Chairman of the Design Review Board Responds

July 1, 2013 at 3:30 pm 10 comments


As the Chairman of the DRB I appreciate all of the discussion and concern and I feel compelled to provide some input.

Please note that Ms. Dye’s opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board or represent official board policy.

Each individual on the DRB is entitled to their opinion. I will not claim that every decision by the board is the perfect answer to Lorain’s many issues, but the board members try.

After many years of requesting this, the city of Lorain has adopted new City-wide design review of commercial projects in an attempt to curtail sprawl, stop “cheap” buildings from being constructed and misguided renovations from being done.

For far too long Lorain has accepted anything and everything that someone wanted to build in Lorain while most other communities had standards that allowed for a higher level of design in the community. Prior to the dissolution of Community Development new general guidelines were adopted for ALL areas of the city other than the Downtown Preservation District.

Design- by  Chris Ritchey

Design- by Chris Ritchey

With the dissolution of the Community Development Department we are in a transition as the board administrator is no longer employed by the City.

However, ALL commercial projects must still apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness for exterior alterations, new construction, signage or landscaping. The process is still administrated by the new division of Building, Housing and Planning.

The volunteer board members are appointed by the Mayor. They all have, at various times, notified the board about un-approved construction or alterations which the board takes action. Most building owners comply and submit their project to the board for approval. Others are not as compliant and then legal action is requested through the Building and Law Department.

This process has been slow and we are working with Building and the Law Department to speed up the process. Currently there is one pending case regarding the Glass House and their non-compliant and illegally installed shutters.
832 Broadway Glass House

ED NOTE:Parcel Number: 02-01-003-118-009
Owner Name Address: ROSE LISA & ROSE ROY P
Tax Bill Mailed to: ROSE ROY P & LISA
1939 W EDGERTON BROADVIEW HTS, OH 44147 Location Address: 832 BROADWAY

That being said….…418 Broadway. While many people may not like the name or the style of the sign it does meet the guidelines for signage in the district. The board has no control over the name, unless it is indecent , of the business only the color, design and placement of the sign.

Style Center Kharisma

The board has NOT approved the signage for 418 Broadway as we were not presented with the required submission documentation.

The signage was reviewed and there were conditions that had to be met by Mr. Dye to receive approval. The board has not received the information required for conditional approval. The signage was installed illegally. It is my understanding that the Building and Fire Departments visited the building last Friday. The door signage was not approved and Mr. Dye has been ordered to remove it.

Use and occupancy of the building. The Design Review Board does not have jurisdiction over the use and occupancy of buildings or interior conditions or construction. This is covered by Zoning and the Ohio Building Code administered and enforced by the Lorain Building department.

The Ohio Building code requires that all buildings that are to be occupied must be fit for human occupancy and comply with the Ohio Building Code, (OBC). That being said the owner of a property would normally submit plans for a new occupancy to the building dept. for review and inspections.

Design Review would also review the plans for the exterior work and signage, if proposed, before the permit was issued. Unfortunately in many cases, (not just in Lorain), building tenants or owners simply move in and occupy without a permit or occupancy certificate. It is my understanding that this is the case with 418 Broadway.

822 Broadway Joshes Place

It brings to light many of the issues that we have with the building and housing stock in Lorain. With the many changes in Chief Building Inspectors in Lorain over the past 20 years and the lack of support for enforcement efforts, Lorain is faced with many properties that are suffering from extreme neglect. It is a shame that Lorain is faced with this.

(ED. NOTE – 822 Broadway – building pictures is owned by SCHNEIDER GEORGE H
331 21ST ST LORAIN , OH 44052
Tax Bill Mailed to: SCHNEIDER GEORGE
1214 W 26TH STREET LORAIN, OH 44052Location Address: 822 BROADWAY LORAIN OH 44052

Ms. Dye is correct in that the upkeep of a commercial building is a constant strain. This is also true of a house and of any other structure constructed by man. It does NOT relieve the property owner of the responsibility of keeping up with the routine as well as extreme maintenance required. Anyone willing to take on a property in poor condition, or any condition, should be prepared to comply with the code requirements both zoning and building in order to occupy the property for an approved use.

If 418 Broadway is not properly zoned for the intended use and the building is not habitable according to the OBC then the Building and Fire Departments are required to issue citations requiring the owner to submit plans showing the necessary changes to the structure to bring it into code compliance.

The Design Review Board is not informed when plans are submitted unless there are exterior changes or signage is proposed. In the case of 418 it is my understanding that Mr. Dye has been in the building for quite some time. The submission of the signage to DRB was the first submission for this building by Mr. Dye. When the board receives the required information then we will continue the review.

empty  chair

The board is not perfect. It is made up of individuals volunteering their time who have varying backgrounds and opinions. We try to make the best decisions possible, but design is very subjective. The comments regarding 418 Broadway are appreciated and will be presented to the board.

Over the years the make-up of the board has been limited because of specific requirements and not all slots have been filled for lack of volunteers. The board slots were difficult to fill as there were limited people meeting the required criteria in the Downtown Preservation District. With the implementation of the City Wide Design Review, we can now fill slots of additional members to the board. If you are interested please submit your resume to-
Attn: Lorain Design Review Board
Gary Fischer AIA – Chairman
5th Floor City Hall
200 West Erie Ave.
Lorain, Ohio 44052

ED NOTE” We will be posting an example or two “after: July 4th as to HOW THE PROCESS IS SUPPOSED TO WORK!

Entry filed under: city of lorain, commentary, Lorain Multi Property Owners. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

On Broadway- “DYE” Downtown- the 44052 July 3rd -The fire consumes – Chris Ritchey

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rich  |  July 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you for the education Gary….what about the ‘signage’ at the corner of 4th and Broadway ( former Kennedy’s)?

  • 2. Mark Teleha  |  July 1, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    What about the signs in front of and on the old Post Office?

  • 3. Dr Tammy  |  July 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I hope we are gaining grant funds or other benefits for being a “downtown preservation district”. If not, why not?

  • 4. Alice  |  July 2, 2013 at 10:44 am

    So, it would seem the only real “hater” here is Kris Dye, who apparently hates to be told what to do and how to do it and hates to follow the same rules & regs that apply to everyone else. You know, whenever I wanted to do something that may have involved my parents, failure was not an option. If anything, I was held to a higher standard because my parents were involved. Sad to see Mrs. Dye subscribe to the ‘not my baby’ defense instead of making her son even more accountable for what goes on in & on his building than she might others.

    Thank you for this very interesting and informative update, Gary and Loraine.

  • 5. aka/mozart  |  July 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    As I was driving up Broadway ,there was a Spitzer truck next to the side of the building that faces the parking lot…someone was taking down the sign that was hanging there….I hope that was a “good sign” of something better yet to come. What shame…it used to be such a nice building. Sad.

  • 6. Dennis Lamont  |  July 2, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Great article on the “hotel” this morning! How can anything be enforced when it is obvious that eyesores are allowed to exist ????

  • 7. Loraine Ritchey  |  July 2, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    It takes enforcement and politicians don’t want to be the ones making a issue about these things they are are dependent upon the funds of fundraisers over the years..look who buys table after table at theses events and donate … and look what happened when Kozuria tried to do something … so the politicos keep stumm and hope someone else points out the obvious. I have never seen so much buck passing in my life especially with Foltin who smiled and “buried” legislation and there you have it …… Most of the people on City Council today were also there BEFORE the Ritenauer administration they saw that building at least twice a month under Kraisenko where were they then????? Including Mr. Schuster .but he isn’t running again so maybe he has been freed from the chains of “funds”

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July 2013

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