Mayor John Cranley recently announced he is replacing Planning Commission Chair Caleb Faux with former Pleasant Ridge Community Council President Dan Driehaus.
The Cincinnati Planning Commission is an independent, seven-member board that approves the city’s planning decisions, including zoning issues and tax deals with developers.
Last month, Faux and Cranley got into a tiff after City Manager Harry Black removed a provision from the planning commission’s agenda that would have preserved the possibility of commuter rail in the city’s plans for Wasson Way on the East Side. Faux accused Cranley, who is no fan of rail projects, of trying to block future light rail along Wasson Way. Cranley said he simply wanted to give more time for consideration of the measure.
Cranley said the move wasn’t a reflection on Faux and that Driehaus is simply a better fit for the board. Council voted unanimously to approve Driehaus’ appointment.
Faux, who has served 15 years on the commission, fired back Dec. 11 with an editorial in the Cincinnati Business Courier. While Faux said Driehaus is capable and will do a good job, he painted the mayor as a foe of city planning attempts to create pedestrian-friendly, walkable neighborhoods and a friend of big developers.
“What the mayor seems to want is a planning commission that will accept his direction and won’t be independent,” Faux wrote in the Business Courier. “I think he has a philosophy that we need to be friendly to developers and that using land-use regulations as a way to shape the city is not a good idea.”
Cranley spokesman Kevin Osborne brushed off that criticism. He pointed to Cranley’s involvement in the creation of tax-increment financing districts for Over-the-Rhine and downtown while he was on City Council as evidence the mayor is invested in creating urban spaces.