CITY OF MUSKEGON
HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
DATE OF MEETING: Tuesday, April 6, 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 March 2, 2021
III. New Business
Case 2021-08 – 1752 Jefferson – Windows and Door
Case 2021-09 – 1129 Peck – Doors
IV. Old Business
477 W. Western Update
V. Other Business
2021 HDC Goals
2021 Staff Approval Update
Public Comment Period
“We admire that which is old not because it is old, but because it is beautiful.” Winston Churchill
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CITY OF MUSKEGON
HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
March 2, 2021
Chairperson S. Radtke called the meeting to order at 4:04 p.m. and roll was taken.
MEMBERS PRESENT: S. Radtke, Muskegon, Michigan; T. Emory, Muskegon, Michigan; A.
Riegler, Muskegon, Michigan; D. Gregersen, Muskegon, Michigan
MEMBERS ABSENT: K. George; K. Panozzo
STAFF PRESENT: J. Pesch; L. Mikesell; K. Spittler, SAFEbuilt - Muskegon
OTHERS PRESENT: C. Ware, 471 W. Western Ave.; T. Puffer, 600 W. Clay Ave.; N. Schip-
pers, 600 W. Clay Ave.; D. Kamps, 1129 Peck St.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion to approve the regular meeting minutes of February 2, 2021 was made by D. Gregersen,
supported by T. Emory and approved with S. Radtke, T. Emory, A. Riegler, and D. Gregersen voting
Case 2021-04 – 471 W. Western Avenue (Door). Applicant: Lakeshore Museum Center. District:
Clay-Western. Current Function: Commercial. J. Pesch presented the staff report. The applicant is
seeking approval to replace the existing, wood door with a new door of a similar appearance. The
existing door has been removed due to significant rotting wood, and to evaluate its condition.
C. Ware explained that the existing door was rotted out and unable to be repaired, so a similar metal
door was proposed for replacement; he noted that the proposed new door would resemble the one
installed on the neighboring building (477 W. Western) which would be side-by-side with the door
being replaced. A. Riegler asked if the window on the proposed new door would be the same size as
the existing door. J. Pesch noted that the window on the neighboring door looked shorter than the
one being replaced. C. Ware stated that the replacement door would match exactly the dimensions of
the existing wood door, not necessarily the one replaced on the neighboring building. D. Gregersen
asked if it was known whether the replacement door matched the neighboring door. C. Ware stated
that he did not know the dimensions of the door on the neighboring building.
A. Riegler stated that she was concerned that the two doors would not match but would be next to
one another, and that the neighboring door may have replaced a door of a different size. J. Pesch
noted that the staff report showed a photo of the neighboring door prior to its replacement (the door
was green at the time). The board agreed that the glass on the neighboring door looked smaller than
what it replaced and therefore would not match the Museum’s proposed replacement door. S.
Radtke stated that because the doors were right next to each other and because they matched
originally, he thought that the new doors should continue to match one another, and noted that the
issue was with the neighbor’s replacement door rather than the one being proposed by the Museum.
C. Ware noted that the replacement door had not been ordered and one matching the neighbor’s door
could be ordered instead. A. Riegler noted that the Standards called for a replacement door that
would match the dimensions of the door being replaced. D. Gregersen stated that he thought the new
door should match the neighboring door, and the board agreed.
D. Gregersen asked if it was known whether the neighboring door that was replaced was approved
by the HDC. J. Pesch noted that the new sign on that building was the only item on that property’s
HDC application and that the door appeared to have been replaced sometime between November
2018, when work was getting underway for the restaurant, and the present.
S. Radtke noted that the other door on the neighboring building, which was set back, matched the
other three doors on the front of the building; this made the neighboring replacement door the only
one on the front elevation of both building’s that did not match. He proposed that the HDC allow the
Museum to install the door they originally proposed which would match the dimensions and glazing
size of the door it would replace, and that Staff look into whether the neighbors received the correct
approvals to replace their door.
J. Pesch noted that doors were one of the most common items to be replaced without proper HDC
review and approval because they were not addressed in the building code. He noted that windows
used to be the same way, but that they now had to meet the energy code and required a building per-
mit to be replaced. He said that he didn’t think that a building permit was needed for replacing a
door, and that may have been how the neighboring door was replaced with one containing a differ-
ent size window. T. Emory noted that she thought a building permit was required for replacing a
door. S. Radtke asked if the work on the neighboring building could be brought before the HDC if it
was completed without HDC approval and without a building permit. J. Pesch stated that he be-
lieved it could, but that he would look further into the issue before taking any enforcement action.
S. Radtke proposed that the HDC issue a conditional approval for the Museum’s replacement door
pending what can be done to ensure that the neighboring door matches. A. Riegler noted that doing
so would hold up the Museum in completing their project. D. Gregersen stated that it is more im-
portant that the new door match the glass size of the door it is replacing even if it does not match the
A motion that the HDC approve the request to replace the existing wood door with a new steel door
matching the dimensions of the original in height, width and glazing size as long as the work meets
all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained, was made by A. Riegler, supported
by T. Emory and unanimously approved, with S. Radtke, T. Emory, A. Riegler, and D. Gregersen
It was requested that Staff follow up on the status of the work that was completed at the neighboring
building and report any findings to the HDC at the next meeting.
Case 2021-05 – 600 W. Clay Avenue (Rehabilitation). Applicant: Terry Puffer/Nick Schippers –
NSTP, LLC. District: Boilerworks. Current Function: Commercial/Vacant. J. Pesch presented the
staff report. The applicant is seeking approval to 1) lower the rear entry door to ground level to al-
low head room to access the garden level, 2) remove and replace all existing 1960s-vintage alumi-
num windows with new black vinyl windows replicating the original window style as closely as
possible (all windows will fit the original rough openings, pending pricing; if the replacement win-
dows cannot fit the original openings, they will match the existing windows’ dimensions; all win-
dows will contain clear glass), 3) replace all existing doors (also likely from the 1960s) with either
new doors to match the windows or refurbished salvaged doors, and 4) add three egress windows for
the new garden level bedrooms that will align with the locations of the existing windows into the
garden level along the walkway on the north elevation and on the west (8th Street) elevation. Addi-
tional drawings will be provided prior to the meeting.
S. Radtke asked that it be clarified which is the north elevation of the building. J. Pesch explained
that the north elevation was the one facing the small walkway running between this building and the
Art Works apartment building.
S. Radtke asked if work on the 8th Street (west) elevation would only involve replacing the windows
to match the original windows. T. Puffer confirmed that was correct and that the building’s alumi-
num windows dated from the 1960s or 70s and did not match the original window style. He ex-
plained that they were proposing to replace them with black vinyl windows in an attempt to match
the look of the original windows and fill the full window openings. D. Gregersen asked if replace-
ment with full-size windows to fill the openings was a sure thing, since the request noted an alterna-
tive where the existing window sizes would be retained if windows were not available in the pre-
ferred dimensions. T. Puffer stated that all the windows would be custom windows, but the window
company only allowed certain customization; if the windows could not fit the full opening, trim
would be added to the window to fill in where wood currently existed. Even with the trim, the re-
placement windows would be much closer in size to the original window opening and would only
need a few inches of trim rather than the 1’-6” of wood currently filling the openings. The board
agreed that installing full height windows would be preferable.
The board moved on to discuss the rear (east) elevation and the request to lower the rear entry door
to ground level. T. Puffer said that the door needed to be lowered to grade to provide the clearance
needed to access the garden level unit. S. Radtke asked if the stone lintel above the door would also
be lowered, or if a transom window would be added once the door is lowered. T. Puffer stated that a
glass transom window would be added above the door. S. Radtke asked if this would match the orig-
inal configuration of the rear entry door. J. Pesch noted that there were no historic photos showing
the rear of the building, but based on the split layout of the upper and garden levels, it was likely
that the door had always been similar to how it currently appeared. T. Puffer noted that lowering the
door to grade would cause the door to be slightly taller than it was now, but that it would attempt to
reference the front entry door’s original appearance (as depicted in the staff report historic photos).
S. Radtke asked if the windows would also attempt to match the original windows with a divided
light on top and single light on the bottom. T. Puffer confirmed that this was the plan.
A motion that the HDC approve the request to lower rear entrance to ground level; remove and replace
all existing aluminum windows with new black vinyl windows replicating the original window style
as closely as possible, fitting the original rough openings, and containing clear glass; replace all ex-
isting doors with new doors to match the windows in color; and add three egress windows for the new
garden level bedrooms that will align with the locations of the existing windows into the garden level
along the walkway on the north elevation and on the west elevation as long as the work meets all
zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained, was made by A. Riegler, supported by
T. Emory and unanimously approved, with S. Radtke, T. Emory, A. Riegler, and D. Gregersen voting
Case 2021-06 – 372 W. Muskegon Avenue (Garage Conversion to ADU). Applicant: Jonathan and
Morgan Witmer. District: Houston. Current Function: Garage/Storage. J. Pesch presented the staff
report. The applicant is seeking approval to add a new fiberglass entry door and construct a 12’x8’
composite deck as part of a larger project to convert loft space in an existing, detached garage into a
studio apartment – also known as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), or Carriage House Apart-
S. Radtke asked if the garage was new construction or was moved to this location along with the
house. J. Witmer stated that the house was moved in 2007 and the garage was new construction and
was finished around 2010 by the house’s previous owner. A. Riegler asked if the deck would be
sited closer to the street than the existing garage entry door and how high the deck would be built. J.
Witmer said that the deck would be built toward the street and that it would be about 30” above
grade, but that the drawing did not depict the downward sloping elevation moving from the existing
garage entry door toward the street. He noted that he planned to build the deck no more than 30”
above grade to avoid having to construct a railing around it.
S. Radke asked whether the new entry door to the proposed upper-level apartment would match the
existing garage entry door. J. Witmer stated that the two doors and associated trim would match ex-
actly and that he already had a replica left by the house’s previous owner. S. Radtke asked what
would be done with the area under the deck where it was raised above grade. J. Witmer said that he
was looking for direction from the HDC. The board discussed the stone foundation used on the main
house on the lot, and determined that there was no skirting already used on the house that could be
referenced on the new deck. It was decided that a detail similar to what is shown in the HDC’s local
standards would be appropriate for the new deck, and the vertical board drawing was the preferable
A motion that the HDC approve the request to add a new fiberglass entry door to match the existing
door and construct a 12’x8’ composite deck with skirting to match the vertical board drawing in the
City of Muskegon Local Historic District Standards to the existing detached garage as long as the
work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained, was made by T. Emory,
supported by D. Gregersen and unanimously approved, with S. Radtke, T. Emory, A. Riegler, and D.
Gregersen voting aye.
Case 2021-07 (Walk-on) – 1129 Peck Street (Accessible Ramp). Applicant: Step Up (Dick
Kamps). District: McLaughlin. Current Function: Residential. J. Pesch presented the walk-on case.
The applicant is seeking approval to install a new accessible ramp on the north side of the house. J.
Pesch shared plan and elevation drawings for the proposed ramp, and photos of the north side of the
house looking east toward Peck Street from the alley and west toward the alley from Peck Street.
D. Kamps noted that the ramp would lead from the alley, up toward Peck Street, to an existing side
porch and stated that the ramp would be hardly visible from the street. S. Radtke asked if the exist-
ing door was of an ADA-compliant size. D. Kamps stated that the door was ADA-compliant at 36”-
wide. S. Radtke asked what type of skirting was proposed for below the ramp. After further review
of the drawings and photos, the board agreed that the side of the ramp that would typically require
skirting was barely visible from the street. A. Riegler stated that if the ramp was on a primary eleva-
tion, the board would be more concerned with the ramp matching the house or having certain de-
tails. She noted that she was less concerned about these points due to the fact that the ramp would
not alter the house, could easily be removed, and was largely hidden from view. D. Gregersen added
that adding more details to the ramp would only draw more attention to it. S. Radtke pointed out that
the drawing showed a plain handrail on the ramp with it open underneath.
A motion that the HDC approve the request to construct a new accessible ramp along the north side
of the existing house at 1129 Peck Street as shown in the drawings reviewed at the March 2, 2021
HDC meeting (Attachment A, below) as long as the work meets all zoning requirements and the nec-
essary permits are obtained, was made by A. Riegler, supported by T. Emory and unanimously ap-
proved, with S. Radtke, T. Emory, A. Riegler, and D. Gregersen voting aye.
Work Completed Without HDC Approval – Staff Liaison to the HDC J. Pesch, Director of Devel-
opment Services L. Mikesell, Director of Public Safety J. Lewis (department overseeing SAFEbuilt),
and K. Spittler from SAFEbuilt, the building inspections department, met to discuss the ongoing prob-
lems with work being issued building permits prior to HDC review and/or approval. J. Pesch explained
that the meeting generated a few new means of catching this work before it was approved or shortly
thereafter. New strategies planned involved training more people to potentially catch building permits
submitted that require HDC review, namely the building inspectors. In addition to SAFEbuilt’s front
desk staff, the inspectors would be trained to recognize historic district properties via a number of
means including property “flags” in the building permit system, historic district address lists, and
historic district property maps. In addition to that, Staff and SAFEbuilt plan to institute an email alert
system that notifies Staff when a building permit is applied for at any property in a historic district. A
Stop Work Order will also be applied to every address in a historic district to require whoever pro-
cesses a building permit application to stop and evaluate the reason behind the Stop Work Order.
ELECTION OF CHAIR AND VICE CHAIR
At the February meeting, the HDC tabled a motion to retain S. Radtke as Chairperson and A. Riegler
as Vice Chairperson for the upcoming year due to A. Riegler’s absence at the meeting and resulting
inability to accept or reject the nomination.
S. Radtke had already accepted the nomination for Chairperson at the last meeting, and A. Riegler,
now in attendance, accepted the nomination for Vice Chairperson. A vote was taken and unanimously
approved, with S. Radtke, T. Emory, A. Riegler, and D. Gregersen voting aye.
2020 Staff Approval Review – J. Pesch provided an overview of the work that was approved by Staff
over the past year (Attachment B). The board discussed replacement of original windows on structures
within the HDC.
S. Radtke said that he would prefer that wood windows replacing original wood windows that are
original to the structure should come before HDC. J. Pesch noted that the two cases approved by
staff in 2020 either did not involve replacement of original windows or ended up coming before the
board for review.
A. Riegler noted that Staff would have to use some discretion when it comes to making these deci-
sions and that if there was any question that work would meet the Standards that it should be
brought before the board. S. Radtke explained that, for example, if a house with 140-year-old origi-
nal wood windows was requesting to remove and replace them with new wood windows constructed
of wood that was inferior to the original, he would prefer that such a case be brought to the HDC for
formal review. He said that unless replacement of original windows was an exact replacement, he
would be more comfortable with having the work reviewed by the HDC.
J. Pesch explained a pending application which requested replacing original wood windows with
new wood windows that were either vinyl- or aluminum-wrapped. He stated that similar requests
were received for varying quantities of windows on different structures in the historic districts, and
asked if there was a threshold for the extent of the proposed work or quantity of windows being re-
placed that the board would wish to have brought to them rather than approved by Staff.
A. Riegler stated that those decisions would depend on the historic significance of the structure in
question. S. Radtke responded that such a decision would put a considerable amount of pressure on
Staff to have to determine the historic or architectural significance of a structure. It was decided that
the HDC would ask to review any proposed work of this nature that involved replacement of more
than two windows or involved any windows on a primary elevation visible from the street or in-
volved more than two windows on a secondary elevation.
The board also asked for an update on an outstanding violation for work completed without HDC
approval at 1561 Peck Street and Staff provided an update on the ongoing issues with contacting the
Court system to set up a hearing.
Public Comment Period – Time was allotted for public comment with contact information provided.
No comments were received.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:19 p.m.
Minutes Attachment A
Minutes Attachment B
Roof, Fence, Window, Other
339 Houston – February 3, 2020 – Fence
127 E. Isabella – February 6, 2020 – Roof
1229 Peck – March 4, 2020 – Roof
512 W. Webster – March 5, 2020 – Window (Full approval)
32 Diana – April 16, 2020 – Roof
1219 Ransom – May 20, 2020 – Fence
579 W. Clay – June 3, 2020 – Fence
1649 Peck – June 3, 2020 – Fence
1668 Jefferson – July 1, 2020 – Fence
421 W. Webster – July 8, 2020 – Roof
1338 4th – July 8, 2020 – Roof
1261 Terrace July 16, 2020 – Roof
512 W. Webster – July 23, 2020 – Fence
511 W. Clay – August 5, 2020 – Windows
238 Houston – August 17, 2020 – Roof, Wood siding (Fire damage)
1467 Clinton – August 17, 2020 – Wood siding
1528 Clinton – August 25, 2020 – Roof
1653 Clinton – August 27, 2020 – Roof
320 Monroe – September 1, 2020 – Pavement
408 W. Muskegon – September 15, 2020 – Fence
1127 6th – October 7, 2020 – Roof
1522 Clinton – October 15, 2020 – Roof
280 W. Muskegon – October 22, 2020 – Repair/replacement of stone cornice
401 W. Western – October 29, 2020 – Replacement air handling unit
1105 Terrace – November 9, 2020 – Roof
112 Iona – November 30, 2020 – Roof
119 Delaware – December 10, 2020 – Roof
325 Houston – December 22, 2020 – Replace/repair flashing around dormer
1315 Ransom – December 29, 2020 – Roof
III. NEW BUSINESS
Case 2021-08 – 1752 Jefferson – Windows and Door
Applicant: Peggy and Rod Stone
Current Function: Residential
The applicant is seeking approval to 1) remove a window on the rear (east) side of the house to the
right of the back door, 2) replace a double wood casement window on the back of house with a
replacement wood window of the same size but with a single pane of glass, 3) remove a door on the
south side of house and side over the opening with matching wood siding, 4) remove a window on
the back patio area and replace it with a full view metal door stained to match the doors installed on
the front porch. Staff has approved a request to replace damaged wood siding with like material
retaining all exterior trim where possible.
View of house from corner of Jefferson Street and W. Larch Avenue, looking southeast
View of house from W. Larch Avenue looking south. Windows from (1) and (2) visible on rear of
house. (3) and (4) are around the back corner of the house near where the white fence is visible
(1) window to right of back door proposed to be removed
(2) double wood casement window to left of back door to be replaced with a window of the same
(3) door proposed to be removed and (4) window proposed to be replaced with a door on south side
Alternate view of (4) window proposed to be replaced with a door looking west toward Jefferson
WINDOW, DOOR, AND EXTERIOR WOODWORK STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES
These guidelines pertain only to proposed changes to the structure and do not affect existing con-
These guidelines are primarily directed toward the front and side elevations of the structure. Greater
variances and more leniency may be extended toward proposed changes to the rear elevation of the
building by the Commission. All desired or proposed changes should be referred to the Historic Dis-
trict Commission for consideration. Extenuating circumstances, the effect upon the architecture of
the particular structure together with the general effect upon the surrounding structures, variables in
architectural design, or the effect upon usage and viability of the structure could dictate a variance
from these guidelines.
No exterior doors, windows, or exterior woodwork shall be altered, removed, relocated, or added
without Historic District Commission approval.
Existing exterior window or door casings, sills, and caps shall not be altered from the original design
or appearance. Damaged or deteriorated wood shall be repaired as a first course of action. When
repair is not possible, elements shall be replaced with matching wood members. Damaged or deteri-
orated wood elements may be replaced or covered with formed aluminum or vinyl, subject to Com-
mission approval and provided that the original profile of the woodwork is not altered or changed.
Existing damaged or deteriorating window frames and sash shall be repaired as a first course of ac-
tion. When repair is not possible, elements shall be replaced with matching wood members. Metal or
vinyl replacement windows may be acceptable provided they match the original windows in design
and type and that they consist of or are painted an appropriate color. Bare metal finishes generally
will not be acceptable.
The size of glass lites and muntin arrangements shall not be altered without Commission approval.
Special glazing, such as stained or leaded art glass, shall not be removed without Commission ap-
proval. Unusual decorative windows such as Palladian windows, oriels, bays, Gothic arch or seg-
ment tops, etc. shall not be removed or altered.
Every effort should be made to preserve or repair the original doors where damage has occurred.
When repair is not possible, a new wood door may be used. Such new door shall match the original
in detail and finish.
The Commission may approve new wood doors that may slightly differ from the original in cases
where replicating the original may not be feasible, as long as such doors generally conform to the
ones illustrated on the attached sheet. Under certain circumstances, the Commission may approve
doors made of material other than wood provided they conform to the same design requirements.
Existing decorative woodwork such as railings, moldings, eave, and gable cornice trim, tracery, col-
umns, observatories, scrolls, bargeboards, lattice, and other carved or sawn wood ornament shall not
be removed or altered without Commission approval. Existing deteriorated ornamental woodwork
shall not be removed but shall be repaired or replaced with matching materials where possible.
I move that the HDC (approve/deny) the request to remove a window on the rear (east) side of the
house to the right of the back door, replace a double wood casement window on the back of house
with a replacement wood window of the same size but with a single pane of glass, remove a door on
the south side of house and side over the opening with matching wood siding, remove a window on
the back patio area and replace it with a full view metal door stained to match the doors installed on
the front porch as long as the work meets all zoning requirements and the necessary permits are
Case 2021-09 – 1129 Peck – Doors
Applicant: Step Up
Current Function: Residential
The applicant is seeking approval to replace the front (east) and side (north) exterior doors with the
one of the options for each shown below.
View of building from Peck Street, side door partially visible at right
Existing front door
Proposed replacement options for front door
Existing side door
Proposed replacement options for side door
See Window, Door, and Exterior Woodwork Standards and Guidelines in Case 2021-08, above
I move that the HDC (approve/deny) the request to replace the front (east) and side (north) exterior
doors with the option presented in the April 6, 2021 HDC staff report as long as the work meets all
zoning requirements and the necessary permits are obtained.
IV. OLD BUSINESS
477 W. Western Update – Staff reviewed the history of work completed at this property since 2018
and determined that the replacement door discussed at the March 2, 2021 HDC meeting did not
receive HDC approval, but was approved as part of the larger building permit for the conversion of
the former ground-floor retail space into a restaurant. The work did go through the site plan review
process, but did not come before the HDC Staff Liaison as it was not noted at the time as being
located in a historic district. Staff also has confirmed that building permits are required for
replacement of exterior doors.
V. OTHER BUSINESS
2021 HDC Goals – At a previous meeting, the HDC discussed goals for preservation in the City of
Muskegon that could be carried out by this board. Goals to be completed within the current year
- Mailings to property owners within the historic districts containing info on HDC procedures.
- Outreach to local realtors with literature highlighting benefits of properties in historic districts.
- Identify resources with particular historic significance to the Muskegon community.
- Evaluate other potential boundary updates/new historic districts adjacent to existing districts.
These topics can be discussed in more detail at upcoming meetings, and responsibilities and
timelines can be established to complete the tasks outlined.
2021 Staff Approval Update – Staff has approved five projects since the start of the year:
- 72 E. Grand – Re-roof with like materials
- 421 W. Webster – Replacement of two second-story wood windows on rear of house with
aluminum-clad wood windows fitting the same opening and with the same vertical mullions.
- 600 W. Clay – Reroof flat roof, removal of active growing tree and replacement with like brick
and mortar in a 6’-wide by 8’-tall area on the building’s east corner.
- 563 W. Western – Replacement of four wood double-hung windows with vinyl-wrapped wood
double hung windows of the same size and appearance. Repair and replace spalling face brick
and tuck point.
- 1752 Jefferson – Replacement of damaged wood siding with like materials retaining all exterior
trim where possible
Nelson House – Staff has been working with a group to save the historic Nelson House located at
1292 Jefferson (the former rectory for St. Jean’s Church). The current proposal involves moving the
house from its present location to a vacant lot owned by the City of Muskegon at 382 W. Muskegon
Avenue. Under this plan, the house would be moving from outside a historic district into the
Houston Historic District. No formal review or approval is being handled at this time, but Staff will
provide more information on the history of the house and the proposed move.
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