Oberlin law director looking into issue with city’s design review subcommittee

By Scott Mahoney - smahoney@civitasmedia.com

There’s some question about the validity of action taken by Oberlin’s design review subcommittee, but it’s doubtful it will affect any projects the group has been involved with.

City law director Jon Clark said any decisions made by the subcommittee may not be valid.

“It appears that the appointment procedures have not been followed and therefore the validity of any action taken at this time is questionable,” Clark wrote in a statement.

According to Oberlin planning director Carrie Handy, appointments to design review are done annually and are made by city council, planning commission, open space and visual environment commission, and the historic preservation commission.

Appointments are supposed to be made before the end of the year, per the city charter, but weren’t.

Since the beginning of the year, the design review subcommittee has made recommendations on several signs and has reviewed a site plan on an expansion project at Mercy Allen Hospital.

Still, Handy isn’t sure any of those projects will be affected by the lack of design review quorum.

“I don’t know that any of those projects are in limbo now,” Handy said. “Design review is a recommendation. Design review doesn’t have any real approval authority. They make a recommendation to planning commission and planning commission has that approval authority.”

Handy said Clark is still looking into the matter.

Scott Mahoney can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @sm_mahoney on Twitter.

By Scott Mahoney