Minutes 2023-08-16

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August 16, 2023

The Historic Preservation Commission met at Mount Vernon City Hall on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. Commissioners present at City Hall were Suzette Astley, Wade Squiers, Michael Guerber, Duane Eash, Matt Ruff and Guy Booth. Others in attendance included Jacob Flores, owner of Golden Cut Barber Shop, and Ed Bjork, attending on behalf of the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.

Minutes of the meeting of the August 5, 2023 were reviewed. A correction to the Minutes was made. Previous minutes indicated that the design review request from Jim Engelbrecht had been approved as no material effect. In fact, the request for approval was tabled until Mr. Engelbrecht provided additional information. Subject to this correction, the Minutes were approved.

Sue Astley gave several announcements. First, West, who has been on a leave of absence, has decided that they will not return to the Commission. Further, Janet Budack has now sold her home and will be moving to Green Valley, AZ within the next 30 days, and therefore, is resigning. Janet has indicated she wants to keep in touch with the Commission and offer help and expertise whenever it is possible. Janet has been a valuable member of the Commission. The Commission will notify the City Council of vacancies that could be filled. The City may want to provide public notice of vacancies. Sue indicates she is already aware of several people who have expressed interest in being on the Commission. There are, at a minimum, two openings on the Commission.

The first design review issue concerns the Engelbrecht property at 418 3rd St. SW. The request is to replace windows on the sun porch of the house. The windows have deteriorated with age and are no longer functioning properly. Fourteen windows of the sun porch will be replaced. They are of a slightly narrower dimension, but otherwise replicate the original windows of the porch. The owner has provided substantial information regarding the specifications of the windows, the shape and size of the windows and that they match windows that were previously in the house. Upon motion made by Matt Ruff, seconded by Wade Squiers, the Commission approved a certificate of appropriateness for the project.

The second design review issue came from the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church. Ed Bjork was at the meeting for a pre-review of plans the church is making for replacement of the front doors of the church. These are wooden doors that have deteriorated over the years and need to be replaced. They are not the original doors of the church. Instead, these were doors that replicated the original doors and they were built and place in the church approximately 25 years ago. Mr. Bjork wanted to know how he could approach the repair/replacement of the doors. It was agreed that it would be best if the replacement doors would be very similar to the doors that are to be removed. Wood would be the preferable material, and it is hoped the design of the doors will be the same as the doors that are being removed. Ed had mentioned that it may be easier for the church to use a different door frame than what has been in use, and this door frame would not be entirely wood, but would be a metal clad with wood. Ed appreciated visiting with the Commission and now has several options he can pursue as the church makes final plans for the door replacement. This will not happen until some time in 2024.

The next design review is presented by Jacob Flores. Jacob is going to be operating a barber shop at 102 1st St SW. He has filed a permit to put signs on the windows and the door on the front of the building. Pictures that he provided of the proposed signage indicate that on the windows, the signs will be 36”x24” and on the door, the sign will be 8”x8”. The Commission commended Mr. Flores on using a sign that seemed to be compatible with signs that would have been in historic windows. Upon motion made by Mike Guerber, seconded by Wade Squiers, a certificate of appropriateness is approved, subject to the City building permit being approved and issued.

Under new business, Sue reported that after conversations with the City Administrator, it would be appropriate to request City funding for the hiring of a consultant in the re-development of the design guideline booklet of the Commission. Sue has reviewed the costs that other cities have incurred in bringing their design guidelines up to date, and feels that a reasonable cost would be $16,000. Sue asked to have volunteers from the Commission make a presentation to the City Council to request approval of the City providing up to $16,000 for the hiring of a consultant and the completion of the design guideline booklet. Guy Booth and Duane Eash both volunteered to be involved in making a presentation to the City Council. Other members of the Commission are welcome to join them when this matter appears on the City Council agenda.

The Commission decided that it would be best to have a dollar commitment from the City so that we are able to prepare the request for proposal that will be advertised, knowing that there is going to be funding available.

The Commission continues to prepare a new application that a building owner in any of the historic districts will need to file if there is going to be a change made in the structure. Sue has made many amendments and revisions to the application for certificate of appropriateness that have been used for some time. The City Administrator, as well as our Commission, feels that an application that requires more specific information would be helpful for a building owner to prepare for presenting their application. It is hoped that the application for a certificate of appropriateness will be in a final form so this can be displayed to the City Council, as we are also making a request for funding of the revision of the design guideline booklet.

There were several amendments suggested to the proposed application. This includes requesting information about door hardware, the material to be used, and its finish. There was also discussion of the protocol for attaching or repairing shutters on buildings. The process may help prevent shutters from being inappropriately placed on brick buildings. There was also discussion about the specifications for porches and decks. Sue will continue to revise the language of the application so it will be ready for full presentation to the Council within the next 30 days.

There being no further business before the Commission, the meeting adjourned at 8:00


Respectfully Submitted, Guy Booth, Secretary