According to Cleveland Heights city officials and the CH-UH Board of Education, the Orlean Company’s proposed development plan for Meadowbrook-Lee has been removed from consideration and a new one is being drawn up. The Orlean plan included an 11-year 80% tax abatement and the donation of the city land to the developer; a combined $4 million public subsidy. It is important to note that this plan included a commercial tax abatement-the first commercial tax abatement the city has offered.
- Cleveland Heights City Council tried to develop Meadowbrook-Lee in 2007 and 2008.
- In November 2011 they put out a request for proposals for this property.
- City Council received 3 responses and selected the Orlean Company’s proposal.
- The Orlean Company was willing to move forward if they receive the $4 million subsidy mentioned above.
Cleveland Heights City Council has tried for 5 years to entice “the market” to build on Meadowbrook-Lee. The market’s response has been one developer coming forward with a plan and that plan requires a $4 million residential and commercial subsidy.
I am very glad to hear that the Orleans Company plan is off the table and I thank city officials for their decision.
City Council’s decision is supported by a national study by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy called Rethinking Property Tax Incentives for Business (June 2012). Their recommendation for local government officials is as follows:
“Local government officials can make wiser use of property tax incentives for business and avoid such incentives when their costs exceed their benefits. Localities should set clear criteria for the types of projects eligible for incentives; limit tax breaks to mobile facilities that export goods or services out of the region; involve tax administrators and other stakeholders in decisions to grant incentives; cooperate on economic development with other jurisdictions in the area; and be clear from the outset that not all businesses that ask for an incentive will receive one.” (p. 3)
So, “The Market” and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy say we should move on.
I hope we move on to something that reflects our better selves, something beautiful, creative, and interesting. Something inspiring that will help us all enjoy each other. For that we can turn to the spirit of Thomas Hoving to help us create a “City of Earthly Delights”.
I would like to hear from others: What do you think?
P.S. To read about the Lincoln Land Institute and its Cleveland connection, click here.