Update on Local Historic District designation process

Work continues on the report to Council regarding the establishment of a local historic district.  The Village hired Historic Preservation Consultant Beth Sullebarger to prepare this report.  To date, 6 property owner meetings have been held for the purposes of discussing possible guidelines, reviewing the designation process, and getting input on the boundaries for a local district.

Commons themes discussed in all 6 meetings included the following:

What are the boundaries of the local historic district?

The boundaries have not yet been determined. The existing National Historic Landmark district boundaries include Greenhills’ original historic district that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, plus Gambier Circle and single-family homes on the west side of Ingram and Farragut, and Damon Road.

The local historic district could include homes built in the 1930s as well as those built in the 1940s, since homes in both time periods exceed the 50-year mark for historic consideration.

Will the shopping center be included in the boundaries?

Yes!  There was consensus in all 6 meetings that – given the importance of the shopping center – it should be included in the boundaries.

Will the value of homes in the local historic district increase?

The value of homes does typically increase in an historic district. This is because there is a high degree of certainty offered through design guidelines that all surrounding homes will be maintained in a similar manner, thus protecting your property investment.

Would design guidelines cover paint color?

There was a consensus in each meeting that paint color should be regulated to the extent that a palette of colors (probably natural/ earth tones) would be permitted and bright primary colors would not. Concern was expressed by residents that just one home painted a hideous color could blight an entire neighborhood.

Would residents have to restore their properties to its original look if changes have already been made?

No. Any existing improvement can remain in place. The design guidelines would only apply going forward.

What if a certain type of item, such as a door or window, cannot be found or would be too costly?

The design guidelines will be drafted in such a manner that a variety of acceptable materials or rehab techniques will be identified and available in a range of prices.

If cost is truly a hardship, that will be taken into consideration.

Who will enforce the guidelines?

The Planning Commission (working with an historic consultant), and zoning and building department officials will be responsible for enforcing the guidelines.

Will the Village be able to restrict small satellite dishes?

No. Per federal regulations, design guidelines WOULD NOT, and legally CANNOT restrict TV dishes / antennas.

Are property owners giving up their rights as an owner?

No. Property owners are gaining an additional level of protection for their own investment, over and above current zoning codes. At the same time, they can insure that quality housing – as intended in the original plan for Greenhills – continues for future generations to use and appreciate.

Garbage & Recycling Container Storage

Do you know if your garbage or recycling cans are visible to the public? If they are, then you are not in compliance with Village regulations.

Something so simple as storing garbage containers neatly makes such a big difference in how our Village looks.

FYI, when it is not collection day, Village Code requires containers to be neatly stored next to the rear wall of your house or garage, or in a confined area where at least 90% of the containers are screened from the view of anyone passing by. 

Screening is not as difficult as you may think.  If you don’t want to do a small fence, try a couple of bushes.   You can view examples of garbage can screening by clicking here. Materials for these projects can be found at Home Depot, Menard’s, Lowe’s or other similar stores.

The first batch of flyers with this very message went out last week.  After driving 16 of our streets, 55 instances of unscreened containers were found. So, if you receive one of these notices, don’t worry – you are not the only one!   Interestingly, 22 of the notices went to rental units and 23 went to homeowners.

Why is screening and storage of garbage cans so important?  Because proper storage will certainly add to the curb appeal of your home.  And with each home looking its best, everyone benefits.  Face it – garbage containers are – well, full of garbage!  Please keep them hidden away except for garbage day!

Greenhills Historic District “Block” Meetings to be Scheduled to Discuss Local Historic District

Over the summer, a plan was developed for determining the interest of our property owners to designate a local historic district. The plan includes holding meetings of property owners within each individual “block” of Historic Greenhills.  This series of meetings will allow us to directly share information with those who will be the most affected about the pros and cons of local districts; the designation and review process; consider boundaries for one or more districts; and develop draft design guidelines tailored to building types in Greenhills.  The meetings will also give our property owners the opportunity to voice their opinions about a local district.

The results of these meetings will be compiled into a report for presentation to the Greenhills Planning Commission and the Village Council. Those entities ultimately decide if a local historic district(s) will be established.

If you live on Adele Walk, Alcott, Andover, Ashby, Avenell, Bachman, Belknap, Bradnor, Briarwood, Brompton, Burley, Burnham, Chalmers, Cromwell, Damon, DeWitt, Drummond, Falcon, Farragut, Flanders, Foxworth, Funston, Gambier, or the west side of Ingram, be watching for a mailing over the next few months informing you of the time and date of your block meeting.

You can help spread word about a local historic district by reviewing and/or printing the attached handout and sharing the information with others.

 

Next Steps of a Local Historic District: The Historic Overlay District

I hope you are finding my articles on establishing a local historic district to be informative. In the first article I laid out the pros and cons of a local historic district.  In the second article, I have given some insight on what the guidelines could include.   So, what is the next step?

Section 1143 of the Greenhills Codified Ordinances provides for an Historic Overlay District – meaning that any local historic district guidelines that are created would be in addition to the current zoning requirements for those zoning districts.

The first step is the creation of a local district.  The beginning phases of this are currently being planned.  It will consist of a joint meeting of Council and the Greenhills Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission will serve as the official Historic Preservation Commission for the Village unless a separate commission is appointed by Village Council.  Planning Commission is required to seek input from an historic consultant in making decisions that impact any locally-designated district.  This will allow the Planning Commission to learn the importance of the architecture and design guidelines it is responsible for enforcing.

Planning Commission will need to create, review and approve an application form to be used for local designations.  Such designations can be for districts or specific properties. The criteria for designation are outlined in Section 1143.05(e), which you can view for yourself by clicking here. To be considered under that Section for designation, a property or properties must be fifty years old or older and retain integrity of design and materials.  The following criteria will also be considered:

(1)   Its character, interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the Village, the state or nation.

(2)   Its association with a significant historic event.

(3)   Its identification with a person who significantly contributed to the culture and development of the Village, state or nation.

(4)   Its exemplification of the cultural, economic, social or historic heritage of the Village, state or nation.

(5)   Its embodiment of distinguishing characteristics of a building type or architectural style.

(6)   Its identification as the work of an architect or master builder whose work has influenced the development of the Village, state or nation.

(7)   Its embodiment of elements of architectural design, detail, materials or craftsmanship which represent a significant architectural innovation.

(8)   Its relationship to other distinctive areas which are eligible for preservation according to a plan based on an historic, cultural or architectural motif.

(9)   Its unique location or singular physical characteristic representing an established and familiar visual feature of the Village.

(10)   Its potential to yield information important to prehistory or history (archaeology).

Council and Planning Commission must think about what area or areas should or could be designated and what additional regulations should be incorporated into a designated district or districts.  These are discussions that are an important part of the planning process for a local historic district.  Village Council and Planning Commission may decide to designate multiple properties to create the local historic district.  They can also select property outside of a local district boundary and apply the same architecture and design guideline restrictions to those properties.

All these decisions will be made with input from various groups and individuals.  The Village will continue to work closely with its historical consultant on identifying potential options for a local district and its guidelines, and the Village will soon hold public meetings where residents and property owners may ask questions and provide their own input on this process.  The goal is to create a district of properties that tell the story of Greenhills and will benefit from careful oversight to protect their architectural and design features: the features that make Greenhills unique!

Code Enforcement – Garbage & Refuse Collection

A periodic review of our garbage “dos and don’ts” is always worthwhile.  Such review can be a refresher for long-term residents and a primer for new residents!

Section 939 of the Greenhills Codified Ordinances regarding garbage and refuse can be viewed here.  The Code addresses such things as the types of containers that may be used, the times for setting out containers and for removing containers from the right-of-way; how the containers should be stored; and enforcement mechanisms.  The Village webpage section on trash and recycling can be viewed here.

I think we would all agree that visible garbage is a negative for any property and for the community as a whole!  The vast majority of our residents comply with the Code, but there are those who just don’t seem to notice or care about their garbage.

Village staff are always driving through the Village, but we always appreciate residents who notify us about violations.  To the extent possible, Village staff attempts to reach property owners by phone to inform them of violations.  When that is not possible or not successful, the Village enforces the relevant Code sections in the following ways:

1)         by leaving a written notice at or mailing a written notice to the property owner advising as to the permitted hours for setting out garbage and that any future violations may result in a charge for collection and/or criminal citation.

– OR –

2)         the Village can order the immediate collection of the garbage and then send the property owner written notice of the additional fee incurred for the pick-up and notifying the owner that the garbage was set out in violation and that the cost of the additional pick up shall be paid within 14 days of the notice.  If payment is not made, the Village will in have the cost added to the tax duplicate and collected as a tax lien.       The Village uses this tactic for evictions, excessive amounts of garbage, etc. We act quickly in these situations because it is unsightly and unfair for surrounding residents to have to look at a garbage pile for any amount of time.

Here are some other garbage-related requirements to keep in mind:

Containers should be of a non-rusting material with tight-fitting lids.  Plastic bags may be used for set out, but not for storage during the week.

Containers not be set out until 3 pm the day before collection and must be removed from the streets within 24 hours of collection.

No garbage may be set out in open containers.

Containers must be stored throughout the week either next to the rear wall of a dwelling or garage, or in a confined area screened from view of passersby. Trash handling areas are allowed to be located in front yards if screened with fences or walls, provided that the fence or wall does not extend more than 6 feet from the front of the house and not taller than 4.5 feet in height.  Decorative bushes are also a nice way to screen containers.   disposing of mattresses, sofas, chairs, or other such items – Rumpke requires they be wrapped or placed in plastic bags before they will be picked up.  For your convenience, the Municipal Office stocks the necessary plastic bags in a variety of sizes for $6 each.

If you have large and/or heavy items for pickup, Rumpke would appreciate a head’s up.  Give them a call at 851-0122, ext. 3732, to allow them to be prepared for a large pickup.  While our current contract with Rumpke allows for unlimited household waste, large and bulky items aren’t considered household waste and the collection of such items may be limited by Rumpke.