Renovated 1719 Bella Vista Street Offers a Rare Opportunity to Purchase in the Bella Vista Historic District

IMG_40631719 Bella Vista Street has hit the market and offers a classic, restored Tudor Revival cottage exterior with many modern interior amenities. Now a 3-bed, 2-full bath, 2-half bath home, it is listed at $289,000 here, by the Keene Group.

This is the first home to go on offer for sale on Bella Vista Street since 2016 and the first sale since Historic District designation.

11.24.19: The Bella Vista Historic District Wins a 2019 Cincinnati Preservation Association Award

IMG_6142I’m honored and very excited to share that my Bella Vista neighbors and I have been honored with a 2019 Cincinnati Preservation Association Award for our work to establish the Bella Vista Historic District. We are grateful for the recognition and very appreciative of the continued encouragement and support given to us by the Cincinnati Preservation Association throughout the long designation process.

10.16.19: Cincinnati City Council Votes Unanimously to Approve Designation of the Bella Vista Historic District

Today, Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously (9-0) to make the Bond Hill Bella Vista Historic District Cincinnati’s 25th historic district. This 18-month process has been educating, grueling and rewarding. We look forward to another 93 years of beauty and community on Bella Vista Street.

Our deep thanks to Mayor Cranley, and Cincinnati City Council, particularly Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, Council Member Jeff Pastor and Council Member Greg Landsman. Our continued thanks for the hard work of the Cincinnati Planning Department under Katherine Keough-Jurs, AICP, especially Caroline Kellam, who guided our application to approval. Thanks also to the Department of Buildings, particularly the Urban Conservator, Beth Johnson. Thank you also to Supervising City Planner Alex Peppers, AICP, and Stacey Hoffman, Senior City Planner for their very prompt and capable assistance.

We could not have achieved this designation without the critical work of Anne Delano-Steinert at The University of Cincinnati and the tireless advocacy of Margo Warminski, the Preservation Director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association.

We also thank the Bond Hill Community Council for its critical vote of confidence. We thank our neighbor to the east, Maketewah Country Club for the letter of support from the Board of Directors.

We are truly moved, humbled and grateful for the support we have received.

Save the Date: 09.06.19 Meeting before the Cincinnati Planning Commission

On Friday, September 6, 2019 the Cincinnati Planning Commission will consider the proposed local historic designation of Bella Vista Street (and adjoining homes on Reading Road). If you continue to support the effort, please attend the meeting in J. Martin Griesel Room, Two Centennial Plaza, Fl 7., 805 Central Avenue, Cincinnati OH 45202.

If you have any questions, you can contact the City of Cincinnati directly–

Senior City Planner Caroline Hardy Kellam can be reached at 513-352-4842 or caroline.kellam@cincinnati-oh.gov .

Save the Date: 07.22.19 Historic Conservation Board Public Meeting

Another month, another meeting. Please mark your calendar and join us if possible–

The Historic Conservation Board Public Hearing will be held on Monday, July 22, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. The hearing will be held at Two Centennial Plaza, 805 Central Avenue, Suite 500, Cincinnati, OH 45202. The proposed historic district designation of Bella Vista Street (and adjacent properties on Reading Road) will be on the agenda for discussion.

You can find the official notice from the City of Cincinnati here (scroll to the bottom). For more information, you can reach the City directly:

Urban Conservator Beth Johnson can be reached at 513-352-4848 or beth.johnson@cincinnati-oh.gov

Senior City Planner Caroline Hardy Kellam can be reached at 513-352-4842 or caroline.kellam@cincinnati-oh.gov .

Save the Date: 6.24.19 Public Hearing & Meeting On the Proposed Designation of Bella Vista Street as a Local Historic District

Mark your calendars–

On Monday, June 24, 2019 at 6:00 PM, the Department of City Planning and the Historic Conservation staff will hold a joint public staff conference at the Bond Hill branch of the Public Library, 1740 Langdon Farm Road regarding the proposed local historic district designation of all properties Bella Vista Street and 5108 and 5026 Reading Road. This is one chance to make your voice heard.

You can find the official notice from the City of Cincinnati here. For more information, you can reach  the City directly:

Urban Conservator Beth Johnson can be reached at 513-352-4848 or beth.johnson@cincinnati-oh.gov

Senior City Planner Caroline Hardy Kellam can be reached at 513-352-4842 or caroline.kellam@cincinnati-oh.gov .

The Application Is Submitted!

At long last, I have submitted the Bond Hill Bella Vista Historic District application! It’s all gone to the City of Cincinnati for review — the Conservation Guidelines, the Historic Designation, the Resource Inventory, the flash drive of photos, etc., etc., the whole bit.

The Urban Conservator and the Office of Planning have so far been very kind, collaborative, and very helpful. We met for about an hour last Friday and I experienced the incomparable relief of someone who has finally finished the first leg of a triathalon.

We still have a long while to go before the process is complete but it feels absolutely incredible to have cleared this hurdle. My hope is that we will have secured the Historic District designation some time in September.

Clearing the Community Council

After a spirited half hour public dialogue at last night’s meeting, I am happy to report that the Bond Hill Community Council has voted to issue a letter in support of the proposed Bella Vista Street Historic Landmark District and will officially submit the application to the Urban Conservator. This is an important hurdle cleared. Many thanks to everyone who came out to support our effort, especially my lovely neighbors on Bella Vista Street.

Building Community & Getting Consent

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Latest written update delivered to neighbors

The most challenging thing about working towards a Bella Vista Street Historic District has been overcoming my abundant fear of failure and really working with my neighbors. Many of the homeowners of Bella Vista have been here for 30 years or more so there are rhythms and norms that I’m new to, as a recent buyer on the street. I’m also instinctually shy and would prefer not to knock on doors or have potentially awkward conversations. And finally, while I LOVE electronic communication, that just doesn’t work for many of my neighbors. But I not only believe in this project — I believe in the people who live here, as well as their right to either support or oppose this measure. So I’ve come out of my house (and my shell) to talk to my neighbors. I’ve produced three written updates and have had entirely positive responses from all the homeowners so far. We will see if this changes as the process continues.

I’ve targeted a historic designation by June 2019. Fingers crossed that we get there! If you want to do preservation work, plan on doing lots of communication like this.

 

The Bella Vista Street Preservation Project

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I first found Bella Vista Street in 2014 and was instantly struck by the pleasantness of this lane off of Reading Road. When my family and I were fortunate enough to buy a newly renovated home there two years later, I found that the sense of neighborhood and community was equal to the architectural charms and wondered — ‘How do we preserve this for another generation? How do we ensure that in 90 years the street we see today is still here?’

I found The Office of The Urban Conservator for the City of Cincinnati, The Historic Conservation Board for Cincinnati and began to learn about the process of protecting historic assets through zoning and historic designation. When I approached neighbors about whether we would like to take affirmative collective action to protect the architectural integrity of the street, the answer was a resounding, “Yes.”

The historic designation process is long, a bit tedious and this blog will detail the journey.