The Historic Preservation Committee hosted a GVC forum on Sunday, March 3, for those curious about the Commission process to those considering a renovation.
Former commissioner Cheryl Hacker served as moderator and Historic Preservation Committee Chair Chris Hune welcomed everyone and put together the wine and snacks on offer.
Representative from the Commission, Jay Panzer – Chair of the Commission and Ned Thiel and Lisa Case – GVS representatives on the Commission engaged in a conversation on a variety of topics including: the commission appointment process; the role of the City’s Historic Preservation Office; pointers on application process; factors that the Commission takes into account for review, including German Village Commission Guidelines, house files, and scale of surrounding structures; review considerations for businesses and the process for amending the Guidelines.
|HPC GVC workshop 3-3-13|
Director Shiloh Todorov opened with a delineation of the Society’s role versus the Commission’s role:
The German Village Society (GVS) is a nonprofit and charitable association for anyone interested in making German Village a better place to BE.
We work closely with the German Village Commission and support the architectural review process, and it is ONLY by working side-by-side for five decades that this district looks and feels and charms people like it does.
As preservation advocates, it is the Society’s role to speak up for the Commission – why is it important? Why are the hoops absolutely necessary? How do you as a property owner benefit by running your exterior improvements through this arm of the city?
I’ll share here anecdotally that ONE of the ways you benefit from the review process is that – during the downturn, while the rest of Columbus was experiencing as much as an 8 percent DROP in property values – values within our historic footprint rose 2.74 percent! Preservation works!
We are the first historic district in Columbus with a supporting Society, paid for more than one-third of income by members who believe in our mission or preservation and education. That says volumes about our dedication.
GVS, in its earliest days, lobbied city hall to create Columbus’s first architectural review district in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Columbus. Our Guidelines are a part of City Code – and the guidelines give the Commissions a blueprint to make decisions. German Village Foundation, which has since merged with the Society, used funds raised at our first Oktoberfest to have Guidelines drafted and printed…a dedicated committee of architects, historians and neighborhood leaders worked with the City Historic Preservation Office and Commission on that process from start to finish.
See how one supports the other, but they don’t overlap?
Another thing to understand – Society members vote for our Board of Trustees. The Society’s Historic Preservation Committee nominates two candidates to serve on the seven-member Commission, but then the mayor makes final appointments.
The Commission is an arm of government. The Society is a nonprofit.
Now – I have to take this opportunity to outline for you that this partnership – even with all of its amazing volunteer spirit and its record of private investment and not federal dollars to pull it off – this partnership costs money. You’ve read in the newspaper that we’re going to raise $100,000 this year for our critical needs list.
Why is German Village Society seeking partnerships and new funds? Because we have a critical needs list to fund, and fulfilling those needs will help us keep German Village vibrant and appealing to all who are invested in Central Ohio. And the entire list is focused on our mission – all $100,000-plus dollars.
Our critical needs list was created over a one-year period. It started with strategic planning and continued with brainstormed and vetted ideas through community engagement, so we know that the investments we make with your dollars are fully supported by our residents.
I won’t take time here to share the full list, but what you need to know in the context of this conversation today is that the No. 1 priority for new dollars is to rehire a professional Historic Preservation Director – an expert to guide us in current best-practices of preservation and keep a much closer link between the Society and the Commission.
In closing – I will remind you that the partnership between the Society and the Commission has put us at the forefront of national attention for preservation.
It’s been since 1974 that the district has been on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2007, German Village was designated as a Preserve America Neighborhood and in 2011 as a Great Neighborhood in America. We intend to stay in that national spotlight, we intend to continue to work together to make this Columbus’ most sought-after address, and we’re happy to have each and every one of you on board to help.