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Columbus, OH 43215


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Council Advances New and Renovated Housing, Job Creation, Neighborhood Safety and Public Infrastructure Investments

Final meeting of summer session includes major economic development plans with OSU, the FOP contract, increased penalties for reckless use of ATVs, $7M in small business grants and more

2020 City Council Group

[COLUMBUS, OH] During the final meeting before the annual August recess, Columbus City Council will consider a huge agenda that continues its focus on building strong neighborhoods, pathways out of poverty, jobs and safety. The collection of ordinances invests nearly $7 million in small businesses and entrepreneur support organizations, brings more than 13,000 new jobs, over 4,000 housing units and $2.9 million in parks and playground upgrades. The vote also solidifies the three-year police union contract with additional provisions for the Civilian Police Review Board, the office of the Inspector General and updates to officer accountability. 

“Council has continued to demonstrate a commitment to affordable housing, high-quality jobs, strengthening our neighborhoods and safety reforms,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “We are closing out our first half of the year with a real focus on these objectives.”  


Support for Small and Minority-Owned Businesses

Small and minority-owned businesses continue to be the backbone of Columbus’ local economy and the soul of the community. Deeply impacted by the pandemic, Council intends to authorize nearly $7 million to provide training, grants, low-interest loans, incubator space and technical assistance to local entrepreneurs.

“Investing in entrepreneurship is investing in our economic future,” said Council President Hardin. “This legislation in combination with the implementation of the disparity study will make a big impact for Columbus’ small business community.” 

  • Ordinances 2087-2021 and Ordinance 2096-2021
  • Ordinance 2029-2021 
  • Ordinance 2030-2021 
  • Ordinance 2032-2021 
  • Ordinance 2033-2021
  • Ordinance 2078-2021

The Birth of the Innovation District 

In a memorandum of understanding with The Ohio State University, the City’s Northwest sector is poised to evolve into the next generation of innovation. The proposed “Innovation District” is an expansion of OSU’s west campus between Kenny Road to the east, North Star Road to the west, Lane Avenue to the north, and the southern boundary of the parcels lining the south side of Kinnear Road.

This innovation collaborative will create an additional 1,500 to 2,000 residential units - 20% of which will be dedicated affordable housing - 100,000 to 200,000 square feet of retail, a 180 to 220-bed hotel, up to 500,000 square feet of medical facilities and 4 to 6 million square feet of lab and commercial office space. 

Additionally, the University will implement good faith efforts to employ minority and women-owned business enterprises for the performance of the work totaling a minimum of 30%.

Considering the City’s economic development incentive commitments, OSU will create up to 12,000 jobs with an estimated payroll of up to $950 million annually and provide a capital investment of $3-4 billion dollars in new infrastructure. The Innovation District will be connected to future transit and mobility options via the LinkUS Northwest Corridor. 

Bringing Quality Jobs to the City

Council will vote on ordinance 1987-2021 to create a dual-rate Jobs Growth Incentive Agreement with FlightSafety International, Inc., which will result in 113 net new full-time permanent positions with an annual payroll of $10,130,000 and retain 32 full-time permanent positions with an annual payroll of $6,784,416.

“As Columbus continues to grow and attract new residents, we must be strategic in bringing new, good-paying jobs to our City,” said Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy. “With 113 new jobs, all paying over $37 an hour, this is certainly a gain for the residents of Columbus.” 

This incentive encourages the specific employment of Columbus residents by adding a slight increase of City of Columbus income tax withheld on the Columbus payroll of employees for a term of up to five consecutive years.

FlightSafety International Inc. is one of the world’s leading aviation training companies, training more than 75,000 pilots, technicians and other aviation professions each year via a worldwide network of 40 learning centers. The company also manufactures and operates advanced technology flight simulators. This project would relocate the company’s headquarters operations from New York to Columbus.

Supporting Neighborhood Infrastructure

Council is committed to taking a comprehensive approach to promote the wellbeing of neighborhoods, including prioritizing investments in safe and accessible parks and green spaces for families to enjoy. 

In partnership with the Recreation and Parks Department, Council approved $1.65 million in playground improvements and $1.32 million in shelter house and lighting improvements in parks throughout the City.  

“The ability to gather outdoors is critical for the health of families in every community,” said President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown. “Whether you are taking your kids to the playground, playing sports, or gathering with friends and family, these investments help us provide essential opportunities in our neighborhoods.”

Ordinances 1943-2021, 1946-2021, 1950-2021, 1951-2021 and 1960-2021 support the Department’s park lighting program, shelter improvement project, sports court lighting project, and playground improvements. 

Increasing the Affordable Housing Stock

Council’s work to increase the number of affordable housing units in the City with the passage of 1680-2021 and a collective of zoning variances. 

The passage of 1680-2021 will accept the 2021 HOME Investment Partnership Program grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Under the program, 15 rental units reserved for those families making less than around 60,000 a year (80% area median income) will be constructed at an investment of $1.23 million. 

“Each and every additional affordable housing unit is critical to providing a needed home in our community,” said Councilmember Shayla Favor. “These Cape Cod-style homes will blend with the existing fabric of the community and give residents access to a variety of supportive services and advocacy opportunities.”

Healthy Rental Homes recently hired a full-time Tenant Services Coordinator to link between residents and health/social service providers and Nationwide Children’s Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families  programming. The Tenant Services Coordinator will work to increase health knowledge and self-sufficiency of tenant families through outreach, community education, and referrals to community resources, social supports, and advocacy. Service engagement will not be a requirement for the families that Healthy Homes serves, but it will be available to all households as needed.

Council is also committed to updating the zoning code to reflect the need to increase density in the City. With passage of the zoning ordinances, 2,670 units, including 495 of which are designated affordable units and 100 affordable units allocated for Seniors. 

"Our City is transforming and we have to update the zoning code to reflect the density and equity required for the growth we are experiencing, so I look forward to reviewing the phase one zoning code update report within the next few weeks,” said Councilmember Priscilla Tyson. “Currently, we know we are need of mixed-income housing options including affordable, workforce, and market rate housing," said Councilmember Priscilla Tyson.

Reimagining Safety

Council passed ordinance 2060-2021, modeled after ordinances in Philadelphia, New York, and New Haven, CT, which have all seen an increase in reckless ATV and dirt bike activity over the summer. The legislation creates an offense for reckless operation of an ATV or dirt bike, carrying a minimum penalty of $500 and a maximum penalty of $1,000. While the attached language reads that this offense can also carry a maximum sentence of 30 days, this is to ensure that the new provision is consistent with the current penalty for the reckless operation of a motor vehicle which carries a maximum $150 fine and up to 30 days in jail. In other communities, increased fines and risk of impoundment have reduced the number of individuals willing to engage in this activity.

“Since the beginning of 2021, I have heard from residents from all over the city about how illegal operation of ATVs and dirt bikes are causing havoc in their neighborhoods, driving recklessly down their streets, and destroying our public parks,” said Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown. “These penalties along with the efforts of law enforcement to impound these vehicles will go a long way in curbing the willingness of riders to take these reckless actions.”

Councilmembers have heard from many residents across the City to come up with solutions to this growing problem. The Columbus Division of Police has reported over 700 calls for service in response to these reckless activities. 

Lastly, Council will vote on the new contract between the City of Columbus and the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge #9. This new contract is a big step in the right direction, as it allows for the full implementation of the Civilian Police Review Board, requires that officers be drug tested after using their firearm and ends leave forfeiture -- a practice that let officers trade vacation days for suspension days after potentially being disciplined for profiling or use of force. 

"As with any collective bargaining agreement (CBA), both parties give and take," said Councilmember Rob Dorans. "No party is going to get everything they want in a CBA. However, I am very pleased that the CBA we will vote on tonight between the City of Columbus and Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge #9 will enshrine in the contract the newly created Civilian Review Board as an important piece of accountability and transparency for the community and our officers." 

Following this July 26, 2021, meeting, Council will next convene on September 13, 2021.