View All Posts

Aug 14

Green Space letter from Mayor Ray DeGraw

Posted on August 14, 2018 at 11:05 AM by Laura Oldham

August 13, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

You may be aware that a group of residents collected signatures to put a measure on the November 2018 ballot to modify our existing Goodale Green Space Overlay, and we wanted to address this issue. While the City has officially filed the petition with the Franklin County Board of Elections, we feel this petition poses legal challenges for our City. As a result, the the City of Grandview Heights has filed a protest, and further has asked the Board of Elections for a determination as to whether the initiative petition can go on the ballot.

The City’s Concerns about the Initiative Petition
The Ohio Constitution and the City’s Charter grant citizens the right to initiate legislative actions that the Council could otherwise enact. However, this petition goes beyond what the Constitution and Charter allow. Ohio law and the City’s Codified Ordinances expressly require changes to zoning laws or to the City’s zoning map to first be considered by the Planning Commission, in a public hearing, and to have the Planning Commission’s recommendations then be acted upon by Council, also in a public hearing. This initiative petition short-circuits several of these steps, depriving the residents of Council’s statutory obligation to obtain input from the Planning Commission and the public. In other words, the initiative petition attempts to do something that the Council is not legally permitted to do. The proper course to bring about a change would be to propose modifications to the GreenSpace to Council, then ask the Planning Commission for recommendations to Council, with the benefit of public input at all stages and thus following the Constitution, Codified Ordinances, and Charter.

The Goodale Green Space Overlay District
In 1989, the city created a 100-foot Green Space Overlay District along Goodale Boulevard, stretching from Broadview Avenue to Wyandotte Road. The Green Space Overlay District establishes rigorous development standards that include a minimum front yard setback of 100 feet from Goodale Boulevard and a minimum side yard of 25 feet for property located in the Overlay. In effect, it creates a green band on both sides of Goodale between Broadview and Wyandotte Avenues.

At the time the Overlay was enacted, the City had the support of many, but not all, property owners along the band. One affected property owner sued the City because the Green Space restricted his buildable area. The City was forced to buy the affected lot(Parcel No. 030-000167) in 1990, at a significant cost to taxpayers.

Except for the one parcel the City was forced to buy and the park south of Goodale, the other lots in the Overlay are private property.

Will we lose green space if this petition does not pass in November?
No. The existing Green Space Overlay is not in jeopardy. One of the residents who helped to circulate the petition had discussions with the City to explore expanding the Overlay. At least two of the six property owners impacted by this new initiative were opposed to the City further restricting their property by a 200-foot no-build zone, as proposed in the ballot initiative. If passed, this petition would restrict the use of private property without owner consent. The City is willing to look at expanding the green space through voluntary actions of the land owners and using a public process, as defined in the Ohio Revised Code and the City’s Codified Ordinances.

Will we lose green space if this petition does pass?
Beyond creating a no-build zone that would limit residences within the Overlay from potential additions or modifications without owner consent, the initiative petition proposes to removes green space protection from Broadview and the east side of Urlin, as well as from the property south of Goodale.

Please feel free to contact City Hall if you have any questions.


Ray E. DeGraw
Mayor, City of Grandview Heights