Downtown Tiffin ABR

Architectural Board of Review Approves Four Grants

New sign approved for Laird Building

This artist’s rendering shows what the perpendicular signage w

Today, the City of Tiffin Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved three façade grants for Downtown Tiffin buildings and a grant for a new sign to be installed at the Laird Building.

During the meeting, the board approved three projects for Façade Enhancement Grants:

  • Tony Consolo, owner of 45 S. Washington St., B.E.S.T. Taco Shop & Breakfast Spot, was approved for a $10,000 grant for roof repairs.
  • Donna Brose, owner of 135 S. Washington St., Cabin Creations, was approved for a $10,000 grant for window and masonry restoration.
  • Jay Zheng, owner of 253 S. Washington St., Hunan King, was approved for a $10,000 grant to improve the exterior façade to make it more historic.

The board also approved a $1,000 Downtown Sign Enhancement Grant requested by Don Zeis for a 19-foot-tall perpendicular sign to hang on the Laird Building, 114 S. Washington St.

Combined, these projects total more than $97,000 in investment in Downtown Tiffin.

In 2020, the ABR approved façade grants for the owners of seven building in Downtown Tiffin for a total investment of $227,188.12.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz commented: “I’m proud to be able to support these building owners in improving their properties and investing in the beautification of Downtown Tiffin.”

Since the Façade Enhancement Program’s inception in 2014, 92 projects have been approved for a total downtown investment of more than $2.6 million.

About the Façade Enhancement Program

The Façade Enhancement Program is a City of Tiffin reimbursement grant that was started in 2014 and provides a 50 percent match of funds for eligible exterior improvements on residential and commercial structures within the downtown historic district, up to $10,000. Each building is eligible to receive up to $10,000 per calendar year. For more information, visit www.tiffinseneca.org (search “Façade Enhancement”).

About Downtown Tiffin

The revitalization of downtown Tiffin began in 2011, when a group of community members came together to for “Tiffin Tomorrow”, with the goal of promoting and encouraging economic development in downtown Tiffin, and creating plans, programs and actions to ensure long-term vitality and prosperity. In 2014, the city of Tiffin contracted with SIEDC to act as the downtown organization and “Tiffin Tomorrow” came under the SIEDC umbrella as the “Downtown Development Committee,” which serves as the governing board of the downtown organization. In 2015, Tiffin joined Heritage Ohio’s Ohio Main Street Program. For more information, click here.

Tiffin’s Architectural Board of Review protects investors

Antique Warehouse on Perry St.

Antique Warehouse on Perry St.

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.

Amy can be reached by cell at 419.619.5517 or by email at reinhart@senecacounty.org. See ABR Members on the City’s committee website.

Current Process

  1. Location – Verify the property falls in the Downtown Design District
  2. Discussion – Contact Amy Reinhart and discuss proposed changes
  3. Application – Fill out the Certificate of Appropriateness Application
  4. Review – Amy Reinhart reviews the application for adherence to Design Guidelines and any further changes/edits are made
  5. Submission – Amy submits final application to ABR and determines ABR meeting date for presentation & vote
  6. Approval – Amy and property owner appear at ABR, project is discussed and vote taken
  7. Certificate – Certificate of Appropriateness is given to the property owner

ReferenceTiffin City Code (Chapter 1131) on Design Review Regulations, including the ABR’s authority.