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HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION

Date of Meeting:  May 20, 2009

Time of Meeting:  7:00 pm

Meeting Location:  Webster Groves City Hall, 4 E. Lockwood Ave.

 

MEMBERS:

NAME

PRESENT

ABSENT

Joe Grasso (Chair)

X

 

Dottie Alexander

X

 

Stephanie Dents

X

 

Greg Falk

X

 

Todd Meyer

X

 

Mimi Shipp (Vice Chair)

 

X

Eric Strutman

X

 

Heidi Styrk (Recording Secretary)

X

 

Kathy Weyrich

X

 

 

 

 

ARB Chairperson (E)

 

 

P & Z Chairperson (E)

 

 

 

Also Present:

Debi Salberg, Council Member (E)

X

 

Roger Grow, Director of P & D (E)

X

 

Helmut Starr, City Attorney (E)

X

 

                               

PUBLIC HEARING: 

Introductory Remarks read by J. Grasso

224 Spring:  Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish house

H. Starr explained that this issue was not technically a public hearing regarding the decision to grant a Certificate of Appropriateness to Demolish due to the fact that the building was not a historic landmark nor in a historic district.  The building gained attention due to its age.

·         Speaker:  Patrick Collings:  relative of seller.  Discussed the hardship he has maintaining the property.  Discussed small square footage, steepness of inside stairs, and the walls and floors needing repairs.

 

·         Speaker:  Potential Buyer:  [name here], discussed wanting to purchase the property with the intent of building a new home.  Contractor was also present and said that no plans had been designed but that a larger house was intended to be built on the property.  The potential buyer said that his contract was contingent upon receiving a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the existing building.  He and contractor said that they were not aware of the home being described in the Webster Walks or any of the historically valuable characteristics.

 

PUBLIC  HEARING:

131 S. Gore Ave:  Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish garage

·         Speaker:  John Tarno, current owner of property at address, spoke in favor of demolishing the garage with the intention of building a new garage at undermined point in future

·         Tarno passed out 3 sets of 3 photo shop views of garage and property

·         Tarno listed problems with the garage as follows:

         Roof sagging, building has been braced, garage  had shell and tube electrical at some point 

         but has no electric at this point, studs are 1920’s, siding in no longer available and he would

         have to have it customized, poured concrete with substantial cracks, problem with parking

         two modern sized cars in side is very tight and problematic

·         Tarno reported that he previously had new garage plans that were approved by the ARB in 2006 but was denied variance by Board of Adjustments

·         Tarno explained that he wanted a garage that was more appropriate to period of house which he understood to be 1896 but that there was some question about that date

·         T. Meyer (HPC) asked Tarno if he was going to change the footprint if he didn’t have a variance

o        Tarno said that he wanted to build a garge 6’ from line but needed 10’ according to Board of Adjustments

o        Tarno said he originally wanted 3 single bays but that was not necessarily his current plan and that he didn’t have plans to do anything at this time except demolish

·         D. Alexander asked age of garage

o        Tarno replied that castings dated to the 1930 so that he suspected that it was built in 1920s. 

·         Roger Grow read Evidence entered

A.     City’s Evidence: 

1.       Public Hearing notice number HPC-061709-1 as posted on the property on June 10, 2009

2.        Notice of the public hearing to John & Marilyn Tarnow dated June 10, 2009

3.       City of Webster Groves, Missouri Code of Webster Groves, Chapter 52 Historic Preservation Commision

B.     Applicant’s Evidence:

1.      Application for Certificate of Appropriateness dated May 18, 2009

2.      Deed Search Results from St. Louis County Recorder of Deeds Office dated May 16, 2009

3.      Copy of the Application for building Permit (Demolition) dated May 18, 2009

 

 

REGULAR MEETING:

ITEMS DISCUSSED

1.        224 Spring:  HPC discussed reasons to try and preserve property

 

·         The building is over 100 years old

·         Building is valued as a notable historical example of architecture in an

        excerpt taken from Historic Walking Tour “ A New Century In Old Orchard”, p. 15:

“Samuel H. Jones House (1889, Victorian Vernacular farmhouse)

Justin Joy built this Queen Anne Vernacular house fishscale shingles and a sunburst in the gable for Samuel Jones in 1889.  Jones was a clerk with the H. T. Simon-Gregory Dry Goods Company.  This is the third of three house built by Edward and Justin Joy when they first established their new suburban development.  The three houses were originally right next door to each other on larger lots; later subdivision of these lots resulted in the houses now in between them.”

·         The building contributes to the atmosphere and integrity of the neighborhood which has several homes that could be eligible to historic designation

·         The sister house with a Webster Walk sidewalk medallion has already been demolished

·         The home was designed by a notable architect, Justin Joy.

                  HPC elected G. Falk to draft a letter to Roger Grow:  Dept. of P & D stating the justification for 

                 denying  permission to demolish the building since the HPC could not approve or deny a

                 Certificate of Appropriateness to Demolish.

 

2.       131 Gore Ave

 

Kathy Weyrich said she did not see obstacles to tearing down garage property and listed the following reasons:

o        There is no historic sign

o        There are no distinguishing architectural features

o        It was not built at the time of the house

               Discussion at the table was in agreement and motion was made to grant Certificate of   

               Appropriateness

 

3.       Historic Research:  Essley Hamilton attended as guest speaker to address research and establishing historic districts

 

·         E. Hamilton asked if the HPC had made all W.G. National Historic Districts also Local Districts

G. Falk (HPC)answered that only Webster Park was not local

T. Meyer (HPC) explained how funding has not worked out in past as there were large differences in the amount of grant money and bids

·         E. Hamilton explained that a problem was that Webster Groves was built up originally with lots of little subdivisions.  He proceeded to give information that would lead to helping with historic research for properties.  This included:

o       If a property is listed after January 1, 1871, one can look up the plat name and see how each plat was sold.  Owners at the time could break up plat properties.

o       Starting in 1917, county directories were issued every few years

o       There is a 1922 county directory with a reverse index

o       Deeds are not the same as buildings.  Deeds do not always tell if there is a building on the property

o       Webster Groves early tax books  exist and can be used to see who owned the property

o       If a tax bill jumps from one report to the next, it is a good indicator that a house was built

o       There are 2 types of plats:  The County shows legal subdivision of property which sometimes shows buildings.

§         2 plat map that show buildings are:  Julius Pitsman (1876) and Northwest Publishing Company of Des Moines, Iowa (1909)

ü      E. Hamilton has copies in his office that he said he could make available

ü      Special Collections Dept. of Genealogical Society also has copies

o       Tax Assessor has dates for when buildings are occupied, not built

o       Tax Assessor information is listed on Dept. of Revenue Website

·         K. Weyrich (HPC) asked about workshops for smaller groups or committees of the HPC that could be done on site with resources

o        E. Hamilton replied that Ann Morris had published a book on the process for this

·         J. Grasso (HPC) asked E. Hamilton about HPC Purpose in educating the community and asked opinion about having a community workshop at W.G. Rec Plex

o        E. Hamilton suggested targeting an area that will be having many homes with potential to designate such as Tuxedo Park or the area near Blackburn Park and beginning with a smaller community workshop that is specific to an area.

·         J.  Grasso asked about how to make large copies of plats and E. Hamilton said it would need to be a large flatbed scanner

·         E. Hamilton stressed that one does not need the history of every building in a district, just enough to establish significance. (a lower threshold than National)

4.       Approval of Minutes:  May 20, 2009 Minutes Tabled 

5.       Heart of Webster Audio Walks:  Not discussed

6.        109 W. Cedar Ave.:  H. Starr, city attorney, explained that the current status of property could not be revealed because it was still a closed session and in appeal process

 

H. Starr Reviewed Information regarding Public Hearings and gathering information:

52.340-City Council to hold Public Hearing to review decision

              City Council role is appellate and finder of fact

              HPC role is an administrator:  Review Property and make initial decisions

H. Starr discussed HPC’s possible decisions regarding properties and the process of questioning and gathering evidence:

(1)     HPC should ask itself if it is appropriate to demolish

(2)    HPC should ask itself “Does it [the property] have Historic Value?”  If so, gather and present enough factual evidence to persuade applicant and city council to restore, or, not demolish.

(3)    If the public hearing regarding a property appears contentious, keep the public record open so that conversations can occur or have an adjournment to a future certain date.

(4)    HPC should develop a full record.  HPC would present evidence and rebut evidence.

(5)    HPC responsibility is to set facts about what is unique. 

HPC should not assume that the public understands how they arrived at a decision regarding historic value.  State facts regarding how and why something is deemed historic.

 

 

HPC Comments and Concerns:

·         T. Meyer stated that the city should get the facts to the council so that the council can make educated decisions.

·         K. Weyrich comments on Sunshine Law interfering with HPC ability to discuss properties further when new information becomes available.

H. Starr responded with suggestions below:

ü      Have worksessions prior to meeting.  Post in city hall/library/usual places

ü      Research and photos can be interjected into public hearings as testimony

ü      HPC can hold record open so that parties can still have discussions

·         G. Falk presented ‘Demolition by Neglect’ as a big problem when people intentionally set out to do the wrong thing.  The resulting problem is that the HPC has no recourse.

7.       Historic District Signs: Not discussed

 

ONGOING TOPICS:

 

OTHER BUSINESS:

 

NEXT MEETING:  July 15, 2009
MOTIONS

Date:  06/17/ 09

ITEM DISCUSSED:  #2:  131 S. Gore Ave.

MOTION:    Motion to grant Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the garage at 131 S. Gore Ave.

 

NAME

MOTION TO

APPROVE

2nd

MOTION

YES

NO

ABSENT

ABSTAIN

Joe Grasso

 

 

X

 

 

 

Dottie Alexander

 

X

X

 

 

 

Stephanie Dents

 

 

X

 

 

 

Greg Falk

 

 

X

 

 

 

Todd Meyer

X

 

X

 

 

 

Mimi Shipp

 

 

 

 

X

 

Eric Strutman

 

 

X

 

 

 

Heidi Styrk

 

 

X

 

 

 

Kathy Weyhrich

 

 

X

 

 

 

MOTION APPROVED

 

YES

 

 

 

 Date:  06/ 17 / 09

 

MOTION:    Motion was made to adjourn meeting at 9:05

 

NAME

MOTION TO

APPROVE

2nd

MOTION

YES

NO

ABSENT

ABSTAIN

Joe Grasso

 

 

X

 

 

 

Dottie Alexander

 

X

X

 

 

 

Stephanie Dents

 

 

X

 

 

 

Greg Falk

 

 

X

 

 

 

Todd Meyer

X

 

X

 

 

 

Mimi Shipp

 

 

 

 

X

 

Eric Strutman

 

 

X

 

 

 

Heidi Styrk

 

 

X

 

 

 

Kathy Weyhrich

 

 

X

 

 

 

MOTION APPROVED

 

YES