Historic District Agenda 05-02-2023

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                                       CITY OF MUSKEGON
                                  HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
                                       REGULAR MEETING

DATE OF MEETING:                   Tuesday, May 2, 2023
TIME OF MEETING:                   4:00 p.m.
PLACE OF MEETING:                  Conference Room 204, City Hall


I.       Call to Order
II.      Approval of Minutes of the March 7, 2023 regular meeting and April 17, 2023 special meeting
III.     Old Business
         Case 2023-03 – 460 W. Clay – Windows
IV.      New Business
         Case 2023-08 – 100 Diana – Garage Demolition and Construction of Two New Garages
V.       Other Business
         2023 Staff Approval Update #1
         HDC Public Outreach
VI.      Adjourn

       “We admire that which is old not because it is old, but because it is beautiful.” Winston Churchill

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Approval of Minutes of the regular meeting of March 7, 2023 and the special meeting of April 17,


                            Case 2023-03 – 460 W. Clay – Windows
                                  Applicant: Nick Schippers
                                    District: Clay-Western
                                Current Function: Residential

The applicant is seeking approval to remove and replace nine windows on the front elevation with
new aluminum-clad wood windows of the same size and configuration. The colored glass will be
repaired and retained as inserts to be placed on the interior of the upper pane of the replacement
windows. The HDC approved installation of “fiberglass or wood replacement windows of the same
size and appearance and within the original openings on the side and rear elevations retaining the
decorative stained glass windows on the front elevation” in February 2023, but the property owner
has since determined that the larger front windows would not be stable if made from fiberglass, so
aluminum-clad wood windows are now being proposed. Staff determined that, due to the unique
approach to retaining the colored glass, formal HDC review of the work is necessary.

View of house from W. Clay Avenue, looking west. Windows on the front elevation proposed to be
replaced, repairing and retaining colored glass panels as inserts (photo from January 2023).

View of house from W. Clay Avenue, looking north (photo from June 2022).

Detail of existing window conditions (photos from June 2022).



These guidelines pertain only to proposed changes to the structure and do not affect existing

These guidelines are primarily directed toward the front and side elevations of the structure. Greater
variances and more leniency may be extended toward proposed changes to the rear elevation of the
building by the Commission. All desired or proposed changes should be referred to the Historic
District Commission for consideration. Extenuating circumstances, the effect upon the architecture of

the particular structure together with the general effect upon the surrounding structures, variables in
architectural design, or the effect upon usage and viability of the structure could dictate a variance
from these guidelines.

No exterior doors, windows, or exterior woodwork shall be altered, removed, relocated, or added
without Historic District Commission approval.

Existing exterior window or door casings, sills, and caps shall not be altered from the original design
or appearance. Damaged or deteriorated wood shall be repaired as a first course of action. When repair
is not possible, elements shall be replaced with matching wood members. Damaged or deteriorated
wood elements may be replaced or covered with formed aluminum or vinyl, subject to Commission
approval and provided that the original profile of the woodwork is not altered or changed.

Primary Windows
Existing damaged or deteriorating window frames and sash shall be repaired as a first course of action.
When repair is not possible, elements shall be replaced with matching wood members. Metal or vinyl
replacement windows may be acceptable provided they match the original windows in design and
type and that they consist of or are painted an appropriate color. Bare metal finishes generally will not
be acceptable.

The size of glass lites and muntin arrangements shall not be altered without Commission approval.
Special glazing, such as stained or leaded art glass, shall not be removed without Commission
approval. Unusual decorative windows such as Palladian windows, oriels, bays, Gothic arch or
segment tops, etc. shall not be removed or altered.

Storm Windows
Wood storm and screen windows are the most appropriate for use in the historic district. Other types
of storm, screen, or combination windows will be approved provided that the new storm window
mullions align with the mullions of the primary windows. Blind stop storm and screen windows
(where such windows are placed inside the existing window frames rather than affixed to the exterior
of the frames) are preferable and may be required in some instances. Bare metal storm and screen
windows must be painted to match or complement the trim. Interior storm windows may be acceptable
as long as they do not detract from the appearance of the primary windows. Care should be taken,
however, when using interior storm windows because condensation tends to form on the inside surface
of the primary window and could cause damage to the wood and paint if not properly ventilated.


I move that the HDC (approve/deny) the request to remove and replace nine windows on the front
elevation with new aluminum-clad wood windows of the same size and configuration repairing and
retaining the colored glass as inserts to be placed inside the upper pane of the replacement windows
as long as the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained.


    Case 2023-08 – 100 Diana – Garage Demolition and Construction of Two New Garages
                               Applicant: Antonio Figueroa
                                   District: McLaughlin
                               Current Function: Residential


The applicant is seeking approval to demolish the existing, detached garage located on the east side
of the house and to construct a new, 14’x24’ one stall detached garage in its place. An additional
28’x28’ two stall detached garage is also proposed on the west side of the house. More information
on the proposed design of the garage will be provided prior to the meeting.

View of house from Diana Avenue, looking west. Existing one stall garage proposed to be
demolished and replaced with a new garage visible at right.

View of house from Diana Avenue, looking north. Proposed location of new two stall garage visible
at left.


Although a significant amount of the Commission’s work is centered on historic structures, the
construction 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 whether
small individual infill construction within the existing historic district blocks, or larger independently
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
evaluating 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. As        varies greatly in height (too high or too low)
a general rule, construct new buildings to a           from older buildings in the vicinity. Extreme
height roughly equal to the average height of          differences in building heights will have a
existing buildings from the historic period on         detrimental visual effects on the appearance
and across the street.                                 of surrounding property.

Scale - Relating the size and proportions of             Scale - Creating buildings that in height,
new structures to the scale of adjacent                  width, or massing violate the existing scale of
buildings. Although a building may be much               the area. The new building should not disrupt
larger than its neighbors in terms of square             the scale and rhythm of the streetscape,
footage, it should maintain the same scale               although it might be appropriate in a different
and rhythm as the existing buildings.                    location.

Massing - Breaking up uninteresting box-like             Massing - Introducing single, monolithic
forms into smaller, varied masses such as are            forms that are not relieved by variations in
common on most buildings from the historic               massing. Box-like facades and forms are
period. Variety of form and massing are                  intrusive when placed in a streetscape of
elements essential to the character of the               older buildings that have varied massing and
streetscape in historic districts. For example,          facade articulation.
if an infill site is large, the mass of the facade
can be broken into a number of small bays.

Directional Expression - Relating the                    Directional Expression - Creating strongly
vertical, horizontal, or non-directional facade          horizontal or vertical facade expressions
character of new buildings to the                        unless compatible with the character of
predominant directional expression of nearby             structures in the immediate area. A new
buildings. Horizontal buildings can be made              building that does not relate well to its
to relate to the more vertical adjacent                  neighbors or to the rhythm of the streetscape
structures by breaking the facade into smaller           because of an unbroken horizontal facade
masses that conform to the primary                       should be avoided.
expression of the streetscape.

Setback - Maintaining the historic facade                Setback - Violating the existing setback
lines of streetscape by locating front walls of          pattern by placing a new building in front of
new buildings in the same plane as the                   or behind the historic facade line. Placing
facades of adjacent buildings. If exceptions             buildings at odd angles to the street, unless in
are made, buildings should be set back into              an area where diverse siting already exists,
the lot rather than closer to the street. If             even if property setback is maintained,
existing setbacks vary, new buildings should             should be avoided.
conform to historic siting patterns.

Sense of Entry - Articulating the main                   Sense of Entry - Introducing facades with no
entrances to the building with covered                   strong sense of entry. Side entries or entries
porches, porticos, and other pronounced                  not defined by a porch or similar transitional
architectural forms. Entries were historically           element result in an incompatible "flat" first-
raised a few steps above the grade of the                floor facade.
property and 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

visually compatible.

Rhythm of Openings - Respecting the                   Rhythm of Openings - Introducing
recurrent alteration of wall areas with door          incompatible facade patterns that upset the
and window elements in the facade. Also               rhythm of openings established in
considering the width-to-height ratio of bays         surrounding structures. For example, glass
in the facade. The placement of openings              walls and window and door shapes and
with respect to the facade's overall                  locations which are disrespectful to the
composition, symmetry or balanced                     adjoining buildings.
symmetry should be carefully studied.

Design Expression - Composing the                     Design Expression - Violating the existing
materials, textures and colors of the new             character of the district by introducing non-
building facade to compliment adjacent                compatible materials, textures, colors,
facades and relating details and decorations          details, and decoration on new buildings.
of the new building to those of existing
surrounding buildings.

Imitations - Accurate restoration of or               Imitations - Replicating or imitating the
visually compatible additions to existing             styles, motif, or details of older periods. Such
buildings    and     former      construction,        attempts detract from the character of the
contemporary architecture that             well       district by compromising what is truly
represents our own time yet, enhances the             historic.
nature and character of the historic district.


I move that the HDC (approve/deny) the request demolish the existing, detached garage located on
the east side of the house and to construct a new, 14’x24’ one stall detached garage in its place as
well as construct an additional 28’x28’ two stall detached garage on the west side of the house as
long as the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained.


2023 Staff Approval Update #1 – Since the last update in January 2023, Staff has approved eight
projects, those bolded were discussed with the HDC chairperson prior to approval:

   -   504 W. Clay – Re-roof house

   -   1597 Peck – Re-roof house

   -   1065 4th – Re-roof flat roof

   -   469 W. Webster – Replacement of four double hung windows with new windows of the same
       size, design, proportions, profile, and materials

   -   1197 Terrace – Replace remaining wood windows with vinyl windows of the same size
       and configuration and side the gable end of the front porch (lead paint remediation)

   -   511 W. Clay – Enlarge existing 32”-wide door to 36”-wide of the same style and material
       on the rear porch, west elevation

   -   458 W. Webster – Installation of a 5” half-round copper gutter segment with hanging
       straps and a 3” corrugated round downspout (on the west elevation of the house to allow
       water to drain away from the foundation)

   -   1163 4th – Replace four fire-damaged windows with vinyl windows of the same style

HDC Public Outreach – The board has had past discussions on various means of better engaging
with residents of the historic districts and the general public. Staff is requesting a general discussion
of potential approaches to this goal.



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