Suddenly 'hot' again, Norwood strives to maintain its community character

WCPOPublished: September 13, 2017
Published: September 13, 2017

Trying to get ahead of a potential real estate boom, Norwood officials are developing the first residential design guidelines in the city's 129-year history. Norwood has a building code that requires specific building materials and structural guidelines -- as well as corporate design guidelines approved in 2013 -- that aim to preserve the city's historic character. Businesses should be located on sidewalks with parking in the back, for instance. "It's a 19th century city," Chris Brown, Norwood Planning Commission member and former city law director, said. "There's walkability, and we wanted to promote that feeling." Keeping that feeling in Norwood's neighborhoods is what the residential design guidelines will do, Brown said. They're being based on standards used in Kansas City -- starting with an existing set of standards saves staff time and money for the city, which is in a fiscal emergency -- and will make sure that any new homes built fit into neighborhoods of 100-year-old homes. A ranch house won't work on a street full of two- and three-story homes; modernist architecture won't sit next to a turreted Victorian. New home construction was nonexistent when the city developed the corporate design guidelines, which were based on standards used in Columbus, Brown said.

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