October 1, 2014

Elyria
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City lets lawyer finish paint job

ELYRIA – An Elyria attorney whose building paint job was stopped halfway because he failed to get permission to paint deteriorating bricks will be allowed to finish.

Elyria Planning Commission on Tuesday decided to allow Jerry Savoy to finish painting his brick building at the corner of West Avenue and Broad Street, which now has its western wall half painted a chocolate brown.

CHRONICLE FILE
The half-painted brick wall outside Elyria attorney Jerry Savoy`s Broad Street building shows where city officials cut the project short.

Elyria Mayor Bill Grace said the city decided to allow Savoy to paint the building`s brick exterior because the front of the building already has multiple materials – stucco, brick and tile – and the paint job could in fact “unify” the various finishes and materials.

Last month, Savoy hired a contractor to apply a few coats of paint to the aging building, largely a measure he hoped would seal the porous bricks and keep water from seeping into the building.

City officials put the kibosh on Savoy`s plans within hours of the contractor starting the work, saying that the city prohibits painting commercial masonry downtown unless the building was actually painted before the city`s 1990s-era design review guidelines were enacted.

The rear wall on Savoy`s building already was painted brown, while the building`s other walls were multicolored bricks.

Savoy and city building inspectors also were at odds when it came to the source of water seepage in the building – Savoy and his contractor said the source was the porous bricks, while city officials disagreed.

“Apparently I must have been able to convince the power that be that this wasn`t such a bad thing,” Savoy said Wednesday. “I didn`t want to start any battle – I seriously just wanted to preserve the building.”

Savoy said the dispute with the city disrupted his work operations intermittently, but he also ended up educating himself on historic preservation.

“It was something I believed in, and I wasn`t going to back off,” Savoy said. “I think that was perhaps a key.”

Savoy said he hopes to finish painting the building before December, but he`ll have to wait for a break in the weather – at least three days of warmer temperatures – so the paint won`t be compromised.

“I intend on making it very nice,” Savoy said. “When I do something, I usually try to do a nice job. The whole idea was to make this look nice.”

Contact Shawn Foucher at 653-6255 or sfoucher@chroniclet.com.