Policies & Legislation

Protect the Historic Tax Credit


The federal historic tax credit is one of the most effective tools for saving at-risk buildings and revitalizing neighborhoods. Since it was created in 1980, the credit has created 2.3 million jobs, leveraged $106 billion in investment, and rehabilitated more than 38,000 existing buildings — while more than paying for itself. In the Cincinnati area, the American Can Lofts, 21 C Hotel, Hamilton Mercantile Lofts, and dozens of buildings in Over-the-Rhine are just some of the buildings that have been renovated and returned to productive use with the credits. Read more about the economic impact of preservation tax credits in Ohio: http://www.heritageohio.org/programs/historic-tax-credits/

But now the federal historic tax credit, which has saved so many endangered buildings, is itself in danger. Deficit reduction measures being debated by Congress would gut the credit or eliminate it altogether. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched a campaign to save the credit. Visit their web site to learn more: http://www.preservationnation.org/take-action/advocacy-center/protect-historic-tax-credit-capp.html#.UWcNMqKW-7g

Date posted: April 12, 2013


Building a Better Preservation Ordinance

Zoning Code Section Rewritten

Thirty years ago, CPA helped create Cincinnati’s first Historic Conservation Ordinance. Since then the City has used the law to create historic districts and save many buildings from demolition.

This year we were proud to be part of a major revision to Section 1435 of the zoning ordinance, which covers preservation. The revised draft cleaned up confusing and contradictory language and strengthened several important provisions. It came out of the work of the 2009 Plan for Preservation–a successful collaboration of the Over-the-Rhine Foundation and CPA–and the 2011 Historic Buildings Loss Task Force.



Certificates of Appropriateness (1435-21): Language concerning economic hardship was strengthened, raising the bar for owners seeking to demolish buildings.

Emergency Demolitions (1435-29): A clear procedure for emergency demolitions, including chain of command and required findings was defined: a much-needed change to help prevent unnecessary demos while preserving public safety.

Planned Developments (1435-35): Most controversial was the section regulating Planned Developments (PDs) that affect historic resources. Under the present law, amended in 2004, the HCB role in reviewing such projects is merely advisory, with no Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) required for demolition, new construction or alterations in PDs. After several revisions and much discussion, the Law Department drafted compromise language requiring a COA from the HCB for a project’s Final Development Plan, but giving the CPC the power to overrule the HCB with a two-thirds vote.

Nonprofit Exemption: Language giving special treatment to nonprofits, with a lower standard to meet when demolishing historic properties, was removed.

CPA also tried to include a provision providing review of National Register-eligible or –listed buildings facing demolition but it did not make the final draft.

Saving historic buildings at the 11th hour is exciting. But improved policies–stronger laws and better enforcement–save more buildings in the long run. CPA is proud to have been part of this process.

Posted June 29, 2012