City of Aurora Preservation Commission met May 11.
City of Aurora Preservation Commission met May 11.
Here is the minutes provided by the Commission:
Call to Order:
Mr. Miller called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
The following Preservation Commission members were present: Fernando Castrejon, Mike Lord, Dan Miller, Jim Schweizer, Al Signorelli, Don Truax, and Mike Walker. Mr. Shelton and Mr. Vaughan called in and excused themselves from the meeting. Marissa Furneaux and Jose Garcia were absent.
The following staff members were present: Jill Morgan and Sue Jackson.
Sandra Tijerina (202 View N. Street) and Priscilla and David Ibarra (239 West Park Avenue).
Approval of Minutes:
17-00422 Approval of the Minutes for the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on April 13, 2017.
A motion was made by Mr. Truax, seconded by Mr. Castrejon, that the minutes be approved and filed. The motion carried by voice vote.
17-00417 April Historic Certificate of Appropriateness Report
There were no questions on the COA report.
16-00324 Certificate of Appropriateness to replace vinyl windows located at 202 N. View Street (Francisco Ramirez - L16-00324 / AU21/2-16.068-COA/HP - JH - Ward 4)
Mr. Miller said I reviewed the document that you sent us. It looks like the same thing we had last year. What are we talking about tonight?
Mrs. Morgan said I didn’t really update any of the package since it’s already been in there and this was the package that we basically put on hold the last time the applicant’s came in. If you recall, this was the violation for removing the historic windows and putting in vinyl windows. The applicant came before us and said that they are trying to sell the house so could they hold off on doing the recommendations to fix the violation and the Preservation Commission at that time agreed that they could hold off and try to sell it as is with the stipulation that there is full disclosure, including our Legal Department provided a form, which I provided to the applicant disclosing that as well. So the applicant is here today. They’ve had some interest in selling the property. Staff’s provided a letter stating that they are allowed to hold off on making the changes until it is sold and that the new buyer would then be responsible for the changes. So they are coming before you today to get a little more clarification on what they need to do to change, what windows will the new owners need to change. As you can see in the staff recommendation, and the Commission at the time originally did seem to agree with staff’s recommendation to replace the windows with a 12 over 1 wood window, a 9 over 1 wood window and a small 1 over 1 circular window in the gable and along a 12 over 1 on the elevation and a 9 over 1 on the elevation and you can see my details in the staff recommendation. I wanted to get the Preservation Commission’s clarification on is that specifically what the Commission is going to look for as far as fixing the violation, or would you be open to less multi-panes over less multi-panes. I’ll have the applicant come up. This is the owner’s daughter, who can kind of explain a little more.
I’m Sandra Tijerina. I met with you guys last time. So we have a buyer that’s interested in buying the house and we disclosed everything that needed to buy it. They went out and got pricing on the windows and it is $900 per window. So they were asking if the city would allow them to do storm windows on the outside of the street, you know the wood and everything how you would describe it, but the interior to be vinyl. There is a house across the street that has them that way. There are actually several houses down View Street and a few on Plumb Street that have the storm windows in wood already, so we just wanted to know would that be something that would be approved by you because the seller’s attorney is asking. He wanted me to ask, or come here and ask about that.
Mr. Truax said would the windows be wood, the storms?
Ms. Tijerina said the storms would, yes. It would just be the outside would still be the historical wood storm windows and then they would fix the upper window that was, you know how it was circular, but now it is square, they would fix that and then just do the outside so that from the street it still looks like wood, you know the wood storm windows.
Mrs. Morgan said when you say a storm window, usually storm windows are put like in front of a regular window. So would you leave the vinyl window?
Ms. Tijerina said the interior would be vinyl.
Mrs. Morgan said and then add a wood storm window, but the 1 over 1 wood storm window?
Ms. Tijerina said I’m not sure what 1 over 1 is.
Mrs. Morgan said the windows that were originally on the house had like small little panes. It was like 12 small little panes over like 1 large pane.
Ms. Tijerina said it had like squares.
Mr. Miller said there was one in the front that was 12 over 1. I’m not sure exactly what type of storm windows you are referring to, although I can’t really think of any situation where putting wooden storm windows over those vinyl windows could comply with the guidelines. The windows have to be replaced with wooden windows with the true divided lights, which that’s probably what they got the price on and it would be expensive to do that. I noticed one, it might be a typo here in the report, it says the south elevation should be replaced with two 12 over 1 wood windows. I think the original windows were actually 9 over 1 and that may save the buyer a couple of dollars. The big one in the front was a 12 over 1.
Mrs. Morgan said that elevation to me looked like it was 4 across. Was it not?
Mr. Miller said which elevation are we on? The one that’s on the screen right now that faces south, which is Spruce Street?
Mrs. Morgan said yes.
Mr. Miller said and those are 9 over 1.
Mrs. Morgan said okay I’m sorry. I thought they looked like 12 over 1.
Mr. Signorelli said has it been determined that these windows are not, the originals are not repairable?
Mrs. Morgan said they were thrown away.
Mr. Truax said they are vinyl.
Mr. Miller said these windows were removed and they put in vinyl.
Ms. Tijerina said the permit that we got from the city said that they could replace them. It didn’t say anything in the permit because we got copies of the permit. It doesn’t say anything that they need it. Like it didn’t give the contractor a description of what they needed to replace them with. So there was a bit of confusion and that’s why they were replaced with vinyl. I have the permit. We’ve got a copy of it. Unfortunately it doesn’t say what kind of windows they were allowed to replace them with. So the contractor replaced them with vinyl and then we got the notice to stop the work.
Mrs. Morgan said actually the notice was given before, the application for the windows came in after the notice was given. There was a violation issued and then the application came in for the vinyl.
Ms. Tijerina said the permit that we have, that we got from the city, I wish I would have brought it, it doesn’t state that.
Mrs. Morgan said the staff spoke to the owner, or spoke to the contractor, and said that it needed to be wood because the violation was for the replacing of the wood windows with vinyl.
Ms. Tijerina said I think it was done after he had already put them in.
Mrs. Morgan said yes, he came in after he had started to put them in because he got a violation issued for them, so he didn’t get the permit before he started the work.
Ms. Tijerina said I don’t know. I know that the permit doesn’t say wood. It just says that the city allows him to replace the windows. That’s all the permit said, so the contractor went with vinyl. Now we are kind of stuck in the middle because the contractor did what he had to do and now we’re the ones having to pay all this money to try to get this fixed and now if we sell the property, obviously the new owner is wanting to know if he can do it a different way because it is going to cost a lot of money. Not only that, but all the windows in this house had to be replaced because the wood was so deteriorated. Air comes right through it. There wouldn’t have been a way to save these windows at all. The house was totally damaged. It was a bank owned house. Everything was damaged in the house. So it’s not like we could save the windows or we could repair the windows, the windows were not in no way, shape or form able to be repaired.
Mr. Miller said when I looked at the house before you bought it the windows were fine. The 2 in the back needed replaced. The others just needed some upkeep.
Ms. Tijerina said because if you stood in the window you could literally feel the air.
Mr. Miller said they can be repaired.
Ms. Tijerina said they could?
Mrs. Morgan said yes they can. Unfortunately if someone who actually had known, not just a contractor who just dealt with replacement windows, but a contractor who dealt with like restoration, they can do a lot with a window to take it out and re-caulk it and re-seal it. A lot of the air leakage is through the seal and even use like an epoxy for the portions of it that is deteriorated. A contractor who knew what they were doing, a wood contractor, would have a good chance of repairing them. Just a point, and I think I’ve had conversations with people interested in it, I told them I would permit simulated divided light windows and not true divided light as well, which is a little cheaper than a true divided light window.
Mr. Schweizer said would you repeat that? It didn’t come through.
Mrs. Morgan said I would permit, I had a couple of conversations with people interested, I don’t know if it is this buyer particularly, but that I would allow a simulated divided light window where you have the muttons on both the exterior and interior, so like a spacer to give that illusion of a true divided light. The National Park Service also has approved these.
Mr. Miller said is anyone familiar with those?
Mr. Truax said yes. I designed them for a house I built in Michigan. It is fine. They look pretty good. They are dual pane glass with the divided lights on the inside that do come off so you can take them off and wash the window without.
Mr. Signorelli said would they be metal or wooden?
Mr. Truax said wood. They would have to be a wood, right, to meet the guidelines.
Mr. Miller said the simulated muttons I’m familiar with don’t give you any sense of depth.
Mr. Truax said well you don’t see, you’ve got to be staring straight at them to see them, particularly because of the dual pane glass in the ones I have, but from the road it looks like divided lights.
Mr. Miller said do our guidelines permit us to use that? I’ve never heard this before.
Mr. Truax said I don’t think it is in our guidelines.
Mrs. Morgan said it doesn’t state either way. From my experience, Preservation Commissions usually allow simulated and even the National Park Service has allowed simulated divided lights, particularly when you can’t restore the historic wood windows and you are going with some type of replacement windows to allow the simulated divided light windows.
Mr. Signorelli said that seems like a pretty fair compromise all things given because obviously cost is huge issue and the originals are gone, so that sounds like a compromise and since it doesn’t appear in the guidelines that it can’t be done, it sounds like a good compromise.
Mr. Truax said do we have an idea how much cheaper that is over the true divided light windows?
Mrs. Morgan said I do not. I have a feeling that if the potential buyer she has interest in has spoken to me then they probably looked at simulated divided light and not true divided light because that is what I have told a couple potential people who called about the violation and wanted more information on it.
Mr. Truax said does anyone have enough knowledge, I don’t, whether or not you can actually buy without having them custom made, true divided light windows?
Mr. Castrejon said it just depends on the size of the opening.
Mr. Truax said well it is a big opening.
Mr. Miller said I kind of assume that the 12 over 1 in the middle would be a custom. I don’t know.
Mr. Truax said my guess is you are right.
Mr. Miller said the oval shaped window in the attic peak, I’m not sure where you get that either.
Mr. Truax said the 2 on the second floor, again, those would be difficult to replace, but I suspect as you said, you can repair them.
Mr. Castrejon said I’m going through the file old and new and I can’t seem to find it. Were all windows replaced?
Ms. Tijerina said the upper windows were replaced.
Mr. Miller said just the second floor.
Mr. Castrejon said all around?
Ms. Tijerina said yes.
Mr. Miller said and then the oval shaped attic window in the front was replaced.
Ms. Tijerina said right.
Mr. Truax said with a non-oval.
Mr. Miller said with the rectangular shape?
Mr. Truax said yes.
Mr. Castrejon said so is this something is supposedly visible from the street?
Mrs. Morgan said it is a corner lot as well.
Mr. Miller said I think there may be a couple of questions here. The first one the Petitioner came asking about is would the new owner be permitted to just put wooden storms over the vinyl windows? I can’t see any situation where that would suffice.
Mr. Truax said I agree.
Mr. Miller said I wouldn’t want them to waste any time looking into investigating storm windows that they could put over the existing windows.
Mr. Schweizer said that doesn’t address the original citation, which was the vinyl windows.
Mr. Miller said it doesn’t. Although Jill has investigated the simulated divided lights and if there is some advantage to using those.
Mr. Truax said particularly if it is dual pane. Now the energy efficiency is a good bit higher and you don’t really need a storm.
Mr. Miller said okay. That’s good feedback too. The south elevation would actually be 9 over 1 wood windows, so just maybe a typo there.
Mrs. Morgan said so I guess another question is does the Commission feel that staff’s recommendation, other than the error of the if they are 9 over 1 on the elevation and not 12 over 1, that they need to replace with a multi-pane over 1 and not like 1 over 1 just wood window?
Mr. Miller said they should be the old type.
Mr. Schweizer said if you are asking should we go with the original recommendation the answer would be yes.
Mr. Miller said I don’t see it written here, but the frames around the windows were apparently wrapped in aluminum or something and that would need to come off as well. The windows had wooden surrounds originally, as the first floor windows still do.
Mrs. Morgan said any other comments?
Mr. Castrejon said in order to facilitate the sale, are we willing to allocate a specific amount of time that they can progressively get this done versus all at once?
Mrs. Morgan said originally when it was the current owner under their situation and everything, we were giving them time. Typically when it was something purchased like this we were saying it needed to be done more quickly since they are aware of it going in, but we can also just give them time a well.
Mr. Miller said is anyone opposed to giving the new owners the new time?
Mr. Truax said I think it is a good idea.
Mr. Miller said I think so too.
Mr. Schweizer said 6 months?
Mr. Truax said they have to be done by the end of the year, so I guess it would be 6 months.
Mr. Schweizer said it depends on when it sells.
Mrs. Morgan said or do you want to break it up so they can have 2 seasons to do it?
Mr. Signorelli said so make it like next summer then to give them the rest of this summer and this fall and then next spring and summer of next year?
Mr. Miller said you mean by the end of 2018?
Mr. Signorelli said yes.
Mr. Schweizer said then you are back to a year and a half, so just say a year and a half.
Mr. Miller said that would be fair.
Mr. Schweizer said from the point of sale.
Mrs. Morgan said so you could go back and tell the potential buyers that they have a year and a half from the time of sale to fix. It that way they can break up the cost of it through a year and a half and see what they think of that.
Ms. Tijerina said if you could just send me something in writing because I have to give it back to the attorney, so they are probably going to ask for something from the city in writing that you are agreeing and what exactly it is that you are agreeing to. The other thing I wanted to ask is if it falls apart, the deal, because of this are we still able to keep it on the market to try to sell it and see if we can sell it to somebody else. It’s been on the market for a year. We’ve lowered it. It is one of the cheapest houses in the City of Aurora right now and we are having a hard time selling it just because of the violation. There’s not much more we can do.
Mrs. Morgan said I think we would hold to the original.
Mr. Schweizer said it doesn’t matter who the buyer is, the deal would still be good, right?
Mr. Miller said yes.
Mr. Schweizer said on a positive note, the market is getting much better for sellers.
Ms. Tijerina said it is. I’m a realtor so I know. I’ve had such a hard time with this one though.
Mr. Miller said the attorney needs something from Jill. How do you feel about stating specifically that the aluminum wrapping, what’s called a window frame, should be removed?
Mrs. Morgan said so for clarification, and for the record, the Preservation Commission is agreeing to allow a new owner a year and a half from the time of sale to fix the windows according to staff’s recommendation and staff’s recommendation is that the front windows should be replaced with one 12 over 1 wood window flanked by two 9 over 1 windows with a small 1 over 1 wood window with a circular wood frame in the gable end. The south elevation should be replaced with two 9 over 1 wood windows and the north elevation should be replaced with a 9 over 1 wood window and the aluminum window frame should be replaced with the wood window frame.
Mr. Truax said the north elevation, is that visible from the street?
Mrs. Morgan said the rear elevation?
Mr. Truax said yes.
Mrs. Morgan said barely.
Mr. Truax said I mean if it was really not visible, if it was really in the middle of the block then you could do other things with the rear windows.
Mrs. Morgan said correct. The rear windows we did say can remain as is.
Mr. Miller said in this case, the rear windows really are visible too, but we’ll say that when you can see the rear windows, you are actually standing outside the district.
Mr. Signorelli said Jill, could a window be considerably cheaper, I know we are talking either 12 over 1 or 9 over 1. Could there be a considerable savings if it was less than 9 over 1, say 6 over 1?
Mr. Truax said not if it is not true divided lights. If it is really just the lights on the back side it doesn’t make a difference.
Mrs. Morgan said and I would assume if the size was custom adding a 9 over 1 as opposed to 6 over 1 wouldn’t make much of a difference.
Mr. Signorelli said the other question I have is anybody familiar with wood frame combination storms and screens and could that be something that could be placed over the vinyl windows possibly? I know that is kind of a little bit out there.
Mr. Schweizer said well the original citation was for the vinyl windows. We are stuck with that. The vinyl windows have to come out and be replaced, so we can’t take a storm window, whether it’s divided wood and screen, panel and screen, you still have to address the vinyl windows.
Mr. Truax said we are not really addressing the fact that they probably do need screens, but that’s not part of this issue.
Mrs. Morgan said it is up to the Commission. They were originally cited for the vinyl windows.
Mr. Schweizer said I think the guidelines are pretty clear and we don’t want the guidelines to start falling part.
Mrs. Morgan said I was just making a point that the Commission does have discretion.
Mr. Schweizer said no it would be a bad precedent.
Ms. Tijerina said so with the north window not being visible is that okay not to replace?
Mrs. Morgan said yes those are the rear windows and those do not need to be replaced, but the front and the side elevations do.
Ms. Tijerina said so the front and the south side?
Mrs. Morgan said both sides.
Mr. Miller said well this recommendation does include the north window you are asking about too as are the ones on the back, which would be the west side.
Ms. Tijerina said right.
Mr. Miller said those could stay. That was my joke that you can see them from street, but you are probably standing outside the district.
Mrs. Morgan said I’m sorry, I’m not sure what the direction is. The rear elevation was the only one that could remain as is.
Mr. Miller said right.
Ms. Tijerina said okay, so the north you guys won’t agree to because you really can’t see it from the street, the north one.
Mr. Miller said well we can see the side elevation. Other people have come and argued they should be able to replace windows on the sides and we’ve told them no.
Mr. Truax said this is a corner lot.
Mrs. Morgan said you’re taking the interior side.
Mr. Miller said she is speaking of the north side because the window that was replaced on the north side of the house, in the picture there you can see where the frame has been covered with like a white covered aluminum or vinyl or whatever that is. That window was replaced also. That one is in a bathroom.
Mrs. Morgan said does the Commission have any thoughts? So we’re talking about the interior side toward the rear on the second floor.
Ms. Tijerina said it is the one on the top.
Mrs. Morgan said on the top.
Mr. Truax said just the very rear one and not the one on the bump-out?
Ms. Tijerina said it is the bathroom one, so it is the one on the top. You really can’t see it.
Mr. Miller said the window in the bump-out is actually a leaded glass and the one in the staircase is a leaded glass. They are very nice actually.
Ms. Tijerina said those are still there.
Mr. Miller said and then that one replaced, that’s a vinyl. It’s in the bathroom.
Ms. Tijerina said it is the one in the back.
Mr. Miller said would anyone think it is appropriate to allow the vinyl and simply remove the cladding from the frame so that the wooden frames on that side of the house would all match?
Ms. Tijerina said you want us to like make it the same color as the rest of the windows? Is that what you’re saying?
Mr. Miller said no. It needs to be wood. The frame around the window would need to be wood. I’m just asking the Commissioners.
Mr. Schweizer said the back window in the bathroom, that is part of the original citation, correct?
Ms. Tijerina said yes.
Mr. Schweizer said so then we would be splitting the citation.
Mr. Signorelli said but it is only the one window on the one side and what is sticking out is the frame around it. If that were gone, it would not be very noticeable.
Mr. Miller said I see this house sitting in my living room. I’m the one looking at it.
Mrs. Morgan said we have allowed some more flexibility with interior rear, the rear portions of interior side lots. The corner lot has been a lot more stringent. That’s just putting it out there, not saying either way, just to see what the Commission thinks.
Mr. Miller said does anyone have any feelings on the bathroom window. We’ve done some discretion with what’s visible on the street. It’s visible. I can see it sitting in my living room.
Mr. Signorelli said well I don’t have a problem with that one window on that side of the house if that vinyl frame is removed and wood is put back and the frame appears to look exactly like the other windows on that side. I would be okay with that.
Mr. Miller said the frame should be wooden and the style would match the other windows.
Mr. Signorelli I understand that it strays slightly from what was originally talked about, but again, it seems to be a little bit of a compromise that I could live with. It would save the homeowner a little bit of money anyway with not having to replace that window.
Mrs. Morgan said does anyone else have any thoughts? Is that agreement across the board? Anybody disagree?
Mr. Castrejon said I’m good with that.
Mr. Miller said I think we are all good with that.
Mr. Signorelli said I have one more quick question. The top attic window in the front façade of the house, would that window need to be replaced also, or again, could that frame around it just be replaced with what looks original?
Mr. Miller said the original window was an oval shape and the original frame actually had a key in the top. You can see the remains of the key a little bit.
Mr. Truax said yes you can.
Mr. Miller said so Jill, whatever you write should specify that the frame around the attic window would be returned to the oval shape.
Mrs. Morgan said I thought it did.
Mr. Miller said with the key in the top. Now as I look at this picture again, is the window itself a rectangular? Okay the window itself is rectangular. The frame would have to go back to an oval shape.
Ms. Tijerina said so just the frame is what you need?
Mr. Miller said it needs to have a wooden frame and an oval shape with the key in the top. We can still see the key in the new picture. There is still a little bit of it showing. It may have been planed down so it doesn’t project anymore, but the remains of it are still there.
Ms. Tijerina said I don’t know what the key looks like.
Mr. Schweizer said it is just a little piece of wood that goes like this.
Mr. Miller said you can see the remains of it above the window.
Mr. Signorelli said it really needs that arch to balance those other 2 small windows just below it.
Mr. Miller said I’m glad the other 2 small windows on the second floor are still there. It is interesting. Those are little windows that go into closets. I think they open, don’t then?
Ms. Tijerina said yes.
Mr. Signorelli said it is great house.
Mr. Miller said it is a beautiful house.
Mrs. Morgan said so I guess clarify just to change staff’s recommendation, the Commission will allow the vinyl on the interior elevation to remain as long as the wood frame is returned and it is painted and similar to the wood frames on the interior side elevation.
Mr. Miller said yes, a wooden frame the same style as the original wood frames.
Ms. Tijerina said and then the window on the north, I think we agreed that you would allow us to do the wood frame on the window on the north side with the bathroom.
Mr. Miller said that’s what she was just stating. She was calling it the interior elevation at the north side.
Ms. Tijerina said I thought she was meaning the top window.
Mrs. Morgan said the bathroom window. I will write something up and send that to you. If any buyers have any more questions, feel free to have them give me a call.
Ms. Tijerina said thank you. I really appreciate it.
Mr. Miller said well thank you for coming. I’m glad you found a buyer. Do we need a motion for that?
Mr. Truax said we probably do.
Mr. Miller said can you read off what you have down?
Mrs. Morgan said so if we motion and approve, this will officially approve this recommendation and it will be in our system as approved final and if there were any more changes it would have to come back through the process.
Mr. Miller said I think what the Commissioners were referring to is you made changes to the recommendations that were in the document.
Mrs. Morgan said staff’s recommendation is approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace the 4 front windows and 2 windows on the south elevation within a year and a half of purchase by the new owner. The front window should be replaced with 1 12/1 wood window flanked by 2 9/1 wood windows with a small 1/1 wood window with a circular frame with keystone in the gable end. The south elevation should be replaced with 2 9/1 wood windows. The north elevation window frame should be replaced with a wood window frame that matches the surrounding windows, but the vinyl window can remain.
Motion of Approval was Made by: Don Truax
Motion of Approval was Made by: Al Signorelli
Mr. Miller said I think from what I heard, we still need an addition that all the other vinyl, or aluminum frames, will be replaced with wood.
Mrs. Morgan said yes, all the all the aluminum window frames will be replaced with wood window frames.
Ayes: Fernando Castrejon, Mike Lord, Dan Miller, Jim Schweizer, Al Signorelli, Don Truax, Mike Walker
17-00413 Certificate of Appropriateness to install cement board siding instead of repairing original wood clapboard at 239 West Park Avenue (David Ibarra - 17-00413/ AU22/1-17.086-COA/HP - JM -Ward 6)
Mrs. Morgan said the home was built in 1907. It is an American Four Square style. The Petitioner is asking instead of repairing the original siding to replace it with cement board. This is the house currently. It was covered in aluminum siding that has been damaged by hail. So currently the applicant has removed just a rear section of it, and you can see that here. Here is the original siding underneath. It is missing some of the edge boards.
Mr. Miller said I see in the picture that it appears the drip edge has been removed.
Mrs. Morgan said yes. To note, the applicant has also informed staff that there was a fire at this house in the attic and that they had to replace some of the boards in the attic. They don’t know how far that went out. It could have damaged additional siding on the second story. This is coming before the Commission because they are appealing staff’s recommendation that the original wood siding should be repaired rather than covered with the cement board and they are using a Hardi board material. Staff would be willing to reevaluate it once they removed anymore and if there was 51% damaged.
My name is Priscilla. I’m here with my dad, David Ibarra. He is the house owner. Originally when we bought the house, it was not disclosed to us that there was a fire starting from the kitchen that went up to the second floor, all the way to the rooftop. So us removing just the aluminum, there is a chance that we cannot replace it back if it is not 50% damaged. Just us removing it, contractors are charging us from $2,000 to $3,000 just for removal. So that’s pretty much an up cost for us and not have really an idea of what they are going to charge us to repair the wood. There are a lot of pieces missing. There are a lot of nail holes where the nails are at. When we replaced last summer the roof beams, we had to replace pretty much the whole roof from just the burning, from the burning from the kitchen floor, which is where you guys are seeing all the way to the top. We prefer, just cost-wise, we don’t have the money to restore the wood. It is an up cost to us. We were actually able to afford the Hardi board. My dad and my mom are actually retired so the funding is very minimal.
Mr. Truax said do you have an estimate for repairing the wood siding?
Ms. Ibarra said they don’t really give us an estimate until it is fully off. They tell us we are roughly looking at over $30,000 to $40,000. For instance, it is going to have to be custom made wood to match what it originally has now. They said it could go anywhere, more than $40,000.
Mr. Truax said what they are telling you is you can’t buy lap siding of that style?
Ms. Ibarra said yes. They said that it has to be actually ordered, custom made because the wood that it has now they don’t sell at just any store.
Mr. Truax said I’m surprised that they told you that.
Mr. Miller said I bought some at a lumber store.
Ms. Ibarra said they we were not able to go back to Menards or Home Depot and buy it from there because it is a different material that they have now.
Mr. Schweizer said Menards and Home Depot aren’t lumber yards.
Ms. Ibarra said if you think about it, the up cost of keeping it and painting it is just, you know, for their fixed income, it is not in their price range.
Mr. Truax said I think you need to have an estimate of what the real cost is from somebody other than somebody who says they have to have it custom made.
Mr. Schweizer said you might want to have 2 or 3 contractors give you estimates.
Ms. Ibarra said well we have different contractors and pretty much they want us to remove the whole aluminum siding off for them to actually give us an actual price. They can’t give us a price until everything is fully off and they are able to see the whole wood from the whole house.
Mr. Truax said this reminds me a little bit of the Farnsworth House toilets where the plumber said they couldn’t fix them. It was built in 1950. Of course they could fix them, but they didn’t want to.
Mr. Schweizer said actually it reminds me of another house on West Park where they said they couldn’t repair the wood siding and had to replace it with vinyl and that building is going to get a Mayor’s Award for excellence in preservation because they didn’t put vinyl siding on it and repaired the wood. Don’t always trust what your contractor is telling you.
Ms. Ibarra said we’ve been through different contractors. They won’t give us an actual estimate until the whole aluminum.
Mr. Truax said that I understand.
Ms. Ibarra said so they are telling us we can’t get a price. They could give us a rough number, but the thing is if we remove that siding we are stuck repairing. We are able to afford right now the Hardi board. With the insurance that we have, we have to have the house repaired within less than a month for us to be able to even get that insurance money to help fix the house. All we are trying to do is just make the house more presentable. You can see a lot of hail damage.
Mr. Schweizer said you are saying you are going to put the Hardi board on top of the aluminum?
Mr. Truax said no.
Mr. Schweizer said well you’ve got to remove the aluminum either way then, right? So it doesn’t matter.
Mrs. Morgan said their contractor, who does the cement board, wouldn’t charge them for removing the siding if they went with their product to install the cement board.
Mr. Miller said so it is a contractor/Hardi board salesman.
Mrs. Morgan said what is the cost for the Hardi board?
Ms. Ibarra said the cost right now for the Hardi board, we are looking at $15,000. Then we had another one close to $22,000.
Mrs. Morgan said now I would also say that if we do, this is not staff’s recommendation, but whenever we do allow the cement board, it does need to be in the same reveal, so it’s going to be a smaller reveal, which might also up the cost. I don’t know what they quoted you for. They probably quoted for the widest they can get, which would be less material. We would require a smaller reveal. The Preservation Commission has usually approved a smaller reveal that would match it more historically. That’s the amount of siding shown once they overlap it.
Mr. Miller said as we met last year, we discussed the Hardi board and under what conditions we could allow it. We decided on guidelines then that I think we have to stick with. If you could show us over 51% destroyed then you could have the option of replacing with the Hardi board. From what we can see here, this looks fine to me. You need to replace the drip edge. The siding is in good condition. Nail holes don’t mean that it can’t be used. Mine has nail holes in it too. Another option is it sounds like your contractor really is a Hardi board dealer of some sort.
Ms. Ibarra said no. They do vinyl. Since we know off the back vinyl is out of the question, we kind of wanted to do at least the Hardi board. We are able to afford it
Mr. Miller said it sounds like Hardi board is something that he is comfortable doing.
Ms. Ibarra said just because the house as it is, is all wood inside the house, so as it is with the aluminum siding and the insulation, the house is still very cold. So cost-wise, bearing it down to just wood it is going to cost us even more just to keep the house warm enough for them.
Mr. Truax said and you are saying Hardi board is a good insulator? It’s not.
Ms. Ibarra said I mean, it is going to have a little bit.
Mr. Truax said it’s not. It is cement.
Mr. Miller said to continue on, the train of thought I was following is we have to kind of follow the rules that we set down ahead of time. I’m not certain you have the right contractor, and I apologize you are having these problems with contractors. I’ve had some problems with contractors as well.
Ms. Ibarra said we’ve been through various ones since last year.
Mr. Miller said we have allowed another product. We have a house with a finger jointed wood. It is a less expensive board. It is not a solid piece of wood all the way across. They piece something together. After you paint the clapboard, it doesn’t look any different. I remember the difference on cost was quite dramatic.
Mrs. Morgan said yes and that one I did an inspection on that one recently and I thought it looked like you couldn’t tell.
Mr. Miller said isn’t he a retired painter, so the paint was probably done pretty well.
Mrs. Morgan said but that is another material to consider.
Ms. Ibarra said what is it called?
Mr. Miller said it is a finger jointed clapboard. On that particular house, the numbers that he came up with, the difference in price was pretty dramatic.
Mrs. Morgan said almost in half wasn’t it?
Mr. Miller said yes, much less expensive. If I can’t tell the difference after you paint it, it doesn’t matter to me. Unless we determine the product is not really durable or something like that, it should be permitted. I don’t have any evidence that it is. It is just another option to look at.
Ms. Ibarra said will we need to take out a permit to be able to do the finger jointed material?
Mr. Miller said I think that Jill can approve that.
Mrs. Morgan said I could approve it, but you would need a permit for the restoration of the siding with finger jointed board filler.
Mr. Miller said and then there is a piece called a drip edge that would need to be replaced there.
Mr. Truax said and some corner boards.
Mr. Miller said and some corner boards, yes.
Mr. Schweizer said but don’t let that scare you.
Mr. Miller said a carpenter experienced at working in these older homes can do that.
Ms. Ibarra said we actually had a few carpenters go over and they looked at it and we told them we were historic and they pretty much never called us back. We had a lot of people. As soon as we said historic guidelines, we don’t get a call back.
Mrs. Morgan said maybe afterwards if anyone is familiar with some thoughts on that, maybe you can share them with the applicant.
Ms. Ibarra said as soon as we say we’re in a historic area, the Tanner, they literally don’t return the phone calls. We had major problems with contractors as soon as we say we are historic and permits have to go in, they are like okay we’ll give you a call back in a few days and we don’t get that phone call.
Mr. Miller said I’ve been there myself.
Mr. Schweizer said we all have.
Ms. Ibarra said we’ve been trying for a long time and as soon as we say we are in the historic area, they don’t want to call us back.
Mr. Signorelli said I have to say that we are facing a situation here that we’ve faced so many times before and although you are saying there could be some fire damage in other parts of the house, what we’re looking at really is in quite good condition and many, many homeowners in Aurora have been in the same situation you’re in and have torn off vinyl siding and repaired or replaced bad board, bad pieces of clapboard that needed to be taken care of, and it has been less expensive or not much more expensive than putting a different material over it or tearing it off.
Mr. Lord said I agree with that too. What’s your main goal with this house? What do you want to do? Do you want to restore it with that original siding that’s there? If it was mine, I’d be looking at that original siding and wanting that back and not have that vinyl because the value of that house is going to go up a lot if that is repaired the way it is supposed to. It will look original.
Ms. Ibarra said the only thing is cost-wise we have such a small budget.
Mr. Lord said but these estimates I’m hearing, I mean I’m a carpenter, and I’m hearing these estimates of $15,000 and $22,000 and what I would do is I would tear that vinyl off and I would repair that siding. That can be repaired. If you are looking at the siding where it needs a lot of paint repair, because it doesn’t look like it needs a lot of paint repair, but there will be an expense to paint the whole house too. That could be $1,000 right there once it’s all done, but you can imagine when it’s done how it will look where if it is vinyl siding it is going to look just like another regular house.
Ms. Ibarra said our only problem is the painting plus the repair cost just adds put to an amount that.
Mr. Lord said so you need to get other estimates because those do not seem right. I would be looking at repair estimates first because I could make that custom wood on the job site right there, planing to the thickness and to the width.
Mr. Signorelli said what I would do is call up all of my family members and say today you are tearing off vinyl siding and you would at least removed that expense and I think you can sell it, cant’ you? Not for much.
Mr. Truax said I think it is aluminum.
Mr. Lord said you can’t assess this project until all that aluminum is off and go from there.
Mr. Signorelli said they are usually easy to take off.
Mr. Miller said aluminum comes off easily.
Mr. Lord said but you might be having a hidden gem under that stuff with that wood and it might be okay.
Mr. Miller said I think what they are trying to point out to you is you could remove all the aluminum, and we don’t know if there is any damage like in the back where there was a fire, but that could be replaced with a finger jointed product, which is a lot less expensive and the rest of this you can keep. That costs a lot less then what you are being told. I think these estimates maybe are for re-siding the entire house or something like that, which it doesn’t appear you need to do. You need to replace the drip edge and some corner boards and if perhaps there is some fire damage on the back where the boards were singed, I would want to replace that.
Ms. Ibarra said definitely. When it came to the roof, the roof was just redone. From the inside of our attic we were able to see still a lot of burnt frame, so we got a lot of the frame redone. We’re just scared how bad is it damaged still underneath all that aluminum. Every time we have somebody come out and we try to get those estimates done, we are not getting called back.
Mr. Schweizer said don’t feel persecuted though. If you have a brand new house they will do the same thing to you. We have new construction on the far east side and we don’t get call backs from plumbers or electricians either.
Mrs. Morgan said are there any other thoughts? Do you want to vote?
Mr. Truax said I think we are stuck. I think we need to know what the condition is under the aluminum siding before we could make a decision.
Mr. Schweizer said we can’t decide on the Hardi board because we don’t know what’s under the aluminum siding. It has to be 51% gone before we can approve the Hardi board. So one way or the other, the aluminum is going to have to come off. The question is what do you see under it, but if we can’t see it we can’t say.
Mr. Castrejon said but on the other hand, we are trying to help you to say do a little more research, consider this other product and try to save some money.
Ms. Ibarra said I guess he just doesn’t want to tear it off and it not be 50% damaged and he is only able to afford so much and leave the house half way restored.
Mr. Castrejon said but again, as we said, maybe you can get some information before you leave on this other product and maybe get some pricing on that and be surprised.
Mr. Miller said I think even if you did have to replace some boards on the back that have been singed, that could still end up being cheaper than Hardi board. I’m always told the Hardi board is not a cheap product itself.
Mr. Schweizer said I’m going to guess that this is probably balloon construction, so those side walls would have an open space between where the fire probably went up through like a flue, so the fire damage is probably fairly narrow until it got to the roof when it spread out, so you may get lucky and you may only see 16 inches of fire damage up the middle of the house. It may not be as bad as you think it is.
Mr. Truax said and until you take off the aluminum siding you won’t know.
Mr. Miller said thank you everyone for your input. I would like to throw out you have a beautiful house. I’m a little bit jealous.
Ms. Ibarra said we’ve been told and we’re just trying to just make it look nicer and more presentable from the inside. We have been restoring the inside wood flooring, frames, everything. We keep it as is. We don’t change the color of the wood floors, but we’re just trying to make it more presentable from the outside because it needs it.
Mr. Truax said and as you probably know, we don’t regulate what you do inside at all.
Ms. Ibarra said I know, but we want to preserve it. It is gorgeous. We love it.
Mr. Miller said the lady who lives next door to you used to be the Director of Historic Preservation for the city and she was always a big admirer of that house. Thank you so much for repairing the roof. I know that’s a big job and it costs a lot of money. All of our homes need that. It is a big job, but it keeps the house good for another generation.
Mr. Truax said just to give you a feeling, when we bought in 87, there were 6 big aluminum roasting pans in the attic catching the water that was coming through the roof. Guess what? We had to replace the roof.
Ms. Ibarra said we had to redo the whole roof just because we saw the frames black from the fire so we’re just trying to keep the house just more presentable from the outside. Thank you.
Mr. Truax said what are we deciding?
Mr. Schweizer said I think we have to deny the current one.
Mr. Miller said can we table this?
Mr. Schweizer said I think we have to table it.
Mr. Truax said if you deny it, you can’t do anything.
Mr. Schweizer said we are going to have to table it.
Motion to Table the COA was Made by: Al Signorelli
Motion Seconded by: Don Truax
Ayes: Fernando Castrejon, Mike Lord, Dan Miller, Jim Schweizer, Al Signorelli, Don Truax, Mike Walker
Mr. Schweizer said I’d like to ask the Commission to allow me to make a motion for a discussion of a non-agenda item for discussion purposes only for a change in the historic guidelines to allow the installation of solar shingles, building integrated photovoltaic technology and building applied photovoltaics.
Mr. Truax said second. The motion carried.
Mr. Schweizer said so as you may remember at the last Preservation Commission, Don Truax brought up the need for roofing repairs and I had mentioned that solar shingles are coming down the pipe and if you are watching TV today, there was a solar world-wide symposium going on and Tesla decided to make a bunch of really cool announcements about solar shingles and the fact that they are going to be going into full production this summer. Before we get to that, I’d like to read to you a letter that I sent to members of city staff, and again, this for discussion only.
"At the end of the last Preservation Commission meeting, the topic of roofing repairs was brought up by Don Truax. I added that the Commission should also be considering emerging green roofing technologies such as solar shingles.
Green technology and historic preservation should not viewed as mutually exclusive. The Aurora Preservation Commission needs to be proactive regarding ordinances pertaining to energy efficient modifications on historic properties, specifically, solar shingles which mimic the look of traditional shingles.
Historic preservation commissions that are not prepared to review this emerging solar technology risk irritating a growing populist movement and casting preservation in a bad light. I am not proposing changes in which solar panels would be allowed in historic districts without any regard for aesthetic considerations. I'm referring specifically to solar shingles and building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology and building-applied photovoltaics, or BAPV. However, a general discussion addressing emerging technologies and materials should also be undertaken. A policy regarding the review of emerging technology options should be incorporated in the Guidelines.
The Commission should also review solar access laws within Illinois specifically, are there provisions for the removal of protected trees that block direct sunlight, establishment of solar easements (which secure solar access by regulating actions of neighboring properties), the nullification of any regulation that may prohibit the installation of solar energy systems, and declarations that deed restrictions limiting solar energy are unenforceable. Additionally, the Commission should review guidelines that specifically address other green retrofits and modifications such as wind turbines or geothermal wells.
The benefits of modern alternative energy systems should not be summarily dismissed, even by the most discerning preservationist. However, maintaining the integrity of our historic resources should be the priority of the Aurora Historic Preservation Commission."
Mr. Schweizer said again, I want to emphasize that I’m not talking about solar panels. I’m talking about solar shingles, which is a whole other ball of wax.
Mr. Signorelli said well I have 2 things. Number one is I’d like to see some pictures at some point.
Mr. Schweizer said I will send this electronically to everybody tonight and I will attach some of the links for you to click on.
Mr. Signorelli said the other thing is the tree thing.
Mr. Schweizer said that’s solar rights. Solar rights are a big issue and it is one that needs to be addressed anyway. Specifically, I know historic districts, we have a heritage red oak tree in our front yard and you can’t touch that tree, but if my neighbor said I want to put up solar shingles and she said I want you to cut branches off that tree, we’d be able to say no because we have a protected tree, but Dan’s big tree might not be protected.
Mr. Signorelli said I say cut Dan’s tree down.
Mr. Schweizer said well that’s the kind of discussion that I think we should have and I really think that needs to be thought about before we have a discussion. Some places like California have very protective ordinances that say you can’t ask your neighbor to cut down the tree. Other states, I haven’t been able to find too much on it yet, but I guarantee there are a lot of Commissions out there who are talking about this right about now. Just let me make a couple of other points. Aurora has a history of being an emerging technology adopter, the City of Lights, and now that we have a transition in City Hall, maybe now is a good time for the Preservation Commission to be leading that and rather than wait for this to become an issue, I think we should get out in front of it and maybe even partner with other Commissions like the Aurora Sustainability Advisory Board or the Environmental Advisory Board or whatever it is going to be called because I think not only does the Preservation Commission need to address this, I think the whole city probably should be addressing sustainable energy and resiliency and moving forward with some of these things. That being said, according to Tesla today, their 30 year guarantee on their roof, which they say is comparable in cost to a regular asphalt roof, is guaranteed for 30 year of energy production, not just the roof, but energy production for 30 years. It could be a really good deal. They may end up paying you to put a solar roof on.
Mr. Lord said how much is it supposed to recharge of the house?
Mr. Schweizer said well again, there is a lot of we don’t know what your house looks like. The solar panels aren’t 100% coverage. It all looks the same, but solar panels might only be 60% of your panels.
Mr. Lord said is it going to be like for new construction?
Mr. Schweizer said no, it rolls right out. It looks like asphalt. Apparently it is comparable in cost. My motion would be that for the next Preservation Commission we have an agenda item that we have an in-depth discussion about this issue. I will send you lots of information. We can’t discuss it on line, but I can certainly dump a lot of stuff into your e-mail box.
Mr. Miller said I like the richness of the Historic Preservation leading the way on adoption technology.
Mr. Schweizer said does staff have any comments?
Mrs. Morgan said I definitely agree. As we talked in the e-mail, I think it is definitely something that we should look into, so send me what you have and I can do some research as well and talk to Alex who does sustainability and see how familiar he is with things and try to prepare something for the next meeting with attachments. Then we can eventually do something like we’ve done where to have these clarification memos like we did for the cement board as well.
Mr. Schweizer said so a motion has been made and approved.
Mr. Miller said so a motion has been made and approved to allow a discussion at our next meeting of the clarification in the historic guidelines to allow for the installation of solar shingles, building integrated photovoltaic technology and building applied photovoltaics or BAPV.
Mr. Truax said should we have a Chair for the Committee that’s going to be.
Mr. Schweizer said a solar panel committee?
Mr. Truax said well I don’t know if we need a committee, but we need a Chair for sure to lead the discussion.
Mr. Miller said I would think so. I would nominate Jim Schweizer.
Mr. Castrejon said second.
A) Grants - Rob Vaughan, Chariman
B) Near Eastside Historic District - Jose Garcia, Chairperson
C) Riddle Highlands Historic District - Fernando Castrejon, Chairperson
D) Public Awareness - Dan Miller, Chariman
Public Awareness – Mr. Signorelli said as part of what we discussed before the meeting and that probably, I guess, should with the Public Awareness Committee, wee were talking about the Preservation Commission Handbook for new members.
Mrs. Morgan said yes, that’s something I think I’ll see what you have and see what I have and then at the next meeting of the Public Outreach we can discuss that as well.
Mr. Truax said while we are talking about updates, one of them that would be nice would be updating the design guidelines to reflect some of the changes that we’ve made over the last couple of years. I think 2008 is what the last publication was.
Mrs. Morgan said my goal is not just to do inclusions of what we’ve added, but to also try to update some of the images to kind of show more pictures so it is a little clearer. It was one of the projects I had when I started. I even went for a grant, which we didn’t get unfortunately. It is on my list to do. I don’t have a timeframe when I’ll get to it.
E) Landmarks - Don Truax, Chariman
F) FoxWalk Design Review - Don Truax, Chairperson
Mr. Truax said the FoxWalk Design Review Committee met for the first time since June 16, 2016. We had a couple of issues on some buildings. One was the Block and Kuhl, the Waubonsee Community College old building and the Gordon Jones building where they’ve come through with a plan, a COA, for a restaurant on Galena and a number of other things that include the stuff we probably have read about in the paper like performance areas and actually apartments in the upper floors. We did approve that. The second one was a plan for Coulter Courts.
Mr. Schweizer said did anyone tell you what happened in Planning and Development today?
Mr. Truax said no.
Mr. Schweizer said I was there.
Mr. Truax said what happened?
Mr. Schweizer said denied. Basically the Coulter Courts has vinyl windows and they wanted to.
Mr. Truax said aluminum.
Mrs. Morgan said they have aluminum currently and they wanted to replace them with vinyl.
Mr. Truax said because they are too hard to open. We denied it obviously.
Mr. Schweizer said and I guess the final decision was made at the Planning and Development Committee meeting today that that would not be acceptable because the guidelines are very clear and the feeling was that if you open the door for one, you open the door for many.
Mr. Truax said and it turns out that the FoxWalk Design Review Committee has slightly different rules than we have where the Council does have to approve. In our case, the Council only on appeal.
Mr. Signorelli said how did they get those vinyl windows put in the first place?
Mr. Truax said no, no. They are aluminum.
Mr. Schweizer said they are aluminum, but they wanted vinyl.
Mr. Miller said so they already had aluminum and they wanted to downgrade?
Mr. Schweizer said well they claimed that the vinyl that they wanted to use would be an upgrade, but Bill Wiet’s comments was that nothing would stop somebody else from going to Home Depot and buying a cheaper vinyl window to put in their project because the precedent had been set that vinyl windows would now be, in some cases, okay, and rather than open the flood gates for that.
Mr. Truax said by the way, aluminum windows wouldn’t be okay either, but they are already there.
Mr. Signorelli said has anybody heard anything about the Hobbs Building? There was some talk at some point that somebody was interested in developing it and that’s all I heard.
Mr. Schweizer said is there any more discussion on designating that?
Mr. Signorelli said yes.
Mr. Schweizer said has it gone forward?
Mr. Signorelli said no. We were holding off because there was some interest, so we need to get back to addressing that again.
Mr. Schweizer said I think if I understand it correctly, they want now, at least, the Hobbs Building to be part of a bigger, maybe block-wide kind of concept.
Mr. Signorelli said and according to what I heard, that was part of the issue with the deal falling through, this particular falling through, is because they couldn’t get the other buildings that they had first been talking about. They were trying to get those other 2 buildings and that didn’t work. Usually whenever there is a building for sale downtown, if there is any interest at all, the price goes up, but anyway I was just wondering if there was anything new with it. Does anybody know, is it part of any deal that if that building is going to be developed that the onion dome would have to be put back?
Mrs. Morgan said my understanding is that yes when the city took it down they did take dimensions and everything for it to be rebuilt.
Mr. Schweizer said I think Bill Wiet is on public record as saying that would be part of any kind of development.
Mr. Truax said and he told me that also.
Mr. Schweizer said Jill, do you have a really cool presentation on the Coulter Courts historic look and feel over the years?
I just have those photos. It is not preservation. I just threw a bunch of photos up. I can forward that to the Commission.
G) Tanner/Palace Historic District Committee - Dan Miller, Chairperson
Mr. Truax said the Chicago Suburban Preservation Alliance is meeting on Saturday in Lombard from 9:00 to 2:30. I plan on going. I haven’t been before. I got a call from one of my friends at Landmark Illinois to suggest that maybe I should be going once in a while just to see what it is about. I will go to that meeting and I will report back. Perhaps more of us should be attending that too, but first I want to see what they are doing.
Mr. Miller said my announcement is that I’m pleased to announce we will be presenting our Preservation Awards on May 19th at 5:30 at the GAR Hall. Jim and I also attended a tour of the GAR Hall a couple of weeks ago. The city staff did a very good job of presenting that.
A motion was made by Mr. Truax, seconded by Mr. Signorelli, that the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried by voice vote.
Organizations in this Story
44 East Downer Place
Aurora, IL 60505