City Council: FC Cincinnati’s Rezoning Request Won’t be Approved Without Housing for Displaced Residents

Under a motion approved Wednesday, the Cincinnati City Council will not authorize FC Cincinnati‘s rezoning request unless the club takes an active step to provide housing for displaced residents.

FC Cincinnati is currently constructing a new soccer-specific stadium on the city’s West End, with plans to open it in 2021. As part of the ongoing planning for the facility, the club recently requested that properties north of the stadium site be rezoned to be included in an expanded scope of the project.

However, residents in the area have been speaking out against the request, citing displacement. The city council is now calling on the club to solve those concerns, laying out its desired solution in a motion that was approved in a 5-2 vote. The motion states that the council will not approve the club’s plans unless it agrees to provide housing for affected residents in an existing building that it owns. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

In a 5-2 vote, council declared in a motion it would not rezone property the team owns just north of the stadium site unless people who live there were allowed to live in a building the team owns….

“When the team said no displacement, we took them seriously,” Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld said.  “(This motion) takes that seriously.” Added Councilman Wendell Young, “The reality is renters are part of population… They do matter. They certainly deserve the protection of government other people take for granted. I don’t think this is something beyond what the team can do.”

In the wake of news the team had bought two buildings that would displace at least 14 people, council members Sittenfeld and David Mann drafted a motion Tuesday saying council would allow property on Wade Street just north of the stadium site to be rezoned for team use –  if it took one of the two buildings in question and moved people there from the other building.

So basically, it would put FC Cincinnati in the landlord business. FC Cincinnati President and General Manager Jeff Berding has not responded to the idea. He’ll be speaking to the media at 2 p.m. Thursday.

FC Cincinnati is slated to spend the 2019 and 2020 MLS seasons at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, before the under-construction West End stadium opens in 2021.

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