City of Gardiner
Historic Preservation Commission
6 Church Street Phone: 207 582-6892
Gardiner, Maine 04345 Fax: 207 582-6895
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 @ 6:00pm
City Hall, Council Chambers
Present: Clarence McKay, Chair Kirk Mohney Geri Robbins-Doyle
Gail Ham Jean Parkin-Clunie
Absent: Paula Murphy
Also Present: David Cichowski, Code Enforcement Officer
Dorothy Morang – Recording Secretary
James Hebert, Applicant
1.) Call to Order
Meeting was called to order at 6:02 PM by Kirk Mohney, requested by Chair Clarence McKay to be the Acting Chair for the meeting.
2.) Roll Call.
Roll call was taken.
3.) Consideration of Minutes dated January 20, 2009
Geri Robbins-Doyle made a motion to accept the minutes as presented. Gail Ham seconded the motion.
Vote: 4 in favor. 0 opposed. 1 abstention (Clarence McKay was not at the meeting). Motion passed.
4.) Consideration of a Certificate of Appropriateness Application from Jim Hebert, Applicant, Black Diamond Consultants
Proposal: to replace the existing back door to the office building; window and building trim as needed; building clapboard; and re-shingle back roof.
Location: 312 Water St, City Tax Map 34, Lot 016, Central Business/Historic Zoning District
Land Use Ordinance Reference: Section 9, Article F
Acting Chair Mohney read the Application information and asked the Applicant to explain his proposal.
James Hebert referred to the pictures he had submitted with his Application. He explained that the building roof was leaking and there was damage to the ceilings. He wanted to replace what is rotten and re-shingle the roof. He also wants to install an insulated door to the back and replace trim around the door and windows that has rotted.
Kirk asked Jim if he was replacing the windows. Jim said just the trim. Kirk asked him if it would be in-kind materials. Jim said yes. Kirk referred Jim to the situation of the shingles on the front of the building. The Commission thought that they would be replaced in-kind, but vinyl shingles were installed instead. Jim said that they thought that they were doing what they were asked to do.
Gail asked about the conduit running along the side of the building. Jim said he didn’t know what that was there for.
Geri asked about the area on the side of the building that was notched out. Jim said it will stay as is.
Gail asked if they were going to replace the roof shingles. Jim said yes, with asphalt shingles
Jean said that she wanted to be certain that the term “similar” means wood.
Kirk asked if they were going to paint the door. Jim said yes. It would be an insulated, 6-panel steel door.
Gail asked if they could go forward with this Application with an outstanding issue out there concerning this building. She noted that Jim’s son, Christian said he would go back and fix the siding on the front of the building, above the window and door when things were more profitable.
Kirk asked David what he thought about this. David said that he had brought information from past meetings about the building with him. Kirk asked him if they could link this Application with what’s not done from before. David said he feels that they are separate issues, even though he understands the Commission’s issues. David also noted that in an assessment of the buildings in the Historic District done by Christopher Glass in the 1980s; this particular building was listed as having little to no historical value left. David said that he understands wanting to keep materials the same, but we are beginning with a building that’s lost most of it’s significant historical value and is not certain how we can go back and match materials.
Kirk said that the issue is the fact that this building is in the Historical District and what’s done to it had to be within the guidelines and can the Commission connect the prior issue to this Application. He said that what’s proposed with this Application is an improvement and doesn’t want to hold this up.
David asked what they wanted to do – did they want a corrective agreement before proceeding with this Application? He doesn’t want this building to get further into disrepair.
Clarence asked when the previous issue came before the Commission. David said 2004 – 2005. Clarence said he sees it as two separate issues.
Kirk said that they could use this opportunity to ensure that the previous issue doesn’t happen again. Gail said that they had tried to develop a good faith opportunity before and nothing happened. Now a new proposal has been brought before them and asked where does that leave the Commission and the CEO if the Commission doesn’t make any reference to the past issue?
Jim said that this Application is a basic maintenance issue. Gail asked Jim if he had given any consideration to this past issue. Jim said he doesn’t know why vinyl is such a problem. He has looked at other buildings on the street and there are a number of other things that are certainly not wood.
Kirk said the issue is that when Jim’s company came in before, they said they were going to replace the wooden shingles in-kind and did not and in conversations with Christopher Hebert, he said that he would replace them in-kind. Jim said that this is the first time he has heard of this and asked to see the actual building permit application. David provided it to him and noted that it was not spelled out on the building permit and was not included in or voted on in the original Certificate of Appropriateness Application or subsequent Certificate. The building permit just says replace wood shingles. Dorothy noted the Historical Preservation Commission records indicate that there were two meetings concerning this property – a few months apart. The shingles were replaced
between those two meetings and, although it was not on the second agenda, the issue of the vinyl shingles were brought up to the Applicant, Christopher Hebert. The minutes reflect what was discussed.
Jean said she sees these as two separate issues.
The Commission members discussed what to do.
Gail Ham proposed that we accept Black Diamond Consultant’s proposal to replace wood trim with wood trim, wood clapboards with wood clapboards, to replace the roof with similar asphalt shingles, to replace the door with an insulated 6-panel metal door that would be painted and to repaint the exterior of the building. Geri Robbins-Doyle seconded the motion and amended the motion to include: replace the rotted trim along the windows and door with wood trim and if the owner cannot use the existing shutters and have to replace them, they will replace them with wood. Jean Parkin-Cluney seconded the amendment to the motion.
Vote on motion amendment: 5 in favor. 0 opposed. Motion passed.
Vote on original motion with amendment: 5 in favor. 0 opposed. Motion passed.
Jean asked if the Commission should send a letter to the company. It is hard to make others comply with the guidelines when some do not. She referred to others who have come before the Commission and this issue has left a sour taste in their mouths. In fairness to others, she thinks they should send a letter and include a copy of the minutes that reflect the conversation to re-shingle the front.
David said that it is an enforcement issue and although the Commission makes the decisions, he has to enforce them. He said some things to take into account about this issue are that there have been 2 – 3 CEOs since then and how much concrete information does he actually have. He was reading in the minutes about a discussion with Chair McKay about using wood-grained vinyl letters. David said he’s not sure if he can take something to court when it is not clear. The prior CEO tried to take some corrective measures. David said he would have to try to determine what is real. He explained the process to take an issue to court. They would first try voluntary compliance. David will look at this.
Clarence asked if it was fair to assume that it’s a misunderstanding between them and the Commission. David said maybe originally, but if they knew about it and agreed to fix it, then it clarifies the misunderstanding. Clarence said that he doesn’t think that Jim was the one before the Commission previously.
David asked about the shutters. He asked if the existing shutters are not in a condition to be put back on, can the Applicant choose not to replace the shutters at all. Kirk said the building would look better without any shutters.
The Commission members asked about the sign ordinance – they had met to review a draft and made suggestions for the new ordinance. David noted that their ideas were incorporated into the new ordinance. From there, the ordinance will go to the Planning Board for review and then to the City Council for public hearing. Kirk reminded them that they have no authority to enforce the sign ordinance. Clarence asked if they could get a copy of the sign ordinance section draft. Dorothy said that she can get that for them.
Gail said that she thinks the enforcement issue is important because another building owner who happened to be on the Commission at one time, didn’t do things to her building because she couldn’t afford to replace things with wood. Gail said she feels that they have some level of responsibility as a citizen board.
David said that he will look into it and if the information is there, he will try to come to a resolution with the building owners.
Geri Robbins-Doyle made a motion to adjourn. Gail Ham seconded the motion.
Vote: 5 in favor. 0 opposed. Motion passed.