Architectural Board of Review

Members of the Board:
Janet Tomasch, Chairman
John Cimperman
Susan Fischer
Marcia Hawkins
Marianne Piterans
Terri Grospitch, Secretary

The Board meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The meetings are held in Council Chambers located in the City Administration Building at 26100 Bagley Road.  The Board has the following duties and powers: (a) The Board shall have the specific power to grant a certificate of appropriateness as required by Section 1444.05(a). The Board shall prepare and adopt design guidelines for: (1) New construction and exterior alterations to any non-historic buildings, landmarks or structures, requiring review as per this chapter; (2) New construction and exterior alterations both to Designated Historic  Buildings, Landmarks and Structures and to buildings, landmarks or structures within an Historic District, requiring review as per this chapter. These guidelines, and any subsequent revisions to these guidelines, shall be submitted for review and comment to the Planning Commission and the Building, Housing and Zoning Administrator and, in the case of historic structures and districts, to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. Once established, the design guidelines shall be distributed by the Building, Housing and Zoning Administrator to all parties applying for building permits.
The Board shall review and make recommendations to the Planning Commission on preliminary plats for major residential subdivisions required under Section 1224.05, and all development plans required under Section 1232.06(a),  including but not limited to new PRD'S and MUPD'S, new professional, commercial and industrial developments, and conditional uses. Said plats and development plans are to be reviewed regardless of whether the properties are outside or within historic districts. The Planning Commission shall refer such matters to the Board for review and the Board shall make its recommendations, along with a written report, to the Planning Commission within thirty days. [ NOTE: ABR shall make the final determination(s) regarding landscaping as authorized in Section 1232.06(f)(2).] If disapproving an action, the Board shall state changes that might make the project acceptable. Failure of the Board to act within thirty days shall constitute approval of the plans.

The Board shall review and approve all proposed signs in the Municipality pursuant to Chapter 1272.

The Board shall prepare a comprehensive plan for the community that highlights historic areas and notes distinctive themes or patterns of development that are significant to the Municipality and that also chart a course for future preservation activities within the community. This plan shall be complementary to the City's overall Comprehensive Plan that has been approved by Council.

The Board may recommend that City Council pursue the designation of any building, structure, landmark or site for inclusion on the Ohio Historic Inventory.

The Board shall have the power to recommend the creation, alteration or expansion of Historic Districts to the Planning Commission and then to Council according to the procedures set forth for such actions in Section 1262.03.

The Board shall keep a list of Designated Historic Buildings, Landmarks, and Structures and Historic Districts and shall furnish such list to the City's Building, Housing and Zoning Administrator and make such list available to the public.
The Board shall review all nominations to the National Register of Historic Places within the Municipality and shall seek to expand the National Register Program within the community.

The Board shall work to record landmarks located within the Municipality through the Ohio Historic Inventory.

The Board may seek to promote interest in preservation and to educate local citizens by holding workshops, seminars and other educational programs on historic preservation.

The Board shall encourage its members to attend workshops, seminars and other educational programs on historic preservation.

The Board shall recommend to the Planning Commission and then to Council restrictions on uses within Historic Districts which might otherwise be permitted by the underlying zoning district.

The Board shall make known that its advice is available to owners or occupants, especially in business areas, on matters such as painting or exterior decoration, to ensure the enhancement of appropriate character or quality in the area concerned.

The Board acts in an advisory capacity to any official, board, commission or resident of the Municipality upon request.

The Board may recommend to Council the acceptance of grants, gifts and bequests for the benefit of the City and may further recommend to Council that the Municipality apply for such funds as may be available to advance its work.

The Board may recommend to Council the employment of qualified consultants in the fields of architecture and historic preservation for advisory purposes within the limits of moneys appropriated by Council.

The Board shall review and approve all exterior elevation plans relating to the construction or alteration of any commercial, industrial, multifamily, or public or semi-public structure, or any such property requiring a building permit.

The Board may do, or perform, any other such acts that are necessary and proper to assist the Board in performing its duties under the terms of this chapter.

CERTIFICATES OF APPROPRIATENESS - A certificate of appropriateness is required for the following: (1) New construction of houses within subdivisions, excluding subsequent additions or alterations by private owners; (2) Within Historic Districts (Section 1262.03): A. Exterior alterations to or demolition of existing buildings, (exterior alterations include but are not limited to changes in color or materials) and; B. All new construction; (3) Moving, exterior alterations to or demolition of Designated Historic Buildings, Landmarks and Structures; (4) New construction of commercial, industrial or multifamily buildings or structures; (5) Exterior alterations to commercial, industrial or multifamily buildings, or structures; (6) Uplighting (as defined and generally prohibited by Section 1274.16(c)(4)) as a means of decoratively highlighting buildings.

Application for certificates of appropriateness shall be filed with the City Building, Housing and Zoning Administrator in such form as may be prescribed by the Board and shall include the following: (1) Color photographs showing the subject property in the context of adjoining properties; (2) Appropriate drawings showing the nature of any construction or exterior alterations proposed, indicating design, materials, colors, type of illumination and signs; and (3) Additional information and materials as required by the Architectural Board of Review.

After the applicant or their representative has presented the proposal for a certificate of appropriateness the Board shall make a determination within thirty days, unless the applicant requests and the Board agrees to an extension of time. If the Board fails to render its determination within the aforesaid time period, the application for a certificate of appropriateness shall be deemed approved.

STANDARDS FOR REVIEW: (a) The Architectural Board of Review shall base its actions on a consideration of the impact of the proposed building or other feature upon existing man-made or natural resources in the general area. The Board shall base its recommendations concerning land use on a consideration of the relation of a use to the natural features of the land, the appropriate maintenance of open areas, the potential impact upon nearby historic resources, the aesthetics of building location and other factors it deems important. The Board shall disapprove (or recommend disapproval where the Board has an advisory function) of applications it finds will not be compatible with the existing character of other properties in the City or if it finds that the granting of such application will have an adverse effect on the tax value of such other properties.
(b) The following standards are established to guide the Board in its review of, and actions pertaining to, all structures:
(1) Materials shall be appropriate:
A. For use in the proposed structures;
B. With respect to the weathering of existing materials; and
C. In their relationship to other materials, including those used on adjacent structures.
(2)  Colors and textures shall be appropriate for the size and scale of proposed structures, weathering and the relationship to other colors and textures, including those used on adjacent structures.
(3)  Architectural details and ornamentation shall be meaningful to the overall design and appropriate for the size and scale of proposed structures, weathering and the relationship to other architectural details and ornamentation, including those used on adjacent structures.
(4)  Mechanical equipment shall be of appropriate size and scale in relation to rooftop appearance, sidewall openings, sound levels, smoke and other nuisances. Mechanical equipment shall also be properly related to overhead wires, gas and electric meter stations and any other visible appurtenances.
(5)  Approaches, drives and parking areas shall be of appropriate size and scale in relation to the appearance of the proposed development from public rights of way, adjacent property and the site itself. The relationship of paving to proposed structures and developments shall also be appropriate, considering factors such as safety, drainage and landscaping.
(6)  Grading shall be appropriate in relation to the appearance of all structures, and the existing or proposed structures and developments shall also be appropriate, considering factors such as safety, drainage and landscaping.
(7)  Orientation of proposed structures shall be appropriate in relation to proposed grading, natural features and existing structures on and adjacent to the site, as well as to sunlight, predominant winds, traffic and parking areas.
(8)  Landscaping shall be appropriate for the size, scale and use of proposed structures and the existing or proposed development, and for the relationship between such proposed structures and existing structures and the existing or proposed development, public rights of way, parking areas, walks, grading and natural features. In addition, landscaping shall be appropriately hardy according to accepted horticultural standards for northeast Ohio.
(9)  Lighting shall be appropriate in relation to the illumination of proposed structures and the existing or proposed development, parking areas, rights of way and walks and with respect to its effect upon surrounding areas.
(10)  Signs shall be of appropriate size, scale, shape, material, color, texture and illumination in relation to proposed structures and the existing or proposed development, as well as to adjacent property.
(11)  Other structural features and appurtenances, such as fences, walks, paved areas, light standards, displays and storage areas, shall be appropriate in relation to other proposed or existing structures and/or the existing or proposed development.

The following standards are established to guide the Board in its review of, and actions pertaining to, all Designated Historic Buildings, Landmarks and Structures within the City and for all structures within the Historic Districts: (1) Every reasonable effort shall be made to provide a compatible use for property which requires minimal alteration of the building structure or site and its environment, or to use the property for its originally intended purpose; (2) The distinguishing original qualities or character of a building, structure or site and its environment shall not be destroyed. The removal or alteration of any historic material or distinctive architectural features shall be avoided where possible; (3) All buildings, structures and sites shall be recognized as products of their own time. Alterations that have no historical basis and which seek to create an earlier appearance shall be discouraged; (4) Changes which may have taken place in the course of time are evidence of the history and development of a building, structure or site and its environment. These changes may have acquired significance in their own right, and this significance shall be recognized and respected; (5) Distinctive stylistic features or examples of skilled craftsmanship which characterize a building, structure or site shall be treated with sensitivity; (6)    Deteriorated architectural features shall be repaired, rather than replaced, wherever possible. In the event replacement is necessary the new material shall match the material being replaced in composition, design, color, texture, and other visual qualities. Repair or replacement of missing architectural features should be based on accurate duplication of features, substantiated by historic physical or pictorial evidence rather than on conjectural designs or the availability of different architectural elements from other structures; (7) The surface cleaning of structures shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Sandblasting or other cleaning methods that will damage the historic building materials shall not be used; (8) Every reasonable effort shall be made to protect and preserve archaeological resources affected by or adjacent to any project; (9) Contemporary design for alterations and additions to existing properties shall not be discouraged when such alterations and additions do not destroy a significant historical, architectural or cultural material and when such design is compatible with the size, scale, color, material and character of the property, neighborhood or environment; (10)    Wherever possible, new additions or alterations to structures shall be made in such a manner that, should such additions or alterations be removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the structure would remain unimpaired; (11) Materials, colors, textures, architectural details and ornamentation shall be appropriate for the environment in which any proposed new construction is to occur, taking into account the presence of similar features in nearby properties; (12) In addition to meeting the Zoning Code requirements applicable to signs generally, signs located in Historic Districts shall conform to the standards of this section. Internally illuminated sign panels shall not be permitted in Historic Districts. There are additional specific restrictions in the Design Guidelines (attached to original Ordinance 29-95, passed June 27, 1995, and incorporated herein by reference) for types of signs that may be deemed incompatible by the Board. For example, the Board might reject a proposal for a prefabricated sign panel in favor of a sign lettered directly on a building facade, window or canopy.