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Ludlow to Create Historic Preservation Overlay Zone

The City of Ludlow is ramping up its efforts to preserve its historic building stock and to create clear guidelines for property owners and businesses.

At Thursday night's city council meeting, a change to the urban design review committee was approved, making it an official city board.

Patrick Snadon, a member of the committee and an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati's Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) program, gave an overview of the work already underway. Some projects that have been reviewed have been approved to move forward, including some with small city grants aimed to improve facades.

That is one area that Snadon would like to see beefed up.

"I would be remiss as a representative for the UDRC if I didn't ask the council to up the grants," Snadon told city council. "Less for residential properties, but more for large commercial properties."

He noted that most of the businesses along the Elm Street corridor are zoned as both residential and commercial, a reflection of the era in which the railroad entered the city, transforming a predominantly residential part of the city into a business hub. "There are even residents above commercial storefronts, so the street has always had mostly a residential character, and after the arrival of the railway in the 1880s, an increasingly urban and commercial character developed, but it still remains mixed and we feel the good appearance of all the properties and that having a beautiful main street will help our businesses," he said.

With the transition from a committee to a sanctioned board, all the current members will be re-appointed with one additional member, according to City Administrator Elishia Chamberlin.

Meanwhile, the city is working with Planning & Development Services of Kenton County to create an historic overlay zoning district that will include the downtown central business district. As planned, the zone would include both sides of Elm Street from Carneal Street to Adela Avenue, as well as both sides of Oak Street.

There is potential to push the boundary to the riverfront.

The urban design review board will serve as a task force in establishing the zone.

There will be a period of public engagement, and then design guidelines and code language will be created. Then, the city will pursue text and map amendments from the Kenton County Planning Commission.

According to a document drafted by PDS, the City of Ludlow hopes to have the process completed by January 1, with public engagement to start soon.

PDS would charge an estimated $26,727 for its work on the zone, based on staff hours, but because Ludlow is a member government, the city gets a 75 percent discount, bringing the anticipated total to around $6,682.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Businesses on Elm Street in Ludlow (RCN)