Paulding Plan Part 4 (upper stories)

The Paulding Plan Part 4

3. Upper Stories of Building Facades.

Problems/Needs: The majority of the buildings in the downtown have at least two stories. Most of the second stories are vacant. As a result, in order to conserve energy and minimize maintenance costs, windows have been boarded up or replaced with smaller windows. Such a practice has detracted from the original designs of the buildings and has contributed to the unattractive appearance of the downtown.

Recommendations: Understanding that replacement of windows is a rather expensive undertaking, especially for vacant floors which are generating no income to the owners, a process should be started to educate property owners on alternative methods for treatment of upper story windows. All future inappropriate window treatments should be stopped and the Design Review Board should start working with property owners to renovate existing inappropriate window treatments.

A successful downtown program will generate new uses for these upper stories, thus generating rent or other income for the owners of the buildings, which should encourage them to improve the window treatments. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office can offer suggestions on how best to renovate these upper story facades. PDG’s architectural staff can also provide design assistance.

4. Signage.

Problems/Needs: Currently there is no consistency in the size, type, location, or number of signs used by businesses in the downtown, nor in the type of materials used. This presents a very disjointed and cluttered image to the public.

Recommendations: A sign ordinance dealing specifically with signage in the downtown should be developed and implemented. It should address size, material, location, and number of signs permitted per property owner in an attempt to create a more uniform approach to signs. The design review board should be charged with administering the sign ordinance.

Paulding Plan Part 3 (facades)

The Paulding Plan Part 3

2. Facade Renovation

Problems/Needs: The second greatest problem in downtown Paulding is the existing condition of the storefronts. Downtown Paulding contains numerous buildings which have very attractive architectural features. There are a variety of material types used although most buildings are brick or stone.

As is common in older downtowns, facades have been renovated over the years with materials characteristic of that particular time period. These false facades do not do justice to the quality of the original building design and, as newer materials are developed, these old materials become unattractive. With the emphasis today of returning these types of buildings back to their original conditions, downtown Paulding has its work cut out for it.

A facade renovation program should be implemented in the downtown. A set of design standards should first be developed to assist property owners with design decisions regarding how to renovate or improve their facades to preserve the architectural integrity of the buildings. These standards should identify simple, relatively inexpensive methods of facade improvements, including recommendations regarding appropriate materials, styles, colors, awnings, window and door treatment, etc. (Design Standards will be required if the Village receives a Downtown Revitalization Grant through the State of Ohio.) The Department of Interior’s Rehabilitation Standards should be used as a base.

Owners of each of the buildings in the downtown should analyze the original design of their buildings and the potential for returning the facade to that state, if and when possible. PDG has offered its architectural services to provide a professional evaluation of building design and to illustrate how these buildings could look with minor improvements.

There is a need for awnings on at least some of the buildings in the downtown to provide color, a deviation from the long, flat, continuous surfaces of the buildings, in addition to providing some protection from the elements for pedestrians.

A design review process should be established to evaluate proposed building improvements and to assist property owners in selecting appropriate design schemes. A design review board would have to be created to administer the design review process, if a grant is approved.

The Village should also consider implementing a facade renovation financing program so that financial assistance could be provided to merchants interested in upgrading their buildings. This could be done through the Downtown Revitalization Grant Program (revolving loan fund), through a Lender Commitment Program, or through other creative methods. Offering lower interest loans or incentive grants to merchants is one way to gain greater acceptability of the facade renovation program. Once the program is under way, it will most likely become contagious.

Paulding Plan Part 2 (sidewalks & streetscaping)

The Paulding Plan Part 2:

PROBLEMS/NEEDS AND RELATED RECOMMENDATIONS

Problems and needs were identified through public meetings, one-on-one meetings with individuals involved in the downtown, and analysis of existing land uses. In addition, PDG’s experiences in other communities were used for comparison. Following each problem/need, recommendations are made for ameliorating or lessening the problem or otherwise addressing the need for the community.

1. Sidewalks and Streetscaping

Problem/Need: The condition of the sidewalks and lack of streetscaping is probably the most significant problem facing downtown Paulding today. Existing sidewalks are deteriorated, uneven, inconsistent, broken, and otherwise in poor condition, presenting potential liability problems to both the Village and the property owners.

Along with the poor condition of the sidewalks, there is little or no differentiation in elevation between sidewalks, curbs, and street surfaces. This results from years of resurfacing the streets without removing old asphalt. Problems created by this lack of differentiation include: Storm water is not controllable, vehicles have nothing to stop then from entering onto the sidewalks, pedestrians are less protected from a safety perspective, and the aesthetic quality of the downtown is diminished. The problem is so great in downtown Paulding that when the meters were removed to provide free parking, the posts were left in place to stop vehicles from proceeding onto the sidewalks.

In addition to these problems, there is virtually no greenery in downtown Paulding except for the Courthouse Square. Storefronts are devoid of trees and grass. A few planters have been placed throughout the downtown, but they are poorly maintained. Thus, block faces are very monotonous, stark and unappealing.

Recommendations: A comprehensive sidewalk replacement program should be designed and implemented, starting at the Square (both sides of the streets) and proceeding outward in all directions as funds become available. This design scheme should include concrete sidewalks with brick trim or decorative concrete payers to reduce the quantity of asphalt and concrete existing in downtown Paulding.

The Village should initiate discussions with the Ohio Department of Transportation regarding the planing of all streets in the downtown which are State Routes, as it is imperative that the height of the curb be established before a sidewalk replacement program is started. A street planing and resurfacing program should be coordinated with a curb and gutter replacement program, as well as with the sidewalk replacement program.

In conjunction with the sidewalk replacement program, a streetscaping program should be designed and implemented. Careful attention should be given to the types of trees recommended. Trees should be light and airy so as not to block signage. The branches of the trees should be higher than seven feet so as not to interfere with pedestrians, and the trees should be devoid of fruits and seeds that will require frequent cleanup. Trees that do not grow tall and full are recommended for downtowns.

There is adequate room between the streets and the buildings for a narrow tree lawn, if grass is desired. In lieu of grass, decorative pavers or bricks can be used with grates around the trees.

Coordinated benches and trash receptacles should be placed strategically throughout the downtown as part of the streetscaping program.

Square one

2012 marks 15 years since Paulding’s downtown revitalization project was completed. “Completed” may not be the appropriate term, since only a portion of the whole was addressed, basically the curbs/sidewalks/streetscaping, lighting and awnings around the courthouse square. Remember how excited and optimistic we were about the changes to the downtown? Perhaps it would be worthwhile to revisit the overall plan and see if we should  pick up where we left off. Here is the opening of the 12-page report on “The Paulding Plan”:

 

THE PAULDING PLAN

INTRODUCTION

In early 1988, the Paulding Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Village of Paulding, retained the services of Poggemeyer Design Group, Inc. (PDG) to undertake preliminary downtown planning services and to prepare “The Paulding Plan” for revitalization of downtown Paulding. PDG’s services included meetings with the designated Planning Team, collection of existing land use data and other information required for the proposed plan, preparation of a graphic downtown revitalization plan with supporting narrative, a color rendering of proposed improvements to a typical block face, and submittal of a Downtown Revitalization Grant application to the State of Ohio to begin implementation of some of the recommendations made in “The Paulding Plan.”

This report constitutes the narrative portion of “The Paulding Plan,” and includes recommendations to improve downtown Paulding. Several meetings were held to acquire the information contained in this report, as well as several one-on-one meetings with individuals involved in the downtown. This report will address:

• the boundaries of the downtown

• the problems and needs of the downtown

• goals and objectives for revitalization of the downtown

• a projected time schedule for improvements

Next: Problems/Needs and their Recommendations

A Hard Lesson

I’d like to share a little story. My brother owns an automotive mirror company in Paulding. About 10 years ago, we were in talks with a German company that was considering putting a manufacturing facility here. It would have brought 100 to 150 jobs. But the company officials visited a couple of times, looked around the community and said, “This is not a place we would want to be. This is not a place where our management people would want to live.” And now they are in Brackenridge, Pa., outside Pittsburgh.

Their remarks were an insulting … and sobering … thing to hear.

What can we do to make Paulding a place where businesses and families want to locate? No one is going to help us but us. No one is going to promote us but us. WE are the only ones that will change things and make things happen for the better. Are you ready to start?

How zoning works, Paulding has zoning, but is it working for the benefit of the community?

From Ohio State University Fact Sheet: Zoning CDFS-1265-99

Part 2 of 2

The Zoning Triangle: Commission, BZA, and Inspector

Three basic units administer zoning – the zoning commission, the board of zoning appeals (BZA), and the zoning inspector. They depend on one another to make sure zoning is fair and effective in a community.

Zoning Commission

In unincorporated areas, the zoning commission is made up of five citizens, per the ORC. In charter communities, the planning commission may carry out the zoning commission duties and may have a different membership, often defined by the charter. The commission is an advisory group, and zoning decisions may be overruled by unanimous agreement of the local legislative body (township trustees, county commissioners, or city council).

The basic duties of the zoning commission are preparing the zoning text and map, holding public hearings, initiating zoning amendments, and making formal recommendations on all amendments.

Text and Map The text is the written part of the zoning resolution. Typically, the text covers definitions, enforcement, administration, exceptions, rezoning, outlines of the different districts, parking, signage, mobile home parks, floodplains, provisions for the zoning maps, and other features. Zoning districts are generally classified into residential, industrial, commercial, and agricultural districts although they often allow districts that permit a blend of uses. The zoning map is drawn up to show which areas are classified in which district.

Adoption of zoning regulations by a community does not mean, however, that the previously stated purposes will be fulfilled. First of all, the zoning text must appropriately address the particular needs of the community. It must have the proper balance of flexibility and firmness. Also, the zoning text and map must be kept up-to-date. Typically, they should be updated every five years so the process can reflect changing community priorities and realities of growth.

Zoning Amendments Amendments are extremely important to the zoning process. An amendment, or rezoning, is a change in the zoning map or text. Zoning regulations must be flexible to allow the community to be responsive to the need for legitimate changes. The amendment process enables the community to monitor changes and encourage those that enhance the community. It also allows the public a voice in changing zoning regulations. In rapid growth areas, requests for amendments are very common and often controversial, because they may cause changes in traffic flow, runoff, aesthetics, noise, and other factors that may affect surrounding property.

Amendments are initiated in the following ways – adoption of a motion by the zoning commission; adoption of a resolution by the county commissioners, township trustees, or city council; the filing of an application by at least one owner or lessee of property within the area proposed to be changed or affected by the amendment.

Zoning Inspector

The zoning inspector is responsible for the day-to-day administration and enforcement of the zoning regulations. He/she is appointed by the township trustees, county commissioners (in the case of county zoning), or the municipal legislative or administrative body.

The inspector’s duties involve reviewing applications for zoning permits, conducting on-site inspections, investigating violations, maintaining records of nonconforming uses, maintaining up-to-date text and map, and proposing amendments. In zoned areas, all new construction and many additions and other changes in property must receive a zoning permit from the inspector. He/she must have a thorough knowledge of the zoning text and map and use these as a basis for granting permits and citing violations.

Board of Zoning Appeals

The board of zoning appeals (BZA) is the “judicial branch” of zoning administration. In unincorporated areas, the board of zoning appeals is made up of five local residents. Municipal BZAs are similar. If a person wants to do something with his/her property that is not specifically allowed in the zoning regulations, that person may ask for a conditional use or a variance, depending on the circumstances. Both are obtained through the BZA.

Both variances and conditional uses require a hearing from the BZA. However, variances are true exceptions to the zoning resolution, while conditional uses are allowed changes that require a hearing. Municipalities may modify the roles of BZAs. Zoning officials must judiciously monitor these change processes if zoning is to serve its true purpose in a community. Allowing arbitrary and inconsistent changes can weaken the integrity of the regulations and trigger land-use conflicts, loss of property values, and lawsuits.

Variances A more technical definition of a variance is a modification of the strict terms of the zoning regulations where such modification will not be contrary to the public interest and where, owing to conditions peculiar to the property and not the result of the applicant, a literal enforcement of the regulations would result in unnecessary and undue hardship.

If a person applies for a zoning permit and the zoning inspector denies it, he/she may request a variance (or appeal the decision of the inspector). If, due to special conditions, the literal enforcement of the ordinance causes an individual unnecessary hardship, a variance can be granted. A BZA should have standards against which it judges every variance and conditional-use request in order keep decisions consistent and defensible.

Conditional Uses Conditional uses are those that are perfectly appropriate for a district but require a hearing to determine that they will not have adverse effects as defined by the conditional-use standards in the resolution. They require approval of the BZA. For example, in a commercial district, a restaurant may be a permitted use, but a drive-through restaurant may be a conditional use.

What is zoning?

From Ohio State University Fact Sheet: Zoning CDFS-1265-99

Part 1 of 2

Introduction

Since early in this century, zoning has been the major local tool for regulating land use in Ohio. Over the years zoning has evolved, and it continues to be at the heart of today’s land-use issues. A simple definition of zoning is a locally enacted law that regulates and controls the use of private property. It divides the jurisdiction into districts, or zones, for different uses and determines which uses are allowed. It regulates lot sizes, building heights, impacts on adjacent land uses, and other specifics.

The power to regulate land is delegated from the state to local governments. Three broad types of power are delegated to local governments – taxation, eminent domain, and police power. Zoning is a police power. Though zoning is widespread in Ohio, communities are not required to have zoning. Indeed, many communities have no zoning regulations in force, especially in southern and eastern Ohio.

The Purposes and Nature of Zoning

The purposes of zoning are to regulate land use, prevent land-use conflict, and allow growth to occur in a rational manner. More specifically, zoning aims to:

• Use land for its most suitable purpose.

• Protect or maintain property values.

• Promote public health and safety.

• Protect the environment.

• Manage traffic.

• Manage density.

• Encourage housing for a variety of lifestyles and economic levels.

• Manage aesthetics.

• Provide for more orderly development.

• Help attract business and industry.

 

Conversely, zoning in Ohio cannot:

• Prohibit farm buildings or farming decisions.

• Assure competent administration of the zoning resolution.

• Assure that land uses will be permanently retained as permitted under the zoning resolution.

• Guarantee the structural soundness of buildings.

 

Who Is in Charge of Zoning?

Cities and villages (incorporated areas / municipalities) in Ohio have the authority to administer zoning. They must do this according to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) unless they have adopted a charter, which can give the municipality broader zoning and other powers. Charter communities may fashion zoning regulations that vary from (but cannot violate) the ORC.

Townships administer zoning in unincorporated areas (outside incorporated cities and villages) unless the township has voted to let the county administer zoning, which is called county zoning. Approximately 16% of counties in Ohio have county zoning in at least one township. Both townships and counties must administer zoning according to the ORC. Not all states delegate zoning authority to townships, but rather keep the authority at the county level.

Whether zoning is administered by the township, county, or municipality, it can be much more effective when based on an adopted comprehensive plan (see OSU Extension Fact Sheet CDFS 1269-99, Comprehensive Planning). Such a plan defines a community’s development goals and priorities – where, how, and when a community will grow – and spells out the tools necessary to reach the goals. One of these tools is zoning. Municipalities may adopt their own comprehensive plan, or may be part of a county comprehensive plan. A county or regional planning commission creates a county plan.

A quote to ponder

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.”

- George Bernard Shaw

THANK YOU.

Thank you to the Paulding County Progress for obtaining again  the weekly Police Report  and publishing the reports weekly.  Publishing this report lends transparency to the  department and keeps the residents of Paulding informed to what is happening in the community, lets you know action on your complaint has been taken, and help deter  incidents from occurring. 

There have  now been issued  6 new  junk notices issued in the last  two weeks.  The Chief of Police, Randy Crawford, requested to report any concerns on issues directly to the Police Department.

GREAT JOB

I was so very pleased to see  a viillge employee, I think it was Jerry Smith, picking up tree branches and limbs from the street right of ways today. This helps maintain the safety and appearance of the neighborhoods and the town.

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