Historic District Minutes 07-07-2020

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                                  CITY OF MUSKEGON
                            HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
                                       MINUTES

                                           July 7, 2020

S. Radtke called the meeting to order at 4:04 p.m. and roll was taken.

MEMBERS PRESENT:               S. Radtke, T. Emory, K. George, L. Wood, A. Riegler

MEMBERS ABSENT:                T. Painter, K. Panozzo excused

STAFF PRESENT:                 J. Pesch, R. Cummins

OTHERS PRESENT:                D. J. Warren, 1218 Ransom; D. Warren, 123 W. Larch; Ant.
                               Figueroa and Ana. Figueroa, 100 Diana; D. Black, K. Jawor, and S.
                               Dahlstrom, 511 W. Clay

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

Postponed until in-person meetings resume.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion to approve the regular meeting minutes of June 2, 2020 was made by K. George,
supported by L. Wood and approved with S. Radtke, T. Emory, K. George, L. Wood, and A.
Riegler voting aye.

NEW BUSINESS

Case 2020-11 – 1218 Ransom Street (Sign). Applicant: All Signs LLC (representing Bethel New
Life Ministry. District: McLaughlin. Current Function: Institutional. J. Pesch presented the staff
report. The applicant is seeking approval to install a new, 4’x5’ aluminum panel sign supported by
4”x4” steel posts along the Ransom Street side of the property. D. J. Warren was in attendance to
represent the case.

A motion that the HDC approve the request to install a new, 4’x5’ aluminum panel sign
supported by 4”x4” steel posts along the Ransom Street side of the property as long as the work
meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained was made by L. Wood,
supported by S. Radtke and approved with S. Radtke, T. Emory, K. George, L. Wood, and A.
Riegler voting aye.

Case 2020-12 – 123 W. Larch Avenue (Fence). Applicant: Debra Warren. District: Jefferson.
Current Function: Residential. J. Pesch presented the staff report. The applicant is seeking approval
to replace an existing chain link fence with a six-foot tall cedar stockade fence, which will extend
to the sidewalk. The applicant also plans to add a four-foot tall cedar picket fence around the
remainder of the yard. A drawing showing the site plan for the stockade fence layout was provided.
D. Warren was in attendance to represent the case.

A. Riegler asked where the existing chain link fence was located. J. Pesch stated that it was located
in the back yard, directly behind the house. D. Warren stated that the proposed fence did not follow
the HDC local standards, but she hoped to create additional enclosed, private space for her family
in the side yard; she was willing to alter the proposed layout of the fence and/or the proposed style
of the fence to be more open near the top, if requested.

A. Riegler noted that the board would need to find a balance because of the location of the proposed
fence and the applicant’s goals. D. Warren stated that other fences in the historic district were six-
feet tall, but the top two feet were lattice instead of solid privacy fence, and that she thought that
may be a good middle ground for the proposed layout. A. Riegler stated that the local standards
mention using landscaping to soften the appearance of the six-foot fence, in addition to keeping
the upper portion of the fence more open and transparent.

A motion to approve the request to replace an existing chain link fence with a six-foot tall cedar
stockade fence, with two feet of transparent fence from 4’ to 6’ and landscaping on the street side
of the fence, and to add a four-foot tall cedar picket fence around the remainder of the yard as
presented in the July 7th, 2020 HDC Staff Report as long as the work meets all zoning requirements
and the necessary permits are obtained was made by A. Riegler, supported by S. Radtke and
approved with S. Radtke, T. Emory, K. George, L. Wood, and A. Riegler voting aye.

Case 2020-13 – 100 Diana Avenue (Windows and New Construction). Applicant: Antonio
Figueroa. District: McLaughlin. Current Function: Residential. J. Pesch presented the staff
report. The applicant is seeking approval to 1) demolish and rebuild the 8’x18’ room on the back
of the house, 2) remove the existing wood windows and replace them with new windows, and 3)
remove and rebuild the front steps to be 8’-wide. Ant. Figueroa and Ana. Figueroa were in
attendance to represent the case.

S. Radtke requested that the discussion be separated into the three parts of the request, beginning
with the request to demolish the 8’x18’ room on the back of the house. Ant. Figueroa explained
that the portion of the house he was requesting to demolish was in such bad condition that
demolition and new construction was the best option to make that area safe.

J. Pesch explained the annotated drawing of the new construction included in the HDC Staff
Report’s Case 2020-13 – 100 Diana – Supplemental Application Info (attached below), and that
it would be sided on the exterior to match the rest of the house on the upper portion while the
lower portion would be finished with paneling similar to what surrounds the picture window on
the west side of the house. Ana. Figueroa stated that there would only be two windows in that
space on the back of the house, one on each side of the new door, once the room was rebuilt, and
that the new construction would have the same shed roof as the existing room.

K. George noted that the existing room that was planned to be demolished was probably not
originally enclosed because it lacked a foundation. T. Emory stated that it was likely an open
porch that was closed in at some point. Ant. Figueroa stated that he planned to pour ten total
footings to support the new, 10’x18’ room planned to be constructed. K. George noted that the
new construction would likely need a full foundation rather than footings because it would be a
room, A. Riegler agreed. K. George noted that the rest of the house had a brick foundation, and
Ant. Figueroa stated that there was a mix of brick and block making up the foundation of the
house, as a result of past repairs. K. George stated that the material used for a new foundation in
the back of the house was less of a concern since it would not be very visible from the street, A.
Riegler agreed.

The board moved on to discuss the window replacement. A. Riegler asked if the windows were
operable. Ant. Figueroa stated that most of the glass on the windows were broken and that the
replacement windows he was proposing would not affect any existing window trim. K. George
noted that the replacement windows would be evenly divided like the existing windows, but that
the grills on the new windows would not match the two-over-two configuration of the existing
windows. S. Radtke stated that he would rather see one-over-one replacement windows because
of the architecture of the house, K. George and A. Riegler agreed. S. Radtke noted that the
applicant was requesting to shorten the upper windows by 11” and J. Pesch stated that the bases
of five 66”x29” windows on the second story were proposed to be raised 11” higher. Ant.
Figueroa stated that they were currently 8” above the floor. K. George noted that code would
require tempered glass in new windows less than 18” from the floor for safety reasons and asked
what the exterior would look like if the base of the window was raised up. Ant. Figueroa stated
that he would match the existing paneling surrounding the window on the side of the house at the
bases of the new windows. K. George stated that adding the raised panels below the windows
would significantly change the appearance of the house. A. Riegler noted that changing the size
of the window openings is strongly discouraged by the HDC local standards, and that such
requests are rarely, if ever, approved in a situation like this. She suggested that window guards or
special locks could be installed on the interior to provide a level of safety without affecting the
exterior appearance. S. Radtke agreed that the proposed change would drastically alter the
appearance of the house and was concerned about losing the tall windows that are common to the
Italianate style. K. George noted that the tempered glass would raise the cost of the windows, but
would be easier with a single pane in the bottom of the window. S. Radtke stated that, while he
did not prefer replacing original windows, if the board approved replacement windows due to the
age of the windows, apparent poor maintenance in past years, and the cost of custom made
windows with a two-over-two configuration, he would be willing to allow a one-over-one
configuration for the replacement windows in the interest of maintaining some semblance of the
original intent of the architecture.

A. Riegler requested that the HDC provide documents on restoring old wood windows to the
applicant because they planned to complete the work on the house. Both A. Riegler and S.
Radtke noted that restoration of wood windows was not especially difficult, but that it was
tedious. The board discussed the cost benefits, energy efficiency (especially with well-fitted
storm windows), and general simplicity of restoring wood windows. J. Pesch stated that Staff
would send information to the applicant about restoring wood windows.

The board moved on to discuss the request to rebuild the front porch steps. Ant. Figueroa stated
that the existing stairs were five feet wide but that he was requesting to rebuild them to be eight
feet wide in the same location. K. George asked if a portion of the knee wall next to the column
would need to be removed. Ant. Figueroa stated that he planned to cut back the wall and shift the
left column three feet to the left. K. George and A. Riegler stated that they were not in favor of
shifting the column to accommodate the wider stair as it would affect the proportion and scale of
many other parts of the house. S. Radtke stated that he would be ok with the request if it only
involved cutting the knee wall back to the column, but not with changing the location of the
column. T. Emory noted that changing the location of the column would cause the peak of the
porch roof above the front door to be off-center. K. George suggested that the steps could flair
out to be wider at the bottom.

A motion that the HDC approve the request to 1) demolish and rebuild the 8'x18' room on the back
of the house in the layout provided in the July 7th, 2020 HDC Staff Report’s Case 2020-13 – 100
Diana – Supplemental Application Info, 2) remove the existing wood windows and replace them
with new windows in a one-over-one configuration in the same size and dimensions as the original
openings with the recommendation that, where possible, the existing wood windows be restored
instead of replaced, and 3) remove and rebuild the front steps to match the current 5’ width as long
as the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained was made by A.
Riegler, supported by S. Radtke and approved with S. Radtke, T. Emory, K. George, L. Wood,
and A. Riegler voting aye.

Case 2020-13 – 100 Diana – Supplemental Application Info

The steps up to the front porch will be rebuilt to resemble exactly what is there now, but are
proposed to be eight feet wide (photo in Staff Report).

Replace a total of 15 wood windows with vinyl windows of the same size. Those windows are of
the following dimensions (those to be changed are in bold):

   -   Living room 78”x29” = 3 windows
   -   Master bedroom 78”x29” = 1 window
   -   Master bathroom 66”x29” = 1 window
   -   Kitchen 44”x36” = 1 window
   -   Laundry room 55”x28” = 2 windows Does not match existing window configuration
   -   Stairs 53”x20” = 1 window
   -   Stairs 55”x29” = 1 window
   -   Bedroom #1 actual size 66”x29” = 3 windows Possible change to 55”x29”
   -   Bedroom #2 actual size 66”x29” = 1 window Possible change to 55”x29”
   -   Bedroom #3 actual size 66”x29” = 1 window Possible change to 55”x29”
As noted in the list above, five of the windows in the second floor bedrooms are proposed to be
replaced with windows that are shortened by 11” at the base, as shown in the below photos:
The 8’x18’ room proposed to be demolished will be rebuilt to be 10’x18’ with fewer total
windows than exist currently as shown in the below drawing:




The rebuilt room on the back of the house will match the existing siding on the upper portion,
with panels (similar to what is shown in the photo below) on the lower portion, on the rear
facade. The right side will also match the existing siding on the upper portion with panels on the
lower portion. The left side next to the garage will match the existing siding.
Case 2020-14 – 511 W. Clay Avenue (New Construction - Porch Roof). Applicant: Jennifer
Weaver/J&J Corner Properties, LLC. District: McLaughlin. Current Function: Residential. J.
Pesch presented the staff report. The applicant is seeking approval to add a small roof over the
existing side porch as well as a small roof over the door into the garage; both will match the
existing, decorative porch roof on the east side of the house. D. Black, K. Jawor, and S.
Dahlstrom were in attendance to represent the case.

D. Black explained that the house had four exterior doors, and that three are covered with porch
roofs; he stated that the door and porch that are not covered are experiencing considerable damage
from being exposed to the weather. S. Radtke asked if stairs would be added to the uncovered
porch. D. Black stated that stairs would not be added at this time, but it is anticipated that it will
serve as the handicap accessible entry to the house sometime in the future. K. Jawor stated that the
porch will need steps and S. Dahlstrom added that the building code would require steps to use
that door and porch as an exit. D. Black stated that the stairs and/or ramp would likely face the
back side of the property.

A. Riegler noted that the detailing on the new porch roof should be a simplified version of the
more ornate porch roof on the east side of the house rather than replicating it exactly to discourage
historical conjecture as outlined in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. She
continued to acknowledge that the new porch roof should respect the scale and configuration of
the original porch, but with a simplified column and cornice.

S. Radtke asked if there was any evidence that there was a covering over the porch originally. D.
Black stated that before they acquired the house, there was a full wing in this area of the house
containing a separate apartment. J. Pesch stated that the HDC files contained photos of a substantial
addition on that side of the house, but that it was removed during a prior restoration to return the
house to its original design.

S. Radtke asked if the porch was tall enough to require a railing. S. Dahlstrom stated that the porch
is right around 30” high and would likely require a railing. A. Riegler stated that if no changes
were made to the porch it would not require a railing, but filing a building permit would likely lead
to a railing being required, but not necessarily stairs. S. Radtke stated that the existing railing on
the porch on the east side would not meet today’s building codes, making it more difficult to
replicate that porch’s proportions on the proposed porch roof. S. Dahlstrom stated that he did not
anticipate needing to install a handrail since steps were not planned at this time.

D. Black stated that they had not finalized plans for the garage door roof at this time, and that the
HDC would not need to review that part of the request at this time.

K. George asked if the applicant understood what was requested with regard to simplifying the
appearance of the original porch on the east side of the house when designing the new porch roof.
A. Riegler explained that the original porch’s proportions seen in the levels of the existing cornice
and the hierarchy of the existing trim should be used to inform the design of the new porch, but
that the dentils and top railing should be left out. She noted that the column was likely simple
enough to duplicate in the new porch roof.
A motion that the HDC approve the request to add a small roof over the existing side porch to
match the existing proportions of the decorative porch roof on the east side of the house without
adding dentils or the additional top railing as long as the work meets all zoning requirements and
the necessary permits are obtained was made by A. Riegler, supported by S. Radtke and approved
with S. Radtke, T. Emory, K. George, L. Wood, and A. Riegler voting aye.

OLD BUSINESS

None

OTHER BUSINESS

Outdoor Mechanical Equipment Local Standards – J. Pesch provided a draft version of new
local standards for outdoor mechanical equipment. The board did not have any further changes to
the draft. A motion that the HDC approve a change to the Muskegon Historic District
Commission local standards in adopting the Outdoor Mechanical Equipment Guidelines
presented at the July 7, 2020 HDC meeting was made by L. Wood, supported by T. Emory and
approved with S. Radtke, T. Emory, K. George, L. Wood, and A. Riegler voting aye.

HDC Staff Approval Fencing Materials – J. Pesch explained the common requests for and
approval of black aluminum fences resembling iron fences in the historic districts. Staff has the
ability to approve new fences that meet the HDC local standards, but the local standards do not
list a specific reference to this style of fence. Staff and the board discussed the needed changes to
the local standards to allow black aluminum fences to be approved by Staff. A motion that the
HDC approve updating the Muskegon Historic District Commission local standards to include a
reference to black aluminum fencing under the “Iron” fence drawing in the Type “A”
Conforming Walls & Fences graphic was made by K. George, supported by T. Emory and
approved with S. Radtke, T. Emory, K. George, L. Wood, and A. Riegler voting aye.

Time was allotted for public comment with contact information provided. There were no
comments from the public.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:23 p.m.


JP

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