Tiffin’s Architectural Board of Review (ABR) was created around 2002 with the mission of helping maintain design and appearance standards in the downtown (see map.) “Establishing Design & Development Guidelines” is one of the key objectives of the Downtown Strategic Plan (see pp. 46-47,) which we continue to implement as we continue to adopt a Main Street Four Point Approach. It’s important because it’s clear that higher standards mean better looking downtowns and increased property values.
The ABR does this by reviewing all exterior changes being proposed by property owners (including any demolition) to ensure that it meets the ABR Guidelines. Anyone wanting to make changes must fill out a one-page “Certificate of Appropriateness” Application, which then gets reviewed by the ABR to ensure it meets the guidelines. The ABR typically meets twice a month. And, as with fire and building guidelines and permits, if a property owner goes ahead and makes changes that are against the guidelines they will likely be asked to remedy the situation and could potentially face financial penalties and criminal sanctions.
In order to make the process painless and easy, property owners should contact Amy Reinhart, Tiffin’s Downtown Development Coordinator, first. Amy will guide them through the process and acts as a liaison to the ABR. She will help property owners evaluate what they want to do and work with them to determine if proposed changes do meet the ABR Guidelines.
- Location – Verify the property falls in the Downtown Design District
- Discussion – Contact Amy Reinhart and discuss proposed changes
- Application – Fill out the Certificate of Appropriateness Application
- Review – Amy Reinhart reviews the application for adherence to Design Guidelines and any further changes/edits are made
- Submission – Amy submits final application to ABR and determines ABR meeting date for presentation & vote
- Approval – Amy and property owner appear at ABR, project is discussed and vote taken
- Certificate – Certificate of Appropriateness is given to the property owner
Reference – Tiffin City Code (Chapter 1131) on Design Review Regulations, including the ABR’s authority.