During an Aug. 10 Landmarks Commission meeting, commission members dug into questions about an improper awning at Saucy Brew Works, a brewery and restaurant in Ohio City.
Cleveland Documenter Joanna Tomassoni covered the meeting and wanted to know:
What we learned
Saucy Brew Works initially asked the city for permission to install an awning in 2017. The commission approved the original drawings–with multiple red awnings–that met the standards for the historic district. In 2019, Saucy Brew Works installed a large black awning instead. It’s unclear why the business deviated from the approved design.
The city sent the business a violation notice in 2019 but was flexible about the problem being fixed because of the pandemic.
Earlier this year, Saucy Brew Works submitted a new proposal to extend the out-of-compliance awning around the corner from West 29th Street onto Church Street. The new proposal triggered the re-evaluation of the current awning, commissioners said during the meeting.
The commission denied Saucy Brew Works’ recent request to extend the awning and is still waiting for updated designs that meet the criteria of the Ohio City Historic District.
Why was the Landmarks Commission involved?
The Landmarks Commission is an 11-member board that determines whether buildings, sites or districts throughout Cleveland are eligible for landmark status. The reason why Saucy Brew Works’ permit – or lack of a permit – fell under the scope of the commission is because it is part of an Ohio City Historic District. The commission did not approve of the current design, stating that it is “too large” and has “too much black.” Instead, the commission favored the original designs, which included separate red awnings.
Was Saucy Brew Works fined for failing to obtain a permit?
The short answer: No.
The city doesn’t fine property owners for permit violations. Instead, the Building & Housing Department issues a notice of violation telling the owner to comply with the code. Property owners have the right to appeal and fix a violation before a fine is imposed.
If the violation isn’t addressed, city prosecutors can file charges in Cleveland Housing Court. If the property owner is found guilty in Housing Court, the judge or magistrate can impose a fine.
Signal Cleveland asked officials how often the city takes property owners to court for permit violations but they haven’t responded yet.
Why didn’t Saucy Brew Works install the awning originally approved by the Landmarks Commission? Will Saucy Brew Works be forced to change the awning? Signal Cleveland left a message for the business but hasn’t heard back.