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Historic Pres Comm Minutes 2009-10-20
City of Gardiner
Historic Preservation Commission

6 Church Street                                                                         Phone:  207 582-6892
Gardiner, Maine 04345                                                                   Fax:       207 582-6895

Regular Meeting
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 @ 6:00PM
City Hall, Council Chambers

Present:                Clarence McKay, Chair   Geri Robbins-Doyle   Kirk Mohney   Paula Murphy                                         
Absent:         Jean Parkin-Clunie           Gail Ham                    Hal Norvell                    

Also Present:           David Cichowski, Code Enforcement Officer
Dorothy Morang – Recording Secretary
                        Thomas Masters  Bob Wirtz, Applicant    Al Jasinski, Applicant

  • Call Meeting to Order
Chair McKay called the meeting to order at 6:03 PM

  • Roll Call
3.)     September 15, 2009 and September 30, 2009 Meeting Minutes
        Kirk Mohney moved to accept the September 30, 2009 minutes.  Paula Murphy seconded the motion.
        Vote:  4 in favor. 0 opposed. Motion passed.

        Geri Robbins Doyle moved to accept the September 15, 2009 minutes.  Kirk Mohney seconded the motion.
        Vote:  4 in favor. 0 opposed. Motion passed.    

Old Business

4.)     Continuation: Consideration of a Certificate of Appropriateness Application from Renbro, Applicant, Al Jasinski, Agent
        Proposal:  To remove existing aluminum and glass swing door and install a new aluminum and glass sliding door with an interior vestibule and sliding door
Location:  169 Water St, City Tax Map 37, Lot 164, Central Business/Historic Zoning District
Land Use Ordinance Reference: Section 9, Article F

Kirk asked Al about the new proposed door.  Al said that they were proposing a sliding door with vertical appearance where one door slides behind the other stationary door and the frame will contain fixed side lights, giving the door a similar appearance as is there currently.  Also the transom which currently contains an air conditioner with plywood around it will be changed.  The plywood and air conditioner will be removed and replaced with glass. The door will be wheelchair accessible with an opening of 44” – 45” and the doors will break away outward in the event of an emergency.

Geri asked if the doors would have handles.  Al said no.  She said a sliding door is like what thy have in strip malls.  She doesn’t think they had them in a historic district.  Al said that the door in there now is not historic.

Kirk asked if Al had explored doors with automatic openers.  Al said it could be done.  Al said he feels the proposed doors retain the double-door look.  Al asked if their only objection is that it is a sliding door instead of a swing door.  Kirk said that you get a different proportion with a sliding door.  Al said that visually, you don’t see a difference.

Kirk said that it is more of a change in the traditional pattern of the door fronts on Water St and is not consistent with the standards.  He would suggest putting in doors with automatic openers for the outside and they could do what they want with the inside vestibule.  

Geri said the issue for her is the scale of the sliding door – it’s not like any other on the street. Al said that he drove down the street before the meeting and no other building on the street has an opening as large as this one.  

Kirk asked Al to consider the automatic doors.  Al said he would have to check with the Fire Marshal - the building has a tapered entrance, not flat and he has concerns that an outward opening automatic door with the tapered surface could be dangerous, especially to a child.  Geri said she would like to see it investigated.  She also asked if they could leave the existing pull doors and do the vestibule only.  Al said that the doors need to be replaced - they could replace them in-kind.

David noted that most doors with automatic openers have a safety rail so that people come and go through the right door.  Al said he didn’t know if it would meet the exit requirements with the safety rails.

Kirk said that it seems like replacing these doors in-kind and doing what you want in the vestibule is the best option - you could upgrade the doors and still maintain the character.

Geri asked if you replace the swing door with a new one, would you keep the side lights.  Al said yes.  Al noted that they wanted to close off the other doors to exiting, except in emergency situations and put a vestibule inside along with the sliding doors to have only one customer entrance/exit.  This would also help with a big theft problem that they have.

The members of the Commission discussed the Application and options.

Kirk Mohney moved to grant a Certificate of Appropriateness, but instead of a sliding door, the scope of the work will include an in-kind replacement of the existing manual doors, retention of the side lights and installation of a glass transom in place of existing plywood and air conditioner and the construction of an interior vestibule.  Geri Robbins-Doyle seconded the motion.
Vote:  4 in favor. 0 opposed. Motion passed.

        New Business

    5.)        Consideration of a Certificate of Appropriateness Application from Bob Wirtz, Applicant
        Proposal: To replace two rear second floor windows and install a small, low fence-like barrier on roof, set back from the edge, to prevent snow and ice from falling onto sidewalk in front of building
Location:  215 Water St, City Tax Map 37, Lot 131, Central Business/Historic Zoning District
Land Use Ordinance Reference: Section 9, Article F
Bob Wirtz introduced himself and said that he would like to put a small fence-like barrier on his roof and replace two windows on the second floor on the back of the building.    He said that on the storefront level, there is an addition on the back of the building.  He asked that they take up the windows first as he brought Tom Masters, a window company representative with him.

Tom said that his company manufactures solid vinyl windows and can do an applied grid to the glass.  He can paint it any color.  He demonstrated with samples, how the replacement would look when replaced.  He said the current trim is gone and is covered with sheet metal.

Paula asked if the proposed windows were vinyl.  Bob said yes.  Kirk asked the Applicant if he had explored other options.  Bob said the building next to his has vinyl windows.  Bob said that he realizes that vinyl windows had a stigma attached 20 years ago and they were justified.  But over the years, the vinyl windows have become indistinguishable from wooden windows.  He said from 83’ up, you couldn’t tell them from wood.  

Bob said that wooden windows are cost prohibitive and if he can’t put in vinyl windows he will cover the existing windows over with plywood.  Geri noted that Paula had just replaced windows and Paula thought the cost was about $700 – $800 per window.

Kirk said that they don’t have enough information to make a decision.  He said that as you get into a larger window with the vinyl windows, the meeting rails and dividing rails have to get larger and it changes the scale.  Tom said that up to a 48” vinyl window today, you don’t have to put in any additional support - it has the same size meeting rails.  On a window larger than that they put in an aluminum rod to stiffen it so they don’t have to enlarge the meeting rails.  These are better than an aluminum window would be. Tom also noted that an aluminum window in a masonry entrance is not very energy efficient.

Kirk asked the Applicant to provide information on the dimensions of the existing window – the width of the muntins, meeting and parting rails and provide comparable information on the proposed windows.  He would also like information on the existing window design and what they will put back.

Bob said that it will be as an exact duplicate as possible.

Kirk said he wants to see the documentation that this is what they will be.  He wants the window size of glass, the dimension of the sill, the vertical dimensions and the same dimensions in the replacement.  He said he needs the drawings from the manufacturer and comparable measurements to ensure the windows retain the dimensions and design and we don’t have the information on the existing windows.  Tom said he can provide the information requested.

Paula asked what about the fact that they are vinyl – are we saying that the product is ok?

Bob said that if the dimensions are the same as are on there now and if the new window measurements and appearance are the same, why the objection to the material?  Tom said he met with the National Park Service in downtown Portland and they said they don’t care about the raw materials – they are looking at proportions.  If vinyl is unacceptable, they’ll just move on and Bob will cover the windows with plywood.  Tom noted that old vinyl windows were screwed together and they had problems with them.  Today they are fused and welded together and are strong.

David asked Tom what the difference is between composite and vinyl materials.  Tom said that composite is a composite cellular PVC and it is not as dense as vinyl and it is non-structural.  Vinyl doesn’t have cells – it’s a solid extrusion.  David said that composite and vinyl are a like material and some composites today are made of plastic and wood.  Vinyl and composite windows more closely resemble each other.

David asked Kirk what the standards were for replacing windows.  Kirk  said that the standards refer to visual and design compatibility – do they have the same visual qualities of existing windows.  He asked if Tom could provide a drawing of a section of the window, showing the muntins – he would prefer a mock-up.  Tom said he can provide a sectional drawing that will show the components and profiles and heights.

Geri said it would be helpful for her to see a CAD drawing to see the muntins, widths, sides, etc.  Tom said he could do that and Bob will measure the existing window and do drawings.   Tom said he can’t guarantee that the dimensions in those windows can be duplicated in his windows. He said he will provide the Commission with what his window dimensions are and they are what they are.  They’re going to at least fill the opening with a window.  The dimensions will be what his product is designed at.  

Clarence asked if Bob was intending to replace other windows later.  Bob said he might come back in the spring and ask to put in two more.

Bob gave an overview of the small, low fence he would like to put on the roof.  He said it will keep the ice from falling on the sidewalk from the roof.  David said that other buildings have them – he believes that they are called a Yankee gutter.  He said that in the last 2 – 3 years, the Police Department has had to block off the sidewalk because of falling ice.

Bob said the rail will be 6” – 8” high and extend along the flat part of the roof – back from the edge.  Geri asked if it will go the width of the building.  Bob said yes.  Clarence asked what it would be made of.  Bob said wrought iron.  Kirk asked if it would be above the brick parapet.  Bob said no.  Geri asked who would make it.  Bob said Mark Newcomb.

The Commission members discussed the application and their options.

Geri Robbins-Doyle made a motion to approve a small, low fence-like barrier on the roof of 215 Water St and it will be no higher than 12” (1’) high and will be located at the point where the roof starts to slant and that it will be metal construction and it’s going to be fabricated by Mark Newcomb and table the first part of the meeting on window replacement until we can get more information and drawings from Tom and Bob.  Kirk Mohney seconded the motion.
Vote:  4 in favor. 0 opposed. Motion passed.
   6.) Adjourn
Chair McKay adjourned the meeting at 7:33 PM

7.)     Historic Preservation Commission Workshop to review the Certificate of Appropriateness Application and look at ways to improve the process for future applicants.

It was decided to table the workshop and reschedule it at a later date when there were no applications before them.  In addition, it would give Kirk time to put together some information for the members.

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