Living in a Historic District
The Ohio City Historic District was created in order to recognize and preserve the architectural heritage of one of Cleveland’s premier residential neighborhoods. Historic Districts are areas of exceptional architectural strength where historic buildings and their surroundings are protected by a design review process. When properties have been designated by the City of Cleveland as part of a historic district, exterior changes must be reviewed and approved by the Cleveland Landmarks Commission in order to ensure the historic integrity of that property and the district as a whole are maintained. In Ohio City, as well as in several other Cleveland neighborhoods, these changes are also reviewed by a local design review committee, which helps to lend a neighborhood perspective to the review process, as well as give expertise on architectural styles prevalent in individual Cleveland neighborhoods. The Ohio City Design Review Committee fulfills this function in the neighborhood.
Ohio City Design Review
The review process is triggered when a permit application is submitted to the City. The applicant is referred by the City to the Ohio City Design Review Committee for initial review. The committee then makes a recommendation to the Landmark Commission to approve, approve with alterations, or disapprove the proposed alterations. The Landmark Commission makes the final determination. A building permit will not be issued until the project has been reviewed and approved by the Landmark Commission. Projects undertaken without proper permits may be halted by the City until proper procedure has been completed.
Meetings of the Ohio City Design Review Committee are typically held on the first Thursday of the month at 11:45am at LAND studio, located at 1939 West 25th Street. From April through October, an additional meeting is held on the third Thursday of the month. Meeting dates are subject to change or cancelation.
The Ohio City Design Review Committee (OCDRC) reviews all proposals that involve exterior alterations or demolition of a residential or commercial structure within a Cleveland Landmark Historic District.
The Ohio City Design Review Committee is made up of six representatives, as approved by the Cleveland Landmark Commission. Representatives each have a direct tie to the Ohio City community. The Committee includes a representative of Ohio City Incorporated, three professional architects, two historic preservation professionals, local business owners and residents, as well as representatives from the City of Cleveland. Ben Trimble & Tom McNair, of Ohio City Incorporated, act as the staff people assigned to the Ohio City Design Review Committee.
The criteria for design review used by OCDRC are based on:
1. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards For Rehabilitation,
2. The Cleveland Neighborhood Commercial Rehabilitation Manual,
3. The Franklin Circle Historic District Design Guidelines
4. City of Cleveland Building Code Requirements.
Ohio City Map of Landmarks Districts
City of Cleveland’s Landmark Ordinance
Ohio City Design Review Committee Guide for Submissions
Ohio City Design Review Committee 2011 Meeting Schedule
Ohio City Design Review Committee 2011 Members
Ohio City Incorporated can help you negotiate the design review process, and can supply you with further resources to help you in your rehabilitation. Please contact Ben Trimble at
for more information.
The City of Cleveland Landmarks Commission can give advice on restoring your home, as well as the design review process.
The Cleveland Restoration Society, a non-profit organization, provides free advice on the repair and maintenance of older and historic residences, commercial buildings, and houses of worship. CRS' staff of historic rehabilitation specialists can guide projects involving roof preservation or replacement, window restoration, masonry repair, porch repair, and more.
The City of Cleveland Department of Building and Housing information regarding permits for residential and commercial buildings can be found on their website
The Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Historic Preservation guide the decisions of the Ohio City Design Review Committee and the City of Cleveland’s Landmarks Commission. See their illustrated guidelines here
Preservation Briefs, by the National Park Service, give practical, illustrated hands-on advice on caring for, preserving and restoring your historic building. Topics include restoring historic masonry, roofing, porches and windows