Concern about open windows

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Four frames stand without window panes at the back of the Mapp-Gilmore building. Photo by Nick Nunn

Four frames stand without window panes at the back of the Mapp-Gilmore building. Photo by Nick Nunn

By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

During the Aug. 13 meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), concerns were expressed about missing windows on the Mapp-Gilmore building at 200 West Washington Street.

Marti Jessup, chair of the HPC, stated that open spaces in the building, such as the missing windows, will accelerate the breakdown of the building, which is already in poor condition.

“Is there anything we can do to make them cover the windows?” asked Jessup during the meeting.

Demolition of the building was denied by the HPC in March of this year despite the poor condition of the building. The cost of a restoration project had been estimated at $3 million, while the process of tearing the building down and rebuilding a similar structure was estimated at less than $1 million.

Ken Kocher, preservation planner, stated to the board that he had spoken to property owner Kathi Russell’s attorneys, who intend to present an application to the HPC during their September meeting.

Not wanting to delay action any more than necessary, the HPC asked Kocher to have a plan in place regarding the open windows, which would require the owner to meet a standard of minimum maintenance so that the building does not suffer unnecessary deterioration.

However, the implementation of such a plan would only become necessary if the owner does not file an application in September.

During the meeting, the HPC approved a prefabricated shed at 772 Billups Avenue, Madison.

While Kocher acknowledged that a prefabricated metal shed would not be appropriate for other homes in the historic district, the house at the location is a 1950s ranch-style house, and editions of Popular Mechanics from the era describe the use of sheds “very similar to what is being proposed.”

Stratton Hicky stated that the proposed shed does not “look like Madison” to him, but that could be because he is “just not used to seeing it.”

Hicky accepted that the shed sould be considered historically authentic, and approval of the shed passed unanimously.

Roy and Terri Smith appeared before the HPC regarding the installation of a front walk at their 553 Foster Street, Madison, residence.

The Smiths’ previous walkway leading to the street was damaged last year when a tree fell on it, and they decided not to replace that section of their walkway.

The HPC decided that a walkway directed toward the street is historically accurate for their Bungalow-style house and requested that they construct some sort of walkway toward the street at their residence.

Terri Smith stated that she did not believe her previous walkway was historic, as it was not original to the house, but the HPC decided that, since such a walkway is appropriate for Madison, the style of the house, and the age of the house, it will be required for their residence.

Members of the HPC gave recommendations of different walkway styles to the Smiths, so the owners don’t feel pushed into one type of walkway or the other, before approving the construction of “some type” of walkway, with the material and style to be approved administratively by Kocher when the Smiths make a decision.

During the meeting, the HPC also approved:

An alteration to a rear elevation at 163 North Second Street, which will involve a redesign of the roof near the back of the building, which previously created the potential for rainwater to pool on the roof and leak into the building;

A 12-foot shed extension on an existing outbuilding at the property on the intersection of Third and Walker Streets;

And the use of simulated divided light (SDL) windows with a putty glaze and a muntin of 7/8 of an inch to replace the windows at 1091 Eatonton Road.

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