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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Summary of Monday's Preservation Board Meeting

Here is a summary of actions at Monday's meeting of the St. Louis Preservation Board, by agenda item. The meeting started with only two members present, Chairman Richard Callow and David Richardson. Later, members Anthony Robinson, Ald. Terry Kennedy and Luis Porello arrived.

PRELIMINARY REVIEWS

A. 5291 Washington; application for new construction.
ACTION: Deferred due to lack of quorum.

B. 4155-63 Magnolia; application to install vinyl windows on an early 20th century revival-style apartment building in Shaw. Owner Lisa Presley applied to replace 300 wooden windows on the front elevation of this apartment building with white vinyl windows featuring simulated dividers. Normally, this would be unconvincing but the front elevation happens to face the side of the lot with the long, narrow apartment building running from street to alley. An interesting moment came when Presley's window salesman stated that vinyl windows lasted forever. When asked how long aluminum windows, he said almost as long as vinyl.
ACTION: Denied by vote of 2-1 with Ald. Kennedy dissenting.

C. 3628 N. 14th Street; application to retain vinyl windows installed without a permit. This wonderful commercial building at the southeast corner of 14th and Salisbury in Hyde Park suffered the removal of its wooden windows and a prism-glass transom last year; most windows were evident and likely in condition to be rehabbed. Owner Lisa Hines claimed that although she had rehabbed 16 buildings, she had never rehabbed in a "blighted" historic district where design standards applied. She also claimed that most of the windows werer broken or missing when she bought the building. I presented a photo showing most of the windows in place, without much evident damage; rehabber Barbara Manzara discussed how easy window rehab can be.
ACTION: Denied by unanimous vote.

D. 1912 LaSalle Street; application for addition. Owner Thomas Benignus and his architect Ralph Wafer presented design for an addition to a house in Lafayette Square; Paul Doerner of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee stated that he liked the design but wanted review by the LSRC Development Committee.
ACTION: Approved by unanimous vote.

E. 2035 Park Avenue; application for alteration and addition of building. At this point, the meeting still lacked a quorum so the item was pushed off until later. Owner Thomas Bramlette wants to rebuild the odd one-story brick church building sometimes called the ugliest building in Lafayette Square. Architect Ted Wofford has designed a graceful Italianate project that will resurrect the low hipped roof form that was found in the Square before the 1896 tornado. Cultural Resources Office Director Kate Shea claimed that the roof was too short and the second-story addition two narrow for a house that sites between two impressive and larger homes and wanted approval to require a taller roof and wider second story.
ACTION: Approved by unanimous vote without stipulations sought by Shea.


APPEALS OF STAFF DENIALS

F. 4549 Pershing; application to retain light standard in front yard. Owners have installed a bizarre and inappropriate light standard in the front yard of this Central West End home without a permit, in violation of local historic district standards.
ACTION: Permit approved by 2-1 vote with Richardson dissenting.

G. 4320 Arco Avenue; application for demolition. Owner Dwight Hatchett wants to demolish this one-story Forest Park Southeast house. The house, a splendid flat-roofed Romanesque is missing roof decking and its parapets have massive mortar deterioration. However, Hatchett has performed no maintenance and has no plans for redevelopment; he stated that he wants to tear the house down and sell it to neighbors for side yards. Hatchett started his testimony by stating his fear that the building would fall and kill someone -- a rather old trick. Opposition testimony came from Manzara, Anthony Coffin, Claire Nowak-Boyd and myself. A motion to uphold the staff denial from Porrello failed, as did a motion to grant approval from Kennedy. Board member Robinson abstained from both votes; he stated that without a roof the house would surely collapse and denying the permit could still condemn the house. He moved to defer consideration for 60 days to give the applicant time to sell the house.
ACTION: Deferred for 60 days by unanimous vote.

H. 59 Kingsbury Place; application to retain inappropriate windows installed without permit. William Streett, owner of this Colonial Revival home, removed the original 12-over-1 windows and replaced them with casement windows to completely alter the architectural character of the house. His 20-minute defense (what happened to time limits?) was a ludicrous PowerPoint presentation that covered the design of other houses on the street and his personal preferences but did little to address the fact that he violated a local design ordinance. Streett boldly claimed that his house's hipped roof was borrowed from French architecture and thus muddied the stylistic waters; however, he seemed to have never read the local district ordinance or the National Register of Historic Places nomination that clearly state both the recognized style of his house and the requirement that its original appearance be maintained no matter what Streett may think is appropriate. Opposition testimony came from William Seibert, representing the Central West End Association, and myself.
ACTION: Staff denial upheld by unanimous vote.

I. 1120, 1124 and 1400-02 Newhouse Avenue; application for demolition. The applicant, the Land Reutilization Authority, did not send a representative. In the absence of a quorum, the applicant must be present to waive the right to having an appeal heard by quorum.
ACTION: Set aside for next meeting.

J. 1629 N. 19th Street; application for demolition. This house is owned by VHS Partners LLC, one of Paul McKee's north side holding companies. However, the demolition is sought by Ald. April Ford-Griffin and the application is the Board of Public Service. The board neglected to send a representative.
ACTION: Set aside for next meeting.

At the end of the meeting, the Preservation Board unanimously voted to enter into the minutes of the meeting the St. Louis Post-Dispatch obituary for Marti Frumhoff.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"ACTION: Deferred due to lack of quorum."

Almost. Deferred to give more commissioners a chance to comment, since the applicant had chosen to bypass the neighborhood preservation group. Preliminary reviews do not require a quorum of members be present.

PE

Urban Review said...

Thanks for posting this review --- I was only able to make part of the meeting. I wonder how many people tried to attend but couldn't get it? When I left just past 6pm the doors from the elevators to the meeting room were locked once again! Yet another violation of the open meetings requirements!

All the replacment windows really have me upset. Clearly the public and window salesmen needs to be educated. The light fixture (item F) is awfull. Money cannot buy good taste!

The house on Arco has excellent reuse potential. I took a bunch of images today and plan to do a write up about it. Hopefully we can get this house sold to someone that will get it rehabbed.

Michael R. Allen said...

Thanks for the correction, PE.

Working from memory has its pitfalls.

Anonymous said...

Where are these meetings? And are they open to the public?

Taylor Haywood said...

Thanks for this summary.

I would be interested to know the name of the company whose window salesperson made those statements.