Amidst concerns over outstanding disputes involving the facility, the Cincinnati City Council opted Wednesday to delay a FC Cincinnati stadium zoning vote.
FC Cincinnati is looking to get into full swing with the construction of a stadium on the city’s West End, a planned facility that was key to its MLS expansion bid receiving approval for 2019. Coming into Wednesday, the club needed the city council to sign off on two key matters, including a land deal and a separate zoning change that would allow construction to move forward.
While the council approved the land deal 7-0, it opted to delay its zoning vote. The sticking point in that decision were the concerns of several entities near the stadium, including the Cincinnati Ballet–which contends that the club (which is now its landlord) could infringe on its property rights by taking over its parking lot as part of the facility’s construction. FC Cincinnati expressed disappointment with the delay, but city officials say they would be willing to take up the zoning change as soon as next week should all sides feel that the concerns are resolved. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“We thank the City for the land transfer approved today in support of our privately funded $250 million stadium,” FC Cincinnati team President and General Manager Jeff Berding tweeted out Wednesday. “However we are disappointed Council did not approve the zoning that had previously passed the Planning Commission unanimously on January 4, and had been made public on November 26, more than two months ago.”
Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld Wednesday urged council to delay the zoning vote after days of negotiations failed to resolve issues.
They include: Whether the Cincinnati Ballet will stay on the FC Cincinnati site or move off-site entirely. And what will happen to Monica Williams, whose restaurant Just Cookin’ was in a building demolished for the stadium.
“All sides need to stay at the negotiating table for one more week, with whatever outside assistance is helpful, so that these matters can be resolved soon and fairly,” Sittenfeld said.
FC Cincinnati will begin MLS play this spring at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, where it has been slated to spend two seasons before opening the new stadium in 2021. Plans for the new West End stadium were key to MLS approval, as the proposal fit into a preferred model for the league by including a soccer-specific design in an urban setting.
Rendering courtesy Meis Architects.
RELATED STORIES: FC Cincinnati Parking Plan Debated; Development Could Surround Future FC Cincinnati Stadium; FC Cincinnati Stadium Groundbreaking Ceremony Set for December 19; New FC Cincinnati Stadium Design Unveiled; FC Cincinnati Preparing Transition to MLS; FC Cincinnati Tabs Principal Partners for MLS Stadium Project; FC Cincinnati Training Academy Pitched for Milford; New for 2019: Fussball Club Cincinnati; FC Cincinnati MLS Expansion Bid Approved; FC Cincinnati MLS Expansion Announcement Could Come Next Week