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HDC_11 08 20101 LITTLE ROCK HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION MINUTES Monday, November 8, 2010, 5:00 p.m. Board Room, City Hall I. Roll Call Quorum was present being five (5) in number. Members Present: Marshall Peters Julie Wiedower Randy Ripley Loretta Hendrix Chris Vanlandingham Members Absent: none City Attorney: Debra Weldon Staff Present: Brian Minyard Citizens Present: Patricia Blick Rhea Roberts II. Approval of Minutes A motion was made by Commissioner Julie Wiedower to approve the minutes of October 11, 2010. Commissioner Randy Ripley seconded and the minutes were approved with a vote of 5 ayes and 0 noes. III. Deferred Certificates of Appropriateness None IV. Certificates of Appropriateness None V. Other Matters Patricia Blick, the new CLG coordinator with AHPP was introduced to the HDC. She spoke of the opportunities to attend the quarterly training session to be held February 21-23 and the HPAA conference May 5-7, 2010 to be held in Little Rock. Rhea Roberts, QQA Director, added that on February 21, 2010, there would be a legislative reception to be held in Curran Hall. Tax credits will be disused and displayed. She also spoke to the commission and invited the to the QQA awards dinner to be held on November 18, 2010 at their Annual Meeting. DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT 723 West Markham Street Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1334 Phone: (501) 371-4790 Fax: (501) 399-3435 2 STAFF REPORT ITEM NO. One. DATE: November 8, 2010 APPLICANT: Stephen McAteer, MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History ADDRESS: 503 East Ninth COA REQUEST: Clarification of the Area of Influence – MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History The Museum will be filing a Certificate of Appropriateness for a sign to be placed at the east intersection of MacArthur Drive (the circle) and Ninth Street. In the state legislation, it is mandated that the HDC set the Area of Influence for sending legal notices to surrounding properties. The default distance of the Commission is 150 feet. If all of the properties were notified around the park, at least 45 properties and almost 200 property owners will be notified as shown on the sketch bottom left. (144 are owners of Quapaw Towers alone.) This is everyone surrounding the entirety of the park including the Arkansas Highway Department. Staff believes this notification to be excessive. Notification around entirety of park Notification around sign of 150’ The circle in the sketch to the right shows a radius of 150’ around the sign. That notice would only be three properties. The sketch on the right also shows the option of notifying the 16 properties shown (about 160 owners) along 9th Street that abut the park. Staff has learned that there is a governing body of Quapaw Towers and that the Quapaw Towers Board of Directors (QT BOD) meets once a month for their business. Staff proposes that one notice be sent to the DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT 723 West Markham Street Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1334 Phone: (501) 371-4790 Fax: (501) 399-3435 3 Quapaw Towers Board of Directors instead of the 144 individual property owners. It is also recommended that the Museum Staff make themselves available the QT BOD monthly meeting to discuss the sign if desired by the QT BOD. Changes to the Area of Influence for notification require a vote of the commission to set the boundary. STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends that the applicant notify all property owners that have frontage along Ninth Street that face the park as illustrated above with only one notice being sent to the Quapaw Towers Board of Directors instead of each individual owner in the tower. COMMISSION ACTION: November 8, 2010 Brian Minyard, Staff, made a presentation and noted that the applicant has added an additional sign to be reviewed at the entrance to the museum building itself. The commission was asked to review the notification for both signs at this hearing. He continued to present to the commission on the options for the notifications: 150 feet around the entirety of the park, 150’ around the location of the signs and all property fronting on 9th Street within 150’ of the park. Staff has recommended notifying the president of the Board of Directors of the Quapaw Towers instead of notifying all 160 owners. Commissioner Randy Ripley commented that he thought the intent was to protect property value or the perceived property value of the area. He continued that he did not know why someone on the south side of the park would have an issue with the sign in relation to their property value and that notifying all of the property owners around the park was a lot of notification on a small item to meet the letter of the law. He asked why 150’. Mr. Minyard stated that he had researched how many times the HDC had made modifications to the notification area and then summarized them. All have occurred within the park boundaries. Debra Weldon of the City Attorney’s office stated that this is why the issues are on a case-by- case basis. She advised the commission to weigh the pros and cons of the issue at hand. Commissioner Julie Wiedower asked for her memory to be refreshed on the previous action concerning the plaza and sidewalks item and the rational of the notification. She asked if the existing sign was going to be removed and the answer was yes. She asked if there had been any comments of questions from the neighborhood on the signs in the past and Mr. Minyard stated that he did not remember any. Chairman Marshall Peters spoke of the owners of multiple properties and the number of notices to actually be mailed. He stated that there were only six property owners to be notified and that most was rental property. Stephan McAteer of the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History spoke to the general size and lighting of the proposed sign after Commissioner Chris Vanlandingham’s request. He noted that the existing green sign would be removed. Mr. McAteer spoke of combining the signage to reduce the number of individual signs. Commissioner Wiedower commented she agreed with the Staff recommendation. Commissioner Ripley concurred. 4 Ms. Weldon commented on the constitutional procedural due process of giving notice and the opportunity of property owners to be heard. The test is if the notice is reasonab ly calculated to notify the property owners. She did not know if the commission could meet that test by announcing it at a neighborhood association meeting. If the President sent a letter to us and state that the owners were notified, she felt that it would meet the test. If it is a HPR, the HPR is for administrative purposes and maintaining property. She does not believe that they can receive notices of hearing items. She stated that we could use them as a tool if they follow their notices and procedures. Chairman Peters asked if Mr. McAteer had a problem with that. Mr. McAteer commented that the towers had a bulletin board where notices were posted. Commissioner Randy Ripley asked if that counted towards notifications. Ms. Weldon stated that the letters are proof that the notices were sent. Mr. Minyard asked to clarify the motion that the notifications were to be sent per the graphic as shown on the right side of the sheet to include the properties along Ninth Street on both sides and in the instance of Quapaw Towers to notify the Board of Directors and require them to send us a letter to certify they have notified all of the owners of this action pursuant and in accordance to their bylaws. Commissioner Wiedower made a motion to accept Staff’s recommendation on notification. Commissioner Ripley seconded and the motion passed with a vote of 5 ayes and 0 noes. 5 STAFF REPORT DATE: December 13, 2010 APPLICANT: Staff COA REQUEST: Ordinance Revisions In the 1981 Historic Preservation ordinance, there is the following language in what was then Section 23-132 Certificate of appropriateness – Generally (Sec 23-132 (d)) which states: “A certificate of appropriateness is not required for repairs, alternations, new construction, moving or demolitions that are not visible from the street or streets which abut subject property.” This language was inadvertently excluded in the ordnance that was revised in May of 2007. If language were added to the current ordinance to address that, it would be inserted in Sec 23- 116. Exemptions. Currently, the wording is as follows: Section 23-116. - Exemptions. Nothing in this division shall: (a) Prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior architectural feature in the historic district created by this division which does not involve a change in design, material, or outer appearance thereof, nor to prevent the construction, reconstruction, alteration, restoration, or demolition of any such feature which the building inspector or other agent of the city shall certify is required by the public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition. (b) Prevent the construction, reconstruction, alteration, restoration or demolition of any such feature under a permit issued by a building inspector or similar agent of the city prior to the effective date of the establishment of the historic district. Staff has reworded this section to divide it into four sections. The sections address the following issues in his order: a) Regular maintenance, B) Those items not visible from abutting streets, c) health safety issues, and d) those built prior to the establishment of the district. Section 23-116. Exemptions. Nothing in this division shall: (a) Prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior architectural feature in the historic district created by this division, which does not involve a change in design, material, or outer appearance thereof; (b) Prevent the construction, reconstruction, alteration, restoration, or demolition of any exterior architectural feature in the historic district, which is not visible from a public or private street. DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT 723 West Markham Street Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1334 Phone: (501) 371-4790 Fax: (501) 399-3435 6 (c) Prevent the construction, reconstruction, alteration, restoration, or demolition of any exterior architectural feature in the historic district which the building inspector or other agent of the city shall certify is required to correct an unsafe or dangerous condition; or (d) Prevent the construction, reconstructions, alteration, restoration or demolition of any exterior architectural feature in the historic district under a permit issued by a building inspector or similar agent of the city prior to the effective date of the establishment of the historic district. RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends approval. COMMISSION ACTION: November 8, 2010 Brian Minyard, Staff, presented the item to the Commission. He stated that since 2007, the Commission had been operating without that provision. Debra Weldon of the City Attorney’s office suggested that the two sections be broken into four sections. Commissioner Julie Wiedower asked why the exact language of the older ordinance was not recommended to be used it new update. Mr. Minyard responded that, in an academic discussion, in a block devoid of trees and houses, the first house would have all four sides of that structure visible from a street. All four sides would have an effect on the district. If there is only one vacant lot in the interior of the block, the rear façade will not be seen at all and the side facades will be seen somewhat and the front façade will be most important. The district has half blocks that are totally devoid of trees and houses. We also have two, three, and four lots that are abutted by the highway department land, so those facades will always be visible from a street. Since 2005, the Commission has been looking at all four sides of new structures. On rehabs, the Commission has been reviewing rear facades when visible from a street. The Commission has in effect been reviewing structure as stated in the new language. The new language gives you more review. Commissioner Randy Ripley commented on why the word street was used instead of the word public right-of-way. Mr. Minyard stated that alleys are public right -of-way and that would involve reviewing rear facades of buildings even when in the interior of the blocks. This review would be more contrary to how the Commission has been practicing review on structures and contrary to the old language. Commissioner Ripley continued that some things would be visible from one angle but not from the other and how that would be rectified as to review or not. Trees in full leaf or not could make a difference. Previous actions before the Commission was discussed. Commissioner Wiedower mentioned the Ratcliff House with the rear façade clearly visible from Main Street. She felt that this would be holding different property owners to different standards. Chairman Peters motioned houses on corner lots, taller houses, etc. and stated that some need to have more governance than others do. Commissioner Wiedower asked if a survey could be made of other districts. Mr. Minyard stated that we could ask Patricia Blick since they probably have those copies in their files already. Ms. Blick agreed to do so. Mr. Minyard stated that as the Commission reviews cases on a case-by-case basis, they weigh factors unique to that property. At that time, the commissioners decide, on an individual basis, if they believe if one side is not as visible as the other is and have the responsibility to factor that into your vote and bring that into the discussion. Chairman Peters warned that we should be in conformance with the state laws. He also was weary of drastic modifications to rear facades 7 that were visible from other streets that were not abutting, for example the Ratcliff House that is visible from Main Street. Commissioner Wiedower reiterated her point that this would be holding different property owners to different standards. Commissioner Loretta Hendrix asked why this topic was being discussed now and if it was to accommodate someone. Commissioner Wiedower stated that it was left out of the ordinance when it was updated. Mr. Minyard stated that this was brought up in the October 2010 meeting. Ms. Blick commented on how things are handled in Maryland. Chairmen Peters stated that the state law permits 360-degree review. Mr. Minyard stated that this item would reappear on the December agenda for your consideration. 8 Letter from AHPP 9 Letter continued page 2 10 Letter continued page 3 11 Letter continued page 4 12 a. Certificates of Compliance There were no COC's issued during the last month. b. Dunbar Survey Update There is no information to pass on from Andre Bernard concerning the survey. Chairman Peters asked an email to be sent to Mr. Bernard to get an update and a suggestion was made to have Tony Bozynski to ask Mr. Bernard to attend. c. Preservation Plan Subcommittee The committee did not meet last month. Mr. Minyard did state that after analysis, the implementation of the plan I progressing. He also commented that the committee was working towards promoting preservation month in May 2011. Commissioner Wiedower asked where the Commission stood on adding two more comm1ss1oners. Mr. Minyard stated that it had been prepared for July of 2010 Board of Directors meeting but had been pulled at the request of one of the Board members. The City Manager has been attempting to meet with that Board member. Chairman Peters asked if Mr. Bozynski could ask for a time frame on that meeting. Mr. Minyard stated that he was hoping to incorporate this ordinance revision with the other items to go to the board at the same time. Commissioner Wiedower asked for an update on Page Wilson's House at the next meeting. d. Citizen Communication There were no citizens present for Citizen communication. VI. Adjournment The meeting ended at 5:55 p.m. Attest: Date Secretary/Staff Date