HUDSON — City staff and council members are planning to meet with Elm Street and Roslyn Avenue residents to discuss the possibility of placing their homes in the municipality’s historic district.
That was the outcome of a discussion that occurred between administration members and legislators at the council meeting on March 3.
Hudson Senior Planner Nick Sugar said about 25 Elm Street and Roslyn Avenue residents in April 2016 submitted a petition requesting the city consider expanding the historic district boundary to include the streets they lived on.
Sugar said the city submitted a questionnaire to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). In addition to the Elm/Roslyn area, Sugar said the city asked the state to assess the feasibility of adding other streets to the historic district.
SHPO in 2017 recommended Elm Street, Roslyn Avenue, E. Streetsboro Street (Route 303) and Bradley Drive for placement in the historic district. The city staff set up a study area that had 86 residential properties on Elm, Roslyn, E. Streetsboro and Bradley. Bradley homes would be included in the district due to their location, but because their age falls outside the historic standard, they would be considered "noncontributing resources," according to SHPO. City staff last July met with about 30 property owners, along with members of the Cleveland Restoration Society, Hudson Heritage Association and the architectural review board to explain the historic district designation.
After receiving "real positive feedback" at that meeting, Sugar said city officials asked the 86 property owners if they supported the city pursuing a historic designation of their property. A total of 38 (44%) responded, with 29 favoring the endeavor and nine opposing it. There was a 50% response rate from residents on Roslyn and a 58% response rate from Elm residents.
Sugar said the city received a "really positive response" from residents on Elm and Roslyn, but less positive on East Streetsboro and Bradley. This led to officials recommending placing the 45 properties on Elm and Roslyn in a historic district, according to Sugar. Council would need to approve a map amendment to put these streets into the historic district.
Council members said they wanted staff to reach out to the Elm and Roslyn residents that did not respond to the survey.
Council member Hal DeSaussure (At Large) said he was "really reluctant" to pursue the historic district designation. Before a process begins, he said, he wants to make sure residents understand there are limitations on the materials they can use on their homes if they are in a historic district.
"There is a cost component to improving your house [if it’s in a historic district] that other property owners don’t have," said DeSaussure. "There might be countervailing reasons why they want that because maybe the designation does increase property values …I just want to make sure [residents understand the requirements]."
Council member Beth Bigham (Ward 4) suggested city staff walk the neighborhood, tell residents about the requirements and have them sign off on whether they favor being in a historic district.
"We should make sure we get their opinion," said Bigham.
There are "real costs" and "real restrictions" for homes in a historic district, said Council member Chris Foster (Ward 2), but noted there are "real reasons why Hudson would want to protect historic homes.’"
Foster said the city needed more support from the affected residents before pursuing the designation. "You’ve got to go out and talk to them," stated Foster.
Council President Bill Wooldredge (At Large) — who noted he lives in a historic district — suggested he and Council member Kate Schlademan (Ward 1) and anyone else willing to help, get in touch with residents to educate them.
He noted the city is mainly valued for its schools and its historic components.
"I have lot of sympathy with the idea of trying to move forward with this, but I believe we have to be very thoughtful and have a meeting and try to get to all the residents on Elm and Roslyn, and really make sure they understand it does cost more money," said Wooldredge.
Hannan noted there are several residents who are "very passionate" about having a historic district designation. He said staff would work with council to determine where all of the Elm and Roslyn residents stand on the issue.
Mayor Craig Shubert said he is "hesitant" to have the city put an entire neighborhood in a historic district simply because the homes are more than 50 years old.
Hannan said people can voluntarily put their home under historic district standards.
"People do that because they see the value in Hudson being a preserved historic community," said Hannan. "The other piece is that you know what level of changes … your neighbors can do. There’s a collective understanding that this street will be preserved in its historic nature."
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.