Save Grove Hill

  • by: SaveGroveHill.org
  • recipient: The Mayor of Chagrin Falls, its Council, Boards, Commissions, and administrators

Save Grove Hill

The undersigned petition the Mayor of Chagrin Falls, its Council, Boards, Commissions, and administrators to use all available means to preserve and protect Grove Hill, its WPA wall, and the Bancroft House and annex from any demolition, development, or excavation that is inconsistent with the Village's laws, ordinances, guidelines, and plans.

Background

A developer has purchased the iconic property at the southwest corner of Main and Summit Streets (3 West Summit). He has proposed to:

  • Demolish the historic Bancroft House and demolish its accessory building.
  • Subdivide the property to construct four new properties of homes and townhomes.
  • Cut through the Village's historic WPA wall for access.
  • Remove 1,000 tons of soil from the top of the hill, and a significant amount of additional material from the foot of the hill.

The Bancroft House, built in 1878, is one of the oldest homes in the Village. Its accessory building, part of which dates from the 1880s, was occupied by well-known artists who painted portraits of some of Ohio's greatest citizens. The hill on which these structures sit, known as Grove Hill, is not only a Village gateway and one of its signature features, but itself contains an historic stone wall built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) that borders the Bancroft house property on both Main and Cottage streets.


As the Village's Design Guidelines summarize:

"The current residents of Chagrin Falls have inherited a livable, walkable and architecturally intriguing historic community. Many architects and developers have tried to recreate such communities with new construction, while other historic communities have lost their identity through lack of vigilance. This history and village lifestyle that define Chagrin Falls are a source of community pride and an increasingly rare legacy; one worthy of protection." (p. 6) (emphasis added)

To the undersigned, the Bancroft House, its accessory building, the WPA wall, and Grove Hill itself are part of the Village's special character, a source of community identification and civic pride, and rare examples of the Village's legacy. The developer's proposals, if implemented, will ruin iconic Grove Hill for future generations.

Even without demolition, the proposed, massive soil removal is inconsistent with the Village's mandate to protect Village environments – especially hillsides – from destruction; and it will put the Bancroft House, WPA wall, and surrounding properties at unwarranted risk from soil subsidence and other common and known problems previously caused by digging on Village hillsides.

Action Requested

Therefore, we the undersigned* oppose each of the developer's proposals and request that the Village, including its Mayor, Council, Boards, Commissions, and administrators act vigilantly and use all available means to deny variances, permits, or other allowances required for these proposals, and to preserve and protect the entire property at 3 West Summit, including the main house, accessory building, and the Village and private properties that surround it, including the WPA wall.

*The undersigned list comprises: neighbors whose properties will be materially and adversely impacted in terms of historical character and property value if the developer is successful; concerned residents of Chagrin Falls who moved here in part because of its historical character and the existence of a code designed to preserve that character; and other stakeholders who hold an interest in preserving the historical character of Chagrin Falls.

For additional information please visit savegrovehill.org

Update #25 days ago
To our petitioners, your passionate responses to Save Grove Hill have sent a powerful message to our village. It has been the most important contribution to help protect this treasure for the future. The Western Reserve Land Conservancy has made an offer to purchase the property to preserve the house and to create a park. The developer has recently chosen not to present his demolition plans at the March 3rd ABR meeting. We will post new documents as soon as we get them.
Update #1about a month ago
Save Grove Hill will be on the Village Council Agenda tomorrow, January 27th at 7pm. We would love to have as much support there as possible as we will be presenting them with the petition that over 1600 of you have signed. The meeting will be held at Council Chambers at Village Hall unless further advised.
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