Talks are afoot in Hamilton County about building what could be the first subdivision in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky that is completely off the grid.
Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune is leading talks about a creating a subdivision that would showcase the latest, greatest in green-building technology. Features could include solar panels, permeable pavement, rooftop gardens and homes so efficient their owners will never pay an energy bill.Although there are still a lot of question marks, Portune has shared the idea with – and says he’s gotten at least “conceptual” buy-in from – several people in the green-building field, the Metropolitan Sewer District, a contracting company and others.
The Homebuilders Association of Greater Cincinnati is open to the idea, but notes there are still a lot of unanswered questions. “We’d have to see if there would be a market for it and what the price range would be,” said Executive Director Dan Dressman.
“EnvironmentalRama,” as Portune terms it, would be a 30-home subdivision in the same vein as a Homearama or Citirama luxury home show.
But instead of exuding opulence, these homes would showcase environmentally-friendly technology.
The preferred site for the subdivision is a 9.2-acre plot in the 2000 block of North Bend Road near Belmont Ave., in Cincinnati’s College Hill neighborhood. The site is owned by The Encampment Church. Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn is a pastor there.
The concept was well-received by College Hill’s community council, said member Elizabeth Sherwood, who represents the neighborhood on Portune’s committee.
The Homebuilders Association already has some experience with building environmentally-friendly homes. Two of the seven homes in the June Citirama show will be LEED certified, and others will feature some green components too, Dressman said.
It is unclear whether enough builders would be interested, whether they could get financing, or whether the homes would sell, although Portune thinks there will be plenty of demand. He hopes the homes would be priced in the $250,000 to $300,000 range, he said.
Portune plans to ask his two colleagues, Commissioners David Pepper and Greg Hartmann next week to pass a resolution in support of the development.
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