German Village Gazette

Village notebook

Additions should adhere to preservation guidelines

Tuesday September 10, 2013 10:55 AM

When it comes to building additions in German Village there are a number of questions that should be asked. They include:

* Are we altering the essential character of historic houses?

* Have we disrupted and diminished the historic German Village character?

* Have we created new precedents for additions?

* What do visitors come to the Village to see?

* What about large additions covering too much green space and is this the reason we're having floods during rain storms and why does the city of Columbus grant liberal zoning variances for lot coverage?

* Will contemporary additions to our old houses make our neighborhood look dated in 30 years and will this affect our property values?

* And, what do the German Village Guidelines for Historic Preservation say about additions?

These are all questions that are being asked in regard to some of the new additions being added to the historic houses in the Village.

As part of this conversation a group of residents decided to take action in the form of a petition stating these concerns.

This petition was presented to the German Village Society Board of Trustees at their June meeting.

The petition statement, which was signed by 70 concerned German Village residents reads:

"We who live in the German Village Historic District believe that the recent interpretation by the German Village Commission of the German Village Guidelines for Historic Preservation has not been complementary to the historic integrity of the architecture of the original houses in German Village."

Approximately 50 residents presented this signed petition to the Board.

After discussion the matter was referred to the Historic Preservation Committee of the German Village Society for further exploration.

Since then the group of Villagers who wrote the German Village Guidelines spoke about the process that created the guidelines and a group of concerned residents presented slides with pictures of Village house additions showing areas in these additions that seem to not concur with the guidelines.

Documentation of the guideline accompanied each picture and statement.

The intent of all the groups represented, the German Village Society Board of Trustees, the Historic Preservation Committee, the German Village Commission and the group of concerned citizens is to "open a conversation" about zoning and historic preservation.

What better timing than having this discussion during Historic Preservation week in German Village.

The next steps are for the Civic Relations Committee to investigate the city of Columbus' granting of zoning variances and for the Historic Preservation Committee to send a letter to the German Village Commission urging its decisions consistently reflect the intent of the German Village historic guidelines.

If you missed the meeting a copy of the presentations can be viewed in the German Village Meeting Haus.

Because it really does take a village we urge you to join our conversation.

German Village resident Mary Connolly-Ross submitted the Village notebook column.

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