Historic District Minutes 04-04-2017

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                                   CITY OF MUSKEGON
                             HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

                                            April 4, 2017

Chairperson J. Hilt called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and roll was taken.

MEMBERS PRESENT:              J. Hilt, S. Kroes, D. Warren, S. Radtke, L. Wood, K. Panozzo

MEMBERS ABSENT:               A. Riegler, excused

STAFF PRESENT:                M. Franzak, D. Renkenberger

OTHERS PRESENT:               A. Coffee, 1201 Ransom; D. Gregersen, 241 W Muskegon Ave.


A motion to approve the regular meeting minutes of March 7, 2017 was made by D. Warren,
supported by K. Panozzo and unanimously approved.


Case 2017-04 – 1201 Ransom Street. Applicant: Andre’ Coffee. District: McLaughlin. Current
Function: Residential. M. Franzak presented the staff report. The applicant is seeking approval to
build a detached garage. This property is located on a corner lot and the garage would be built on
the Delaware Avenue side of the property. The garage would measure 24’ x 36’ with a pitched roof
and a maximum height of 14.’ There would be two garage doors, once facing Delaware St and one
facing the house. The side facing the house would also have an entry door. They are proposing
vinyl siding that would match the existing vinyl siding on the house as well as the same type of
shingles as the house. Also note that staff has discovered that the white vinyl fence on the property
was installed last year without a permit or HDC approval. The applicant will propose a new fence
to the board since this one is too tall to be in a front yard.

M. Franzak stated that, although there are no windows on the garage, he had looked at other garages
in the area and this was not unusual. D. Warren asked Mr. Coffee if he was going to replace the
fence in front with another kind. A. Coffee stated that he was not; he would just move the fence
back to the corner of the house.

A motion that the HDC approve the request to build a new 24- by 36-foot garage as proposed, and
to approve the white vinyl fence as long as it is moved back approximately 20 feet to where the
fence ordinance allows, with the conditions that all zoning requirements are met and the necessary
permits are obtained, was made by L. Wood, supported by S. Kroes and unanimously approved.


390 W Muskegon Ave – Last year, staff inadvertently approved a fence in an historic district
without taking it to the board for approval. A neighbor a few blocks away is not happy with the
fence and is asking that something be done about it. Unfortunately, the board does not have the
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authority to order removal of it at this point, since the permit has been issued; however, staff has
contacted the property owner and informed them of the issue. The owner is adamant that the fence
is a great addition as it is, and does not want a “cheap chain link fence.” They may be willing to
modify the fence, but only to a certain extent. The City has offered to provide money and resources
to assist in modifications. The owners were willing to let the HDC make a recommendation for
moving forward. They have been a great addition to the neighborhood and have done a great job of
cleaning up the yard, which previously had many dead and overgrown trees/shrubs. They will also
be finishing the fence this spring and will be landscaping around it. They plan to paint the home
this summer and never considered requesting vinyl or making any other changes that would detract
from the home’s historical integrity.

M. Franzak stated that the homeowners needed a fence to keep a large dog in the yard. They
planned to landscape around the fence also. S. Radtke suggested allowing a one-time exception to
allow this fence, since no alterations were made to the house, and the black chain link part of the
fence blended in to the landscape. D. Gregersen lived in the area and did not like the fence, as it was
not historically appropriate. He requested that the HDC make an official recommendation to the
property owner on how to modify the fence design to make it more appropriate. M. Franzak stated
that making a recommendation and offering to pay for modifications is about all the City can do at
this point. D. Warren asked if the homeowner had been invited to attend the meeting to discuss the
fence. M. Franzak stated that she had been invited, but could not attend due to work. Board
members discussed various styles of fence that would be acceptable. D. Gregersen suggested an
aluminum picket fence like the one at Nelson Place. L. Wood pointed out that the landscaping
could cover much of the fence. Other modification possibilities included adding finials to the top of
the posts and painting or staining the wooden posts. M. Franzak stated that he had a good idea of
what the board wanted and would contact the homeowner to relay the information.


Hackley Park dance floor – After reviewing the Hackley Park Master Plan and discussing the
issue with the City’s Parks Supervisor, the applicant was informed that staff would not support the
request to add a permanent concrete dance floor to the park. Hackley Park is a Civil War memorial,
and the main focus of the park is the central monument and walkways leading to it. The addition of
a concrete pad would distract from the symmetrical walkways and monuments. Although staff does
not support the request for a permanent dance floor, they have offered to level off the grass near the
stage to allow for better usage of a temporary dance floor. The applicant stated that he may still
present his proposal to the HDC in May.

HDC grant program – M. Franzak and board members again discussed a possible HDC grant
program through the City. Over the past month, staff had become more receptive to assisting with
home painting, but there needed to be safeguards in place to ensure that quality work was performed
so paint wouldn’t be chipping off in a couple of years. M. Franzak asked that board members e-
mail their ideas to him before the next HDC meeting so a formal proposal could be presented to the
City Manager.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:05 p.m.

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