St. Charles Historic Preservation Commission considers establishing a new historic district
St. Charles Historic Preservation Commission met Wednesday, Feb. 1.
The Historic Preservation Commission reviews façade improvements and building permits for exterior work within the historic district and consults on projects for historic buildings.
Here are the minutes as provided by St. Charles:
CITY OF ST. CHARLES
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2017
Members Present: Chairman Norris, Bobowiec, Gibson, Smunt, Pretz, Kessler, Malay
Members Absent: None
Also Present: Russell Colby, Planning Division Manager
1. Call to order
Chairman Norris called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
2. Roll call
Mr. Colby called roll with all seven members present. There was a quorum.
3. Approval of Agenda
Liz Safanda from Preservations Partners asked to add an item under Public Comment.
4. Presentation of minutes of the January 18, 2017 meeting
A motion was made by Ms. Malay and seconded by Mr. Bobowiec with a unanimous voice vote to approve the minutes as presented.
5. COA: 10 Illinois Street (First Street Building #3)
Tom Russe and Jim Duncan, representatives from Sterling Bank, and Dan Marshall, from Marshall Architects, were present.
Mr. Marshall reviewed the proposed changes. He explained their original plan for the bank portion of the building called for four floors with the upper floor having a two-story ceiling height. The glass on the south elevation did not extend all the way up to the top. The plan now calls for this area to be five floors, so the glass had to be raised to provide windows for the new offices. The west side elevation will have residential double hung windows. The overall height and character of the building has not changed.
The location of the Sterling Bank signage will change and a new two story foyer will be added. Mr. Dunkin mentioned they are not allowing any additional signage for any future tenants. He noted they will most likely rent out two floors to just one tenant.
Commissioners expressed support for the proposed changes. Dr. Smunt said the new windows on the west elevation now provide a more balanced look. Mr. Bobowiec expressed particular approval of the new south entrance. He noted it provided a much more grand appearance.
A motion was made by Ms. Malay and seconded by Mr. Bobowiec with a unanimous voice vote to approve the COA as presented.
6. Additional Business or Observations from Commissioners or Staff
a. Façade Improvement Program update
b. Historic District Public Hearing on January 18, 2017 and Planning & Development Committee meeting on February 13, 2017
Mr. Pretz said the Planning & Development Committee (P&D) meeting is on February 13th and suggested the Historic Preservation Commission have representation there for the discussion on the recommendation for the new historic district. He felt it was important to have someone who could speak in detail and answer questions in a direct manner, without including any personal opinions.
Ms. Malay and Dr. Smunt said they will be at the meeting. Ms. Malay said she is working on a letter that describes the history of the Commission and includes facts as to how it has performed over the past 20 years.
Dr. Smunt felt the theme of their communication should be focused on how this designation will help make it a better community.
Liz Safanda from Preservation Partners said their vice president would like to read a letter at the P&D meeting in support of the new district.
Mr. Kessler said he renovated his home with a historic perspective in mind even though he was not subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction. He said he could speak as a resident to express how these types of projects have a positive impact on the community.
Ms. Malay noted the most difficult question she heard come out of the last meeting was “why do you have to regulate all of this area; why not just landmark specific properties that the Commission is concerned about?” Dr. Smunt mentioned they answer this by noting the impact one property has on its neighbors and neighborhood. A designated district would put everyone on equal terms. He said a landmark would have a positive impact on the neighbors, but the neighbors could have a negative impact on the landmark if they are not in the district. Ms. Malay said it protects an area versus just a building, and that has a greater impact on the community.
c. 619 W. Main St.
Eric Larson was present. He said he is considering purchasing the property at this address and was seeking feedback as to what he would or would not be able to do with the property if it should fall within the potential new historic district. Mr. Larson said he is planning on moving his current business into the space and having a compilation of some buildings tied together. He said the second house that also sits on the property [622 Walnut St.] has no value to him, but knows it may have some historical significance. Dr. Smunt indicated it has a contributing architectural style, but it is in very poor condition.
Dr. Smunt said if 622 Walnut St. is going to be torn down, he would like to see a proposal showing what is going to go in its place before he would approve the demolition. He would be looking for something that fits in with the neighborhood and adds to the greater good of the area while also showing sympathy to what was originally there. However, if the structure can be saved and still work in with Mr. Larson’s plan, he would be open to that option also. Mr. Gibson noted the Commission would also check if the building had any historical significance.
Chairman Norris said if the plans include developing most of the block, then the Commission would be looking to see how it blends in with the surrounding area. He noted the scale and proportion of the new project would need to take into consideration the existing commercial, residential and school buildings around it.
Ms. Malay advised Mr. Larson to think about his plans and bring it before the Commission for further discussion.
7. Meeting Announcements: Historic Preservation Commission meeting Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 7:00 P.M. in the Committee Room.
8. Public Comment
Liz Safanda from Preservations Partners provided a brief overview of the program they are hosting later this month about preservation and development working hand in hand. She noted it will include a lecture followed by a panel discussion. The event is February 25th, 9-11:30 a.m. at Batavia City Hall.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m
Organizations in this Story
2 East Main Street
Saint Charles, IL 60174