CW requires florist to replace windows again

Replacing windows is expensive; doubly so if you are told to replace the replacements.

John and Tina McLaughlin, Pickerington residents who own an East Waterloo Street florist shop in Canal Winchester, discovered the vinyl windows they installed in place of rotting, wood-trimmed ones are not allowed under standards set for the village’s historic district.

On May 30, the McLaughlins received permission from the Canal Winchester Landmarks Commission to change the color of their building. However, the windows were replaced before securing permission from the commission.

Commission members met in regular session on Aug. 27 and voiced concern the project proceeded without their approval since vinyl windows are subject to strict review in the historic district. The McLaughlins then filed an application for certificate of appropriateness for the windows, pointing out they put in new windows that are the same size, although constructed out of vinyl.

"The windows were all rotted out and wouldn’t hold paint. They were in danger of falling out, so we had to do something," John McLaughlin told Canal Winchester Village Council during an appeal hearing held prior to its regular meeting Nov. 19. "I didn’t think it would make any difference at the top (of the structure)."

Although the McLaughlins went to the expense of replacing the windows on the second floor of the shop, the Landmarks Commission passed a motion to deny the application on Sept. 24. The business owners were told by Zoning Officer Andrew Dutton to remove the vinyl windows and trim and replace them with either the original wood windows or new wood windows matching the originals.

"The building’s been neglected and abused over the years and it’s lost its historical character," said Councilman Bruce Jarvis. "I commend the McLaughlins for putting in a lot of time, money and sweat. Landmarks did its job to the letter and keep its eye on things. As far as looks go, what was there was not that accurate."

Jarvis suggested upholding the commission’s ruling, but give the property owners time to replace the windows.

Commission President Beth Deeds thought the property looked wonderful, but said the point the commission was trying to make is renovations to structures in the historical district have to follow established guidelines.

William Bennett lives next door to the florist and applauded the McLaughlin’s efforts to renovate their structure. He told the council the windows on his side were old and rotten and the building has looked the best it’s looked in four years.

Board President John Bender said he felt council needed to uphold the commission’s denial. Members voted to deny the appeal at the end of the meeting, but with the provision the McLaughlin’s have two years to make the necessary corrections.

Bike path

The village will take a different path in creating a bikeway west of Canal Winchester after the Franklin County Common Pleas Court ruled the cost to take land owned by Richard Stebelton was in excess of half a million dollars.

Council approved an ordinance abandoning proceedings acquiring the fee simple leisure path and a pair of easements. The village previously determined the value of the property was $9,249, but on Sept. 20, the court decided the land and related compensation was worth $595,625.

Village Law Director Gene Hollins said Canal Winchester held several meetings with the Ohio Department of Transportation to try to salvage the portion of the project traversing the northern border of the Stebelton tract before deciding to abandon the proceedings.

"The only logical end point, without the Stebelton property, is Gender Road," advised Hollins, who said the bikepath could possibly be routed down Groveport Road in the future.

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