Hudson -- An 1880s house at 5122 Darrow Road received a temporary stay of execution at the July 7 meeting of the city's planning commission.

Coer Properties, owner of the 1,752-square-foot structure, received permission from the Architectural and Historic Board of Review to raze the structure at its June 25 meeting. But before that can happen the planning commission also has to approve the demolition.

"Although the structure is not a historic landmark, it is one of eight designated historic structures within District 9," according to Greg Hannan, city planner.

Members of the Hudson Heritage Association (HHA) spoke against razing the structure, which is one of eight identified structures included in what is called the Darrowville corridor.

Julie Hansack, co-president of the HHA and speaking on its behalf said "We feel demolition sets a dangerous precedent for the historic Darrowville Village."

She said HHA wanted to engage the Cleveland Restoration Society to prepare a study. At the conclusion of the meeting she stated the HHA would pay for the study.

"Hudson has always had a priority of preservation," she said.

Commission member Mike Chuparkhoff asked Hansack for details about the structure.

"What makes this building historic? It looks like an ordinary house to me," Chuparkhoff said.

Hansack said she would get back to him with more information.

Brad Nelson, one of the principles in Coer Properties, told the commission his company wanted to level the house to provide an opportunity to develop the 10 acres behind the house.

"It is not economically feasible to develop the property," Nelson said.

George Roth, president of Augere Construction Company, inspected the house which this past winter suffered extreme water damage.

"This is not one of the viable structures in the town," Roth said. "It cannot be fixed easily, quickly or inexpensively. There's no requirement for an owner to go into debt to save a structure."

Roth's inspection of the house yielded an estimated cost of $87,033 to repair -- not including asbestos removal, mold abatement or contractor overhead.

According to the current Summit County Tax records, the building valuation, excluding land value, is $67,420.

"In my opinion, the building is a total loss and should be demolished," Roth said.

Roth told the commission he had served as president of city council and chairman of the ARCH board. He added he was a member of the Hudson Heritage Association since the early 90s.

"As a former member of the ARCH Board I'm disappointed the board didn't ask to do a feasibility study," Virginia Rogers, HHA Board member told the commission.

Rogers suggested hiring an architect with expertise in historic buildings to conduct a study.

"I personally don't think just because something is old it's worth saving," commissioner Tom Harvie said.

He suggested the city address the building issue with more specificity.

"In absence of that, this building will continue to rot and be an eyesore," Harvie said.

Kagler said the damage report could relate to a number of buildings that have been saved in Hudson.

"The report could have been written about the Case-Barlow Farm," Kagler added.

He said the house was part of the Darrowville ensemble and said its removal might be "the first in a series of dominos."

After a lengthy discussion, commission member Rob Kagler made a motion to continue the application at the commission's September meeting after a second feasibility study was conducted.

"I don't think we have the necessary information to make the decision," Kagler said.

His motion to delay for more information was approved by a vote of 5 to 1 with Harvie voting no. Commission member Jennifer Barone was absent for the vote.


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