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planpdx.org: Cleveland Policy Plan


Above is a photo of the Cleveland, Ohio, City Planning Commission staff, headed by Norman Krumholz, in September of 1973, at the statue of Tom Johnson, once great Mayor of Cleveland.

Before I came to Portland in 1973 to head the Planning Bureau, I worked in Cleveland, Ohio, under the direction of Norman Krumholz. I offer a summary of the goal and policies of the Cleveland Policy Plan because it provides an interesting contrast to the goals and policies of the Portland Comprehensive Plan.

For a chronology of American Planning History which provides some historic context for the Cleveland Policy Planning Report, see www.planning.org/pathways.

The "Pathways in American Planning History: A Thematic Chronology" website is an adaptation and update of an article in Volume 7, No. 1 of the Journal of Planning and Education Research, Copyright 1987, by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.

It is worth noting that this Plan was designated a National Planning Historical Landmark by an American Institute of Certified Planners' jury at the American Planning Association Conference in Denver in April 2003.

Ernie Bonner

[Also see the Portland, Oregon, Comprehensive Plan.]

Volume I, 1975

Cleveland City Planning Commission

James B. Davis, Chairman Allen Fonoroff Herman P. Goldsmith Councilman Gerald T. McFaul Reverend Daniel F. Reidy Wallace G. Teare John Wooten Robert D. Storey (1967-1974) Bishop William M. Cosgrove (1971-1973) Councilman George L. Blaha (1964-1971) Mrs. Robert J. (Francine) Panehal (1966-1971 Thomas C. Westropp (1968-1970 Howard B. Klein (1965-1970) George Dobrea (1968-1970) Norman Krumholz, Executive Director

Daniel Webster: "Our ancestors began their system of government here under a condition of comparative equality ... and their early views were of a nature to favor and continue this equality. ... The freest government would not be long acceptable, if the tendency of the law were to create a rapid accumulation of property in few hands, and to render the great masses of the population poor and dependent."

James Madison: "The most common and durable source of ... instability, injustice and confusion ... has been the various and unequal distribution of property."

Theodore Roosevelt: "In every wise struggle for human betterment one of the main objects and often the only object, has been to achieve in large measure equality of opportunity. The conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress. ... The essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life of every individual the highest possible value, both to himself and to the commonwealth."

Woodrow Wilson: There has come over the land that un-American set of conditions which enables a small number of men who control the government to get favors from the government; by those favors to exclude their fellows from equal opportunity."

Lyndon B. Johnson: "One's on the hill, one's in the holler. One's on the road, one's in the ditch."

Introduction

The pages that follow outline the Cleveland City Planning Commission's recommendations for resolving or ameliorating some of the most pressing problems confronting the City of Cleveland and its people.

It is not a plan, at least not in the traditional sense. It is not a series of colored maps and designs describing an ideal future in terms of land uses, public facilities and transportation routes.

Rather, it is a catalog of objectives, policies and action programs which recognizes that the urban crisis in Cleveland has little to do with land uses, zoning or urban designs and much to do with personal and municipal poverty, deteriorated housing, inadequate public transportation, and declining neighborhoods. It addresses these issues as problems to which city planners, as well as other serious public administrators, owe their time and attention.

This first edition of the Policy Planning Report excludes topics such as education, crime, health and recreation. While recognizing their importance, the Commission has devoted priority attention to analyses of income, housing, transportation and community development. In these areas, the Commission feels it has the best chance to affect decisions.

One goal underlies the policy recommendations in this Report:
In a context of limited resources, the Cleveland City Planning Commission will give priority attention to the task of promoting a wider range of choices for those individuals and groups who have few, if any, choices.

Given the disparities in income and power between the residents of the City of Cleveland and those of the surrounding region, this goal, in part, simply reflects our responsibility and commitment to serve the people of the City.

The members of the City Planning Commission have provided the support needed to re-direct the planning process in Cleveland. They have given freely of their valuable time and expertise. They have insured that this Report is not the staff's final product but rather a reflection of an on-going effort to influence decision making.

Major responsibility and credit for preparation of this Report must go to the Commission's entire Policy Analysis Division. Ernest Bonner, who until October, 1973, supervised this Division, inspired and directed much of this work. Without Ernie's tireless efforts in conceptualizing this unique work, in directing his staff's analytical efforts, in thinking through and writing numerous drafts, this document would not be a reality. Janice Cogger made a major contribution in sharpening the focus of the work. Staff members John Linner, Doug Wright, Susan Olson and Joanne Lazarz also made important contributions.

Finally, to the unheralded contributors--the secretarial staff, capably led by Rosetta Boyd--go my sincere thanks.

Norman Krumholz
Director
September, 1974

The Goal of the Planning Commission

Each day important decisions are made by Cleveland entrepreneurs, political leaders and residents. Some are public decisions; some are private. Some decisions are reached only after searching inquiry; others are reached quickly by necessity or design. Some are decisions to act; some are decisions not to act; some are decisions not to decide.

Some are made in the offices of the Mayor and City Council; some are made in the living rooms of City residents or at suburban cocktail parties. Some are decisions made locally; others are decisions made in Columbus or in Washington.

The outcome of these many decisions is the future of the City of Cleveland.

photo of Cleveland Marketphoto of Cleveland Terminal

The Cleveland City Planning Commission, by Charter authority as well as by tradition, is responsible for providing information, constructive criticism and advice to those who make decisions affecting the interests of Cleveland residents. The Commission takes upon itself a special role with respect to that audience of decision-makers. The guidance offered by the Commission is informed by a vision the Commission holds for the City and its people. This vision is not utopian. It points in a direction the City can choose and can follow, a direction that distinguishes between desirable and undesirable actions taken yesterday, and today, and to be taken tomorrow.

The Commission's vision:

Individuals choose their own goals and the means to pursue those goals.

Institutions are established to assist individuals in the pursuit of their goals. In the process, institutions themselves establish goals--some of which are aimed at insuring their own survival.

Nevertheless, those institutional goals which are self-serving must be clearly secondary to those which further the pursuit of individuals' goals.

Individuals and institutions pursue their respective goals through decision and action. Decisions must be made from among those choices which the individual or institution perceives.

Individuals are better off with more choices in any decision.

Institutions serve individuals' goals most effectively when they provide a wider range of choices to individuals.

In a context of limited resources, institutions should give priority attention to the task of promoting more choices for those individuals who have few, if any, choices.

Thus, the Commission's efforts are directed toward the accomplishment of this single, simply-stated goal:

Equity requires that locally-responsible government institutions give priority attention to the goal of promoting a wider range of choices for those Cleveland residents who have few, if any, choices.

Five important points should be made about this goal.

First, the goal is to provide as wide a range of alternatives and opportunities as possible, leaving individuals free to define their own needs and priorities. Government efforts to alleviate poverty have frequently emphasized a 'service strategy.' The government has provided, or has subsidized the private provision of, particular goods and services. Unfortunately, these efforts have often failed to satisfy the needs of those whom they supposedly serve. Low-income families have no choice but to accept benefits on the terms offered by the suppliers, or forego assistance.

In the interest of maximizing choices, the Commission supports expanded reliance upon an 'income strategy.' The Commission seeks to provide individuals with the means and the opportunity to obtain those goods and services which they perceive as best fulfilling their needs. The commission recognizes that an effective 'income strategy' must include measures to eliminate legal, administrative and technical restraints upon choice.

Second, the goal calls for a more equitable society, not for a more efficient political or economic system. This does not mean that policies serving the goal of equity should not also serve the objective of efficiency. The Commission recognizes the need to allocate the City's limited resources as efficiently as possible and to collect revenues in the same way. However, efficiency is not an end in itself; it is a means. The rationale for seeking more efficient collection and expenditure of public funds is to assure maximum resources for the promotion of a more equitable society.

photo of Cleveland school kidsphoto of Cleveland family

Third, the focus upon institutions recognizes the crucial role played by legal, political, economic and social institutions in promoting and sustaining inequities. Necessary changes will not be achieved merely through the righteous rhetoric and good deeds of unselfish men. In many, if not all, cases these changes will require alterations in the laws, customs and practices of our institutions.

Fourth, the goal directs all of the Commission's efforts. It enables the Commission to identify those issues to which it devotes priority attention--issues involving equity considerations. The goal gives clarity and power to the staff's analyses. In evaluating proposals set before the Commission, and in developing the Commission's policy and program recommendations, the question of 'Who pays?' and 'Who benefits?' are key elements in the staff's analytic framework. The goal also aids the Commission in identifying clients for its work.

Finally, the Commission's emphasis upon promoting more choices for those who have few choices places it in an advocacy position on behalf of those less favored by present conditions. Obviously, the less favored are neither the more powerful nor, in many cases, the more numerous. The Commission does not expect that its recommendations will be accepted in all cases. Neither does the Commission, by its advocacy on behalf of those less favored, intend to ignore or demean the interests of more favored individuals or groups. Conflicts in interests and ideas are not to be avoided. They must be understood, clearly articulated, and submitted to the relevant executive, legislative or judicial body for resolution. Thus, the Commission does not seek consensus but strives to identify and to clarify the often opposing interests of the more and the less favored.

The Goal Justified--by Tradition: Justification for the Commission's goal must, in the end, rest upon the moral commitment of the commission itself. However, this body of seven citizens does not stand alone. The Commission merely affirms what has been advocated consistently throughout history: that equity in the social, economic and political relationships among men is a requisite condition for a just and lasting society.

This has been an overriding theme in the philosophical and religious teaching underlying Western culture. In his remarks on the 'Perfect City,' Plato warned:

"We have, it seems, discovered other things which our guardians must by all means watch against, that they may nowise escape their notice and steal into the city.
What kinds of things are these? Riches, said I, and poverty."

Similarly, Jesus of Nazareth asked:

"Think ye that building shall endure, which shelters the noble and crushes the poor?"

Political leaders of this nation have frequently expressed the same concern. Sometimes, promotion of a more equitable society has been viewed as a moral imperative. Thomas Jefferson reflected:

"That an equal distribution of property is impracticable but (because of) the consequences of enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property."

Sometimes, it has been viewed as a political imperative. Throughout U.S. history, statesmen have recognized that obvious and pervasive inequalities pose the gravest threat to the survival of our democratic political union. Andrew Jackson, in the summer of the election year of 1832, vetoed a bill renewing the National Bank Charter. His veto message included this:

"Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by human institutions ... but when the laws undertake to add to natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of our society--the farmers, mechanics and laborers--who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves have a right to complain of the injustice of their government."

Similarly, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his third inaugural address, said:

"There is nothing mysterious about the foundation of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political system are simple. They are: Equality of opportunity, Jobs for those who can work, Security for those who need it, The ending of special privilege for the few ... the inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations."

Most religious, philosophical and political leaders have agreed that the important causes of inequality lie in the laws and institutions of our political and economic systems, not in the failings of individuals. They have sought to change those laws and institutions rather than to provide palliatives to those adversely affected. Tom Johnson, Mayor of Cleveland from 1901 to 1909, carried on a vigorous campaign against 'Privilege.' His comments on the proper strategy for change are instructive:

"There was a certain river and many human beings were in it, struggling to get to shore. Some succeeded, some were pulled ashore by kind-hearted people on the banks. But many were carried down the stream and drowned. It is no doubt a wise thing; it is noble that under those conditions charitable people devote themselves to helping the victims out of the water. But ... it would be better if some of those kindly people on the shore engaged in rescue work, would go up the stream and find out who was pushing the people in. It is in this way that I would answer those who would ask us to help the poor. Let us help them, that they may at least fight the battle (against) Privilege with more strength and courage; but let us never lose sight of our mission up the river to see who is pushing the people in."

To seek a more equitable society is not a new path for the Commission to chart. Many of our greatest leaders have warned that gross inequalities in the distribution of wealth and power are inconsistent with the preservation of democratic institutions.

The Goal Justified--by Reason: Pursuit of a more equitable society can also be justified by reason. It is the kind of society that free, equal and rational men would agree to establish in order to protect their own self-interests. Suppose a group of individuals gather together to determine the principles under which they will enter into association. These individuals are equal in the sense that none knows how to design these principles so as to favor himself:

"No one knows his place in [this proposed] society, his class position or social status; nor does anyone know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence strength, and the like."


In other words, the conditions under which they will agree to the basic principles are fair. It can then be argued that persons so situated would rationally agree to two basic principles for a just society:

  1. A just society would guarantee an equal right to basic liberties for all individuals.
  2. A just society would permit social and economic inequalities only to the extent that such inequalities materially improve the lot of those least advantaged and are attached to positions and offices open to all. In short, "... the distribution of income and wealth need not be equal but it should be to everyone's advantage, and positions of authority and offices of command must be open to all."

It would be rational for each individual to seek a society where, if he should become the least favored member, his position would not be seriously inequitable and where any social and economic inequalities would, to some measure, benefit him. In devotion to their own interests, individuals would choose to associate with others only if there existed safeguards against others benefiting inordinately at their expense.

The Goal Justified--by Necessity: The Commission's goal is not only in keeping with the dictates of tradition and reason, but also with the realities of life in an older central city such as Cleveland. Compared to surrounding areas the City of Cleveland is increasingly becoming the home of those with few choices: the poor, aged, disabled, and racial minorities. Thus, in providing consistent support for the interests of those with few choices, the Commission is simply providing appropriate service to a large and growing proportion of the City's population.

In American society, income is the fundamental generator of choice. The Commission recognizes that income alone cannot eliminate all restraints upon choice. However, access to income is a prerequisite to the exercise of such fundamental choices as those of sufficient food and clothing, decent housing, necessary transportation and adequate health care.

As a whole, residents of the City of Cleveland have far less income with which to exercise such choices than to other segments of the population.4 In 1969, the per capita income in Cleveland ($2,840) was approximately 27% below the State of Ohio ($3,965) and national ($3,920) averages. The differential is even more pronounced when the income of City residents is compared with those of suburban Cuyahoga County residents. While City residents constitute almost half of the County population; they receive only a third of the County's total income. In 1969, the per capita income in the City was 35% lower than in the suburbs ($4,937). Moreover, the gap has increased in recent years. Between 1959 and 1969, the real median family income in the suburbs increased by 29%. In the City, the increase was only 23%.

map of Cleveland neighborhoods
Click for larger image.

The Cleveland area, like most of the nation's older urban areas, is economically segregated. By and large, the richer families of the County live in the suburbs; the poorer families live in the City. In 1969, 77% of those families with incomes over $15,000 resided in the suburbs; 76% of those families with incomes below the poverty level were City residents. The unemployment rate among City residents is more than twice that for the suburban population. Only 2% of the suburban population are dependent upon public assistance, but almost 20% of the City's residents must rely upon some form of welfare payments.

A host of inequalities can be shown as following from this basic income inequality. For example, 78,000 or 32% of Cleveland's households lack regular access to an automobile. Only 9% of the suburban households confront similar limitations on their mobility. A large and growing proportion of Cleveland's households cannot pay rents sufficient to maintain dwelling units in standard condition. Similarly, low incomes threaten the viability of neighborhood shopping districts everywhere in the City. These and other problems associated with the limited income accruing to City residents are discussed in detail in Section III of this volume and in the research papers included in Volumes II-V.

Not all segments of the City's population are equally subject to restricted choices. The relationship between age and income restraints is clearly demonstrated in Cleveland. While 11% of those under age 65 are supported by incomes below the poverty level, 26% of the City's elderly live in poverty.

photo of Cleveland elder

The relationship between race and income limitations is equally pronounced. Black residents constitute almost 40% of the City's population, but receive only 30% of the City's total income. In 1969, the per capita income for blacks ($2,290) was 28% lower than for whites ($3,216). Of the Cleveland families with incomes below the poverty level, 63% were black. It is not surprising that those areas of the City with the lowest income levels, the weakest housing and commercial markets, and the highest proportion of transit-dependent households are east side, predominantly black, neighborhoods.

In an environment characterized by deteriorating inner city neighborhoods and burgeoning suburban subdivisions, by vastly expanded mobility for those with automobiles and significantly diminished mobility for the transit-dependent--an environment characterized by massive inequalities in the distribution of income and power--there is no more appropriate goal which the Commission could adopt than the goal of promoting greater equity.

The Commission is committed to the belief that: In a context of limited resource and pervasive inequalities, priority attention must be given to the task of promoting a wider range of choices for those who have few, if any, choices.

The Goal and the Planning Process: This goal provides direction to the Commission and its staff. It is 'comprehensive' in that it provides the foundation for all of the objectives, policies and programs supported by the Commission. However, the Commission makes no pretense of having developed a full list of objectives or a comprehensive set of policies.

The Commission's success is not dependent upon the publication of a formal 'comprehensive plan,' but upon the clarity of direction which it provides to decision makers, upon the professional diligence with which it pursues the development of policies and programs leading in that direction, and upon the influence which it exerts on the decision-making process.

The Planning Process

Selection of a Goal: The first requirement of a planning process is a goal. The Cleveland Planning Commission has a goal which provides needed direction for its activities--the goal of promoting more choices for those who have few.

This goal is one that the Commission and its staff have defined for themselves. It is the Commission's belief that planners cannot look to political leaders for clear statements of goals or objectives. The political process is a decision process, not a process of goal development or analysis. Government officials avoid detailed identification of goals or objectives. They must. The motives behind some programs are cynical; the objectives of many are multiple; the maintenance of disparate sources of support requires ambiguity. Moreover, those who run for public office know the odds against achieving basic change. They know that large promises made with specificity today may become proof of failure in two or four years.

Thus, while the planning process demands that goals be clearly specified, the political process demands that goals remain ambiguous. The Commission's first and most important initiative was to develop a clear goal-oriented perspective.

The goal selected by the Commission is one to which its members and staff are both personally and professionally committed. It is a clearly ideological goal. But being ideological hardly constitutes a radical departure from traditional planning practice. Some ideological commitment is implicit in every planning perspective. It is often a commitment to beauty, or to efficiency, or to the value of real property. However, the profession's propensity for focusing upon techniques has obscured such ideological biases. In contrast, the Cleveland Planning Commission has made its commitment explicit.

photo of Cleveland traffic congestionphoto of downtown Cleveland

Development of Policies: Establishment of a goal is not enough. A process is needed to influence decisions in such a way as to insure progress toward that goal.

The Commission cannot rely upon the exercise of power as a means of affecting decisions. Its formal powers are limited. Other public bodies can easily over-ride its recommendations. Neither law, nor custom, nor political instinct compels decision-makers to search out the advice of the City's planners. So the Commission must rely upon the exercise of influence. Such influence is a function of both the Commission's institutional role and the aggressive activities of its staff.

The Commission has traditionally sought to influence events by applying established policy to decisions submitted for its review. In accordance with the City's Charter those decisions generally relate to public improvements, subsidized private development and changes in zoning. However, in a city like Cleveland--where 97% of the land is already developed and where a strong market demand for redevelopment simply does not exist in many locations--matters formally submitted for review are not the only ones of concern to the Commission.

To date, the Commission has given priority attention to the development of policies in the areas of income, housing, transportation and community development. Meaningful policies are not quickly nor easily designed in these problem areas. The problem must be defined; the restraints upon choice must be identified; the legal, administrative and financial framework must be understood; the nature of competing interests must be considered. Because staff resources are limited, the development of policies in some areas must wait until attention has been paid to areas of highest priority. In determining priorities the Commission is guided by practical rather than theoretical considerations.

Why focus upon housing rather than health? Why transportation rather than education? Such determinations are based upon the probability of the Commission's affecting important decisions. That probability is conditioned by two factors: (1) pressures for change are greater and more immediate in some areas than in others; and (2) the Commission is recognized as possessing greater credibility in some areas than in others.

For example, in housing, the 1973 moratorium on Federal housing programs created a demand for re-evaluating local housing needs and an opportunity for influencing national housing policy. This situation, combined with the fact that the Commission is recognized as having considerable responsibility for dealing with the City's housing problems, has led the Commission to place a high priority upon the development of housing policies.

However, even in those areas where detailed policy analysis has not yet been undertaken, the Commission often provides advice to decision-makers. The Commission's goal provides a perspective--a particular way of viewing problems, a specific set of questions to be raised about proposed solutions. Information generated by the staff in their analysis of priority areas is often useful in analyzing problems in other areas as well.

Finally, it should be noted that policy formulation is a dynamic, not static, process. While the Commission's goal will remain constant, the policies supported by the Commission may, and undoubtedly will, change. Policies are derived from the application of values to an assessment of existing conditions. As the Commission's understanding of current conditions is enhanced through analysis, policies will be refined. Where necessary they will be made more specific. Moreover, while values may remain relatively constant, conditions do not. The Commission must frequently reassess those policies which it has already adopted, abandon those which are no longer applicable, alter those which are in conflict with emerging needs, and design new policies which address issues of concern to local decision-makers.

Application of Policies: Of course, the Commission's policies are not necessarily the policies of those who must decide or of those who have powerful influence over decision-makers. They are not necessarily the policies of the Mayor, of the City Council, or the Chamber of Commerce, or the news media, or a host of other individuals and groups who are important in the decision-making process. They are only the policies of the Commission.

In seeking to influence decision-making, the Commission must do more than adopt and publicize its policies. It is committed to an active advocacy role. The Commission's efforts to secure progress toward its goal and to gain acceptance for its policies take many forms.

The Commission and its staff analyze and make recommendations on proposals set forth by others. These include proposals dealing with the specification of public policies, the development of private and public programs, the administration of City government and changes in legal codes. These proposals are made by the Mayor, members of City Council, City department heads, State and Federal legislators, civic associations and others concerned with influencing and directing public affairs. Staff analyses of those proposals focus upon the extent to which the Commission's goals and policies are served. The Commission's recommendations are then brought to the attention of the public at large.

The Commission also formulates its own program proposals and works to secure their implementation. When proposals are made by others conflict with the Commission's policies, the staff accepts responsibility for designing alternative approaches. When problems or opportunities are not addressed by others, the staff takes the initiative in developing program recommendations. These are recommendations for allocations of specific fund to specific purposes, or for changes in specific laws and administrative practices.

In the design of both alternative proposals and original recommendations, emphasis is placed upon insuring that clear benefits go to those most in need and that those least able to pay do not bear a disproportionate share of the costs. The Commission presents proposed programs to decision-makers and lobbies for their acceptance. In many cases, the staff pursues this process a step further. During various stages of program development, staff members often work with the agencies or departments responsible for program implementation.

Policy Planning Report

Because the Commission is concerned with having an impact upon public decisions, the development of program recommendations does not always await the development of policies. Neither does the Commission defer action until all conceivable program options and interdependencies have been considered. Rather, policy formulation, program development and efforts to secure policy and program implementation are pursued simultaneously and continuously.

The decision-making process does not wait for the completion of detailed, 'comprehensive' plans. Decisions are made constantly; changes occur in conditions, attitudes and institutions. The Commission must be prepared to provide its analyses and recommendations when decisions are being made; it must be prepared to respond to change.

These realities are reflected not only in the process by which the Commission discharges its responsibilities, but also in the form of this document.

This first volume contains three sections: one establishing and justifying the Commission's goal, one describing the process by which the Commission seeks progress toward that goal, and one discussing the objectives and policies adopted by the Commission.

In a context of limited resources, equity requires that priority attention be given to the task of promoting choices and opportunities for those individuals and groups who have few, if any, choices.

Volumes II through V include research reports related to the Commission's priority areas. These volumes contain the questioning and analysis which have preceded policy adoption and program recommendations. This work accounts for much of the staff's time and effort. Some of the reports were completed years ago. Others were only recently completed.

In order to keep this document up to date, each annual report of the Planning Commission will include three sections--one listing new policies adopted by the Commission and changes in existing policies; one section describing the Commission's work in program development, and the success (or failure) of its efforts to secure program implementation; and a third section including all research documents prepared during the preceding year.

photo of Cleveland housingphoto of Cleveland housing

Objectives and Policies

Introduction: The Cleveland City Planning Commission's objectives and policies translate its goal into terms applicable to decision-making. The Commission is less concerned with the number and specificity of its policies than with the consistency between its policies and its goal. Though the Commission's goal is well founded in American tradition, recent public policy has been relatively ineffective in insuring progress toward it. Indeed, analyses in the Commission's priority areas provide evidence of the need to reconsider conventional definitions of urban problems, to reassess public priorities and to substantially re-direct public policy.

For example, the Commission challenges the dominant objectives of transportation policy. Massive public investments aimed at accommodating or encouraging the use of the automobile have provided vastly expanded mobility for the majority. However, by contributing to the dispersal of urban activities and the weakening of mass-transportation systems, they have reduced the mobility of those who cannot drive or cannot afford an automobile. Current efforts to develop and extend rail transit lines and to make mass-transit a more attractive alternative to the automobile will not correct this inequity. Given its goal, the Commission calls for a reorientation of public policy and a reallocation of transportation subsidies specifically in favor of the transit-dependent population.

In other areas as well, consideration of its goal and analysis of prevailing conditions have led the Commission to call for a reorientation of public policy. The Commission's objectives and policies are not so much detailed decision rules as they are guides to the restructuring of public priorities and programs.

In presenting its objectives and policies, the Commission has not attempted to specify all of the inter-relationships between its priority areas. Rather, the Commission has focused upon one fundamental inter-relationship: the relationship of poverty to problems in each of these areas. It is significant that the discussion of objectives and policies dealing with income precedes consideration of other areas. Realization of the Commission's income objectives would contribute substantially to the fulfillment of its objectives in housing, transportation and community development.

Because income limitations underlie the most basic restraints upon choice, it is essential that the Commission concern itself with Federal and State policy as well as local policy. Many of the most pressing problems confronting Cleveland residents cannot be attacked with resources raised within the City. Given the region's economic segregation, to do so would amount to taxing the poor to help the poor and would encourage the flight of all but those with fewest choices.

The Commission has concluded that State and Federal intervention is required in the form of an adequate income maintenance program, increased public service employment funds, housing allowance payments, community development revenue sharing and operating subsidies for mass transit. For too long, local governments have placed themselves in the position of responding to State and Federal initiatives. It is time that local governments, aware of local problems and priorities, participate in the formulation of State and Federal policies. The Commission hopes that its analyses and recommendations will provide a foundation upon which representatives of the City of Cleveland can seek State and Federal aid tailored to meet the needs of Cleveland's residents.

The Commission is not so naive as to expect the immediate realization of its objectives or the widespread acceptance of its policies. Its objectives and policies point to the need for basic changes in public priorities. However, in adopting an advocacy role, the Commission accepts the challenge of working consistently and persistently to influence decision-making in the direction of its goal.

Income Policies

Definition of Problem and Statement of Objectives: Many of the problems confronting Cleveland and its residents have a clear and common origin: poverty. Large areas of the City are rapidly deteriorating. The residents of these neighborhoods lack incomes adequate to demand standard housing or to support commercial activities. Many Cleveland residents confront severe restraints upon their mobility. They lack the income needed to purchase and maintain an automobile. Efforts to improve the incomes of Cleveland residents address the roots of these, and other, problems. Therefore, means to alleviate poverty must be a major focus of the Commission's concern.

The distribution of income in the Cleveland area is clearly inequitable. Census data reveals that the income gap between the rich and the poor of Cuyahoga County is wide and becoming wider. In 1959, the poorest 20% of all County families7 reported an average income of $3,219, while the richest 20% reported an average income of $12,355. During the next decade, the average income of the poorest families rose by only $481; the average income of the richest families grew by $4,045. Thus, the gap increased from $9,136 in 1959 to $12,700 in 1969.

Wealth, and thus the income accruing to wealth, is even more inequitable distributed. In 1969, families in the Cleveland SMSA reported $430,000,000 of income derived from wealth. One-third of this total went to less than 1/3 of 1% of the families in the metropolitan area. City residents comprised almost half of the County's population, yet they received only 1/3 of the County's total income and only 1/5 of the income obtained from wealth. Within the City, 1/3 of all income from wealth went to families in just three of the City's 204 census tracts.

While the richer families of the County generally live in the suburbs, the poorer families generally live in the City of Cleveland. In 1969, the average income for all City families ($9,717) was almost $6,000 below that for suburban families ($15,259). [Included here were statistical tables showing the 1959 and 1969 incomes for families in the City of Cleveland and in Cuyahoga County].

Although the area's economy is sound and growing, it is not providing jobs for all who need work. Many unemployed persons seek work for months, or even years, before finding a position for which they are qualified. Only those individuals actively seeking employment are technically classified as unemployed. However, there are others who desire work but, frustrated by their inability to find employment, drop out of the labor force. There are others who, aware of the odds against obtaining work, avoid even entering the labor force.

The absence of an adequate number of employment opportunities is only part of the problem. Having a job does not necessarily guarantee an end to poverty. Those persons employed in the goods-producing sectors of the economy enjoy relatively high wages. However, since the industries in which they work are extremely sensitive to cyclical fluctuations in the national economy, job security is low, and lay-offs are common. In contrast, workers in the services sector enjoy greater job stability and growing employment opportunities. But they receive relatively low wages.

In summary, jobs are scarce, and employment does not always provide adequate income. In 1969, more than 5,000 male heads of households were members of the labor force but did not earn enough to raise their families out of the Census poverty classification.

Recognizing that employment is viewed as the most acceptable means to income for the majority of the City's residents, the Commission establishes this objective:
To assure all City residents who are willing and able to work an opportunity for employment at wages adequate to rise and remain above the poverty level.

However, policies and programs designed to serve this employment objective will not address the needs of a significant portion of Cleveland's poor. Some City residents cannot work because of age or physical disability. These include the elderly, the handicapped and the blind. Others are unable to work because of family responsibilities. Many mothers of young, dependent children desire employment but cannot work because child care services are unavailable or too expensive.

The number of adult Cleveland residents in these groups is substantial. In 1969, the Census reported that over 7,500 families with children less than six years of age and a female head of household were living in poverty. A fourth of these women were members of the labor force, but had either been unable to find a job or were working for extremely low wages. In 1972, the County Welfare Department reported 13,319 cases of aid to the blind, disabled and aged in the City of Cleveland. These figures undoubtedly understate the total number of Cleveland residents who are eligible for such aid.

In order to meet the income needs of those who cannot work, those who cannot find work, and those who work at wages beneath the poverty level, an income maintenance program is needed. The Commission recognizes that the resources required to sustain an adequate income maintenance program will not be available locally. Only a Federal program of considerable magnitude could accomplish such a goal.

The City Planning Commission establishes the following second objective, with priority equal to the employment objective:
To assure all City residents with household responsibilities an annual income sufficient to avoid poverty.

These two income objectives are fundamental to the realization of the Commission's goal. In this society, income is the basic generator of choice. As income rises, so do available options in housing, transportation, leisure activities, educational opportunities, and material goods of all kinds. To decrease the income gap between the richest and the poorest members of our society is to move toward a more equitable distribution of our nation's resources.

Statement of Income Policies: Consistent with the objectives above, and based upon an analysis of Jobs and Income (Dec. 1973) in the Cleveland area, the Commission has adopted the following policies. They represent necessary steps toward meeting the income needs of Cleveland residents.

Policy: Public subsidies and incentives aimed at retaining or creating private-sector jobs in the City of Cleveland should be used primarily to support businesses and industries proving to be viable in the City.

In manufacturing, these include firms located, or wishing to locate, in the viable industrial areas of the far and middle west side, the near east side, and Collinwood. Support should also be given to business services, especially those located in the downtown area.

The City is experiencing an exodus of manufacturing firms. However, analysis indicates that certain kinds of firms continue to find certain City locations attractive. These firms, like most other firms, occasionally require assistance. The City should make a particularly strong effort to assist them. Rather than risking time and resources on efforts to assist firms which, according to market trends, are likely to leave Cleveland, priority attention should be devoted to those firms which are most likely to remain in the City.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Jobs and Income," a research report included in Volume II.]

Policy: Assistance, in the form of technical and marketing advice, management counseling and site location should be provided to those City firms which are small, newly formed or near termination. To this end, the service function of the Department of Human Resources and Economic Development should be expanded.

Like the preceding policy, this policy aims at providing jobs for Cleveland residents by maximizing the effectiveness of the City's economic development efforts. By providing the types of assistance specified in the policy statement, the City may succeed in retaining small firms, attracting newly-formed firms and sustaining marginal firms. Thus, efforts of this type should be given a high priority within the City's overall economic development program.

Policy: In all cases where the City is asked to provide support for industrial or commercial development (by assuming a share of the project cost, by granting a tax abatement or by providing other types of financial incentives), and where the benefits to the City are alleged to be the maintenance or an increase in jobs and/or tax revenues, the following information may be required for review by the Commission:

  1. Number and type of new jobs which will be created by the proposed project or the number of jobs which will be lost to the City in the absence of the proposed project.
  2. Number of those jobs (new or retained) which may be or are filled by City residents.
  3. Anticipated increase in City income tax revenues which will result from the proposed project, or the loss in income tax revenues which will occur in the absence of the proposed project.
  4. Anticipated increase in City property tax revenues which will result from the proposed project or the loss in property tax revenues which will occur in the absence of the proposed project.

This policy addresses Commission objectives in employment and community development. To evaluate proposals for the commitment of City resources on behalf of private enterprises, the Commission and its staff must be provided with certain types of information. The Commission recognizes the importance of maintaining and expanding job opportunities for City residents and of maximizing the resources available to support public services. Firms, desirous of public subsidies, must indicate if and to what extent they are able and willing to serve these objectives.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Jobs and Income," a research report included in Volume II and "Cleveland's Urban Renewal Experience," a research report included in Volume V.]

Policy: A substantial reduction in unemployment among City residents cannot be achieved solely through the creation of private-sector jobs. Additional jobs in worthwhile public-sector enterprises will also be required. The City should support efforts to provide public service employment for Cleveland residents.

Analysis indicates that the private sector is, and will continue to be, unable to meet Cleveland's employment needs.The public sector must assume greater responsibility for the provision of jobs. The Planning Commission recognizes that local resources are not adequate to support a large-scale public service employment program. However, the City should lobby for Federally-funded public service employment programs and should be prepared to use funds made available for this purpose.

While the primary objective of any public service employment program should be to provide income to those in need, such a program would also serve other objectives. It would provide for the expansion and improvement of municipal services by increasing the City's labor force and income tax revenues. A public service employment program could be an important element in the realization of the Planning Commission's community development objectives.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Jobs and Income," a research report included in Volume II.]

Policy: To assure all Cleveland residents with household responsibilities an annual income above the poverty level, the Commission supports the following Federal policies:

  1. Basic allowances (payments made to families with incomes below the poverty level) should vary by region of residencies and should be adjusted periodically as the cost of living changes.
  2. Benefits should not discriminate against the 'working poor'--those who work full time but at wages below the poverty level.

This policy speaks directly to the second income objective. It provides specific direction to the City and the Commission in their efforts to support a national income maintenance program.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Family Assistance Plan," a research report included in Volume II.]

Application of Policies: The income restraints confronted by a large and growing segment of the City's population are so severe that local action can only begin to address the problem. As previously indicated, Federally-sponsored income maintenance and public service employment programs are essential to the alleviation of poverty in Cleveland.

While recognizing the limitations upon local efforts, the City must continue to develop programs aimed at increasing employment opportunities for City residents. Based upon the "Jobs and Income" analysis, the Commission's staff has formulated three program proposals:

  1. Where City funds or powers are required to attract new employers to Cleveland, or to retain existing employers, a City manpower training agency should be given first opportunity to fill new job slots with City residents.
  2. The City should give greater attention to hiring City residents for City jobs. Ultimately, this may mean the re-establishment of a residency requirement. More immediately, City residents should receive bonus points in Civil Service tests.
  3. The City should encourage employers to establish industrial day-care centers, medical out-patient facilities and skill-training programs.

These program proposals are currently being discussed with appropriate local agencies.

The findings of the "Jobs and Income" analysis also have implications regarding land use and redevelopment plans. Certain areas of the City are proving to be viable locations for certain types of firms. The Commission believes that this trend should be reinforced. The Commission has proposed that, where necessary, public incentives be provided to attract and retain firms in these areas. However, certain tentative redevelopment plans might adversely affect some of these areas. The Commission's staff is considering modifications in these plans to insure that further development will not threaten the City's viable manufacturing areas.

The staff has also been involved in the preparation and analysis of specific industrial development proposals. The "Proposal for Agrico Site Industrial Park (Dec. 1971)" analyzed the incidence of costs and benefits associated with the development of a new industrial park in Cleveland's west side. The "National Screw and Perfection Stove Report (Mar 1971)" considered the economic feasibility of rehabilitating or redeveloping a vacant and vandalized industrial facility in Cleveland's east side. This report was prepared at the request of a neighborhood citizens group. In undertaking this project, the Commission's staff was motivated both by the possibility of serving its income objectives and by its commitment to provide professional support to low-income citizens.

These industrial development analyses concluded that public subsidies would be required to stimulate development. In the case of the National Screw and Perfection Stove property, plans for industrial re-use have been abandoned in favor of a services complex. In contrast, the Agrico site has been acquired by an industrial developer. First phase construction has begun, with the promise of 1,700 new jobs. The Commission is cooperating with the developer and other City agencies in seeking Federal assistance for necessary site improvements.

Recognizing that a solution to the income problems of City residents will require changes in Federal policies, the Commission has encouraged City officials and representatives to lobby for such changes. In response to "Family Assistance Plan (FAP)," the Commission's staff analyzed the income needs of Cleveland residents, suggested modifications in the FAP proposal, and estimated the potential impact of an adequate income maintenance program in the City of Cleveland. The results of this research were used to impress the Mayor, City Council members, U.S. Congressmen, and other local leaders with the importance of an adequate income maintenance program for the people of Cleveland.

The case of marginal retail centers was used to demonstrate this point. An adequate income maintenance program would improve the vitality of such areas by increasing the demand for retail goods and services. The Commission's analysis showed that such a program could generate as much as forty million dollars in new purchasing power annually in the Cleveland area. The Commission's arguments for income maintenance were sufficiently persuasive to cause the Greater Cleveland Growth Association (Chamber of Commerce) to endorse the need for such a program. It was one of the few such organizations in the U.S. to do so. Mayor Carl B. Stokes also supported the FAP before Congressional Committees, using the Commission's paper in his testimony.

The Commission and its staff will continue to lobby for an income maintenance program and for expanded public service employment programs.

photo of Cleveland Marketphoto of Cleveland Square

Housing Policies

Definition of Problem and Statement of Objectives: The deterioration of Cleveland's neighborhoods has focused concern upon the issue of housing. One-third of the City's families live in substandard housing: housing which does not conform to those legal standards established to protect the health and safety of residents.

In the past, poor housing conditions have been blamed on such factors as absentee ownership, tenant neglect, insufficient code enforcement, unscrupulous real estate practices, and the reluctance of banks to loan money in marginal areas. All of these factors have undoubtedly played a part in creating the present situation, but they are not primarily responsible for the continuing decay of Cleveland's housing stock.

Current housing problems stem from one major source--the inability of many Cleveland residents to pay for well-maintained, standard housing. Cleveland's housing problem is basically a problem of poverty. The typical low-income family cannot pay prevailing rents for decent housing without imposing a severe strain upon its budget. This family has only two choices in today's housing market: it may spend an inordinately high percentage of its income to get a standard unit, or it may spend a more reasonable portion and accept substandard housing.

The owner of housing in a low-income neighborhood faces a similar dilemma. He must match the revenues he receives from his building with the costs of operating it: mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and basic services. If he cannot find tenants who are willing and able to pay the amount needed to maintain the building in good condition, he will reduce the level of service he provides. As maintenance is cut back, the building deteriorates. In many cases, the owners have found that they can no longer meet even the most minimal operating costs and have simply abandoned their buildings rather than suffer continuing losses.

During the 1950's, thousands of middle and upper-income households moved from Cleveland to its suburbs. As they departed, housing in their neighborhoods became available to less affluent families moving out from the inner city. The effect of this transition has been twofold. First, low-income families have moved into formerly middle-income housing. Because they frequently cannot spend enough to keep this housing in sound condition, these areas have deteriorated. Second, the large out-migration from the city has created a significant imbalance in the supply and demand for housing. The number of families trying to obtain housing in Cleveland has declined sharply, leaving an excess of low-rent, largely substandard units in the inner city. There are few potential buyers or renters for such property. Many owners have found continued operation unprofitable and have abandoned their buildings. The Commission estimates that there are now more than 90,000 substandard units in the City and an additional 1,500 abandoned ones.

Inadequate income rather than an insufficient supply of housing is at the heart of the problem. Unless measures are taken to close the gap between the cost of decent housing and the amount low-income families can afford to pay, deterioration and abandonment will continue.

With this in mind, the Planning Commission has adopted two housing objectives.

The primary objective is: To provide all City residents the opportunity to live in housing that meets minimum legal standards of decency without spending an excessive proportion of their income.

As a secondary and complementary objective, the Planning Commission proposes: To maintain the quality of those housing units in the City that are now standard and to upgrade substandard units that are not beyond repair.

Statement of Housing Policies: In accordance with a careful examination of these objectives and alternative means of achieving them, the Commission has established several policies to guide decision-making in the area of housing:

Policy: The Commission urges the initiation of Federal housing subsidies in the form of direct cash assistance to lower-income families, such as the housing allowance programs currently being studied by HUD. These subsidies should be aimed at enabling families who cannot pay market rates for standard housing to do so. The amount a family receives should depend on its size, its income (with greater support directed to those at the bottom of the income ladder), and the region of the country in which it lives.

The Commission has analyzed traditional Federal housing subsidy programs and found them inadequate. First, they are inequitable. Past efforts have reached only a small proportion of the families who need housing assistance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently estimated that only 6% of the families eligible for subsidies under current guidelines are now receiving them.

Second, they are inefficient. Because most Federal subsidy programs have been designed to produce new housing, the cost of assisting an individual family has been very high.

Third, they offer little choice in housing type or location. Under all Federal programs to date, subsidies have been tied to specific housing units in specific locations. The family seeking housing assistance often has been limited, because of political considerations or racial discrimination, to large inner-city housing projects. A family could not use its subsidy to rent or buy housing in the open market.

Fourth, these programs do not address the housing problem as it exists in Cleveland today. They do little to preserve the large supply of standard and marginally substandard housing that will deteriorate further without government action.

A program of direct cash assistance, such as the housing allowance programs being studied by HUD, could alleviate these problems. A much higher proportion of the families in need of help could obtain assistance. The cost of helping an individual family would be reduced. Recipients would be free to choose from a much wider range of housing types and locations. Finally, by insuring that all low and moderate-income families were able to pay market rents for well-maintained standard housing, such a program would enable owners of existing standard units to keep them sound and would make the rehabilitation of substandard buildings economically feasible. In short, this approach satisfies both of the Planning Commission's objectives for housing policy.

[Support for this policy is provided in research reports included in Volume III: "Poverty and Substandard Housing: An Analysis of R3esidential Deterioration in Cleveland;" Housing Abandonment in Cleveland;" Housing for Low and Moderate Income Families;" Evaluation of the 236 Program;" Evaluation of the Low-Rent Public Housing Program;" Evaluation of the Rent Supplement Program;" Comparative Analysis of Housing Programs;" and "A Housing Allowance Program for Cleveland: Issues and Implications."]

Policy: Until an adequate housing allowance program is operational, the Commission supports the reinstatement of Federal programs to subsidize rehabilitation, leasing, and new construction of low-income housing.

The Commission's endorsement of the housing allowance concept should not be interpreted as a wholesale rejection of traditional subsidies to housing suppliers. Although they have shortcomings, these programs may be the only housing assistance available to low-income families in the near future. Moreover, even if an adequately funded housing allowance program is enacted, some assistance to suppliers may be needed to hasten their response to new demand for housing. The Commission believes that these programs can be used more effectively than they have been in the past.

Policy: Greater use should be made of Federal subsidies to housing suppliers to encourage rehabilitation and conservation of the City's existing housing stock.

The primary emphasis of Federal housing programs in Cleveland has been upon the construction of new lower-income housing in the inner city--precisely where the Commission's analysis indicates an oversupply of low-rent, marginal quality housing. Many owners have abandoned their buildings because they could not find enough tenants to maintain a reasonable level of occupancy. Adding to the supply of low-rent housing in declining areas may hasten this process and encourage the abandonment of buildings that with a relatively small investment, could provide decent housing for years to come. Public and private developers who wish to operate in "gray" areas of the city should seek opportunities to rehabilitate and conserve existing buildings.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Poverty and Substandard Housing" and "Comparative Analysis of Housing Programs," research reports included in Volume III.]

Policy: Subsidized housing should not be concentrated in the City's most deteriorated neighborhoods. Much more attention should be given to building and leasing low-income housing in good residential areas, particularly in the suburbs.

Location is a prime consideration in choosing a residence. Even now, well-constructed housing may be unattractive if located too far from employment opportunities or in an undesirable neighborhood. While Federal low-income housing programs have offered the chance to live in a standard dwelling to families who otherwise could not afford it, they have not improved choices in location. In all of Cuyahoga County, only one public housing estate has been built outside the City of Cleveland. Past low-income housing efforts have focused almost exclusively on the inner city, concentrating the poor in decaying environments.

Leased public housing is limited by City Ordinance to those sections of the City formally declared to be areas of "slum and blight.' This ordinance should be repealed or amended to open the range of choice.

The City should not only press for decentralization of low-rent housing within Cleveland, but also for the development of low-rent housing throughout the entire region. Employment opportunities have been steadily moving out of the City and into the suburbs. If unemployed and underemployed persons are to have access to these jobs, much more subsidized housing must be available outside the City.

The Commission recommends eliminating the requirement in the Federal Housing Act for a cooperation agreement between the local housing authority and the municipality in which public housing is to be provided. This requirement has enabled Cleveland's suburbs to exclude public housing from their communities and effectively blocked the dispersal of low-income housing in the Cleveland area.

The Commission also recommends that Federal financial support be made available so that public housing can pay full real estate taxes. This would eliminate the frequently stated criticism that public housing imposes an unfair financial burden on municipalities.

[Support for this policy is provided in "A Fair-Share Plan for Cuyahoga County in Low-Rent Housing;" Evaluation of the Section 236 Housing Program;" Evaluation of the Low-Rent Public Housing Program," and "Evaluation of the Rent Supplement Program," research reports included in Volume III]

Policy: Housing for low-income families should not be developed in large projects built specifically for the poor. Whether leased, rehabilitated or newly constructed, low-income family housing should be in small-scale, scattered-site developments.

The massive "project" approach to housing low-income families has not proved to be a good one. Concentrating large numbers of poor families, many of whom have other social problems, has often only aggravated their problems and contributed to the increasing "ghettoization" of the poor. It has also limited choices in location to a few areas of the inner city. Housing for low-income families should be built on a smaller scale and dispersed throughout the City and its suburbs.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Evaluation of the Low Rent Public Housing Program," research report included in Volume III.]

Policy: The City should use local programs and subsidies to encourage conservation and rehabilitation of the existing housing stock.

Currently, Federal housing policy is at a standstill. Past programs are being re-evaluated and new approaches considered. Meanwhile, the City must adopt a leadr3ship role in confronting Cleveland's housing problem. The City must develop and fund local programs to counter residential deterioration. Highest priority should go to programs that help to conserve the existing stock. Loans for home improvements are not available in large areas of the City. Few property owners can undertake major repairs or improvements without financing from lenders. If these neighborhoods remain cut off from rehabilitation funds, they all may eventually resemble the most deteriorated parts of the inner city. In the absence of private or Federal action, the city must provide money for rehabilitation in marginal areas, or use its r3esources to encourage private lending institutions to operate in these areas.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Poverty and Substandard Housing," and "Comparative Analysis of Housing Programs," research reports included in Volume III.]

Policy: The City should provide public support for the construction of new housing for middle and upper-income groups only if: (1) The returns to the City in the form of lease revenues or increased property taxes justify the investment; and (2) The returns to the City are earmarked to assist in the rehabilitation and conservation of existing housing in the City.

During the last two decades, Cleveland has experienced an exodus of middle and upper-income households. In contrast to many comparable cities, very little new housing has been built for these groups in Cleveland. While not assigning this type of development a high priority, the Commission recognizes that it is probably forthcoming and that such projects generally require subsidies to make them economically feasible. Since the Federal government is phasing out Title I Urban Renewal, demands to subsidize the construction of high-rent housing will be aimed at the City's community development revenue sharing funds. These projects may also qualify for tax abatements under State of Ohio Senate Bill 90 (Impacted Cities). The granting of such an abatement would eliminate any property tax returns while imposing increased service costs upon the City. The City must carefully examine the costs and benefits of any such development before it commits its own funds for subsidies or grants tax abatements.

This policy is intended to insure that (1) the City gets a reasonable return on its investments in such projects; and (2) these returns are applied to purposes with a higher priority. The Commission proposes to analyze all subsidy requests on a case-by-case basis to protect against indiscriminate investment that serves the City's interests poorly.

[This policy is directly related to Planning Commission policies in the areas of Income and Community Development.]

Policy: The City must take all appropriate steps to eliminate racial discrimination in housing.

In Cleveland, as in most other communities, racial segregation persists as a deplorable fact of life. Segregated housing patterns severely restrict housing choices for members of minority groups. The Commission reaffirms the constitutional right of each person to live where he chooses without regard to his race. Furthermore, the Planning Commission recognizes its responsibility to seek ways to insure this right.

The discriminatory exercise of land-use controls has effectively blocked development of moderately-priced housing in most suburbs and has excluded all but a few of the Cleveland area's 300,000 black residents. The City should make its technical resources available to groups who wish to challenge these ordinances in court. Similarly, the City should support the efforts of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and other agencies to distribute subsidized housing throughout the region.

[Support for this policy is provided in "A Fair Share Plan for Cuyahoga County in Low-Rent Housing," a research report included in Volume III"]

Application of Policies: The housing crisis is one of Cleveland's most urgent problems. The Planning Commission has attempted to define and explore this issue in considerable detail. Much of the work has focused upon Federal housing polic--analyzing past housing programs and possible alternatives in light of their potential impact on Cleveland. While the Planning Commission obviously has no formal role in making national housing policy, it considered this an important task for two reasons:

First, Cleveland cannot solve its housing problem without massive Federal assistance. The Commission estimates that half of Cleveland's households cannot pay market rents for standard housing without spending over 20% of their incomes. The City's financial resources are far too limited to address this need. Moreover, none of the traditional land use tools available to city planners can strike at the heart of the problem--poverty. Hence, a strong program of Federal housing assistance is essential.

Second, mounting criticism of past Federal programs indicated broad interest in reforming or changing Federal housing policy. This growing discontent was reflected in President Nixon's decision to suspend all Federal subsidy programs and to re-evaluate the direction of Federal housing policy. It appeared that the Planning Commission could contribute to the design of a more effective strategy.

Research has led the Planning Commission to support a national housing allowance program. The results of Commission studies have been passed on to the decision-makers who will determine the course of future Federal housing policy, including U.S. Congressmen and officials of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition, members of the Commission and its staff have communicated their findings to planners and other interested professionals through speeches, conference participation and journal articles.

In an effort to improve housing choices for low and moderate-income families, the Planning Commission has made two major proposals.

In 1971, the staff prepared a regional distribution plan for public housing. It called for the construction of 4,000 units in suburban Cuyahoga County.

The Commission also proposed a New Town on 865 acres of City-owned suburban land. Over one-third of the 8,000 units were planned for low and moderate-income families. The City, however, withdrew the pre-application proposal, in November 1972.

While neither proposal was adopted by a legal body with the power to carry it out, both called attention to the responsibility of all parts of the Cleveland area to provide standard housing for those who cannot now afford it.

In keeping with the Commission's policies regarding racial discrimination and the dispersal of subsidized, low and moderate-income housing, the Commission's Executive Director has provided expert witness in a number of court cases. He has testified to the need for low and moderate-income housing in suburban locations, close to expanding employment opportunities.

Finally, in seeking to improve the planning and management capabilities of the City's operating departments and to expand the City's data base the Commission's staff has been involved in developing an information system for the Divisions of Housing and Building (Department of Community Development). This system includes a status monitoring and forecasting system for the City's Operation Demolition, a model for the allocation of housing inspectors, and a data base for the Divisions of Housing and Building. It is hoped that the information provided by the system will help decision-makers to increase the efficiency of the City's inspection process and will assist them in the formulation of future housing policies and programs.

The staff is currently developing proposals for a housing rehabilitation loan program and evaluating the potential impact of an urban homestead program.

Transportation Policies

Definition of Problem and Statement of Objectives: The most pressing transportation issues confronting the City and its residents have traditionally been viewed as questions of freeway access, downtown congestion, parking needs and transit deficits. However, in keeping with its goal, the Commission believes that Cleveland's most critical transportation problem must be defined in another way.

During the past three decades, the automobile has become the dominant mode of transportation in this country. Increased ownership and more intensive use of the automobile have been accompanied by massive public investments in roads and highways. As a result, the majority of the population has enjoyed a dramatic increase in mobility.

However, a large segment of the City's population has not shared in this expanded mobility. In 1969, 32% (78,000 households) of all Cleveland households did not own automobiles. These were primarily the households of the poor, the elderly and the disabled.

It costs a considerable amount of money to purchase and maintain a car. Thus, it is not surprising that the most significant determinant of automobile ownership and, thus, the most significant determinant of mobility, is income. Of those Cleveland families with annual incomes under $5,000, an estimated 46% lack regular access to an automobile.

Certain basic skills and attainment of legal age are also required to operate a car. Therefore, the "transit-dependent" includes individuals and families of moderate income who, because of physical disability or age (being too young or too old) are prevented from using an automobile.

Those who cannot drive or who cannot afford an automobile have not only failed to share in the expanded mobility of the majority; they have actually suffered a loss of mobility. In very real ways, the transit-dependent have paid for the expanded mobility enjoyed by the rest of the population.

The construction of highways, particularly the Federal Interstate System, has altered land use patterns. This network of freeways led first to the dispersal of residential uses. This was followed by the movement of commercial, industrial and business activities to the periphery of the urban area.

Due to this scattering of origins and destinations, public transit has become a less efficient means of meeting transportation needs. Given the increased availability of the automobile, public transit has been viewed as a less attractive transportation choice. Confronted by declining ridership, the Cleveland Transit System (CTS) and other area transit systems have been forced to reduce service and increase fares.

As a result of the decentralization of development and the decline in transit service, an increasing number of activities, especially employment opportunities, are totally inaccessible to the transit-dependent population. Moreover, due to service reductions and fare increases, reliance upon public transportation has become more time consuming and more expensive. In short, people who lack an automobile have fewer and fewer places which they can reach by public transit and can reach those remaining destinations only at higher prices. Obviously such restraints upon mobility lead to, or support, the narrowing of choices in employment, housing, recreation and health care.

Those who have been the victims of transportation; policies emphasizing reliance upon the automobile deserve compensation.

Therefore, the Commission accepts as its primary objective in the area of transportation:
To enhance the mobility of those residents who cannot drive or cannot afford an automobile and are, therefore, dependent upon public transportation.

The City of Cleveland has also been a victim of the decision to opt for an automotive civilization. Construction of the Interstate Highway System has imposed both direct and indirect costs upon the City.

As a result of the decentralization of activities stimulated by the highway system, the City has suffered losses in both its economic and tax bases. Most of the households and firms leaving the City have remained within Cuyahoga County. However, their departure from the City has had a significant impact upon Cleveland's income and property tax revenues.

The direct costs incurred by the City and its resident households and firms have also been substantial. First, the City has paid a portion of highway construction costs. Second, highway right-of-way acquisition has disrupted Cleveland's neighborhoods and displaced thousands of Cleveland families and businesses. The existing Interstate Highway System has displaced an estimated 19,000 City residents. Such individuals and firms often join in the exodus to the suburbs and further decrease the City's revenue-generating capacity.

A recent highway proposal ("SR-3, Parma Freeway Route Location") required that the City pay over $10,000,000 for its share of construction costs. In addition, the project would have displaced almost 1,000 housing units and over 100 non-residential structures. The City was threatened with the loss of $400,000 in annual tax revenues.

The city has incurred, and is being asked to continue to incur, substantial costs in order to further enhance the mobility of automobile users. At the same time, the City lacks the resources needed to maintain an adequate public transit system.

Recognizing the need to correct such imbalance, the Commission poses as its secondary objective: To improve the mobility of the non-transit-dependent population but under the condition that no such transportation improvement leaves the City or its residents in worse condition than prior to the improvement.

Statement of Transportation Policies: Based upon its analysis of transportation issues, the Commission has adopted the following transportation policies:

Policy: Transfer of the Cleveland Transit System (CTS) to a regional transit authority should be approved only if: (1) A suitable level of service is established for City residents who are dependent upon public transit for their mobility throughout the metropolitan area. (2) Such service is maintained by providing subsidized fares for those City residents who lack regular access to automobiles. (3) Transit subsidies are collected in such a way as to avoid placing an additional burden upon those who are least able to pay.

The charter of the City of Cleveland stipulates that the Cleveland Transit System (CTS) must be financed exclusively from system revenues. CTS service reductions for persons requiring in-ordinary and non-work trips have been substantial. Cross-town trips, reverse commuting, trips at non-peak hours, and intra-neighborhood trips rarely generate revenues sufficient to cover the costs of service. Thus, for a fiscal standpoint, reductions in service may appear justified. However, such reductions limit the service available to those very persons who need service most. There is a clear conflict between CTS's maximizing its revenues and the provision of adequate service to the transit-dependent population.

Moreover, despite service reduction and fare increases, CTS faces an ever-intensifying revenue crisis. The transfer of CTS and other area transit systems to a regional authority has been proposed as a possible solution to this crisis. Presumably, a regional transit system would provide more efficient, better coordinated transit operations and would realize certain economies of scale. Such economies would not be adequate to eliminate the financial problems associated with transit operations. Public subsidies are also required. Since Federal and State transit programs require local matching funds, some local effort is required to provide adequate service at reasonable fares.

The Commission recognizes the value in drawing transit subsidies from a region-wide tax base. However, the transfer of CTS to a regional authority would not necessarily insure improved service and lower fares for the transit-dependent population. Indeed, a system serving a broader regional constituency may be less responsive to the needs of the transit-dependent, most of whom are Cleveland residents. Thus, the Commission's first transportation policy is designed to insure that proper attention is paid to its transportation objectives during any discussion of a CTS transfer.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Transportation and Poverty," and "A Proposed Fare Reduction to Off-Peak Transit Riders," research reports included in Volume IV.]

Policy: Construction of freeways and expressways in the City of Cleveland should be approved only if:

  1. The local (City) share of the cost is waived.
  2. Annual payments are made to compensate the City for all losses in property and income tax revenues resulting from the improvement. These payments should continue until such time as new tax sources, of similar size, have been created by the improvement.
  3. Prior to highway development, additional housing units--equal in number to those removed--are provided within the City (preferably through rehabilitation of the existing housing stock). These replacement units should be of approximately the same price or rent level as those being displaced.

An examination of past and proposed freeway projects has shown that such projects impose substantial costs upon the City of Cleveland. The purpose of the policy is to insure that the City does not incur such costs in the future. The conditions set forth by the Commission are stringent. It may be argued that adherence to this policy would require suspension of all freeway development for the foreseeable future. However, experience dictates that the City should demand nothing less as its just compensation.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Transportation and Poverty," a research report included in Volume IV.]

Application of Policies: During the past four years, the Commission has consistently sought to focus attention upon the needs of the transit-dependent population, as well as the interests of City residents as a whole.

The staff has recommended specific programs aimed at serving the transit-dependent. These include (1) a model cities taxi program; (2) the use of general revenue-sharing funds to provide non-peak hour fare reductions; and (3) continued operation of the West-Side Loop Bus. These proposals have been presented to City decision-makers. Action has not yet been taken on the first two. However, the Mayor supported continuance of the West-Side Loop Bus, a route that provides essential service to elderly residents of Cleveland's downtown and near west side. CTS recently announced its decision to keep this line in operation.

The staff has also attempted to influence the direction of the Cleveland area's Five-County Transit Study. Due to the Planning Director's involvement, the Transit Task Force recognized improved mobility for the transit-dependent population as its highest priority objective. The project director and prime contractor for the study were selected, in part, because of their sensitivity to the issue of transit-dependency. Adequate funding was secured for the transit-dependent element of the study, an element involving extensive analysis of latent demand.

The Five-County Study was recently completed. In keeping with a detailed analysis of the proposed ten-year Transit Development Program, the Commission has adopted the following position.

The Commission supports:

  1. The Task Force's recommendation that highest priority be given to the elements of the Base package, specifically those dealing with (a) Fare Reductions; (b) Community Responsive Transit (CRT); (c) Service improvements on the existing system.
  2. The fare reduction schedule proposed by the Task Force with the reservation that a 25 cent base fare will continue to place a burden upon elderly, handicapped, and low-income City residents who are dependent upon public transportation for their short-trip needs.
  3. The Task Force's proposal that community responsive transit be made a high priority service improvement.

The Commission withholds support on the following items:

  1. The $3 per person, annual funding level proposed for community responsive transit. The Commission has concluded that this recommended funding level is too inflexible and may prove insufficient to meet the needs of City residents. The Commission also questions whether a short trip within a neighborhood (via CRT) should cost 25 cents, while a short trip in the downtown (via the proposed distribution system) would cost only 10 cents.
  2. The recommended bus route configuration. The Commission strongly supports the Task Force's efforts to expand bus service, improve route configurations, and reduce headways. However, it must withhold final approval of the service improvements recommended for the existing system pending establishment of procedures for the review of specific route alignments and the periodic evaluation of the system.
  3. The billion dollar-plus rail expansion program. Staff analysis has shown that the rail expansion program could be substantially reduced without significantly diminishing the level of service. Analysis also indicates that the priorities assigned to the various elements within the rail expansion program are not in keeping with a realistic assessment of needs. Therefore, the Commission calls for a thorough re-evaluation of the proposed rail expansion program. The Commission also seeks strong guarantees that construction and operation of rail facilities will not be undertaken at the expense of higher priority service improvements.

This position statement together with the Commission's policy on the transfer of CTS provides the foundation for staff involvement in current transit negotiations.

In line with its secondary objective in transportation, the Commission and its staff have sought to protect the interests of Cleveland and its residents in regard to freeway development. The Commission's activities provide a clear example of the need to deal openly with conflict situations.

In 1969, the Board of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), the Cleveland area's seven-county planning agency, approved plans for I-290 (Clark Freeway) through Cleveland's east side. Because of the displacement of families and destruction of neighborhoods, which would result from the project, the City opposed the plan. Though Cleveland residents constituted approximately 25% of NOACA's constituency, City representation comprised only 6% of the NOACA Board. Thus, the basis for Cleveland's defeat on this and other issues was clearly established.

As a direct result of the I-290 decision, the Commission recommended that the City either withdraw from NOACA or institute court action to secure increased representation (on a one-person, one-vote basis). In 1970, the City took the latter action in Federal court, discontinued its payment of dues to NOACA and filed administrative complaints with various Federal agencies. As a result of these actions, the City was denied membership in NOACA by its Board. The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in turn, decertified NOACA as a regional planning and review agency.

In 1972, under the leadership of a new administration, the City dropped its legal suit and administrative complaints and reimbursed NOACA for overpaid dues. As a result of continuing City and HUD pressures, NOACA increased Cleveland's representation on its Board from three to eleven members and withdrew its approval of the I-290 plan.

In early 1973, the Commission's staff drafted the consent ordinance adopted by Cleveland City Council on a realigned Bedford Freeway. This was the outgrowth of a recommendation made by the Commission in 1970. For three years, the Commission had advocated that the controversy over I-290 be resolved by abandoning this proposed Freeway alignment in favor of a realigned Bedford Freeway. While the I-290 Freeway route would have disrupted Cleveland neighborhoods, dislocated over 1,000 Cleveland families, and caused irreparable damage to the Shaker Lakes, the realigned Bedford Freeway route will be built along unused railroad rights-of-way and will cause little disruption. The Ohio Highway Department accepted the realigned Bedford Freeway as an alternative for the $100,000,000 held in reserve for I-290.

Similarly, the Commission and its staff have been involved in a long-term conflict over the Parma Freeway (SR-3). In 1969, the Mayor of Cleveland asked the Commission to study the impact of SR-3, a route which had been part of the State Highway Plan for ten years. Data generated by this study provided the foundation for the Commission's highway trade-off policy (Transportation Policy #2). The City Administration adopted this policy.

In 1973, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) sought Cleveland City Council passage of a final consent ordinance for SR-3. The Commission presented both the Administration and Council with position papers opposing City approval of SR-3 and suggesting ways out of an impasse. Council rejected the route. It was removed from the State's freeway system plan.

The Planning staff is currently analyzing the possibility of litigation against the State. Such litigation would be aimed at recovering the 5% local share of interstate highway costs. This local share is demanded by ODOT regulation from cities with population over 100,000.

The Commission has sought to influence Federal and State, as well as local, transportation policy. In discussions with both the Ohio and U.S. Departments of Transportation, and in speeches and papers presented to professional planning and engineering organizations, emphasis has been placed upon safeguarding the interests of City residents and responding to the needs of the transit-dependent population.

Community Development

Definition of Problem and Statement of Objectives: The suspension of Federal categorical programs and the prospects of community development revenue-sharing demand that the City of Cleveland carefully evaluate its community development needs and clearly establish priorities. Until now, the City has had to concentrate upon those activities for which Federal funding has been available. The City has been forced to concern itself more with the application of Federal strategies than with the specification of local policies.

Urban renewal has been a major element in the Federal community development effort; land write-downs have been the most significant component of the renewal program. Thus, Cleveland, like most other cities, has emphasized the total redevelopment of selected areas. This emphasis has reinforced the notion that new development is an end in itself, that it is desirable regardless of the interests it serves.

The Planning Commission rejects this notion. It views development as a means, not an end. It believes that development should receive public subsidies only insofar as it contributes to the realization of City objectives. Public subsidies for redevelopment have facilitated the growth of certain service institutions, stimulated revitalization of the downtown, and, in at least one instance, expanded the property tax base. However, the resources available for community development purposes are and will continue to be limited.

Given that the City's community development efforts should focus upon improving the lives of City residents rather than improving the appearance or "economic viability" of geographic areas, there appears to be other objectives, which demand higher priority. The Commission believes that neighborhoods have the most profound impact upon the lives of City residents. Thus, the Commission proposes that the City's community development efforts attack the problems of neighborhood areas.

During the past two decades, the City's neighborhoods have suffered widespread physical deterioration. In some areas, property ownership is no longer an asset but an economic liability. The causes are many: limited accessibility to many central city locations, changes in regional land use patterns, the migration of population from the City to the suburbs. However, the prime cause is the generally low incomes of City residents and the resulting lack of effective demand for standard housing, consumer goods, and neighborhood oriented services.

Where the real estate market is extremely weak, entire blocks of land lie vacant. Residential and commercial structures are being abandoned by tenant and owner alike. Once vacated, these structures stand open, subject to fire and vandalism. When these structures are demolished, their sites become new pockets of vacant, unattended land.

In such areas, no land use plan, no zoning ordinance will produce private investment. Massive public subsidies would be required to stimulate development. However, experience has shown that in severely blighted neighborhoods, even substantial subsidies generally fail to induce industrial, commercial and middle or upper-income residential investment. Redevelopment, when it occurs, usually takes the form of new, heavily subsidized, low and moderate-income residential units. As the Commission's housing analysis indicates, such development imposes enormous costs upon the public while providing only limited choices and benefits to a relatively small number of people. Moreover, such development further weakens the real estate market in marginal areas and thus contributes to the seemingly endless spread of deterioration.

This does not negate the need to deal with the problem of deterioration. Rather, it suggests that the City's community development efforts should focus less upon providing massive subsidies in small, concentrated areas and more upon increasing certain types of expenditures throughout large segments of the City.

In many areas, there are numerous violations of those minimum legal standards designed to protect health and safety: specifically, those codes dealing with the demolition of condemned structures, the maintenance of vacant lots and the elimination of rat infestation. Though property maintenance is legally the owner's responsibility, it is not economically rational for property owners, in some areas, to discharge these responsibilities. The demolition of a condemned structure, the maintenance of a vacant lot, or the extermination of rats will cost the owner more than he can hope to recover through use of his property. As a consequence, the City is forced to take the initiative. Those City residents who must live in areas where even such minimum standards are not met, clearly have few choices.

Thus, in keeping with its goal, the Planning Commission has assigned highest priority to this objective:

To assure the improvement to, and maintenance of, minimum legal standards of health and safety throughout the City.

If the City is to avoid a future in which maintenance functions consume an ever-increasing share of its resources, a future in which City residents have no choice but to live in neighborhoods conforming merely to minimum standards, efforts must also be made to halt neighborhood decay. Realization of the Commission's objectives in the areas of income, employment and housing would contribute enormously toward this end.

However, intermediate measures aimed directly at neighborhood conservation and rehabilitation are needed. These must include a combination of public and private investment in housing rehabilitation, public facilities, and neighborhood services. The Commission's staff is analyzing the pressures and problems confronting various neighborhood areas in an attempt to specify the types of public action required.

As an important secondary objective, the Commission takes as its challenge the development of policies and programs designed:

To stop the process of neighborhood deterioration.

Measured against such lofty aims as completely redeveloping and revitalizing the City, the Commission's two objectives may seem conservative and unworthy. Yet, measured against the legal powers and financial resources of the City, the two objectives may be utopian. The resources to be devoted to community development will not be great.

Therefore, the Commission will support the investment of public resources in private development efforts where such efforts will contribute to its two primary objectives. Public investment may take the form of land write-downs, capital improvements and/or tax abatements. The City should expect a return from such investments: new jobs for City residents, increased revenues for the City (either tax revenues or lease revenues); needed services for City residents; and/or a commitment from the developer to undertake high-risk projects in return for City participation in low-risk projects. The income generated by such employment would address the underlying cause of neighborhood deterioration. Increased City revenues could and should be allocated directly toward the accomplishment of the high-priority objectives outlined above. Such services as low-cost health care and child care would improve the quality of life in Cleveland's neighborhoods and the employment potential of many residents.

Preliminary analysis indicates that urban-renewal type investment in the downtown has produced some net property tax returns to the City, but similar investments in other areas have generally failed to produce the types of returns specified above. Analysis of the impact of subsidized development upon employment, City revenues and neighborhood services should precede any future investment decisions. Thus, the Planning Commission accepts as its third community development objective:

To invest in private redevelopment efforts where it can be shown that such investment will provide a return to the City either in the form of jobs for City residents, revenues for the City, or services for City residents.

Statement of Policies: Based upon analyses in the areas of community development, housing and income, the Planning Commission has adopted the following community development policies:

Policy: Programs, throughout the City, to demolish condemned structures, to clear and maintain vacant lots, and to control rat infestation should be adequately funded before the City's community development resources are committed to any other program.

In accordance with the Commission's primarily community development objective, highest priority should go to insuring that all City residents may live in neighborhoods which meet basic code standards. City programs aimed at general neighborhood clean-up must be expanded. This will require not only increased funding for demolition, vacant lot maintenance and rodent control but also increased allocations for supporting activities such as building and environmental inspection.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Housing Abandonment in Cleveland," a research report included in Volume III; and "Cleveland's Abandonment Problems in 1973," a research report included in Volume V.]

Policy: State law, and City and County administrative practices should be altered so as to: (1) Require private property owners to fulfill their legal responsibilities with regard to maintenance. (2) Insure that, where the City is forced to assume these responsibilities, it receives compensation either in the form of cash reimbursements or title to the property.

Analysis indicates that the City will be required to invest a substantial amount in demolition and clean-up activities if all areas are to be maintained at code standards. Since the maintenance of private property is legally the owner's responsibility, the City should, theoretically, receive full compensation. However, the legal and administrative mechanisms for securing such reimbursement are totally inadequate.

In most cases, property owners do not voluntarily reimburse the City for its performance of maintenance functions. Therefore, to secure recovery of its costs the City must take court action against the property owner and/or certify a lien against the property. The City is discouraged from taking court action because the legal and administrative costs are often greater than the potential returns. However, administrative action, involving the lengthy process of foreclosure and attempted sale, generally fails to recover the amount due to the City.

There is a high correlation between failure to pay property taxes, failure to adequately maintain property, and failure to reimburse the City for the costs in demolition and clean-up. The existing process of public foreclosure and sale is aimed at recovering delinquent taxes and assessments and at returning property to productive, tax-generating uses. Given the legal, economic and administrative problems, which surround this process, it generally fails to achieve these objectives. In fact, the ineffectiveness of the current process encourages property owners to ignore their tax and maintenance responsibilities. It forces the City to maintain property from which it receives no property tax revenues and over which it has no control.

Therefore, the Planning Commission calls for changes in the laws and procedures governing the recovery of delinquent taxes and assessments. Such changes should be aimed at: (1) strengthening the disincentives against tax-delinquency and property abandonment; and (2) increasing the City's chances of being reimbursed for its performance of maintenance functions. Where the City is not compensated for assuming the responsibilities associated with property ownership, title to the property should escheat to the City. This would provide a basis for such City programs as urban homesteading and land-banking.

[Support for this policy is found in "Housing Abandonment in Cleveland," a research report included in Volume III; and "A Proposed Change in State Legislation," a research report included in Volume V.]

Policy: Efforts to halt neighborhood deterioration through investment in physical improvements should focus primarily upon those areas which are in the initial, not final, stages of deterioration, and should include programs aimed at the conservation and rehabilitation of the existing housing stock.

The community development resources available to the City will be limited relative to its needs. Achievement of the Commission's highest priority objective will consume a sizeable portion of these resources. Thus, to assault successfully the process of neighborhood deterioration, the City must concentrate its resources in those areas where the potential for success is greatest.

This policy is an extension of the Commission's housing policies. In large areas of the city, housing is now only marginally substandard. Demand for residential and commercial property exists but is gradually declining. Because of the incomes of residents and the policies of lending institutions, private funds for property acquisition and maintenance are limited. However, funds must be made available or these neighborhoods will eventually resemble the most deteriorated areas on the inner city. A combination of public and private investment in the rehabilitation of private property and public facilities (including streets, sewers, street lighting, recreational areas and neighborhood facilities) and in improved neighborhood service would offer hope for avoiding such a future.

By recommending concentrated investment in areas, which are in the initial, not final, stages of deterioration, the Commission may appear to violate its own commitment to serve those with fewest choices. This is not the case. Realization of the Commission's highest priority community development objective would substantially improve the City's most deteriorated neighborhoods. Realization of the Commission's income and housing objectives would enable those who live the most severely deteriorated areas to demand housing in more viable neighborhoods, and would contribute to the maintenance of such neighborhoods.

Policy: In all cases where the City is asked to provide support for private development by providing land write-downs, capital improvements, tax abatements or other financial incentive, the following types of information may be required for review by the Planning Commission:

  1. Number and type of jobs which will be created as a result of the investment or the number and type of jobs which will be lost to the City in the absence of the proposed investment.
  2. Number of those jobs (new or retained) which may be, or are, filled by City residents.
  3. Anticipated increase in City income tax revenues that will result from the investment, or the loss in income tax revenues that will occur in the absence of the proposed investment.
  4. Anticipated increases in City property tax revenues that will result from the proposed project or the loss in property tax revenues that will occur in the absence of the proposed project.
  5. Services to be provided to City residents as a result of the proposed project, or services to be sacrificed by City residents in the absence of the proposed project.

This is a deliberate restatement of the policy position presented in the income and housing sections. Recognizing the fundamental importance of this policy to future Commission deliberations, its frequent restatement seems warranted.

The Ohio legislature recently enacted legislation (SB 90) allowing "impacted cities" to provide substantial property tax incentives for new development. Cleveland must now anticipate requestsfor such abatements, as well as for land write-downs, capital improvements and other commitments in support of development. Information regarding the impact of such development upon the service and employment needs of City residents, and the revenue needs of City government, will be essential to the Commission's review of such requests.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Jobs and Income," a research report included in Volume II; and "Cleveland's Urban Renewal Experience," a research report included in Volume V.]

Policy: When the returns to the City from its investment in new development take the form of lease or tax revenues, such revenues should be earmarked for improving neighborhood areas.

An important rationale for the City's investing in private redevelopment efforts is that it will, in the long run, increase the resources available for the accomplishment of the two high-priority community development objectives. Mechanisms should be established to insure that this end will be served. Precedent exists for such action. Under existing law, property tax returns accruing to the City may be earmarked for amortization of urban renewal bonds.

[Support for this policy is provided in "Cleveland's Urban Renewal Experience," a research report included in Volume V.]

Application of Policies: Community development is a key element in the Commission's 1974 work program. The staff is currently analyzing a broad range of community development issues and preparing program recommendations for the expenditure of community development revenue-sharing funds. In keeping with the Commission's objectives, attention is focused upon: (1) City maintenance, (2) neighborhood conservation and rehabilitation, and (3) criteria for development subsidies.

Although the Commission has only recently begun this concentrated effort in the area of community development, it has long been concerned with City maintenance functions. For example, the staff has helped to restructure the City's waste collection and disposal procedures. As a result of an analysis completed by the Planning staff, a City-wide task force was established; a Federal grant was secured; a management study of the Division of Waste Collection and Disposal was undertaken; recommendations for changes in the disposal process have been made; and changes in the collection process are now being implemented. These changes have led to substantial savings for the City and improved service for City residents. Clearly, adequate waste collection service is basic to the protection of health and safety.

A survey of abandoned residential structures undertaken during the summer of 1972, led the Commission to recommend appropriation of $1.5 million for demolition. In 1973, this proposal was implemented using general revenue-sharing funds. The largest demolition program in Cleveland's history is now underway. During the summer of 1973, the inner city was resurveyed. The scope of the survey was expanded to include vacant non-residential structures and vacant lots. Based upon a comparison for 1972 and 1973 data, the staff has prepared multi-year cost estimates for demolition and lot maintenance. The Commission is now lobbying to insure that these programs are adequately funded out of community development revenue-sharing funds.

A report entitled "A Proposed Change in State Legislation" provided the foundation for the Commission's policy on the recovery of demolition and maintenance expenditures. The staff is now undertaking a more detailed study of this problem, including analysis of the legal, administrative, and economic dimensions of tax delinquency. The staff's aim is to refine its proposal for changes in State codes and to prepare legislation for consideration by the Ohio Legislature. The staff is also studying City real estate management. Consideration is being given to land-banking, urban homesteading and other uses for land, which might escheat to the City as a result of the proposed changes in the Ohio code.

In the area of neighborhood conservation and rehabilitation, the Planning Staff is working closely with the City's Department of Community Development to develop detailed program recommendations.

Recognizing that the City's community development efforts must take into account the diversity of Cleveland's neighborhoods, indices of neighborhood quality and neighborhood needs are being prepared. Data basic to such indices were compiled in the preparation of population projections and neighborhood profiles presented in "Cleveland's Population" (August 1973). As a further part of this effort, building permit data are being computerized. This information will provide a basis for analyzing the location, type and amount of investment being made in the City. Data on changes in assessed valuations, tax-delinquency and land-contracting are also being included in the expanded neighborhood profiles.

Based upon this information, the costs and potential impact of a city-sponsored, home rehabilitation loan program are being studied. As a part of this analysis, the need for housing information centers, expanded inspection activities and changes in code enforcement procedures are being considered. The aim is to create an integrated housing conservation and rehabilitation system.

Other City departments are also being drawn into the planning process through Planning Commission staff assigned to these departments. The Divisions of Health and Recreation are being assisted in identifying existing resource needs and developing innovative program proposals within the context of Commission objectives. Discussions are underway with the Department of Human Resources and Economic Development to consider ways in which the City's community development and manpower efforts might be coordinated.

Finally, in the area of development subsidies, two major analyses have been completed.

"A Study of Cleveland's Urban Renewal Experience," (January 10974) disclosed that the assessed valuation has been increased in only two of the City's eight renewal projects. While recognizing that certain renewal projects served other important objectives, the staff recommends that the following actions be taken to maximize the City's returns from any future development subsidies: (1) The City should make arrangements with the County to insure that major new development projects are reassessed more frequently so that the assessed valuation more accurately reflects the value of improvements. (2) The City should not engage in clearance projects in areas where effective demand does not exist for the land acquired. In keeping with current HUD regulations, the City should continue to demand that, prior to any land acquisition, a developer be firmly committed to the immediate purchase or lease and improvement of the property. (3) Consideration should be given to the City's leasing, rather than selling, land acquired for development. Long-term lease agreements should provide for graduated rental payments. (4) Where the City agrees to provide capital improvements in support of development, the installation of such improvements should, whenever possible, be phased so as to correspond with the increases in tax revenues resulting from the project.

A second analysis, "Impact of New Construction on the Market for Existing Downtown Office Space," (June 1974) was undertaken as part of an effort to develop policy guidelines for use of the City's new tax abatement powers. It raises serious questions about the granting of tax abatements, or other subsidies, for new downtown office space. The market for office space in downtown appears to be shifting rather than growing. The construction of new office buildings has been accompanied by declining occupancy rates in older structures. When new development results primarily in movement within the City, rather than the attraction of new firms, the City does not receive increased income tax revenues. Therefore, property tax revenues become particularly significant. However, the weakening of the market for existing space has been reflected in declining assessed valuations. Unless new firms can be attracted to the downtown, new office development will further weaken the market for existing space. Any decline in tax revenues from existing property increases the effective cost of subsidizing new development. To date, the tax revenues generated by new development have offset the decline in revenues from existing properties. However, if property tax abatements were to be granted to new developments, this would no longer be the case.

The staff is now studying other implications of tax abatements. Analyses, undertaken in other cities, have shown that more intensive land-uses lead to increased public service costs. Unless the property tax and income tax revenues derived from new development cover these service costs, the City can only decrease service levels in other areas or increase the tax burden upon other residents, firms and workers. The staff is working to develop unit cost estimates for selected City services. These are needed to estimate the total service cost associated with specific development proposals and to evaluate applications for SB 90 tax write-downs.