Plain City Design Review Board digs into renovation project


Plain City Design Review Board members recently continued a meeting surrounding the property at 132 N. Chillicothe Street. Although applications for changes to the exterior of the building have not yet been approved, Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said emergency work in the building was approved. He said there are issues with several load-bearing walls, as an interior wall is “about a foot from where it should be” perpendicularly. (Journal-Tribune photo by Mac Cordell)

Members of Plain City’s Design Review Board said they need more information before approving a plan for the property at 132 N. Chillicothe Street.
Tim Dawson, the applicant and a member of DRB, submitted an application to: bring back the store fronts even in front of the building, replace doors and windows on the first floor to the original design, replace brown metal with black metal on the back of the building and add two garage doors to the back of the building.
Dawson did not vote on the matter and Board member Ron Winn recused himself from discussions and voting due to a conflict of interest. Two Board members were absent, leaving only three members to vote.
Those voting unanimously agreed to continue the case until the Aug. 5 meeting, as Board member Christine Iman said there were “major conflicts in what (the applicant) submitted to us.”
Zoning Inspector Taylor Brill said the application would result in “substantial alterations” to the building, but would improve its current state.
“The applicant made it clear to staff the building was in a severe state of disrepair, as the foundation was crumbling,” she said.
Thus far, Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said emergency work in the building was approved due to “ongoing and progressing structural issues within the building.”
He said an emergency measure to repour the footing was approved before architectural plans are finalized. Cahall said there is also a plan in place to stabilize an interior load-bearing wall that is currently “about a foot from where it should be” perpendicularly.
As far as the exterior of the building, Dawson said he is enlisting Ivan Beachy of Darby Creek Millwork Co. to recreate 16, 12-inch by 179-inch columns that will line the façade.
Dawson said anything below the second story windows will be replaced with ash wood, while tin will remain above that level. He said several pieces of tin were removed by the previous owner, but they will be replaced.
There is currently T1-11 siding at the top of the building that was placed by the previous owner, which Dawson said will remain because the original cornice pieces are too costly to recreate.
He said the beams on the first floor will be made of wood but painted identical to the tin “so people can’t tell the difference.”
The front doors will be restored to the double doors pictured in photos from the 1880s-1890s.
“Ivan has gone above and beyond to try to recreate this look in this (historic) picture I gave him… as close as he possibly can to restoring the front of the building,” Dawson said.
The back of the building will remain covered in metal siding but will be painted black to match the rest of the exterior, he added.
Dawson provided the board with both drawings created by Beachy and computer renderings of the finished product.
Resident Eric Medicci said a ledge-like cornice between the first and second story of the building was present in the renderings, but missing from Beachy’s drawings.
Board member Christine Iman said she was also confused by the discrepancy between the documents.
Dawson said the renderings were made with a “computer-driven program that tries to give people an idea of what a building will look like once it’s finished,” but the cornice is not part of the building’s final design.
Board member Todd Boyer said he felt the renderings “do a good job of helping us feel what you’re trying to achieve,” but he needed more information on specifics of the design.
“The magic of the building is in the details,” he said.
Board member John Rucker added, “With no real specifics, I don’t see how we can vote on it.”
The zoning inspector said she felt the board only needed to look at the conceptual plan, “not necessarily detailed plans for the building department.” She said it is her job and the job of village staff to “make sure the feel of what the board approved is being upheld.”
Iman said she disagreed with Brill’s description of DRB’s role.
Boyer asked Dawson to condense the documents he provided into one packet so there was consistency between drawings and renderings.
He also provided a laundry list of items he felt needed further detail.
The items included: the location of the garage doors in the rear; a drawing of the rear elevation “to understand the scope of work;” screening for the walk-in cooler in relation to the rear façade; a floor plan that matches the proposal for double doors; dimensions for the façade reconstruction, including the mid-level cornice; and details surrounding the first floor windows.
Boyer also asked that Dawson remove any renderings that show details that will not actually be completed.
Dawson said he felt the board was imposing a financial hardship on him by asking for additional details and continuing the meeting.
“No one’s going to fix up the downtown if this is what we’re going to do to them,” he said.
Boyer reiterated that board was “uncomfortable with approving the packet that was submitted because there’s mixed messages.” He said most of what the board was asking for was simply more information, not an investment in new design features.
Dawson said he would return to the continued meeting with details in response to Boyer’s requests.

Tim Dawson, the owner of the property at 132 N. Chillicothe Street, recently submitted this rendering to the village’s Design Review Board. The rendering depicts a ledge-like cornice between the first and second floors of the building that mimics its historical design. However, Dawson said the exterior of the building will not feature the cornice and will be flatter. Board members said they needed more clarity before voting on the application.
(Graphic submitted)

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