If you need proof that Dayton needs a change, go down to the Oregon District on Fifth St. The business district. Notice it’s only one street, and about 3 blocks long. Even after Dr. Ervin put his own money up to push the use of more of the buildings, it hasn’t changed that much.
Then go to Over The Rhine in Cincinnati . 6 years ago friends of mine bought a recently remodeled condo for $218K and it was a dicey investment. Now, other units are selling for 30% more, there are a lot of new renovations in place and there is even brand new mixed use construction going on- and- by the way, there are 2 of Cincinnati’s top 5 restaurants (Senate  & Abigail Street ) around the corner, a ton of new bars and other restaurants and even some funky shops that have useful things (not art- which is nice, but has proven to be less than viable).
The wait at multiple restaurants on a Saturday night was over an hour. The places were packed. And, what’s more- while OTR is hot, Northside is starting to pop as well, and Clifton is making Brown Street (our best success so far) look really lame.
Why is development retarded in Dayton- and I mean that in the proper way, not like the epitaph kids hurl on the playground. It comes back to Dayton’s employment of “Inspector Gotcha.”  He’s not a single person, he’s a mindset. It comes from working in a FUD environment. As in Elmer Fudd? Almost. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. It happens when people are afraid that they may lose their nice comfy government job if they actually take action to overcome stupid rules, ease bureaucracy and empower citizens to take risks and work with what we have, which is a bunch of old buildings, streets and neighborhoods that are not and never will be the cookie cutter disneyland of The Greene.
A developer who has done more for the city in my neighborhood than anyone else, investing millions, lamented on Facebook that they are being jacked around again over something stupid in the code.
So in order to get the final inspection we had to create a handicapped parking space for an apartment that is on the second floor and therefore is not handicapped accessible. Seriously?!? It’s not just a waste of time and money but just makes people wonder why the hell they try to do business in the City.
The comment thread goes wild. This from a business that took a risk in an empty building and started something amazing- that now has 2 other locations (both outside the city of Dayton)
the hi/low water fountain in a space that will never need or use it. Same feeling.
From a Realtor and Priority Board chair:
It’s all about protecting one’s own turf with out regard for the client. Ask Haitham at Carmen’s Downtown. He just went thru all that.
From another Realtor:
Some of the requirements of some of the agencies are ridiculous and impractical. I know an agency in town whose responsibility is to educate practices intimidation instead…
Back from the PB chair:
My fav is the story about the inspector that comes out and does a drywall screw count.
From the developer again:
I’m not going to say anything else because I clearly cannot afford to piss anyone else off. I could understand it if I was doing shoddy work, but by the time the building is finished, I will have 3x in construction costs more than the building is currently appraised for.
unfortunately if you go over someone’s head, it’s held against you later. Hence the reason I’m having to jump through so many ridiculous hoops now. The culture of revenge needs to end. I guess some are just politically untouchable. You know me, I love just about everyone I come into contact with at the City. I value the work being done but dammit there are a few that just need to be put out to pasture before they do any more damage.
From another citizen who has experienced it first hand:
Of all of the various “economic development” projects that the city has invested in over the years, a complete overhaul of their building services department would be more effective than all of them. It is hard enough to repurpose these older buildings for today’s uses, but then the city goes out of their way to make it even more difficult with their pass-the-buck and anti-customer mentality. Every single person I’ve ever known who has tried to do a rehab project in the city has the same horror stories. The buck stops with the city manager.
To me- it stops with the City Commission- who is supposed to tell the city manager what is acceptable policy.
In Over the Rhine, I went into a small restaurant about 4 years ago. It was put together on a shoestring. Particle board for counters, you had to walk through the kitchen to get to the bathrooms, which weren’t handicapped accessible and up three steps. The place was funky but the food was great. That little incubator space was enough to get them into their new place- look at the website: Mayberry .
The key is Cincinnati never let “Inspector Gotcha” get in the way. It’s my plan to send him and his crony, FUD, packing when I get elected. Our City Commission has one small business person now in Gary Leitzell, it’s time to add another. I went through hell over 22 years ago to save my office building from being another one of Nan’s demolition specials. I know what the visionaries in Dayton have had to fight. It’s time they had a voice on the Dayton City Commission.
…and yes, I’m going to catch hell for publishing this for all to see, I’m sorry to those whose words I’ve taken and exposed, but it’s time that the little weasels ruining our city take a head on attack, lead by a leader who isn’t taking orders from the patronage mill that’s been run by the Montgomery County Democratic Party for the last 25+ years. You can shoot me, the messenger, but you should really be shooting at the Commission and the City Manager, because these are the people who have allowed this crap to go on since, well, since I put up the “wrong kind of garage doors” in 1986 on a house that I bought for $14,500 and had to change the doors and shovel dog crap for INVESTING in Dayton. I went to City Hall and was ignored. That’s what started my political career, and I’m not going to quit trying until the people we elect stand up for the people who actually do something in this city.