Dozens of homeowners in Elyria's historic district are upset with city's Landmarks Commission

Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 17:50:02-04

The West by the River Historic District covers four blocks and encompasses 75 homes.

The city’s Landmarks Commission enforces rules for how homes can be repaired to keep their historical designation.


But, dozens of home owners have petitioned the city to allow them to no longer be considered living in an historic district.


They say they can’t make affordable renovations, in what's officially called West by the River Historic District, because everything has to be approved, preserved and restored to its original status.


“Those who want out, let them opt out, and those who opt in, let them opt in,” said Alice Evans who owns one of the historical homes.


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"I can't have a garage"


Evan moved in before there was a Landmarks Commission.


“I think everything they’ve done has gone too far, when I can’t have a garage,“ Evans said.


For a decade, Evans has wanted to demolish the old carriage house in her backyard, because it’s in disrepair. She wants to build a new garage, which she believes will make her house more more marketable. 


The commission said no.


“I would like the carriage house to come down, so I could build a two-car garage. That’s what I’ve wanted to do for the last ten years and I have been denied,” Evans said.


Like a condo?


“There’s guidelines, it’s sort of like buying into a condo association," said Tom Aden Chairman of Elyria’s Landmarks Commission. "'Hey, I really like that condo, but they’ve got their guidelines and you need to follow those guidelines.” 


Aden, who lives in the district, is the chairman of the Landmarks Commission and wants residents to play by the rules.


“We think that’s pride for the city, it’s an asset for the community,” Aden said.


The Landmarks  Commission just announced, homeowners can apply for low interest loans through the historical society.


Evans wants nothing to do with that.


“I don’t need a loan, and I don’t care to do a repair with my home, when I just want to put in the garage I want,” Evans said.


The Landmarks Commission wants to schedule a meeting with homeowners who signed a petition to hear their concerns.


Some of the homes in Elyria’s historic district are more than 150 years old. 


VIEW: Photos of historic district homes