Minutes 2023-11-15

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November 15, 2023

The Historic Preservation Commission met at Mount Vernon City Hall on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. Commissioners present at City Hall were Mike Guerber, Suzette Astley, Matt Ruff, Duane Eash, Sherry Brayton and Guy Booth. Edith Dawson was present via Zoom. Also present was Nathan Countryman from the Mount Vernon Sun.

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

The main item agenda for the meeting is design review of the Amoco station located in the Cornell College Historic District. The design review is a carryover from the November 4 meeting when the Commission tabled the motion for approval of a certificate of appropriateness until the owner provided additional information. Sue corresponded with the applicant, but has not received much additional information. The applicant did provide information regarding the brightness of various aspects of the renovation project. In particular, the Commission is interested in knowing the brightness of the blue canopy light bar and the red canopy light bar.

The canopy at this time does not have lighting displayed on the exterior portions of the canopy. The project consists of a new Amoco sign, new pumps, and new lighting on the interior of the canopy. Lighting has been in place on these areas in the past. There is concern that the new lighting that is blue and red light bars on the exterior portions of the canopy are not consistent with the history of the station, nor are they consistent with lighting in the Cornell College Historic District. The plans submitted by the owner indicate that there is an option to have lighting on the blue portion and red portion of the canopy, or there is an option where there is no lighting on the blue portion and red portion of the canopy. The size of the canopy has not changed, nor has the interior lighting or the pump lighting. The addition of exterior canopy lighting is a deviation from the original design of the existing canopy. The material presented by the owner indicates the canopy can be constructed, either with or without the blue and red light bar.

Upon motion made by Guy Booth and seconded by Duane Eash, a certificate of no material effect is approved for the project, but the addition of the red canopy light bar and the blue canopy light bar is denied. The motion carried unanimously. Sue will forward the certificate of no material effect to City Hall.

Mike Guerber stated that he has not learned of any houses or structures in any of the historic districts that have changed hands since our last meeting. Mike has volunteered to provide information about the historic district when a new owner takes possession of a property in the district.

Sue Astley reported that she has prepared the annual budget proposal for the Commission. It needs to be turned into the City Council by November 30. The proposed budget includes our annual request of $6,250 for our operating expenses. In addition, the budget shows the City’s commitment to provide up to $16,000 for preparation of the new design review booklet. In addition, the budget shows the donation from the Maurice Family Foundation in the amount of $3,222. The total budget with all three funding streams amounts to $25,472.00. The proposed budget provides an annotation for the various line items within the budget. A copy of

the budget is attached to these minutes. The Commission recommends that Sue submit the proposed budget for fiscal year 2025.

Duane Eash and Matt Ruff both commented on the fine work that has been done on the green house (the old hotel) across from the First Street Building. Rachel Laborde and her husband have been doing the work. Matt and Duane indicate they have done an excellent job of protecting the historic aspect of the premises.

The next meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission will be December 2, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. at Mount Vernon City Hall.

Respectfully Submitted, Guy Booth, Secretary