Thursday, Dec 08, 2016
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Sylvania re-examining preserving historic buildings

Sylvania city officials have resumed discussions about adopting codes that would preserve historic downtown buildings. If adopted, the federal rehabilitation codes would require preserving a structure's original historical appearance.

The city must adopt the codes to qualify for federal grant funds to revive downtown. The discussion was tabled last May mainly because the city was not awarded grant funds that would assist with revitalizing the downtown district.

Sylvania Economic Development Director Bill Sanford plans to apply for a $300,000 federal Community Development Block Grant to rehabilitate buildings downtown. The Village of Whitehouse was awarded the grant last year.

The intent of the standards is to assist the long-term preservation of a property’s significance through the preservation of historical materials and features, according to the U.S. Department of Interior Web site. That means building facades, windows and other structural features would reflect the time period of origin.

Sylvania’s law director Leslie Brinning is drafting legislation to incorporate the building codes.

At its May 5 meeting, the zoning committee received a general outline of the 10 federal standards and a draft legislation to adopt the codes. Further discussion to incorporate the standards will be held at 8 a.m. Friday, Council Chambers, 6635 Maplewood Ave.

The federal standards call for distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques that characterize a property to be preserved. It also outlines steps for cleaning a historical building, saying that chemicals or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, would be prohibited because these can damage the building.

In the upcoming weeks the committee will review the area of downtown in which the codes would be enforced.

“We are working to identify the specific areas that we would hold accountable for the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation,” Committee Chairman Doug Haynam said.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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