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First building placed in Falls Historic Overlay District

3/27/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Cuyahoga Falls City Council approved the first historic overlay landmark just two weeks after amending the city’s zoning code to allow for their creation.

Council took the action at the March 24 meeting.

A representative of the Planning Commission asked Council to bypass a public hearing and the public notice period to expedite designation of 1701 S. Front St. as a historic overlay landmark. The Planning Commission approved the designation at a March 18 meeting.

The expedited process will allow the building’s owner, Rick Krochka, of Triad Communications, to meet a March 31 deadline to apply to the state for tax credits to renovate historic structures, Council was told.

Krochka said renovation plans will restore the exterior of the building, keeping true to the original architecture. The interior will be renovated to feature polished concrete floors and an open, modern design, he said. Krochka said the building, when renovated, will house his business, which has 15 employees. He said he is aiming to complete renovations by the end of the year or early in 2015.

The building was constructed in 1931 and later housed Falls Stamping and Welding Co., according to city officials

The historic overlay landmark designation was recommended by the Planning Commission in part because the building embodies industrial architectural design of the early 1900s, it has not been substantially altered and it represents the city’s industrial heritage.

Council, at its last meeting, approved the creation of a Design and Historic Review Board and establishing Historic Overlay Districts to “establish preservation controls and procedures without significantly interfering with development rights of the property owner,” according to the legislation.

In other action, Council:

  • authorized the director of public service to apply for and accept a grant from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation;
  • authorized the mayor to enter into a contract without competitive bidding to Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America for group life insurance for city employees and retirees;
  • authorized the sale of two mountain bikes formerly used by the police department to the city of Munroe Falls without competitive bidding;
  • authorized the lease or purchase of vehicles valued at $134,000, including trucks for the Buildings and Grounds, Street and Engineering departments;
  • approved a contract with Motorola for maintenance of dispatch equipment;
  • authorized the mayor to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Summit Soil and Water Conservation District; and
  • approved participation in a Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan with the Summit County Emergency Management Agency.

Council will hold committee meetings April 7 and a regular meeting April 14, both beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St.

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