May 22, 2024 - News

Ginther urges embrace of zoning reform, LinkUS

Photo illustration of Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther with lines radiating from him.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther urged residents to embrace the city's zoning overhaul and vote to invest in local infrastructure in his State of the City address last night.

Why it matters: It was an agenda-setting opportunity for Ginther's third term, which began in January.

  • Below are his priorities:

👁️ Eyes in the sky: Columbus will have centralized monitoring of hundreds of downtown security cameras by early next year.

🏗 Quicker builds: Ginther called on the Department of Building and Zoning to create a "fast-track approval process for affordable housing projects."

🏡 Housing goal: The mayor expects the Central Ohio region to get 200,000 new housing units built over the next 10 years to "keep pace with demand."

  • However, Columbus built around 5,500 new housing units last year, far from the 20,000 per year average in Ginther's calculation.
  • Erin Prosser, the city's assistant director of housing strategy, has said the region needs at least 22,000 new units annually to account for expected population growth.

State of play: The mayor promoted the $8 billion LinkUS plan to create "bus rapid transit" lines on West Broad Street and four other busy corridors, among other infrastructure improvements.

  • This will require voters' approval of a sales tax increase at the November ballot box.

The intrigue: The mayor outlined only a few goals and policies that had not already been announced or implemented.

Between the lines: It was a platitude-heavy speech, even as far as State of the City addresses go.

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