AURORA — The city’s planning commission accepted for study Feb. 20 an application for a conditional zoning certificate, plus a site plan, to allow Demming Financial Services Corp. to build a 3,200-square-foot addition to its existing 1,564-square-foot building.
The current building — a former railroad depot — sets on a 1.3-acre parcel beside the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks on New Hudson Road.
Most of the site is in a commercial zoning district, but the CZC is needed because the addition would encroach into the adjacent R-2 residential zoning district.
The depot was built in 1872 by the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio Railroad, which eventually became the Cleveland and Mahoning Valley Railroad and in 1941 the Erie Railroad.
George Clemens of Clemens-Pantuso Architects of Chagrin Falls explained that the Demming family saved the depot in the 1980s and renovated it to serve as the company’s offices.
"The new building won’t hurt the historic nature of the neighborhood, and the addition will be a modern barn that will resemble similar barns that were associated with some of the old railroad depots," Clemens said.
The addition will be attached to the existing building, and Clemens said no other businesses will use the buildings. The entrance into the parking lot will remain the same, and four parking spaces will be added to the lot.
When asked by a planning panelist why the addition was not designed to resemble the depot, Clemens explained national historic standards discourage additions that are reproductions of existing buildings.
A handful of trees will be removed to accommodate the addition, but Clemens said they are in ill health. There will be some new landscaping around the buildings.
Resident Deb Conti said the Demmings "have done a marvelous job" preserving and repurposing the old depot, and noted it is not out of the ordinary for local residents to think of that corner of New Hudson Drive as a commercial area.
The city’s Economic Development Director Jack Burge called the Demmings "good stewards of the old depot," and commended them for their willingness to make changes suggested by the landmark commission.
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.