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Safeguards halting demolition of historic houses urged in Medina

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MEDINA — In an effort to protect housing in what was once the original village of Medina, City Council’s Special Legislation Committee wants to make it more difficult to demolish homes.

Committee members discussed some safeguards at its meeting Wednesday at City Hall.

Councilman At-Large Bill Lamb, chairman of the committee, said since 1963, 40 structures have been demolished in the Historic District, a nine-block area around Public Square.

Since 2000, demolition permits have been issued to raze 75 structures in the village area.

Lamb said currently the demolition process is simple. Homeowners need to get a permit to do the demolition, pay a nominal fee of $25 to $50 and then take down the house.

The committee is proposing to add another layer to that process.

Once legislation is completed, homeowners will have to get approval from the city before completing the process of demolishing a historic home.

Before a house in the designated area can be taken down, the city must approve the homeowner’s plan for the property.

“The integrity of the downtown Historic District hinges on what’s around it,” Lamb said.

He said it’s vital to keep a ring of housing around the Historic District, which will protect the neighborhoods.

Ward 3 Councilman Eric Heffinger and Lamb, both members of the committee, introduced the idea.

They spoke to Community Development Director Jonathan Mendel, who suggested an ordinance to add another step.

“So I think that we’re going to try to craft a piece of legislation that can help to ensure that these neighborhoods that surround the square can be protected,” Lamb said.

“We’re trying to do it without making it cumbersome for the property owners or for developers.

“The people I’ve talked to appreciate what we’re doing.”

The committee, which also includes At-Large Councilman Paul Rose, is expected to reconvene in the fall after Council’s recess. Lamb said by then it will have something written up.

Rick Stallard, a Seville Councilman and president of the Medina County Board of Realtors, said the board would like some input on drafting the legislation.

He said the Board of Realtors would be against any infringement of private property rights.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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