PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth’s new Master Plan – Elevate Portsmouth, released early this year, contains a “Future Land Use Plan” as an important component of the city’s development envisioned by the MKSK firm in Columbus along with local city officials, Scioto Foundation personnel and area representatives.
The Land Use Plan is to be accompanied by a Housing Study conducted by the Greater Ohio Policy Center, now underway. The Future Land Use Plan is a statement of policy to be used as a guide for development and infrastructure decisions, according to the Master Plan.
The Land Use Plan should be consulted as a key guide when making decisions about development proposals. Likewise, proposals should demonstrate how they align with the plan. The plan may also be used to influence the details of how a proposed development is ultimately built, the Master Plan explains.
Regional, city, community and neighborhood “nodes” on the map mark places with clusters of retail and civic land uses, as well as important gateways to and from neighborhoods and places in the city. The Land Use Plan recommends that these areas should get special attention in a site plan review to ensure that the development quality and site plan aligns with the desired character of that area.
The Future Land Use Plan identifies area characteristics of different sections of Portsmouth and surrounding territories such as parks and open spaces, the hillsides, hillside neighborhoods, traditional neighborhoods, neighborhoods in transition, neighborhood business districts, mixed use commercial areas, the university district, the mixed health care district, and industrial locations with flexible uses.
The Plan details factors for each type of area including primary uses, secondary uses, density, transportation, parking and open spaces. The Plan also makes several general suggestions and recommendations for uses and development of the various types of districts characterized in the descriptions.
As a complement to the Master Plan, the Greater Ohio Policy Center is undertaking a comprehensive housing study that will examine all components of the housing market in Portsmouth. This analysis will survey existing market housing conditions, identify obstacles and opportunities for new housing, provide recommendations for improving the diversity of housing stock and access affordable housing needs. The comprehensive housing market analysis will provide housing data for the city and identify assets and foundational blocks that can help Portsmouth achieve the vision its sets for itself in the Master Plan, GOPC explained.
The Housing Study is being funded by the Southern Ohio Medical Center, Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority, the City of Portsmouth and the Scioto Foundation who are sharing the $40,000 cost equally.
As part of the community analysis, GOPC has asked the Scioto Foundation and its partners to create a Housing Executive Advisory Committee composed of seven members who are willing to advise GOPC on an on-going basis. GOPC meets with the Executive Advisory Committee periodically during the course of the project and consults with members by phone and email as needed.
An “Interested Parties Committee,” made up of local stakeholders who have opinions or expertise on Portsmouth’s housing market, has also been invited to help with the long-term success of the community analysis. They represent leadership roles in the community such as landlords, realtors, hospital system administrators, education administrators, faith-leaders, neighborhood association chairs, county government officials and bank officers not represented on the Executive Advisory Committee.
The technical approach being undertaken by GOPC to create the comprehensive housing study for the city contains four major sections. They are a demographic analysis of current conditions and estimated trends; a market value analysis including data analysis, developer interviews and recommendations; a housing affordability examination of data collection and analysis, and overall recommendations.
The recommendations provided by the study will detail how to maintain affordability, what populations may be underserved, opportunities to improve existing affordability, and market-rate conditions and needs for new affordable and market-rate units. The recommendations will use data from the demographic analysis, market rate analysis and affordable housing analysis.
“I’m pleased that the Scioto Foundation is partnering with the City of Portsmouth, Metropolitan Housing and SOMC to conduct the Housing Study,” said Cutlip. “I look forward to reading the final report and the recommendations for change to improve the housing stock within the city of Portsmouth.”
The Greater Ohio Policy Center hopes to conclude the study by November 2021. The GOPC will engage local press and present reports and conclusions at public briefings as deemed
appropriate by city leaders and will publish the report on its website after the City and other partners announce it locally.
GOPC is a statewide nonprofit organization with a mission to improve Ohio’s communities through smart growth strategies and research. Its vision is a revitalized Ohio.