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Historic Preservation Commission

Date:  May 21, 2014

Time:  Regular Meeting, 7:30 pm

Location:  Webster Groves City Hall, 4 E. Lockwood







Todd Meyer (Chair)



Jennifer Grotpeter (A)



Norma Bolin (A)



Ryan Gregg



Bridget Keitel



Elyse McBride (Recording Secretary)



Frank Janoski



Lanna Skadden



Bill Stancil







Also Present:

Anne Tolan, Council Member (E)



Mike Harney, Building Commissioner (E)






Public Hearing:




Regular Meeting:


1.  Approval of Meeting Minutes ? April 2, 2014 & April 16, 2014:

            After review of the April 2nd minutes, Frank Janoski moved that the minutes be approved and Bill Stancil seconded.  The April 2nd meeting minutes were approved.  After review of the April 16th minutes, Frank Janoski moved that the minutes be approved with the addition of the word ?substantially? prior to the word ?revised? in the discussion of the HPC ordinance in item 2 of Other Business, and Bridget Keitel seconded.  The April 16th meeting minutes were approved as amended.


2.  478 Florence Ave. - Demolition:

            Mark Mills and Gary Roth of Roth Mark, Inc. were in attendance to discuss their plans for the house.  Pictures of the house were distributed and they indicated that the house was in poor condition due to water damage and lack of maintenance.  The previous owner was in the house for 50 years.  The realtor, Diane Penny, attempted to sell the house to a rehabber but there were no acceptable offers.  Roth Mark specializes in quality in-fill housing ranging in price from $650 K to $1.25 million.  They have built in University City, Kirkwood, Rockhill and Clayton.  They plan to build a 4 bedroom 3.5 bath Craftsman style house to sell for approximately $800,000.


            The HPC suggested that a front-facing garage would not be desirable and that a detached garage would be appropriate.  They indicated that a detached garage was not feasible as a large portion of their business are relocation clients.  Frank Janoski questioned as to whether the ARB will look at the architectural style of the house.  Mike Harney indicated that the ARB would ensure that the house would conform with the surrounding structures.


            After the representatives of Roth Mark, Inc. left the meeting, Mike Harney indicated that Linda Boone, whose grandfather (Toft) built 6 houses in Webster, is interested in preserving the house at 478 Florence.  A discussion was held as to how the city can encourage restoration of older homes rather than demolition.


3.  705 Greeley Ave. - What We Learned:

            The discussion about what can be done to encourage the restoration of older homes ties into the demolition of 705 Greeley.  Revision of the HP ordinance is the most reliable method to ensure that the preservation of structures is given preferential treatment.  There are already some benefits to restoration, including tax credits.  Depending upon the use of the structure both Federal and Missouri tax credits are available to the owner of a qualifying house.  Federal tax credits require the structure to be income producing and Missouri credits are an investment credit.  To receive a credit a structure must be qualified.  All Webster Groves local Historic Districts are on the National Register.


            An examination of methods used to encourage historic presevation used by other cities could be used to revise the ordinance.  Frank Janoski questioned as to whether something similar to subdivision indentures could be used by the city.  The ordinance must be balanced with property rights.  Todd Meyer indicated that the greatest problem is houses that never go on the market and are targeted by developers and real estate agents as tear-downs.  These random tear-downs are the thing that the HPC needs to be able to hinder.  The citizens of Webster Groves and Real Estate agents working in the area need to be educated.  Home maintenance is the key to keeping the value of historic structures high.  The HPC is interested in finding a local charitable organization that could help those in need with the maintenance of their homes to prevent structures that are in less than desirable condition.  An additional layer of complexity and delay is desired within the historic preservation ordinance for those considering tearing down a structure.  The HPC knows that not all structures can be saved, but wants to be able to do everything in its power to prevent losing more houses like 705 Greeley.  Although the developer allowed the house to be shown, they did not accept any of the offers that were submitted.  City Staff will make preliminary changes to the ordinance.  Mike Harney asked that concerns with specific issues be emailed to him.


            It was suggested that Tuxedo Park be designated a local historic district, as due to the demolition of 705 Greeley many residents are interested in doing something to preserve the neighborhood.  It was suggested that volunteers be solicited to aid in the production of the nomination.  A determination of the boundaries of the district needs to be made.  Elyse McBride indicated that she would begin work on developing the boundaries.


4.  HPC Ordinance:

            City Staff will review the HPC Ordinance and forward the proposed changes to the HPC for possible revision of the ordinance.


5.  WU/HP Student Activities:

            Ryan Gregg reported that Webster University students will be compiling a list of century homes and checking it against the inventory sheets from the county.  This list will help identify houses that are ?At Risk.?  Other projects will follow.


6.  Sunshine Law Clarification:

The HPC is not allowed to send emails to discuss HPC business.  When information is needed prior to the next scheduled meeting, individual members should send an email to Mike Harney.  He will forward any email that is for information only.  A 24 hour notice is required for any exchange between members and if that requirement cannot be met then no email can be sent to other members.



Other Business:


1.  New HPC Member:

            New HPC member, Jennifer Gropeter, was introduced.  She has a degree in Art History and English and enjoys doing research.  Her father was a builder and her grandfather was a partner of St. Louis architect, Barnett.


2.  Council Liaison:

            Anne Tolan will be the Council Liaison for the HPC next year.


3.  Awards of Excellence:

            Awards of Excellence will be presented in November.  The HPC has been asked to provide a judge.  The judging will take place one evening in September.


The next HPC meeting will be held June 18, 2014.


Frank Janoski moved that the meeting be adjourned and Bridgit Keitel seconded.  The meeting was adjourned.