Historic District Agenda 02-02-2021

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                                                   CITY OF MUSKEGON
                                              HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
                                                   REGULAR MEETING

 DATE OF MEETING:                              Tuesday, February 2, 2021
 TIME OF MEETING:                              4:00 p.m.
 PLACE OF MEETING:                             https://www.facebook.com/CityofMuskegon


 I.         Call to Order

 II.        Approval of Minutes of the regular meeting of January 5, 2021

 III.       New Business

            Case 2021-03 – 511 W. Clay – Siding and Windows

 IV.        Old Business

 V.         Election of Chair and Vice Chair

 VI.        Other Business

            Work Completed Without HDC Approval

            2021 HDC Meeting Schedule

            Public Comment Period

 VII.       Adjourn

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

The City of Muskegon will provide necessary reasonable auxiliary aids and services, such as signers for the hearing impaired and audio tapes
of printed materials being considered at the meeting, to individuals with disabilities who want to attend the meeting, upon twenty-four hour
notice to the City of Muskegon. Individuals with disabilities requiring auxiliary aids or services should contact the City of Muskegon by writing
or calling the following: Ann Marie Cummings, City Clerk at 933 Terrace Street, Muskegon, MI 49440 or by calling (231) 724-6705 or
TTY/TDD: Dial 7-1-1 and request that representative dial 231-724-6705


                                   CITY OF MUSKEGON
                             HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

                                           January 5, 2021

Chairperson S. Radtke called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m. and roll was taken.

MEMBERS PRESENT:              S. Radtke, Muskegon, Michigan; K. George, Muskegon, Michigan; A.
                              Riegler, Muskegon, Michigan; T. Emory, Muskegon, Michigan

MEMBERS ABSENT:               L. Wood, excused; K. Panozzo, excused

STAFF PRESENT:                J. Pesch, R. Cummins, L. Mikesell

OTHERS PRESENT:               J. Garcia, 1261 Ransom Ave.; D. Hippchen, 325 Houston Ave.; D. Pin-
                              toski, 1181 Peck St.

A motion to approve the regular meeting minutes of December 1, 2020 was made by K. George,
supported by A. Riegler and approved with S. Radtke, T. Emory, A. Riegler, and K. George voting


Case 2021-01 – 1261 Ransom Avenue (Rehabilitation). Applicant: Jeremy Garcia. District:
McLaughlin. Current Function: Residential. J. Pesch presented the staff report. The applicant is seek-
ing approval to 1) convert an existing house addition to a garage with a new garage door, 2) remove
and close off a second-floor exterior door, and 3) remove a second-floor exterior deck/walkway that
fell off. Staff explained that this work had been approved and issued a building permit but had not
started, and the property owner was willing to follow through with HDC review.

According to a photograph from the 1970s contained in the HDC’s files, the house addition in question
had once been a garage, and was constructed sometime between 1911 and 1950. J. Garcia explained
that he purchased the house eight months ago and work had been delayed considerably due to the
pandemic. He stated that work had only started on the interior, but that he was requesting to convert
the former garage – which had been converted to a bedroom – to a garage again. J. Garcia also noted
that the second-floor door and deck proposed to be removed was not original, and that removing it
would bring the house closer to its original appearance.

S. Radtke asked that the board begin with a review of the proposed garage conversion. A. Riegler
asked if there was an existing driveway that still came up to the proposed garage and if there was any
other place where the garage could be sited on the lot. J. Garcia stated that the lot was very small. S.
Radtke asked about the style of the proposed garage door. J. Garcia explained that a white, solid door
was proposed, and that the house would retain its white and yellow color scheme. S. Radtke stated
that the request was fairly straightforward in that the opening for the garage door was still there, and

only the door itself had been removed. K. George asked if a service door had existed or would be
added. J. Garcia stated that a service door would not be added.

The board moved on the discuss the second-floor door and deck. J. Garcia explained that this area of
the house had been converted into a laundry room at some point, and that he was proposing to frame
in the existing door opening, then reside the exterior with matching wood siding. S. Radtke asked if
the porch had originally been a sleeping porch or part of the main body of the house. J. Garcia ex-
plained that it appeared to be part of the main body of the house, but that the stairs and door were
likely added on much later as they did not match anything else on the house. The board reviewed the
photos in the staff report and T. Emory stated that it appeared that the porch was enclosed. S. Radtke
noted that it was unlikely that the door was original as the garage was also not original, and that the
windows did not appear to be original either. J. Garcia confirmed that the windows were all storm
windows that did not appear to be original to the house.

A motion that the HDC approve the request to convert an existing house addition into a garage with
a new garage door, remove and close off a second-floor exterior door, and remove a second-floor
exterior deck/walkway as long as the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits
are obtained, was made by A. Riegler, supported by K. George and unanimously approved, with S.
Radtke, A. Riegler, T. Emory, and K. George voting aye.

Case 2021-02 – 325 Houston Avenue (Windows). Applicant: Dollie Hippchen. District: Houston.
Current Function: Residential. J. Pesch presented the staff report. The applicant is seeking approval
to remove and replace three wood windows with vinyl replacement windows to match the other re-
placement windows on the house and to install aluminum trim around the three replacement win-
dows to match the others. The work had already been completed. Staff went on to explain that, upon
reviewing the property, it became clear that the proposed work had already been completed, even
though a building permit had not been issued; there appeared to be a discrepancy in the date the
building permit application was submitted and the date Staff was notified of this request. The work
needing approval included the final three windows to be replaced on the house (one in the top left
corner of the front elevation, one in the top right corner of the left elevation, and a small one in the
back of the house located in a bathroom) aside from any leaded-glass windows, which were mainly
on the front porch and would be retained. A series of HDC approvals over past years had resulted in
the replacement of all other windows on the house with vinyl windows and aluminum trim.

A. Riegler asked for clarification on which three windows were included in this request. Staff and
board members reviewed the photos that were included in the staff report, and J. Pesch explained that
the new vinyl windows matched the size and appearance of the original wood windows.

A motion that the HDC approve the request to remove and replace three wood windows with vinyl
replacement windows to match the other replacement windows on the house and to install aluminum
trim around the windows to match the others as long as the work meets all zoning requirements and
the necessary permits are obtained, was made by A. Riegler, supported by K. George and unanimously
approved, with S. Radtke, A. Riegler, T. Emory, and K. George voting aye.
D. Hippchen joined the meeting, but was having audio issues so it was agreed that her comments
would be heard later in the meeting.

J. Pesch noted that Case 2021-03, because it was reviewed and approved in 2018, would instead be
listed in the meeting minutes by its original case number, Case 2018-11, under Old Business.


Case 2018-11 – 1181 Peck Street (Windows). Applicant: Dennis Pintoski. District: McLaughlin.
Current Function: Residential. J. Pesch presented the staff report. The applicant is seeking approval
to replace 13 windows (29 ¼” x 78 ¼”) with vinyl windows of the same size. J. Pesch noted that the
proposed work was included in a request that was approved in April 2018. The property owner had
purchased all the windows, but had not yet started the work; the HDC’s policy allowed work to be
completed within one year of approval, so the applicant was seeking renewal of the approval.

A. Riegler asked if the board requested anything specific for the muntin arrangement in 2018. J.
Pesch explained that the motion, which was included in the staff report, referenced an image depict-
ing the style of window that was proposed at the time, which was also included. A. Riegler noted
that she was not in attendance at the April 2018 meeting, and that renewal of the approval was diffi-
cult since the existing windows constituted one of the few defining architectural features of the
home. She went on to explain that the approval did not meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards
for Rehabilitation because the replacement window, aside from the fact that it was a vinyl window
replacing a wood window, did not match the original window configuration. It was established that
no board member that voted to approve the work in 2018 was present at the current meeting. S.
Radtke stated that it seemed to have been the general policy of the HDC back then to approve al-
most all requests, and although he did not agree with the past approval, it didn’t make much sense
not to renew the approval since the approval had already been granted once and the applicant had
already ordered the windows; A. Riegler agreed. J. Pesch noted that, under the circumstances, the
HDC could recommend an add-on grill that would mimic the muntin arrangement of the original
windows. K. George and A. Riegler stated that they would rather see the plain double-hung window
than an attempt to mimic the old look in vinyl.

A motion that the HDC approve the request to replace 13 windows (29 ¼” x 78 ¼”) with vinyl win-
dows of the same size as long as the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits
are obtained, was made by K. George, supported by T. Emory and unanimously approved, with S.
Radtke, A. Riegler, T. Emory, and K. George voting aye.

D. Hippchen spoke briefly on her case that was reviewed earlier in the meeting. She explained the
issues she was having with her contractor and the permitting process, and assured the board that she
would keep Staff aware of any further changes to the house.


CLG Status and Available HDC Positions – K. George asked about the status of the City’s Certified
Local Government application with SHPO. J. Pesch stated that he was still working on the application
but would be submitting it shortly; he was able to assemble a number of requested documents and
wanted to get changes to the board’s members settled. L. Wood would be resigning from the HDC
following this meeting after serving for 14 years on the board. J. Pesch explained the application
process for those interested in serving on the HDC as well as some of the various composition re-
quirements for the HDC.

Work Completed Without HDC Approval – K. George asked if signs could be installed near the
boundaries of the historic districts to assist with informing property owners of their location in a his-
toric district, especially with the uptick in unapproved work. A. Riegler agreed that signage could

help, but pointed to the larger issue of work being issued building permits without HDC approval due
to the ongoing issues with the building inspections department, SAFEbuilt. K. George agreed that the
signage would not replace the effort needed to improve the cooperation of other departments in en-
suring that the HDC reviews all necessary work.

The board discussed the possibility of bringing the issue to the attention of the City Commission at an
upcoming Worksession. J. Pesch stated that going to the City Commission may be less helpful than
getting the proper City Staff involved first, simply due to the fact that the City Commission did not
deal directly with the issues being discussed on a regular basis. A. Riegler noted that the issues had
been addressed numerous times already by Staff. S. Radtke stated that he and J. Pesch had discussed
gathering information on unapproved work to present together to the City Manager prior to any issues
potentially being brought to the City Commission. L. Mikesell, Director of Development Services for
the City, offered to set up a meeting between SAFEbuilt leadership and the appropriate staff from that
department, the Division Heads for both Public Safety (which oversees SAFEbuilt), and Development
Services (which comprises the HDC Staff). She stated that she was not opposed to City Commission
involvement, but recognized that they would likely direct Division Heads to address the issues.

The board again noted that the recurring issues continue despite Staff’s efforts to address them. A.
Riegler reminded those in attendance that the HDC review process was a law and that they had the
ability to issue fines of up to $5000 for improperly completed work. L. Mikesell stated her concerns
with fining a property owner for work being completed without HDC review when the City was ulti-
mately responsible for not following the proper approvals process. The board also expressed concerns
about accountability and recommended that SAFEbuilt be responsible for coming up with a plan for
following the proper approvals process. L. Mikesell mentioned the possibility of including a clause in
the contract between the City and SAFEbuilt that would specifically address this.

Various board members explained that work that was not properly reviewed or approved directly
undermined the purpose of the HDC. With so many of Muskegon’s historic buildings already lost, the
city’s remaining historic resources were critical to protect. Historic resources in the historic districts
– just as is the case across the country – have legitimate protection from substantial alteration, demo-
lition, etc.. With the current disconnect between SAFEbuilt and the HDC, the historic districts and the
HDC begin to look like a nuisance, rather than the asset they are meant to be.

J. Pesch stated that at some point the HDC seemed to have lost their way and many of the correct
protocols and regulations were not properly followed; only in more recent years had efforts really
been put forth to understand and correct this.

Enforcement of HDC Motion – S. Radtke asked about the status of 1561 Peck Street as it related to
the HDC’s ruling to correct work completed without HDC review or approval or building permits.
Staff summarized the enforcement process, noting that the property owner had appealed the HDC’s
ruling to the State Historic Preservation Review Board where it was denied a hearing due to the fact
that it was filed after the 60-day deadline for filing had passed. A series of Municipal Civil Infractions
had been issued since the work was denied by the HDC. The violation was then bumped up to a Civil
Infraction which, if desired, could be fought in court; the property owner asked that the Civil Infraction
be sent to the courts so that a hearing could be set. Presently, City Staff was waiting to hear back from
the courts regarding the status of the Civil Infraction. HDC members noted that there appeared to be
renters living in the house without a rental certificate (which was on hold due to the now-expired
building permit that ran counter to the HDC’s ruling), and that the rental situation did not seem to be

enforced. It was requested that Staff also discuss this issue with SAFEbuilt as part of the planned
meeting regarding unapproved work.

2021 HDC Meeting Schedule and Election of Officers – Staff advised the board that the 2021 HDC
Meeting Schedule would be available for review by the next meeting. The Election of Officers would
also take place at the next meeting.

Public Comment Period – Time was allotted for public comment with contact information provided.
D. Pintoksi, the owner of 1181 Peck from Case 2018-11 (above) called in and stated that he was
unable to join the meeting earlier. He asked if the board had any questions regarding what was ap-
proved at this address back in 2018, and he clarified that not all the existing windows had the same
muntin arrangement as the one shown in the staff report. The board had no further questions for the

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.



                       Case 2021-03 – 511 W. Clay – Siding and Windows
                         Applicant: Katherine Jawor/Steve Dahlstrom
                                  District: National Register
                                Current Function: Residential


The applicant is seeking approval to replace areas of deteriorated wood siding on the front of the
house with a treated engineered wood lap siding of the same size and spacing with a smooth finish
(the same product was approved in 2019 and installed on the rear of the house).

View of house from W. Clay Avenue, looking south

View of house from W. Clay Avenue, looking east

Photo of old siding (left) and new siding (right) on rear of house, facing alley



The Muskegon Historic District Commission does not endorse the residing of structures within the
Historic districts. It is the policy of this Commission that the original fabric of the building should be
repaired or replaced where necessary with the original building material.

In cases where the repair or replacement with like materials is impractical or where it can be demon-
strated that the original materials will no longer hold paint or that the original materials are so badly
deteriorated that they can no longer be reasonably repaired, the residing standards below shall strictly
be adhered to.

For the purpose of this statement, the terms “residing materials” and “trim cladding” shall be under-
stood to encompass the use of any residing materials such as aluminum, vinyl, steel, hardboard, wood,
masonry, or molded urethane which is designed to replace or cover all, or any part, of an exterior wall,
trim work or other building element or a structure within a designated historic district.

The Commission shall review all applications for Certificates of Appropriateness proposing the in-
stallation of residing materials or trim cladding as individual cases. Each application shall be decided
on its own merit. No person should interpret any Commission approval for residing or trim cladding
as being precedent setting. Unrestricted use of residing materials or trim cladding will not be allowed.

In any case where residing materials or trim cladding are proposed for use by a property owner or
siding contractor, the property owner shall be required to submit a signed letter stating in detail the
intent and scope of the proposed residing or trim cladding installation. Such a letter is to also include
the identification of any deterioration or problems occurring relative to the existing siding or exterior
building fabric. If known, the cause and extent of this deterioration must be clearly stated.

The following conditions of installation shall be met by all proposals for residing or trim cladding:

1. All existing deterioration shall be made structurally sound and its causes, insofar as possible,
   shall be corrected prior to the installation of residing materials or trim cladding.

2. Any installation of residing materials shall simulate the appearance of the original building ma-
   terial that it is intended to cover. This simulation shall take into account the size, shape or pro-
   file, texture, and linear direction of the original building material.

        a. The residing material shall be similar in appearance and dimension to the original sid-
           ing. The exposure to the weather of the new siding shall range within one inch of the
           nominal dimension of the original siding. The Historic District Commission shall have
           the authority to waive this requirement in the event that they believe a different design
           or dimension siding would be more appropriate to the architectural character of the His-
           toric District.

        b. A proposed color shall be appropriate as determined by the Commission.

       c. Generally, wood grain textures are not approved by the Commission. However, the ap-
          propriateness of a specific siding texture shall be determined on an individual case basis.

3. Any installation of trim cladding shall adhere to the following guidelines for the treatment for
   architectural trim elements.

   a. Existing cornice or building trim elements shall not be covered or replaced without Commis-
      sion approval. Commission approval will depend upon how closely the trim cladding or new
      trim elements duplicate the appearance of the existing building trim elements.

   b. The wall siding material shall not extend over the existing trim members such as window and
      door trim, sills, facias, soffits, frieze members and boards, brackets, aprons, corner boards,
      trim boards, skirt boards, or any other characteristic moldings or architectural features.

   c. If the above mentioned trim members are to be clad, they shall be covered with custom formed
      cladding which shall closely approximate the shapes and contours of the existing moldings or
      trim. Distinctive or unusual trim or architectural elements shall not be clad without prior con-
      sideration and Commission approval.

   d. No building trim elements or architectural features are to be removed or altered to facilitate
      the installation of the new siding or trim cladding without approval of the Historic District

   e. In most cases the soffit cladding material shall run parallel and not perpendicular to the plane
      of the wall.


I move that the HDC (approve/deny) the request to replace areas of deteriorated wood siding on the
front of the house with a treated engineered wood lap siding of the same size and spacing with a
smooth finish as long as the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are ob-




Although the HDC last held elections in September 2020, they typically take place at the February
meeting once open positions have been filled.


Work Completed Without HDC Approval – Continuation of the discussion regarding how the
HDC handles work completed following issuance of a building permit, but without HDC review or

2021 HDC Meeting Schedule – The meeting schedule for 2021 is attached. Potential changes to the
schedule can be discussed at the meeting.

Public Comment Period – For public comment, please call the number that will be listed on the
screen during the broadcast of this meeting on https://www.facebook.com/CityofMuskegon



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