Staff Writer

Two South Main Street buildings in downtown Findlay are set for a needed facelift.

The newly established Downtown Design Review Board voted to find both buildings in violation of the city’s new maintenance standards for buildings within the review district, following hearings with the property owners on Wednesday.

Owners of the buildings housing the former Lampdoctor, 231 S. Main St., and its neighbor, GT Wheels, 229 S. Main St., each were given deadlines for making improvements.

Bonnie St. Dennis, owner of 231 S. Main St., recently bought the building with the goal of opening an antique shop. The building came with contents, and for now, most of the work has been on the inside, she said.

The board gave St. Dennis a deadline of Sept. 30 to fix chipped and cracked paint and rotting wood on the first-floor facade of the building.

True Fox, owner of GT Wheels, also addressed the board during the hearing on his property.

Fox, who replaced boards on the building’s windows with new lumber and a fresh coat of paint, will now have to replace the windows.

The new rules for the downtown prohibit boarded up or missing windows. Fox said the windows have been boarded up for at least 20 years. Fox priced replacing the windows, but said it’s very expensive.

The board gave Fox until July 15 to fix other problems with the building, including missing awnings, chipped and cracked paint, and stained brick near the building’s roof line.

However, the board agreed to table action on the windows to investigate funding options which could help Fox finance their replacement.

Both St. Dennis and Fox seemed willing to get the work to their buildings done, and the meeting was amicable.

The downtown district stretches from just north of Center Street to Lima Avenue along Findlay’s Main Street, and reaches just past Hurd Avenue to the west and Factory Street to the east.

The new rules apply to current nonresidential properties, mixed-use properties, and residential properties with four or more units.

Under the new downtown zoning, any changes made to a downtown building require a permit and are subject to review by the board.

Minor changes require only administrative approval. Major alterations require approval from the entire board.

The rules set a minimum maintenance requirement for buildings within the district, and require property owners to “remedy” chipped or faded paint; torn, faded or failing awnings; cracked, broken or missing windows; broken or chipped signs; and walls that are chipped, cracked or a safety concern.

Landscaping has to be maintained and kept clear of debris, and vacant lots have to be level, maintained and cleared of debris.

The board has the authority to issue “stop work orders” for violation of the rules. Should work continue after being ordered to stop, property owners are subject to a penalty under the city’s zoning code.

There are also guidelines and standards for buildings within the district, including building grouping and height, recommended or discouraged materials, facades, windows, window and door replacements, storefronts, entrances, awnings, signs, lighting, site improvements, fencing, parking lots, landscaping, mechanical systems and colors.

Grant: 419-427-8412
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