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HDC_01 14 20131 LITTLE ROCK HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION MINUTES Monday, January 14, 2013, 5:00 p.m. Board Room, City Hall I. Roll Call Quorum was present being six (6) in number. Members Present: Julie Wiedower Randy Ripley Chris Vanlandingham BJ Bowen Toni Johnson Kwadjo Boaitey In during roll call) Members Absent: Mark Brown City Attorney: Debra Weldon Staff Present: Brian Minyard Citizens Present: Stephen McAteer Ron Ross II. Approval of Minutes A motion was made by Commissioner Toni Johnson to defer the minutes of December 10, 2011. Commissioner BJ Bowen seconded and the minutes were deferred with a vote of 6 ayes and 1 absent. III. Deferred Certificates of Appropriateness None IV. Certificates of Appropriateness None DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT 723 West Markham Street Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1334 Phone: (501) 371-4790 Fax: (501) 399-3435 2 V. Other Matters Enforcement issues Brian Minyard, Staff, noted that there we no issues to be brought to the Commission. A question was answered on the fencing issue at 14th and Scott. CZDC is pursuing enforcement on this issue because it is in the overlap area. Commissioners asked Staff to check on the flowing properties: Lutheran Church concerning the doors and homes in the district that re in bad disrepair for vacancy, Questions on Housing and Neighborhood Programs procedures on demolitions in the city and MacArthur Park. Add a state of emergency Certificates of Compliance Staff noted that a copy of the spreadsheet was given to the commissioners. Comments from Training in Memphis Staff asked if the Commissioners had any questions on the questions and answers provided to them. There was a discussion on PR Public Relations opportunities. Staff discussed what they normally do and asked for additional ways to reach the public. Staff suggested asking for a CLG grant for PR issues. Commissioner Johnson spoke of education concerning adding more areas to the national register districts. She would like to ask for a grant for the activities. Precedence for items was discussed and it was stated that the City of Little Rock Historic District commission does not establish precedence. Mr. Minyard stated that section 6 was for when a tornado rolls over town or a major fire. The mayor can establish a state of emergency which gives the Staff power to sign COAs when a widespread swath of devastation happens. Commissioner Wiedower suggested that some of that language be added to the guidelines. Forms and clearances must be obtained before construction would be started. Changes in material cannot typically be signed on by staff unless there is a state of emergency declared by the mayor. Debra Weldon read the statute concerning the state of emergency and did not believe that this would give citizens carte blanche. Staff is to add legal text to guidelines. 3 DATE: February 11, 2013 APPLICANT: Staff ADDRESS: District Wide REQUEST: Amend Guidelines to create Institutional Category BACKGROUND AND DESCRIPTION: During the December 10, 2012 HDC meeting, the commission reviewed a COA for a fence at the northeast corner of MacArthur Park at the playground site. The subject arose that the existing Guidelines may not be the most appropriate since the application was neither Residential nor commercial. The applicant withdrew the fencing component of the item. Staff announced to the commission that this item would be on the next agenda for their discussion. For the purpose of this discussion, Staff determined that institutional uses are properties of at least one-half block in size that houses a public use: a church, a school, a museum, a park, etc. Letters were sent to the following institutions to ask them to attend this hearing: Quapaw Quarter Association, St. Edwards Church/School, MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Arkansas Arts Center, Rockefeller Magnet School/ LRSD, City of Little Rock Parks and Recreation and the Lutheran Church. This letter stated that the commission would be discussing items such as signage, fencing, setbacks of buildings, building heights, building materials, etc. PREVIOUS ACTIONS: The guidelines have been amended in the past, most notably in May 2006 and again in August 2010. The commission has the authority to amend their guidelines and adopt the changes. The state statute under section 14-172-207, states that the proposed historic district shall have an ordinance designed to implement the provisions of the subchapter. The city ordinance under section 23-100 States: Sec. 23-100. - Duties generally. (a) Historic district guidelines. (1) The historic district commission shall adopt design review guidelines for each local ordinance historic district established pursuant to this article. The guidelines should provide the commissioners with an objective standard for decisions concerning the appropriateness of a project in relation to the architectural and historical character of the district. DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT 723 West Markham Street Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1334 Phone: (501) 371-4790 Fax: (501) 399-3435 STAFF REPORT ITEM NO. 4 (2) Design review guidelines shall be reviewed periodically by the historic district commission for needed revision to ensure that the guidelines are well adapted to the respective local ordinance historic district. The current Guidelines state the following concerning Institutional uses. On page 69, there is reference to “Commercial, Office and Institutional Parking.” And on page 70, there is reference to “Garbage collectors” for multifamily and institutional sites. A word search of the guidelines found the word institutional elsewhere only in the appendices. Staff would propose the following timeline for this item: 1. Listening session on what changes are desired from the various institutions. 2. Discussion by the commission of various topics posed by the citizens. 3. Draft of language and graphics submitted by Staff to the Commission for review. 4. Discussion by commission on draft language and graphics. 5. Public hearing on revised language. 6. Adoption of new Guidelines. This review will take an expected four to five months. With this review, other sections of the guidelines will be affected when text is moved to a different section or clarified that it does or does not apply to institutional uses. NEIGHBORHOOD COMMENTS AND REACTION: At the time of distribution, there was one comment regarding this item from Stephan McAteer of the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History concerning process. COMMISSION ACTION: January 14, 2013 Brian Minyard, Staff, made a presentation on the Guidelines item. The staff decided to expand the application to all of the institutional uses, not just the park. Ron Ross, Parks and Recreation, started a general discussion of how to relate to the guidelines and educational values of preservation and helping find ways to do so. He stated that he may not be totally prepared to have a discussion on the guidelines and would appreciate more time to come up with items for discussion. He commented that the last application started to do so. He urged flexibility in interpreting the guidelines. The past application may have taken a different look if there were different guidelines in place, in particular the height of the fencing. He does look forward to the conversation. Stephen McAteer stated that he was not here representing the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. He did state that he works in a 173 year old building and was representing the MacArthur Park Group that has met for the last six years in the museum. They have a diverse group to promote and utilize MacArthur Park as a green park. The park is interpreted in many periods of time. He stated that he stands by his statement of what is good for the park is good for the Museum and vice versa. He spoke of the Master Plan process and that it spoke of Safety. He spoke of proposed improvements to the playground. They have heard from parents of students that use the park concerned with safety. In hindsight, they should have stressed safety instead of trying to keep undesirable people out of the park. He urged for wiggle room from current guidelines and how to modify to make park more viable and user friendly. 5 Commissioner Julie Wiedower asked if there was information on the usage of the playground outside of St. Edwards. She said that there is adult supervision when the school children are there, but who else uses it? Mr. McAteer did not have any stats on that. He thought that there should not be any extraordinary accommodations for St. Edwards to use the playground. He has seen parents with children on the weekend. With the fence being down, it has allowed for more traffic for non-playground traffic in the immediate area. He thought that maybe different heights on different sides of the playground. We can talk as adults what we would do, but children do not always practice good judgment (i.e.: chasing balls into the roadway). When asked about moving the playground to a different spot, he commented that it was like a house of cards of moving other activities around to find a different spot for the playground. The height of the current fence was discussed and it is 36” tall in the iron section and 40” tall in the brick sections. He continued that the new drives have put a new complexion on the park for the better. He was willing to trust the authorities on the placement and it is good to be able to park near the pond. He has noticed increased usage in area of increased lighting and the new drive areas. He has also noted more usage by females by themselves in the park. Mr. McAteer noted that they have funds for the dog park and hopefully will be done in six months or so. Commissioner Randy Ripley stated that he would like to think that the dog park will create a more defensible space in the Park with more visibility from the freeway. He stated that more good users than bad users. Chairman Chris Vanlandingham noted that the great lawn along Ninth Street was getting more uses. Commissioner Ripley stated that the park should be defined as a destination, and it could be as big as the River Market. Mr. McAteer noted that the Arkansas Arts Center has a lot of students there and a lot of them have lunch in the park. Students on fieldtrips use the playground. Commissioner Ripley says the park should be more diverse for more types of users. Commissioner Wiedower spoke of conflict between St. Edwards’s children and other children. Mr. McAteer stated that the St Edwards children were there at recess, but not at lunch. He continued that there is a lot of acreage at the park and it was more convenient for kids to use the south end of the park. Commissioner Wiedower commented on the large variety of institutional uses in the area and named several. Chairman Vanlandingham stressed prospective in the guidelines. He continued that we have the opportunity to create a fabric for the district with design elements that weaves the district together. Commissioner Ripley is not in favor of modern contemporary fences and should be woven into the historic district better. Commissioner Wiedower asked Staff to make a map of the institutional uses, including all churches. She asked to add the commercial buildings also. A discussion on fences at the institutional uses was held and Chairman Vanlandingham stated that the fences were all over the place for institutional uses. There was a brief discussion on establishing precedent and how the HDC does not establish precedent on any of its cases. Debra Weldon weighed in on the subject and stated that there needs to be a standard of review for each case or it could; be found that your decisions were arbitrary or capricious. The merits of each case must be weighed individually. Time Limits on COAs. Debra Weldon, City Attorney's office, made a presentation on the ongoing topic of placing time limits on COAs. She referenced that Fredericksburg, Virginia and Opelika, Alabama, gives the applicant "x" amount of time to get a permit and then the permit gives them "x' amount of time to finish it. She would suggest 6 months to start and one year to complete the project. Our time limits would be combined with the permit timelines. An additional six month could be granted for construction for cause. An action approved by a COA may or may not require a building permit, if not started within six months, the COA would expire since t did not commence. The building permit sets the time line. The COA is then tied to the building permit for its expiration. Below is the text from the memo from last year: City of Fredericksburg, Virginia Ours are good for six months from date of issue and can be renewed by the Board for another six months. Once the related building permit is issued, then the COA is tied to that permit and however long it remains valid City of Opelika, Alabama When we issue a COA, the petitioner has 6 months which to begin project and 98 months to complete project. If work has not begun within the 6 months, an extension has to be requested. Citizen Communication There were no citizens present at this time. VI. Adjournment There was a motion to adjourn and the meeting ended at 6:35 p.m. Attest: Ghair &&4 k0r,� -� Secretary/Staff 2 2_l1 -ice Date Date