Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gamble House wins latest round

Westwood's historic James N. Gamble House will continue to stand for now, following a 4-0 vote by the Cincinnati Zoning Board of Appeals.

The vote reaffirms a December 2010 decision by the City's Historic Conservation Board to reject an application by Indian Hill-based owner Greenacres Foundation to obtain a certificate of appropriateness, allowing them to demolish the house at 2918 Werk Road.

Greenacres filed for a demolition permit in February 2010, with plans to turn the surrounding 22-acre grounds into an outdoor, agrarian youth education center.

The 2,600-square-foot, 13-room 1870s High Victorian Italianate home was once owned by Ivory Soap inventor, philanthropist, and first Village of Westwood mayor. The City declared the house a local historic landmark in May 2010.

Several building code violations were issued in June 2010, which are still pending.

Greenacres is expected appeal the board's decision in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.

On Wednesday, the City's Board of Housing Appeals will consider Greenacres' appeal of the City's requirement that the foundation obtain a vacant building maintenance license for the house.

That hearing will be held at 1 P.M. at the Business Development and Permit Center, 3300 Central Parkway.

Largely vacant since 1962, the James N. Gamble House was maintained by Gamble's grandson Louis Nippert until his death in 1992. Mr. Nippert and his wife Louise founded the Greenacres Foundation in 1988 and received a Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) award for stewardship of the house in 1991.

Between April 2010 and January 2011, CPA made three offers to purchase the property, starting at $150,000 and ending at $250,000 for the house and a 1.7-acre portion of the estate.

Photo courtesy of the Westwood Historical Society

Previous reading on BC:
Fight over Gamble House now in courts, Council (1/31/11)
Greenacres rejects CPA plan for Gamble House (8/16/10)