CORTLAND Mayor suggests design review

The mayor says she wants to make sure the buildings under construction are attractive.
CORTLAND -- Disturbed by the looks and location of certain new buildings going up in the city, the mayor is considering forming an architectural review board.
Mayor Melissa Long said she decided a review board is necessary after her dream of having a quaint bed-and-breakfast or four-star restaurant overlooking a beautiful ravine became a discount-store nightmare.
"The ravine is just gorgeous, but now we have this big brown building without windows next to it," Long said. "I'm glad to have development, but I want to make sure the buildings are attractive and our green space is used wisely."
Long said the city has little control over architecture because there is no review board in place. She noted that she will be meeting with the city's planning and zoning committee next month to discuss creating the board.
She said she is not sure how many people will be on the board or who will appoint the members.
Wants some input: "This review board won't be extremely stringent. I'm not looking to have something so tough that businesses won't want to come here. We just want to have some say in the size of the building, the color and how the green space is used," the mayor added.
Jerry Carleton, a city resident and developer, said he thinks creation of an architectural review board would be beneficial to the area.
"A city can't control the type of business that builds in an area but it can control what it can look like," Carleton said.
Successful elsewhere: He noted that Boardman and Howland townships have similar review boards.
John Emanuel, Howland Township administrator, said the township's site review committee reviews what colors and materials are going to be used on all new commercial structures.
"The review board worked very well in Boardman," said Mike Wilson, executive director of the Home Builders Association of the Mahoning Valley. He said the review board works well because all the developers have to follow the same codes.
"It's fair and equitable, and it makes enforcement easier because the codes are black and white," Wilson added.

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