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


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.