Minutes 2023-03-15

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March 15, 2023

The Historic Preservation Commission met at Mount Vernon City Hall, and also via Zoom on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. Commissioners present at City Hall were Wade Squiers, Duane Eash, Matt Ruff, Mike Guerber, Sherry Brayton, Suzette Astley, Donnie Moore, and Guy Booth. Attending via Zoom was Janet Budack. Guests at the meeting were Mike Smith on behalf of Jude Smith and Greg Raupp. Jude and Greg attended via Zoom. They are the owners of the building at 100 1st St SE in the downtown historic district.

Minutes of the meeting of March 4, 2023 were approved.

The design review item on the agenda is for the certificate of appropriateness submitted for the Smith/Raupp building at 100 1st St SE. We have previously given a certificate of no material effect for the extensive repair on the roof and replacement of the roof. The items to be reviewed for the certificate of appropriateness include the new wood entry stairway on the east side of the building. This includes an entry door and a canopy over the door. Also, there will be the removal of the existing door and windows on the west side of the building. This will be replaced with windows that match the original windows of the building. There is also a new access door on the south side of the building, which is used for entrance to the HVAC system of the building. Upon motion by Guy Booth, seconded by Donnie Moore, the certificate of appropriateness was approved. It is noted that the building is undergoing a wonderful renovation, with its historic features being retained and wherever possible, being restored to its original condition.

Mike Smith asked if he could discuss an issue he has noticed on Main Street. He feels a number of buildings could use some painting and repair work to bring them into a better condition. He questioned whether there are grants available. It was reported that the Mount Vernon Lisbon CDG does have annual or biannual grants for the downtown historic district owners to update and maintain buildings. It was suggested that this fund could be expanded, with requests made to the new foundation that is set up to assist in maintenance and renovation of historic buildings in Mount Vernon. This is a program started and funded by Les and Katrina Garner. The Commission will look into seeing if CDG would like some assistance in building the program so that building owners do have a source for funding on upkeep and repairs.

Suzette proposed language for the Commission which would allow the chairperson to approve a request for a certificate of no material effect in three separate events. One would be to replace and install asphalt shingles, the next would be for approval of black or green coated chain link fence, and the third is to approve the electrical mast that may be installed by Alliant for electrical service into a home or business. These are non-controversial requests, and it will be helpful to owners to be able to get an immediate response for their request for a certificate, rather than waiting until the next meeting. The chairperson will file the certificate of no material effect at the next following commission meeting so the Commission is aware of its approval and it will be part of the Minutes. A motion to approve the authorization to the chairperson for issuing the certificate of no material effect was made by Janet Budack, seconded by Wade Squiers. The motion was approved.

Suzette distributed her ideas on a modification of the application for certificate of appropriateness. There are items of information that will be helpful to the Commission as they review and act on the request. Suzette would like to have everyone review her rough draft so we can discuss it thoroughly at the next meeting. It was suggested that there could be a request for the applicant to give an estimate of the timing of the completion of the project. Other suggestions can be made as we discuss this further.

Suzette also indicated that we are continuing to work on the change in our design guideline book so that it is more current and gives information to building owners who are contemplating renovations, or to a new builder who may want to have a building be consistent with the architectural features of the historic districts.

Suzette gave the annual report of the Commission at the City Council meeting on March 6, 2023. It was a very thorough report that she had printed and handed out to the members of the City Council. The City Council and its various members were extremely complimentary of the work that she has reported on. As the meeting adjourned, Suzette handed out copies of the Historic Preservation newsletter and envelopes and asked various commissioners to assist in preparing the envelopes and putting on a stamp so they could be mailed.

The meeting adjourned at 7:45. The next meeting is scheduled for April 1, 2023.

Respectfully Submitted, Guy Booth, Secretary