CITY OF MUSKEGON
HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
DATE OF MEETING: Tuesday, April 2, 2019
TIME OF MEETING: 4:00 p.m.
PLACE OF MEETING: City Commission Chambers, City Hall
I. Call to Order
II. Approval of Minutes of the regular meeting of March 5, 2019
III. New Business
Case 2019-4 – 487 W. Clay – New Construction
Case 2019-5 – 1274 Ransom – Siding, Porch Repairs
Case 2019-6 – 1649 Peck – Shed, Porch
IV. Old Business
V. Other Business
HDC Local Standards Review – Window, Door, and Exterior Woodwork, Fence
Recap of March HDC Training Workshops
“We admire that which is old not because it is old, but because it is beautiful.” Winston Churchill
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CITY OF MUSKEGON
HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
March 5, 2019
Chairperson J. Hilt called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and roll was taken.
MEMBERS PRESENT: J. Hilt, S. Radtke, L. Wood, D. Warren, A. Riegler, K. Panozzo
MEMBERS ABSENT: None
STAFF PRESENT: J. Pesch, D. Renkenberger
OTHERS PRESENT: T. Harvey, City of Muskegon Special Projects Coordinator; A. Bru-
neau, property manager for 1229 Peck St.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion to approve the regular meeting minutes of February 5, 2018 was made by J. Hilt, support-
ed by D. Warren and unanimously approved.
A motion to retain J. Hilt as Chairperson was made by A. Riegler, supported by D. Warren and
unanimously approved. S. Radtke stated that he was willing to remain as Vice Chair. K. Panozzo
supported S. Radtke as Vice Chair; a vote was taken and was unanimously approved.
Case 2019-02 – 1188 4th Street (Rehabilitation). Applicant: City of Muskegon. District: Houston.
Current Function: Residential. J. Pesch presented the staff report. The applicant is seeking approval
to make several modifications to the home, including 1) remove the left-hand door on the 4th Street
porch, 2) remove the door and steps on the setback portion of the 4th Street façade, 3) replace all re-
maining doors, 4) replace all windows on the house with aluminum-clad wood windows of the same
size, design, and configuration with the exception of items 5 and 6 as noted: 5) eliminate the picture
window and reconfigure two double hung windows on the setback portion of the 4th Street façade, 6)
eliminate the two double hung windows flanking the entry door on the Monroe Street façade, 7) ex-
tend the roof over the Monroe Street entry door and add supporting columns, 8) remove the base-
ment door on the east façade (off of the driveway), 9) cover all existing concrete porches with wood,
10) replace existing iron handrails with wood handrails, and 11) remove, strip, repaint, and reinstall
all original, decorative wood details. Staff approval has been granted for the replacement of the ex-
isting vinyl siding and asphalt roofing.
A. Riegler had some concerns with the extent of the proposed changes. She stated that the entry
should resemble how it originally looked, and the sample photo provided in the staff report was too
ornate for the style of the house. D. Warren stated that HDC standards required that it must be clear
which work was new and which was original; it was not acceptable to install new features to mimic
a historic look. Staff and board members discussed the numerous entry doors on the house, and
which ones the applicant would like to remove. T. Harvey stated that he would like to eliminate
some doors and replace the remaining doors with four-panel doors. He also wanted to reconfigure
the Monroe Avenue entry and build the porch out. If that was not allowed, he preferred to eliminate
that entry. A. Riegler stated that eliminating it would be more appropriate, as there did not appear to
be a porch there in the past. J. Pesch confirmed that all historic photos he could find showed the
same building footprint as what was currently there. T. Harvey stated that he no problem removing
the door, as it opened directly into a living room. He stated that he would remove the concrete steps
and the door, and side over it. A. Riegler asked why he wanted to remove the door going to the
basement. T. Harvey stated that the doorway took up a lot of room in the kitchen, and he preferred
not to have an exterior door going straight into the basement. S. Radtke stated that the front door and
transom window looked original. T. Harvey stated that it was a five-panel door and it was in rough
shape. He had been unable to find a similar five-panel door so he wanted to replace it with a four-
panel. Board members concurred that, since the door appeared to be original, they preferred that
Mr. Harvey try to salvage it. T. Harvey stated that he would try, but he wasn’t sure he’d be able to
save it due to its poor condition. They did not have a problem with the other door being replaced, as
it was in a less visible location. A. Riegler asked if the proposed column on the 4th Street entry
would be square or round. T. Harvey stated that he was open to either shape as long as he could use
a fiberglass column. The porch rails would be wood. S. Radtke asked what type of windows were
currently in the house. T. Harvey stated that they were single pane, wood, double hung and they
were terribly ineffective for energy efficiency in such a large house. A. Riegler asked if the win-
dows still had the weights. T. Harvey stated that there were pockets for the weights but the weights
themselves were gone. S. Radtke stated that, because some windows were missing, there was no
distinctive pattern to the glass, and the weights were missing, he would not have a problem approv-
ing replacement windows. T. Harvey stated that he would retain the wide wood trim around the
A motion that the HDC approve the request to 1) remove the left-hand door on the 4th Street porch,
2) remove the door and steps on the setback portion of the 4th Street façade, 3) replace all remaining
doors with the exception of the original wood front door, which is to be refurbished, 4) replace all
windows on the house with aluminum-clad wood windows of the same size, design, and configura-
tion with the exception of items 5 and 6 as noted: 5) eliminate the picture window and reconfigure
two double hung windows on the setback portion of the 4th Street façade, 6) eliminate the entry door
on the Monroe Street façade, 7) remove the basement door on the east façade (off of the driveway),
9) cover all existing concrete porches with wood, 10) replace existing iron handrails with wood
handrails, and 11) remove, strip, repaint, and reinstall all original, decorative wood details as long as
the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained, was made by A.
Riegler, supported by J. Hilt and unanimously approved, with J. Hilt, S. Radtke, L. Wood, D. War-
ren, A. Riegler, and K. Panozzo voting aye.
Case 2019-03 – 1229 Peck Street (Windows). Applicant: Golden Hills Property Management.
District: McLaughlin. Current Function: Residential. J. Pesch presented the staff report. The appli-
cant is seeking approval to replace one damaged wood window on the first floor of the north façade
with a vinyl window of the same size and configuration. J. Pesch discussed other window replace-
ment work on a section of the north and east façades that had already been completed by the previ-
ous owner without HDC approval.
S. Radtke asked about the siding around the replaced windows, as some was wider than the other
windows, and some was missing. A. Bruneau stated that he would use blue siding to cover the ex-
posed wood around some of the windows, and he would narrow the white trim around the complet-
ed windows so it would match the others. S. Radtke suggested using siding from the rear of the
house to fill in around the windows so it would match, then replacing the rear siding with new sid-
ing that looked as similar as possible to the original. A. Riegler asked if the one window on the
north façade was the only one he was asking to replace. A. Bruneau stated that was correct at this
time, and the replacement would match what was currently there. Board members and the applicant
discussed aluminum clad, vinyl, and wood windows. A. Bruneau mentioned that there was one oth-
er window that would need to be replaced in the future, on the west side of the house. The current
window would no longer seal and there was an extreme draft. S. Radtke suggested that the board
consider the second window now, as it was the same size and style window as the other one being
considered. Two motions were made, to address the work that had already been done without HDC
approval, and the other to approve the replacement of the two windows.
A motion that the HDC approve the request to replace two damaged wood windows on the first
floor of the north and south façades with aluminum-clad windows of the same size and configura-
tion as long as the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained, was
made by S. Radtke, supported by L. Wood and unanimously approved, with J. Hilt, S. Radtke, L.
Wood, D. Warren, A. Riegler, and K. Panozzo voting aye.
A motion that the HDC allow the existing windows that had been replaced by a previous owner to
remain, and to approve the replacement of damaged siding surrounding the new, replacement win-
dows on the front and side facades of the house using original siding to be removed from the rear of
the house, and to allow replacement of the removed siding on the rear of the house with new siding,
being as similar as possible to the original, was made by S. Radtke, supported by D. Warren and
unanimously approved, with J. Hilt, S. Radtke, L. Wood, D. Warren, A. Riegler, and K. Panozzo
HDC Local Standards Review – Window, Door, and Exterior Woodwork, Fence – Since many
members had to leave at 5:00 p.m., the standards review was postponed until the next meeting.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.
III. NEW BUSINESS
Case 2019-4 – 487 W. Clay – New Construction
Applicant: Joseph and Laura McKenna
District: National Register
Current Function: Vacant Lot
The applicant is seeking approval to construct a new house on the vacant lot. Additional architectur-
al drawings for the proposed new house will be provided at the meeting.
View of vacant property from 5th Street
Proposed Clay Avenue elevation
Proposed 5th Street elevation
The Historic District Commission strives to protect the historical fabric of Muskegon. The major
objectives of the Commission are to safeguard the heritage of the City by preserving historic dis-
tricts which reflect elements of its cultural, social, economic, political, and architectural history; to
stabilize and improve property values in such districts; to foster civic beauty; to strengthen the local
economy; and to promote the use of historic districts for the education, pleasure, and welfare of the
Although a significant amount of the Commission's work is centered on historic structures, the con-
struction of new structures on vacant lots within historic districts is permitted and encouraged.
However, those professionals designing new structures should strive for excellence in design wheth-
er small individual infill construction within the existing historic district blocks, or larger inde-
pendently sited projects. New structures should be in keeping with the existing historical character
of the neighborhood or district with a design that is compatible with the size, scale, material, and
color of the surrounding buildings and landscaping. Good design which responds positively to its
surroundings can be done in several different ways; therefore, it is impossible to develop specific
interpretations which will apply in all cases. Every site has its own design opportunities.
The following design recommendations shall be used by the Historic District Commission in evalu-
ating requests for new construction within the districts. These basic criteria should be a part of any
proposed design brought before the Commission for approval.
Recommended Not Recommended
Height - Relating the overall height of new Height - Introducing new construction that
construction to that of adjacent structures. varies greatly in height (too high or too low)
As a general rule, construct new buildings to from older buildings in the vicinity. Ex-
a height roughly equal to the average height treme differences in building heights will
of existing buildings from the historic period have a detrimental visual effects on the ap-
on and across the street. pearance of surrounding property.
Scale - Relating the size and proportions of Scale - Creating buildings that in height,
new structures to the scale of adjacent build- width, or massing violate the existing scale
ings. Although a building may be much of the area. The new building should not
larger than its neighbors in terms of square disrupt the scale and rhythm of the
footage, it should maintain the same scale streetscape, although it might be appropriate
and rhythm as the existing buildings. in a different location.
Massing - Breaking up uninteresting box- Massing - Introducing single, monolithic
like forms into smaller, varied masses such forms that are not relieved by variations in
as are common on most buildings from the massing. Box-like facades and forms are
historic period. Variety of form and intrusive when placed in a streetscape of
massing are elements essential to the charac- older buildings that have varied massing and
ter of the streetscape in historic districts. facade articulation.
For example, if an infill site is large, the
mass of the facade can be broken into a
number of small bays.
Directional Expression - Relating the verti- Directional Expression - Creating strongly
cal, horizontal, or non-directional facade horizontal or vertical facade expressions un-
character of new buildings to the predomi- less compatible with the character of struc-
nant directional expression of nearby build- tures in the immediate area. A new building
ings. Horizontal buildings can be made to that does not relate well to its neighbors or
relate to the more vertical adjacent structures to the rhythm of the streetscape because of
by breaking the facade into smaller masses an unbroken horizontal facade should be
that conform to the primary expression of avoided.
Setback - Maintaining the historic facade Setback - Violating the existing setback pat-
lines of streetscape by locating front walls of tern by placing a new building in front of or
new buildings in the same plane as the fa- behind the historic facade line. Placing
cades of adjacent buildings. If exceptions buildings at odd angles to the street, unless
are made, buildings should be set back into in an area where diverse siting already ex-
the lot rather than closer to the street. If ex- ists, even if property setback is maintained,
isting setbacks vary, new buildings should should be avoided.
conform to historic siting patterns.
Sense of Entry - Articulating the main en- Sense of Entry - Introducing facades with no
trances to the building with covered porches, strong sense of entry. Side entries or entries
porticos, and other pronounced architectural not defined by a porch or similar transitional
forms. Entries were historically raised a few element result in an incompatible "flat" first-
steps above the grade of the property and floor facade.
were a prominent visual feature of the street
elevation of the building.
Roof Shapes - Relating the roof forms of the Roof Shapes - Introducing roof shapes,
new buildings to those found in the area. pitches, or materials not traditionally used in
Although not entirely necessary, duplication the area.
of the existing or traditional roof shapes,
pitches, and materials on new construction is
one way of making new structures more vis-
Rhythm of Openings - Respecting the recur- Rhythm of Openings - Introducing incom-
rent alteration of wall areas with door and patible facade patterns that upset the rhythm
window elements in the facade. Also con- of openings established in surrounding
sidering the width-to-height ratio of bays in structures. For example, glass walls and
the facade. The placement of openings with window and door shapes and locations
respect to the facade's overall composition, which are disrespectful to the adjoining
symmetry or balanced symmetry should be buildings.
Design Expression - Composing the materi- Design Expression - Violating the existing
als, textures and colors of the new building character of the district by introducing non-
facade to compliment adjacent facades and compatible materials, textures, colors, de-
relating details and decorations of the new tails, and decoration on new buildings.
building to those of existing surrounding
Imitations - Accurate restoration of or visu- Imitations - Replicating or imitating the
ally compatible additions to existing build- styles, motif, or details of older periods.
ings and former construction, contemporary Such attempts detract from the character of
architecture that well represents our own the district by compromising what is truly
time yet, enhances the nature and character historic.
of the historic district.
I move that the HDC (approve/deny) the request to construct a new house on the vacant lot as de-
picted in the architectural drawings provided for the April 2nd, 2019 HDC meeting as long as the
work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained.
Case 2019-5 – 1274 Ransom – Siding, Porch Repairs
Applicant: Vanessa Lezama Villafuerte
Current Function: Residential
The applicant is seeking approval to reside the house and to repair the damaged porch roof. The ap-
plicant also wishes to discuss the window trim in regard to the proposed residing work, as well as
trim wrapping the corners of the house.
View of house from Ransom Street, looking north
View of northwest façade showing repairs made to cornice and eaves
The Muskegon Historic District Commission does not endorse the residing of structures within the
Historic districts. It is the policy of this Commission that the original fabric of the building should
be repaired or replaced where necessary with the original building material.
In cases where the repair or replacement with like materials is impractical or where it can be demon-
strated that the original materials will no longer hold paint or that the original materials are so badly
deteriorated that they can no longer be reasonably repaired, the residing standards below shall strict-
ly be adhered to.
For the purpose of this statement, the terms “residing materials” and “trim cladding” shall be under-
stood to encompass the use of any residing materials such as aluminum, vinyl, steel, hardboard,
wood, masonry, or molded urethane which is designed to replace or cover all, or any part, of an ex-
terior wall, trim work or other building element or a structure within a designated historic district.
The Commission shall review all applications for Certificates of Appropriateness proposing the in-
stallation of residing materials or trim cladding as individual cases. Each application shall be decid-
ed on its own merit. No person should interpret any Commission approval for residing or trim clad-
ding as being precedent setting. Unrestricted use of residing materials or trim cladding will not be
In any case where residing materials or trim cladding are proposed for use by a property owner or
siding contractor, the property owner shall be required to submit a signed letter stating in detail the
intent and scope of the proposed residing or trim cladding installation. Such a letter is to also include
the identification of any deterioration or problems occurring relative to the existing siding or exteri-
or building fabric. If known, the cause and extent of this deterioration must be clearly stated.
The following conditions of installation shall be met by all proposals for residing or trim cladding:
1. All existing deterioration shall be made structurally sound and its causes, insofar as possible,
shall be corrected prior to the installation of residing materials or trim cladding.
2. Any installation of residing materials shall simulate the appearance of the original building ma-
terial that it is intended to cover. This simulation shall take into account the size, shape or pro-
file, texture, and linear direction of the original building material.
a. The residing material shall be similar in appearance and dimension to the original sid-
ing. The exposure to the weather of the new siding shall range within one inch of the
nominal dimension of the original siding. The Historic District Commission shall have
the authority to waive this requirement in the event that they believe a different design
or dimension siding would be more appropriate to the architectural character of the His-
b. A proposed color shall be appropriate as determined by the Commission.
c. Generally, wood grain textures are not approved by the Commission. However, the ap-
propriateness of a specific siding texture shall be determined on an individual case basis.
3. Any installation of trim cladding shall adhere to the following guidelines for the treatment for
architectural trim elements.
a. Existing cornice or building trim elements shall not be covered or replaced without Commis-
sion approval. Commission approval will depend upon how closely the trim cladding or new
trim elements duplicate the appearance of the existing building trim elements.
b. The wall siding material shall not extend over the existing trim members such as window
and door trim, sills, facias, soffits, frieze members and boards, brackets, aprons, corner
boards, trim boards, skirt boards, or any other characteristic moldings or architectural fea-
c. If the above mentioned trim members are to be clad, they shall be covered with custom
formed cladding which shall closely approximate the shapes and contours of the existing
moldings or trim. Distinctive or unusual trim or architectural elements shall not be clad
without prior consideration and Commission approval.
d. No building trim elements or architectural features are to be removed or altered to facilitate
the installation of the new siding or trim cladding without approval of the Historic District
e. In most cases the soffit cladding material shall run parallel and not perpendicular to the plane
of the wall.
I move that the HDC (approve/deny) the request to reside the house and to make the needed repairs
to the porch roof as long as the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are
Case 2019-6 – 1649 Peck – Shed, Porch
Applicant: Michael Mastenbrook
Current Function: Residential
The applicant is seeking approval to construct a new, 12’x16’ shed at the rear of the property. The
applicant is also seeking approval to replace the cement steps on the north side of the house with a
small, wood deck due to damage from an adjacent tree.
View from Peck Street
Proposed location of shed near rear property line
Proposed shed The large oak tree on the north side of the
house marks location of the porch
Existing cement porch is being pushed into the house by a growing tree
Proposed layout of wood porch
See Guidelines for New Construction above.
I move that the HDC (approve/deny) the request to construct a new, 12’x16’ shed at the rear of the
property and to replace the cement steps on the north side of the house with a small, wood deck as
long as the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained.
IV. OLD BUSINESS
V. OTHER BUSINESS
HDC Local Standards Review – Window, Door, and Exterior Woodwork, Fence – Commis-
sioners agreed to review the local standards for Window, Door, & Exterior Woodwork and Fence in
preparation for the March meeting, but that was postponed. The revised local standards for Roofing,
New Construction, and Porches & Decks incorporating comments from the February meeting were
included with the March Staff Report, but discussion was also postponed.
Recap of March HDC Training Workshops – Staff attended the National Alliance of Preservation
Commissions all-day commission training.