"Basically, they are saying homeowners are not allowed to restore their houses because it takes too long... unless they can afford a team of contractors to do the work. So they are discouraging historic preservation for anyone but the wealthy. If I had left it covered in ugly, faded 40+ yr old aluminum siding covering all the architectural character, they'd be happy. I'm being punished for doing historic preservation of my house."
That's a quote from a lady named Nina who is facing criminal; prosecution in Lakewood Ohio for RESTORING her house. You can read the entire story on her blog:
It must be something in the water in Ohio maybe?
Of course her problem is an everyday one for most of us restoring a house in Cincinnati. I know of one Preservationists in Cincinnati who is on house arrest and Of course we all know one highly regarded person in OTR was recently arrested and spent days in jail. Meantime a local slumlord purchased a large number of properties at the County forfeiture sale earlier this year, placed them in his sons name and is "patching together" a condemned house (with real structural problems) in my neighborhood with city approvals.
While other cities , in other parts of the country, encourage Historic preservation by sponsoring workshops and conferences on Preservation and "How to " seminars and some cities are even offering 1/2 price or no cost permit fees to encourage people to buy and restore distressed foreclosures, our city plows along in the last century more intent on squeezing that last drop of blood they can out of you before you get fed up and make that one way trip across the river to Newport or Covington to restore a house, never to be seen again.
Unfortunately it happens all too often in Cincinnati. One can look across the river to Newport or Covington and see the "preservation energy" People restoring old houses , bringing back neighborhoods and improving the tax base. While we do nothing to encourage Preservation other cities move forward, I hope all those running for council or those who currently have seats on the council realize that unless the council enacts some common sense policies they will be presiding over the next Detroit, because it looks to me like those 30,000 people we lost in population all moved across the river and are restoring houses and buildings over there.
At a time when we have a great resources our historic houses, that could expand our population and thereby our tax base we , much like Lakewood Ohio are caught in downward spiral of bureaucracy.