Amberley Green occupies a unique place in our Village, acquired in 2008 following litigation over zoning and now a treasured green oasis. Presently, Council is in discussion with the Mayerson JCC about their proposal to develop about 27 acres of the property for summer day camp and related amenities. Here’s some background on how this proposal came about and my rationale for supporting it.
Starting in 2014, the Land Development Committee (I’m not a member) researched potential opportunities for the property. This process included a series of meetings with developers to gain insight about the market in general and the Green specifically. Their input suggested that potential uses for the property might be more limited than previously thought, due to the hilly terrain and lack of other amenities nearby to attract an employer to the site, as well as traffic issues. This input indicated that the 2011 Long-Range Plan, developed by a committee of residents and Council members and calling for an office campus as the main feature, did not provide a viable approach to developing Amberley Green.
In 2015, the Village invited interest from developers. During this process, the Mayerson JCC asked to be included with whatever group might be selected. After a series of meetings and presentations, one group was recommended by the Committee but then not approved by the full Council when it came to a vote in April 2016.
Subsequently, the JCC reiterated their interest and asked for time to put together a concept plan. Their well-established presence in the Village and intention for recreational uses at Amberley Green that could benefit residents made their project an appealing possibility. Also, by 2016 the Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati had acquired the former Gibson site at 2100 Section Road and was in process of making it shovel-ready for new development. The potential for a significant employer at that site seemed to further facilitate a lower impact, more recreational use at Amberley Green that would preserve green space and provide amenities for residents.
The JCC went through a couple iterations of their plan over about two years. During that time period, the Village commissioned a Land Planning and Visioning Study that included a physical analysis of the property, often called a “slopes analysis,” which provides a framework that any potential developer of the site would need. A main purpose for the study was to make sure that the JCC’s proposed use did not preclude desirable uses for the Village on the rest of the property. The Village also obtained a planning grant to fund a study of connectivity from the neighborhoods surrounding the Amberley Green.
In December 2018, the JCC presented their concept plan, and Council voted to continue working with the JCC.
In spring 2019, the Village hosted a series of open house meetings to inform residents and seek input. Excitement was expressed as well as many concerns, particularly the question: “What does Amberley get out of this?”
The whole Council is now engaged in discussion about Amberley Green development, and it’s exciting to feel forward momentum. I am committed to full exploration of the JCC’s proposal, with emphasis on addressing resident concerns raised at the open house meetings last spring. Though many questions need to be answered, I believe the project offers great potential to enhance the Village and could jump-start additional development there.
I love being at Amberley Green. When I work in my community garden plot, I enjoy watching the light change in the evenings, and the vistas provide such beautiful views. Yet the property is deteriorating in many ways, especially the former clubhouse and the pathways as well. People use it like a park, but it’s not an actual park. It doesn’t even have bathrooms or any electricity. As a result, it’s not possible to have much in the way of events or gatherings there. Amberley is a small municipality with limited resources, so we must forge creative partnerships to leverage the assets we do have. Change can feel scary, but it’s time to bring about something new at Amberley Green.
Paid for by Conway for Council