initiative 3.3: Expand and coordinate existing land bank efforts to acquire, assemble, manage, and dispose of vacant properties throughout the region.
- Initiative 3.4: Identify, evaluate, and—where appropriate—pursue the reuse of vacant and abandoned industrial sites endowed with significant preexisting infrastructure that could provide unique opportunities for regional economic development. Advocate for a brownfield redevelopment fund and promote these sites through a large-scale marketing campaign.
4. Encourage a higher frequency of mixed-use development and a range of diverse, affordable housing options
- Initiative 4.1: Include mixed-use designations and/or planned unit overlay districts in zoning codes throughout the region.
- Initiative 4.2: Include traditional small-lot, compact single-family and townhouse residential designations in zoning codes throughout the region.
- Initiative 4.3: Offer financial incentives to developers that incorporate affordable housing units into their projects and implement inclusionary zoning in markets with widespread affordability gaps.
- Initiative 4.4: Offer financial literacy and housing education programs for tenants and homeowners. Focus on areas in established communities where investments in housing are underway.
5. Enhance and coordinate the region’s rail and bus services
- Initiative 5.1: Invest in a regional network of bi-directional public transit connections between Northeast Ohio’s major job centers.
- Initiative 5.2: Create a network of high-frequency express and local transit routes connecting the region’s job centers. Prioritize infill development in the corridors served by these routes. In the short and medium terms, upgrade high-performing existing bus routes and create new bus routes in designated corridors. In the long term, upgrade the highest-demand routes into commuter rail service.
- Initiative 5.3: Coordinate the region’s transit systems for joint marketing, information technology, and fare media, including information regarding private transit resources such as university/health system shuttles, private bus services, airport transportation, etc.
- Initiative 5.4: Evaluate the condition of all existing rail trackage and rail crossings to determine what investments would be necessary to bring substandard infrastructure up to standard for freight and passenger service.
6. Enhance walking and cycling as transportation options to increase regional mobility and improve public health
- Initiative 6.1: Expand the existing bicycle lane and trail system and connect it to regional transit hubs via on-and-off street facilities.
- Initiative 6.2: Repair existing sidewalks and crosswalks and add new ones as needed wherever a fixed-route bus service is in operation.
- Initiative 6.3: Promote “Complete Streets” through regional policy and the identification of local champions.
- Initiative 6.4: Collaborate with school districts and local communities to further develop safe routes to school, encouraging walking and biking, and site new schools in walkable locations.
7. Preserve our natural areas for future generations, provide outdoor recreation opportunities, and develop a regional approach to protecting air, water, and soil quality
- Initiative 7.1: Expand and connect the existing network of parks, trails, rivers, lakes, and natural areas through continued partnerships with private land owners, land conservancies, land trusts, community members, and local governments.
- Initiative 7.2: Support and expand green infrastructure options for flood control and general water management, both at the local level with projects like green alleys and bioswales, and at the regional level with a network of large, upstream water retention areas.
- Initiative 7.3: Improve regional quality of life and health by focusing on the interface between natural and human systems in the areas of flood mitigation, storm water run-off, and clean beaches and the water quality of our lakes, rivers, and streams.
- Initiative 7.4: Strengthen and expand watershed partnerships that foster communication and collaboration between upstream and downstream communities across all 15 Northeast Ohio watershed geographies.
- Initiative 7.5: Expand collaboration between existing natural resource districts and consider the creation of new districts where appropriate.
- Initiative 7.6: Develop and maintain a natural resources inventory of the region.
8. Support sustainable agriculture and the local food system in Northeast Ohio
- Initiative 8.1: Support the expansion of community supported agriculture (CSAs), farmer cooperatives, farm-to-school programs, and other existing mechanisms that support sustainable agriculture and enhance food access.
- Initiative 8.2: Partner with individual landowners, the food processing industry, and local organizations to protect agriculturally valuable land for future generations.
- Initiative 8.3: Review and amend local ordinances to allow for small- and moderate-scale urban farming on occupied and vacant parcels that are environmentally safe for growing food.
- Initiative 8.4: Support the work of local food initiatives to share best practices and identify policies of regional significance.
9. Increase collaboration among the region’s government agencies to expand information sharing and find more cost-effective means of providing essential services
- Initiative 9.1: Study privatization and public-private partnerships as means to fund critical infrastructure projects that cannot be funded solely through public dollars.
- Initiative 9.2: Utilize joint procurement strategies and the sharing of facilities, staff, and other resources wherever possible to save money on the provision of public services.
- Initiative 9.3: Identify one or more organizations that will host and maintain the technical resources created by NEOSCC so that they will remain current, accurate, and available for future regional visioning and planning.
- Initiative 9.4: Align MPO/COG/ODOT transportation model inputs and continue to collaborate, share information, and align policy objectives across the multiple regional planning agencies of Northeast Ohio.
- Initiative 9.5: Foster greater engagement between MPOs/COGs and organizations/initiatives that address natural resources, parks, sewer, public health, housing, education, private business investment, and economic development.
- Initiative 9.6: Sustain the momentum of NEOSCC by continuing to convene stakeholders to identify and address regional issues and to advance the region’s collaborative capacity.
In addition to the Vision, the Board also reviewed and approved the Action products, developed by NEOSCC to encourage, equip, and support Northeast Ohioans to learn, share, create, and act together to build a more vibrant future this year. The Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision and these products are meant to inspire and guide decision-making at the MPO, COG, and local level to ensure that land use, transportation, and environmental considerations are simultaneously addressed by their processes
The Action Product are:
- Dashboard: a visualization tool that communicates a set of indicators and metrics, against which progress toward the Vibrant NEO 2040 vision will be measured.
- Tool Kit & Best Practices: implementation tools and techniques to realize the regional preferred vision developed through Vibrant NEO 2040.
- Policy Recommendations: a framework for analyzing the effects existing policies have on the region and determining what may be needed to create desired change.
- Pilots: emerging best practices that show promise in moving the region towards the Vibrant NEO 2040 preferred vision.
The Action Products are aligned with final Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision themes, recommendations & initiatives. The Dashboard & Policy Recommendations are higher-level and aligned with recommendations. The Tools, Best Practices & Pilots are aligned by initiative.