Choosing smart, sustainable development for Lakewood

A recent article in Crain’s Cleveland Business examined development issues in Lakewood, and I want to provide a response. As part of this year’s campaign conversation I will be discussing how we pursue “smart development.”

The closures of Barry Buick and Lakewood Hospital (among others) face us with big choices about development within the City of Lakewood.  We have very few large commercial parcels available for new construction.  Getting these choices right is important.

Our infrastructure will be further stressed, by the demands of the one of the densest cities in the U.S. adding additional dwelling units. New residents will need additional city services. It is imperative for Lakewood to have balanced development.

As I mentioned at a recent City Council meeting, not less than 10 or 12 years ago, it was nearly impossible to sell a condo in Lakewood without taking a loss. Times have certainly changed and we are now in a seller’s market, but we need to be thoughtful and balanced with the development along our commercial corridors.

With the proposals at One Lakewood Place, Barry Buick, and Bunts Rd., we are potentially over saturating the market for rental apartments. We already have one of the largest rental markets in the region.

Getting development right means actively engaging community input as well. Keeping people informed and involved takes time, but results in better developments that serve the interest of our city’s people. We need to take a hard look at each redevelopment proposal and make sure that it not only fits with the characteristics of the neighborhood, but also is something sustainable for the long term.