Best Of 2019

Best Outside-the-Box Development Policy Idea: Equitable Development Rubric

As Cincinnati continues to experience a huge resurgence in development, more and more people have begun to wonder whether the city should be incentivizing things like housing affordability when it makes deals with developers. Cue Over-the-Rhine community group Peaslee Neighborhood Center’s Equitable Development Rubric, which looks to give Cincinnati’s community councils tools to ask for more of what they need from those pitching big development projects like apartment buildings. Those community councils provide recommendations to City Hall about deals that can erase hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liabilities for large projects for up to 15 years. Supporters of the rubric say the city should ask for more in return — a percentage of housing units that are affordable to low- and moderate-income people, for example, or fair wages for construction workers building those projects. Will the idea catch on? It could. Some council members have asked the city to study similar criteria for tax deals, and at least a few community councils have already approved Peaslee’s rubric. Peaslee Neighborhood Center, peasleecenter.org.