The Canal Winchester Times

Sellers must reveal historic district designation

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Old Town committee members expressed some concern last week about whether the city is doing enough to inform property owners of specific zoning requirements in Canal Winchester's historic district, despite the recent distribution of about 450 door hangers in the area.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Andrew Dutton said the door hangers provided information about the stricter zoning code requirements.

However, committee member Steve Donahue said he worried that after this initial information push, future buyers in the area might not be given proper information about the requirements.

"I'm wondering if we can do anything with the Realtors or something when these properties sell," Donahue said. "I mean, if a new person to the community buys a home in the historic district and they have no clue, and all of a sudden find out about the preservation requirements, what's (the city's) legal standing there?"

Mayor Michael Ebert said past efforts with local Realtors to go beyond what they are currently required to do have failed.

"Part of the problem, I believe at least, is that they thought if they advertise this fact, they'll ruin the sale," Ebert said.

According to Ohio Department of Commerce real estate disclosure forms, sellers who are aware of the historic district designation are required to disclose that information to potential buyers.

Committee member Rick Deeds asked if the zoning district information could be made more prominent on the city website.

"We already have property look-up functions on the website and some people aren't figuring out how this applies anyway, so I don't think you're going to make much headway with that," Finance Director Nanisa Osborn said. "It's a disclosure requirement already so the sellers should be disclosing this to the buyers. Since we've talked to the current owners, then it is legally on them to complete the disclosures."

Deeds agreed.

"So if we do the door hangers annually, it should be hard for anyone to say they didn't know about this and that's good for the city, too," Deeds said.

The next Old Town committee meeting is scheduled for 5:45 p.m., Monday, Feb. 4, at Town Hall, 10 N. High St.

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