A public hearing scheduled for earlier this week probably advanced the cause for eventually including North Broadway on the National Register of Historic Places.

A public hearing scheduled for earlier this week probably advanced the cause for eventually including North Broadway on the National Register of Historic Places.

At the very least, the meeting wasn't expected to derail the effort.

The Tuesday night gathering, held after ThisWeek's press time at the Charity Newsies on Indianola Avenue, marked the opening of public comment on the matter. Nothing official was to be decided at the hearing, according to Barbara Powers, who oversees the National Register process for the state as head of the inventory and registration department for the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.

The hearing was prompted by a National Register requirement when more than 50 properties are involved in a nomination.

Public comment will be accepted through an April 9 meeting of the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board.

The 17-member board of architects, historians, planners and others is appointed by the governor "to advise the state historic preservation officer and the Ohio Historical Society Board of Trustees on historic preservation issues," according to the state's Web site.

"The advisory board evaluates the significance of properties nominated to the National Register of Historic Places and makes recommendations to the state historic preservation officer."

If the advisory board determines at the April session that North Broadway meets the criteria for inclusion on the National Register, Burt A. Logan, executive director of the Ohio Historical Society and the state's historic preservation officer, would forward it to the National Park Service.

From there, Powers said, a 45-day review period would take place, after which the Clintonville street officially could be recognized as being of historical significance.

Powers, who lives in Clintonville, does not think any of the residents on North Broadway will raise objections to the process going forward, because "they nominated" the street.

Nevertheless, she said, if a majority of the property owners raised objections, North Broadway would end up being listed as eligible only.

The public doesn't get to vote on whether a place is considered historic, Powers said, but it does have a say.

"Letters of support are certainly welcome," she added.

On Tuesday night, Ohio Historic Preservation Office personnel were to have been on hand to answer questions along with Nancy A. Recchie, a consultant on historic preservation issues who has been working with North Broadway residents.

Recchie said last week that this is simply one more step in the process, with residents able to voice their views up to and including the April 9 Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board meeting.

"I don't want them to feel like this is done and there's nothing more than they can do," Recchie said.

Residents will have a chance to speak at the April 9 advisory panel session, which is a public meeting.

"It's actually very nice if people from the neighborhood do come," Recchie said.

Questions about the process from those unable to attend the public hearing may be directed to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office at 298-2000.

Tuesday night's hearing was intended to provide residents of North Broadway, and anyone else interested in the subject, information on what inclusion on the National Register would mean and, more importantly, according to Recchie and Powers, what it wouldn't mean.

The biggest misconception about having a property listed on the National Register, Recchie said, is that it will trigger some sort of review process for any alterations or changes to the structures or land. That's purely a local function decided by Columbus City Council, she said.

"It's not unusual for people, although not in this case so far, to want to know if there are certain maintenance standards or if they have to open their property to the public, and the answer is no to both," Recchie added.

She feels North Broadway residents behind the effort have done a good job keeping their neighbors from developing any unnecessary concerns about what the designation would mean.

"I think it's fair to say that the folks who are spearheading this project who live on the street have taken the time to inform their neighbors," Recchie said.

Inclusion of North Broadway on the National Register might have been delayed until late 2010, so its inclusion on the advisory board's April agenda was a pleasant surprise, Recchie said.

"In that regard I think it is a little more accelerated than I thought it would be," she added.