Although he moved out of Grandview Heights just a couple of months ago, it's as if Robert Artrup never left.
Artrup, known as "B.J.," started as the city's new director of building and zoning Jan. 2, replacing John Kuss, who retired at the end of last year.
"I've joked with some of my former neighbors that they will probably be seeing more of me now than when I lived on their street, because I'm going to be in the city 40 hours a week," he said.
With his move to the Hilliard area, Artrup had been forced to give up his seat on the city's board of zoning appeals, where he served most recently as chairman. He has more than 20 years of experience as an architect, serving since August 2010 as principal at TAC Studio.
"I'm really excited about coming back to Grandview as the building director, because I've enjoyed so much working with the people here, from the mayor on down to the staff," Artrup said.
Mayor Ray DeGraw approached him about the director position.
"He had an interest in finding an architect to serve as director," Artrup said. "I think I will bring a perspective to the position that will be different from what John (Kuss) brought with his background in construction."
One of his aims as building director will be to collaborate with architects, contractors and property owners and make sure "they are aware of all the options available that will help their property values" before they go forward too far into a project, he said.
"I'd like the city to take a look at our design code and see where we can add clarity and flexibility," Artrup said.
During his 24 years as a Grandview resident, his interest in residential architecture was stoked "as I became infatuated with the variety of architectural styles in Grandview," he said.
The last 15 years have seen a number of residential improvement projects as homeowners updated their houses to add modern lifestyle enhancements, Artrup said.
"Grandview is an interesting place to be because people put a lot of value on the quality of design," he said.
As he settles into his new position, Artrup said he wants to place more emphasis on addressing maintenance-code violations in the city.
"John Kuss will be working with us on a part-time basis as needed, and I think having him here will help free up (building inspector) Ron Ayers to concentrate more of his time on maintenance-code violations," he said.
"No matter how much you focus on design guidelines, if people aren't properly maintaining their properties, it impacts the community," Artrup said.