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FC Cincinnati Is Granted Part Of Land Sale/Rezone Request

This photo from April 14 shows construction work on the site of FC Cincinnati's future stadium in the West End
Bill Rinehart
This photo from April 14 shows construction work on the site of FC Cincinnati's future stadium in the West End

The Cincinnati City Planning Commission is approving some of FC Cincinnati's expansion proposal for its West End stadium site.  

FCC wanted the city to sell and rezone portions of Central Avenue, West 15th Street and Nome Alley that total 0.16 acres.

There was some resistance from commission members and the public for the Central Avenue piece, so the team withdrew its request for that portion.

The commission approved the sale and zoning change for West 15th and Nome only. City Council will also need to give its approval.

Some West End residents and supporters have been protesting after FC Cincinnati purchased two apartment buildings near the site, one on Wade Street and the other on Central Avenue.  The team had told residents, including a 99-year-old woman, they had to vacate by the end of April. But the team has since met with residents and is giving them to the end of May, or even later, to move.

The residents have said they don't want to move.

Originally the team wanted the land where the apartments are located rezoned to the project. But that was withdrawn after community and City Council opposition.

Dan Driehaus is the chair of the planning commission, and he said the team didn't need to put the commission in this position.

"Whether your home is as a renter or your home is as a homeowner, those voices are imperative to be heard during this process," Driehaus said.

City officials said FC Cincinnati will have to reapply if they want to acquire a portion of Central Avenue.  Team lawyers have not said when they will reapply for that part.

The delay will not impact the construction of the stadium.

Michael Burnham said he doesn't think FCC is playing fair in negotiations with community members.

"The big deal is it's not a little bit of land, it's people," Burnham said. "It's what makes a city work is its people."

FC Cincinnati General Manager Jeff Berding said last month the apartment building's owner began getting offers from speculators and approached FCC about buying them. He said the team made the purchases to control the type of development that will happen next to the stadium.

Berding has been criticized for earlier statements saying no one would be displaced by the stadium project.  He said those comments reflected the original stadium footprint and not necessarily those properties obtained after the project started.


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