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HPC Workshop Minutes

November 7, 2013

The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, November 7th, 2013 at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street. Brian Roche chaired the meeting at approximately 6:30 p.m. He began the meeting by taking roll call.

Commissioners Attending: Will Dennehy-Vice Chair, Ron Berman, Patricia Weichmann.

Commissioners Absent: Mike Russo,

Other Representatives or Staff Attending: Dan Brandewie, City Planner II. Commissioner Jackie Vickers.

Mr. Frank Cooke, a citizen and resident of the historic district and a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals reviewed a recent letter written by him on several matters related to the guidelines and process. He is an investor and has four properties in the Historic District. He commented on need for stricter enforcement and the problems with lead base abatement on rental properties.

Mr. Charles McFadden brought up the issue of an inappropriately installed wire type fence on a property located on the corner of Willis and Travers and the issue of whether enforcement measures should be taken on this situation.

Mr. Dennehy also commented on whether there is the commitment of the City in enforcing HPC regulations. Ms. Vickers requested this issue be put in writing. Mr. Berman also commented on the lack of enforcement regarding a garage that was installed without permits, dating back to when Dave Pritchard was Public Works Director.

Mr. Dennehy also commented on the problems if building permits are not obtained and potential insurance concerns if there is a fire.

Discussion followed about putting more information out, possibly on a quarterly basis.

Mr. Brandewie reviewed the status of the draft guidelines. To his knowledge, staff believes we have reached a comfort level with the first three chapters. He noted that he has revised Chapter 3 and removed the lengthy discussion of the historic context of the district based on the original nomination report. He has replaced it with the original material in our current design guidelines and included the material on the 13 architectural styles found in the district. Chapter 4 contains material on the "archeological review process", with language borrowed from Frederick's manual. We previously had no material on this subject. Chapter 5 and 6, the meat of the document, covers treatment methods of historic elements. He noted there were suggestions made from the last workshop that have not been incorporated into the chapter yet. Chapter 6 covers changes to historical features covering topics such as windows and vinyl siding. Chapter 7 covers commercial and special building types. The additional material covers, building elements and accessories and signage. He noted that a couple of members have offered to take some materials on.

Mr. Dennehy suggested everyone read Chapter 5 and 6 and get back to you, and in talking to the Chair, it was recommended that we assign small sections to members and the need to have a combined document with the Rules of Procedures. Discussion followed. He noted that we tabled Chapters 1, 2, and 3 with the focus on Chapters 5 and 6. Mr. Brandewie noted that the draft is on the Google shared drive for review. Discussion followed on the whether there should be more flexibility or a more strict approach on certain topics; and whether there should be stricter standards for certain areas. The rating system used in the nomination report was discussed and how it related to the draft guidelines. Mr. Dennehy reiterated the importance of having clear guidelines. Discussion on in-fill development was brought up and the rezoning and the platting process. Issues with Google drive documents were discussed.

Mr. Dennehy recommended members read Chapter 5 and members let staff know which sections they may be interested in assisting with. Mr. Brandewie noted that again the Chestertown and Frederick models were used as a basis but other guidelines material is welcome. We also have a grant to put the material in final format. Chapters that need to be developed include material on demolition by neglect, economic hardship.

Mr. Dennehy suggested that we not re-invent the wheel but review the material that is already developed. Mr. Brandewie noted that the there are three or four topics that need clarification, such as when substitute materials can be used. For example, we have three applications for the next meeting requesting vinyl fencing. Discussion followed about vinyl siding and the presence of this material in the district.

Mr. Dennehy encouraged the document be modified and be easy to read; he encouraged sidebars with check lists to help understand the review process and what is expected.

Commissioner Vickers recommended that material be put out as soon as possible to let the public see it as it is being developed to avoid problems that we are having with the zoning ordinance.

Mr. Dennehy noted that we have had hearings on the Guidelines since last January and it is important to get public input and to get it out to the public as soon as it is draft form. It would be out goal to have the majority of material done by Christmas.

Mr. Berman brought up the status of the proposed changes to the sections of the new zoning ordinance as it affects the HPC and where that stands. Mr. Brandewie noted that he has prepared a review of the one chapter affecting HPC but is not sure if this material is being considered. It was suggested that comments be forwarded on to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Commissioner Vickers expressed concerns about the Planning and Zoning Commission's control of the HPC process. Mr. Dennehy noted that the issue is also one where the Planning Commission appoints one of its members to HPC. Questions were also raised about the need to submit COA's to the Planning Commission. Mr. Berman noted that he discussed this issue with Mr. Jakubiak. It was recommended to continue to communicate some of these concerns to the Planning and Zoning Commission members.

The meeting was then adjourned at approximately 8:00PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Daniel L. Brandewie, City Planner II

Signature: ____________________________________ Date: _______________________


Note: These minutes were approved at the meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on December 19th, 2013.