Burton Village Council members on Monday held another round of discussions with the Historical District Review Board regarding a recommendation for penalties if homeowners install metal roofs without a permit.
Historical Board President Alison Weeks said that although council support would be preferred, the Historic District ordinance on the books gives her board the authority to enforce fines.
“Past experience has shown us that our best efforts to uphold the standards that we were sworn in to protect are only as good as the council’s willingness to stand behind them,” said Mrs. Weeks. “I sincerely hope that you will stand in support of your constituents on our board who routinely give their time and effort to make our village live up to its logo where history lives, as well as your constituents in the community who abide by the ordinance.”
But some residents attending the meeting pointed out that buildings near the house in question have metal roofs.
During the Sept. 13 meeting, Historic District Review Board members recommended to council members the enforcement of a fine of $500 due to a Village of Burton resident on West Center Street having a new roof installed without coming to the board for a request to make a change to the property.
According to Section A of the ordinance, anyone that causes or permits an alteration or change to listed property or property from the historic district in violation of this chapter seven is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment for more than 180 days or both.
“Historic preservation matters to me deeply as to serving my community, as a citizen and volunteer, I’ve been troubled by the lack of respect that I have perceived with regards to the council’s handling of historic review board matters, I am troubled that I witnessed the destruction of historic details, character and in one case an entire building in the short time I have lived here,” said Mrs. Weeks. “I am concerned that some homeowners follow the rules while others do not and those who do not are not held accountable.”
Members of the audience who attended the meeting voiced their grievances at a possible enforcement of a fine.
“There is not a benefit to being a homeowner in this historic district if everything we’re going to do gets nitpicked and potentially fined,” said Burton resident Eve Ahrens. “You’re going to fine this family for putting on a new roof which is keeping their home safe and it’s keeping their home standing.”
Burton resident Cindi Boehnlein asked council to take no action against the homeowners nor allow the historic district board to impose any punishment.
“Why would any board consider applying penalties up to $1,000, 180 days in jail and or removal of in this case a new metal roof and replacing it with a shingled roof at the expense of the homeowner?” asked Mrs. Boehnlein. “When the current owner took possession of it, he probably didn’t even realize it was in the district.”
Resident Justin Ahrens pointed to the maple cabin. It’s “the oldest building in Burton and has a metal roof on it. The fire department has a metal roof on it. I was looking for a Historical Review Board requesting that metal roof and I didn’t see one.
“There isn’t a whole lot of clarity on the rules and if I’m that homeowner and I see across the street a metal roof I’m assuming my house can have a metal roof as well,” Mr. Ahrens concluded.
Village Council members recommended that the homeowner come before the review board and discuss the ordinance at the next Historic District Review Board meeting.
In other business, council members approved on second reading a resolution accepting the Geauga County Budget Commission’s certificate for the township’s 2022 budget of $6.88 million. The certification follows up the village’s Aug. 16 meeting with the budget commission and had to be turned into the county by Oct. 1.
The next meeting is Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.