FC stadium rezoning passes city council vote 7-0

A hurdle was cleared for the FC Cincinnati stadium development plan when the club agreed to a deal with the Cincinnati Ballet, allowing the city council to unanimously approve the development plan and zoning changes.

The measure passed in a 7-0 margin last week after it was struck down by the city council the week prior.

The ballet headquarters are located less than a half mile away from where FC Cincinnati stadium is being constructed, and there were concerns about several potential issues.

“This ‘good neighbor agreement’ protects the integrity of Cincinnati Ballet for the next 17 years should we remain at our current location on the corner of Central Parkway, as the agreement addresses many of our issues relating to parking, access, noise, operations and others,” Cincinnati Ballet said in a statement.

“Should the ballet ultimately decide to relocate, this agreement helps us to work in good faith with the leadership of FC Cincinnati over the coming weeks to determine a mutually beneficial solution prior to the approval of FC Cincinnati’s final development plan.”

One requirement for the agreement was that FC Cincinnati provide security for the ballet’s parking lots while also trying to avoid closing Central Parkway on days when FC Cincinnati has a match scheduled to ensure people can still access the ballet at all times.

The agreement also called for FC Cincinnati to put $1 million into escrow. This money would be used by the ballet in the event that consultants determined the noise level would be raised “materially” above what it currently is as a result of the stadium.

There was also a measure passed to compensate a restaurant owner, Monica Williams, for being displaced because of the stadium’s construction.

Williams will receive $75,000 from the city of Cincinnati, and an additional $125,000 is coming from FC Cincinnati and the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority.

“I agree with the city’s decision to help (Williams) out with her restaurant,” junior sport management major Tyler Wade said. “By helping her, the city is showing they care about their residents. Had they not agreed to provide her with the $75,000, it would have looked like they only cared about FC (Cincinnati). By helping her I also feel the city is attempting to correct a wrong that was caused by one of their earlier decisions (in approving the stadium).”

The goal is to help Williams eventually reopen her restaurant, Just Cookin’, somewhere else in Cincinnati.

Until then, the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority is allowing Williams to use a food truck near the FC Cincinnati construction site. That measure passed by a vote of 6-1.

Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard defended the decision to the Cincinnati Business Courier, saying, “We’re making a statement right then and there (if Cincinnati were to fund FC Cincinnati and not Williams).”

Councilwoman Amy Murray was the lone vote against, and she told the Cincinnati Business Courier, “This is something the landlord and FC should have paid for.”

By: Donnie Menke | Staff Writer