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Historic Commission

Regular Meeting

June 18, 2015

6:00 PM

City Council Chambers, 200 W. Walker Street

 

I.                   Call to Order and Roll Call of Members

 

II.                Approval of Minutes

A.     May 21, 2015

 

III.             Public Hearing & Action Items

A.     Hold a public hearing and take action on HC15-08, 804 East Main Street (All About Plumbing), a request to pave parking areas for three lots, located along the north side of East Main Street, east of Kansas Avenue with the addresses of 804, 808 and 812 East Main Street.

 

B.     Hold a public hearing and take action on HC15-09, 810 4th Street, a request to construct a storage shed/greenhouse, located at the north side of 4th street, west of Iowa Avenue and east of Kansas Avenue with the address of 810 4th Street.

 

IV.              Commissioners’ Comments

  

V.                 Staff Comments

 

VI.              Adjournment

 

 

CERTIFICATE

THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE NOTICE OF MEETING WAS POSTED ON THE BULLETIN BOARD AT CITY HALL OF THE CITY OF LEAGUE CITY, TEXAS, ON OR BEFORE THE 15h DAY OF June 2015, BY 6 PM, AND WAS POSTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH CHAPTER 551, LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT).  ITEMS POSTED IN THE OPEN SESSION PORTIONS OF THIS AGENDA MAY ALSO BE DISCUSSED IN CLOSED OR EXECUTIVE SESSION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT.

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT THE PRESENCE OF A QUORUM OF THE MEMBERS OF CITY COUNCIL AT ANY TIME DURING THE COURSE OF THE ABOVE-REFERENCED PROCEEDING MAY CONSTITUTE A MEETING OF CITY COUNCIL PURSUANT TO THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT, CHAPTER 551 OF THE TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE.  BY THIS NOTICE, THE PUBLIC IS HEREBY ADVISED OF SAID MEETING NOT LESS THAN 72 HOURS IN ADVANCE OF THE DATE, TIME AND LOCATION NOTED ABOVE.

 

 

___________________________________

Richard Werbiskis, AICP

Cit Planner

 

MINUTES

CITY OF LEAGUE CITY

HISTORIC COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 6:00 P.M.

Civic Center

400 West Walker Street

I.             Call to Order and Roll Call of Members of Historic Commission

Members present:                                        Members absent:

Michael Hendershot                                       Elizabeth Schroeder
Steph McDougal                                          
David Hake                                                  
Peter Guglielmo                                           
Fay Dudney                                                 
Dick Calkins                    
Gary Walding                                                                    

City Representatives:
Ryan Granata, Planning Manager
Matthew Grooms, Planner
Jerri Bentley, Council Member

II.                Approval of Minutes

       A.                 May 21, 2015

Ms. McDougal stated there was an error in the minutes. Where it says Roy Richards, it should say Ronnie Richards.

Mr. Walding stated that Paul Menzies and Mark Rohr were marked as in attendance at the last meeting, when in fact they were at the meeting before that.

David Hake moved to approve the minutes of May 21, 2015 with those changes being made.

Steph McDougal seconded the motion.

Motion passed 3-0-3.

III.             Public Hearing & Action Items

A.              Hold a public hearing and take action on HC 15-08, 804 East Main Street (All About Plumbing), a request to pave parking areas for three lots, located along the north side of East Main Street, east of Kansas Avenue with the addresses of 804, 808 and 812 East Main Street.

Matthew Grooms (MG) presented for the City of League City. This is a retroactive request to allow pavement to remain on three lots along East Main Street within the Historic District. The asphalt was laid down without a permit and covers the majority of the parking areas for these three sites. This asphalt extends out into the road along Kansas Avenue and right up to the sidewalk along East Main Street. For 808 and 812 East Main Street, the pavement does not extend all the way to the Right of Way. A stop work order was issued on June 1, 2015 prior to completion of the project. In the Design and Materials Guidelines, which were adopted by Ordinance December 9, 2008, materials permitted for use in parking areas include, crushed stone, crushed granite, concrete, brick pavers, stamped & stained concrete and water pervious asphalt. The applicant is unsure, but suspects that non-pervious asphalt was used. For this reason, staff does not recommend approval.

The public hearing was opened at 6:15 PM.

Noah Espinoza (NE) –804 E Main- He states that the amount of work that was completed was not anticipated or planned upon. The work was stopped from being completed prior to the arrival of the City’s Code Compliance Division. The applicant was not present while the work was being completed, and when he returned, the current extent of the pavement had already been laid down. This included pavement that was laid into the alleyway as well as Kansas Avenue. The pavement was laid down due to the cratering of the existing parking areas. The original intent was to cover the concrete area within these lots to prevent mud and dirt from getting into the building. The bakery in the adjacent lot had issues with the health department, as dust and dirt was getting into where the food was being prepared. Following completion of this work, the business owners from the bakery and snow cone stand have reported that business has improved as a result of this. They were unable to operate when it rained prior to this asphalt being laid down. This however was not what was anticipated. As for it being non-porous, he has attempted to contact the asphalt company and has yet to hear a response.

Mr. Guglielmo – What were the issues with the Health Department?

NE – He states that dirt and dust was getting into the bakery and had led to unsanitary conditions. The previous bakery owner commented on this issue. The gravel turns to mud when it rains.

Mr. Guglielmo – Were those low spots? Is that why it turned to mud?

NE – He states that he filled in low spots and says that people drive within the parking lots in a manner that has caused additional rutting. He says that this is a constant problem. However, the concreted area of these parking areas were the only sites agreed upon for laying down asphalt.

Mr. Guglielmo – Could you highlight where the concreted areas were located? Is it along Kansas Avenue, the slab that can be seen?

NE – He states that it runs parallel to Kansas Avenue and highlights this on the map for the Commissioners. He states that the intent was to prevent dust and gravel from getting into his business, and that he was going to pave in front of the bakery with the asphalt that was left over. He says that he was quoted a good price because this material was extra and that he was conned into this deal. He says that he needs more time to confirm what type of asphalt was used.

Mr. Guglielmo – It can be seen by looking at the photos. Porous asphalt is less dense and allows for the water to pass through. This is much more asphalt than was originally requested.

NE –He says that nearly all three parking areas were completely covered.

Mr. Guglielmo – What is the patch of asphalt visible in the picture?

NE – He says that this was excess material.

Mr. Guglielmo – You had no idea that you were supposed to come before the Commission?

NE – He says that he was aware however he wanted to use this material in front of his warehouse.

Mr. Guglielmo – This is the third time the Historic Commission has had to retroactively review one of your projects.

Ms. McDougal – Can we continue with the public meeting and then discuss with the applicant.

Dan Benki (DB)-117 N Kansas- He states that he lives across the street from the applicant, and that before the asphalt was laid down, dust and dirt would get into the house. Prior to this business owner coming in, when it would rain, the property owners behind the applicant would experience flooding. The applicant has worked his property so that those yards no longer flood unless under extreme circumstances. The applicant has significantly improved his property and in the recent rains, there were no issues with drainage. There are homes within the historic district that have asphalt in their driveways, from the home to the road, and nothing has been said about that.

Jay Ewend (JE) – 1013 E Main Street (Simply Fresh Restaurant) – He verifies that contractors do contact businesses looking to lay asphalt down. In speaking with other business owners within the Historic District, he states they all felt similarly positive about the work that was done for this property. He also states that there has not been any issues with water runoff from this property. While the applicant may have forgotten to go through the proper channels in securing the appropriate permits, this work should be looked at as a solution to certain issues within the Historic District and not one of its problems. He and according to Mr. Ewan, other business owners, all feel that if the applicant can finish paving these parking areas, make it more appealing, then it should be approved. At that time, if the city would like to fine the applicant, then perhaps that is a better alternative. The applicant has shown initiative in other instances, for example the erection of a pipe wrench carved from a tree that needed to be removed. He states that he wishes more property owners were like the applicant.

Audience Member – It would help if the applicant put in some landscaping.

Mr. Guglielmo – That is not in discussion today.

Ms. Dudney – What is the difference between porous asphalt and asphalt?

MG – Porous asphalt allows water to permeate down into the soil. Standard asphalt will cause the water to runoff. Given that there are a number of drainage issues in the Historic District, the City has placed an emphasis on water pervious materials being used.

Ms. Dudney – I believe you are recommending that we do not approve this due to the materials used? 

MG – Yes.

Ms. Dudney – According to the League City Historic District Design and Materials Guidelines, a water pervious asphalt may be used for parking areas in the Historic District.

MG – The concern of the city is that the applicant did not use water pervious asphalt. 

DB – The asphalt has not had the sealer put on it, so it will be semi-pervious in its current state. With all of the rain that we have had recently, there have not been any issues with runoff from this site.

Bernardo Aldape (BA) – He states that he is the legal counsel for the applicant. Mr. Espinoza has put about $13,000.00 into this project. The asphalt is still unsealed. When water pervious asphalt is referenced, all it means is that it is porous. Even with all of the rain received recently, there has been no standing water on the site. If Mr. Espinoza chooses not seal the asphalt, perhaps we can alleviate the city’s issues with the project so that he is not faced with any undue burden in removing this asphalt, which could be another $20,000.00 or $25,000.00. Also, the citizens who need to look at this every day see this as an improvement.

The public hearing was closed at 6:33 PM.

Ms. Dudney – Could we please discuss the brick walkway visible in the photographs provided?

MG – The brick walkway is the sidewalk down Main Street.

Mr. Hake – What are the requirements pertaining to impervious lot coverage?

MG – Fifty percent of the lot may be impervious.

Mr. Hake - Do we know what percentage this is? 

MG – Staff does not, though we can look into this.

Mr. Hake – Are there codes that pertain to how close a driveway may be to an intersection?

MG – There is a minimum distance, though staff would need to again reference the zoning ordinance to find the exact distance.

Mr. Hake – Is the sidewalk located on city property?

MG – The sidewalk is likely located on an access easement on the applicant’s property.

Steph Mcdougal moved to deny HC 15-08, 804 East Main Street (All About Plumbing)

Fay Dudney seconded the motion.

Ms. McDougal – I appreciate Mr. Espinoza bringing his business to the Historic District and supporting our local economy. The applicant has come before the Historic District Commission previously without getting a permit for a fence, which was allowed but required Historic District Commission approval. At that time, the Commission discussed with the applicant paving.  The Commission informed the applicant that a Certificate of Appropriateness would be needed for any proposed paving work. The applicant also came before the Commission to propose the tree sculpture. The last occasion the applicant came before this Commission, it was for a stop-work order that was issued on a structure that constructed without proper permits or Historic District Commission approval. The story told by the applicant this evening is not being doubted, however this cannot continue. The City has specific requirements in place for a reason. It is doubtful that the asphalt someone had in the back of their truck was water pervious. Depending on how much of the property was covered, the applicant may have exceeded the 50% impervious coverage allotted. These factors have put the Commission in a very difficult position. The applicant is coming before us again with another project asking for forgiveness, simply because permission was not requested. And while the neighbors have raised valid points, the use of asphalt was not the only option available to the applicant. For these reasons, I feel I must move to deny this project.

NE – He states that the amount of asphalt laid down was not anticipated.

Ms. McDougal – That is the responsibility of the property owner.

NE – He states that the work is completed and they are trying to resolve it. As was said, this amount of asphalt was not anticipated. He states that he wanted to prevent dust and mud from getting into these businesses. He apologizes for the extent of work done and the manner in which it was done.

Ms. McDougal – Understand that the individual commissioners are not personally upset by the work that was completed. However, it is our responsibility to enforce the City’s ordinances. This does not meet those requirements. Do any of the other commissioners have anything else to add?

Mr. Guglielmo – There is a lot more here than you intended. The percentage of impervious coverage is important, and that requirement must be met at least. Drainage is an issue. Water cannot be allowed to runoff and affect people who live downstream. That is why pervious surfaces are being pushed for in the Historic District. What is not clear is why we have concrete and pervious asphalt, but not regular asphalt. However, this is being worked on by staff to ensure greater consistency. Our concern is that the applicant has not come before the Commission to get approval.

Mr. Guglielmo – A mention of a permit was made. Is a permit required to lay down asphalt?

MG – Yes

Mr. Guglielmo – So you understand, a permit is required to pave.

Mr. Guglielmo – Why are contractors who lay asphalt down not required to be licensed with the city as a Plumber or Electrician is?

MG – City staff can look into this. However, a permit for this work is required.

Mr. Guglielmo – It is incumbent upon the property owner to ensure the proper permits have been obtained before beginning work.

Ryan Granata (RG) – A contractor does have to be licensed by the City, and if the proper procedures had been followed, during the review process, the contractor’s license would have been verified. Since the applicant did not obtain a permit, there was not means of verifying the license of the contractor.

NE – He states that when he asked the contractor about needing permits, the contractor said none were required for this type of work.

Ms. McDougal – What is the technical difference between pervious asphalt and regular asphalt?

RG – Pervious asphalt is engineered, as the base needs to be engineered to receive the water that is percolating down. Also, the engineer will ensure that the oils and greases coming from a typical parking lot are appropriately handled. This means that standard asphalt laid down over gravel which has not been sealed is not technically considered to be water pervious asphalt.

CQ – Regardless of whether or not the asphalt is sealed, it is still to be considered standard asphalt?

RG – That is correct.

Mr. Guglielmo – When the French Church put in their parking lot, they just went ahead and did it. The City even helped to facilitate this. This project did not come before the Historic District Commission?

RG – There may have been examples in the past where City staff did not enforce the ordinances properly. Today, we are being tasked with enforcing these ordinances exactly as they are written.

CC – This was only two years ago

RG – It may have been only two years ago, however now we are being tasked by City Administration to enforce the ordinances completely. There are former staff members from the City, who are no longer with the City for certain reasons, and one of those is that ordinances were not being properly followed. If an ordinance needs to be changed, we must go through the proper channels and boards in order to do so, and not simply enforce it.

Audience – In other words, all asphalt in the Historic District must be water pervious?

RG – A project must come before this body, and this body has the authority to decide whether or not a Certificate of Appropriateness should be issued or not.

Audience Member – He says that it sounds like the applicant is trying to do something to improve the City, so what now would be the next step to help him correct this, instead of having him rip up all of the asphalt laid down? Can the applicant cut a certain section out? Or can he come to the City and work with engineers to design something more appropriate?

RG – We will need to see what this body does this evening first. Then the City will work with applicant to come up with a solution that meets our ordinances and is fair to the business owner.

Audience Member – He asks if the church have to rip up its parking lot as well?

RG – We are not discussing that this evening.

Audience Member – He states that he is just throwing that out on the table.

RG – That is not what is on the agenda, so we respectfully request that we stick with the approved agenda.

Mr. Guglielmo – If this motion passes, there will be discussion between the applicant and the City to come to a solution?

RG – Technically the stop work order will remain. City staff will work with the property owner to come up with a solution that will likely need to come before this body.

Ms. Dudney – What does a stop-work order mean at this time given that the asphalt is already down? 

RG – The project according to the applicant is not complete yet. What this means is that all future work is to be halted until either this body approves the project or the proper permits are acquired.

Mr. Hake – From my perspective, it is our responsibility to oversee the Historic District Guidelines. This appears to be an issue of code compliance. Is the impervious lot coverage requirement exceeded? Is the driveway located to close to the intersection? For these reasons, I would have to deny this project. Then it should go before code compliance.

Ms. McDougal – We can give the Planning Department a chance to work with the applicant as well before coming back before this body.

RG – There is an appeal process if the applicant is aggrieved by the decision made by this body. The applicant does have the option to appeal to the Zoning Board of Adjustments. This would basically be considered a variance from the zoning ordinance. We would prefer to work with the applicant, but that is an available option.

Mr. Guglielmo – Can we restate the motion to deny?

Steph Mcdougal motioned to deny HC 15-08, 804 East Main Street (All About Plumbing)

Peter Guglielmo seconded the motion.

Motion passed 6-0-0                                                                                        

B.           Hold a public hearing and take action on HC 15-09, 810 4th Street, a request to construct a storage shed/greenhouse, located at the north side of 4th street, west of Iowa Avenue and east of Kansas Avenue with the address of 810 4th Street.

Matthew Grooms (MG) presented for the City of League City. The second request is to construct an accessory structure in the rear yard of property with the address 810 4th Street. This structure would be a combination of a greenhouse and storage shed. This property is located along the North side of 4th Street in the 800 block. For this project, there are certain applicable design standards found in the League City Historic District Design and Materials Guidelines. Also, is required to meet the Residential Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District zoning ordinance requirements. A structure must meet all of the setback requirements. This zoning district requires a 10 foot rear yard and 5 foot side yard setback. A rear yard must be no more than 30% covered. In terms of design standards, the structure may not be greater than 25 feet in height and must meet the setback requirements. The proposed structure is in compliance with these design standards. A hardy plank, which would complement the existing home, is being used for siding. A white plastic roof is being proposed. This does not meet the Design and Materials Guidelines, however the applicant has requested this rood type as a transparent material is necessary for a greenhouse. At present, no material permitted for roofing would satisfy this characteristic. The site plan shows that the structure would be two feet from the side yard property line, not meeting the required side yard setback. There does not appear to be any issues in meeting the required rear yard setback. Construction of this structure was already began, and the Code Compliance Division requested that work be stopped and that it gain approval from the Historic District Commission. Staff does not recommend approval of this request.

Toby Hall (TH) – She states that the new structure is replacing a previous structure that was located in the exact same location. The prior structure was taken over by carpenter bees and the metal shed fell into disrepair. Her and her husband took the structure off of the existing concrete pad and made the new structure the exact same size as the shed that had been on site for the previous 23 years. The structure was put up 6 months after they moved into the house for plantings. She states that this is her hobby and that it will not be able to be seen it from the street. The structure will be hardy plank and painted to match the exterior of the house. It will have white windows to prevent the carpenter bees from returning. It will have a Larsen door on the front that will be 6 panel and made of fiberglass.

Mr. Guglielmo – The shed is in the same location?

TH – She states that it will.

The public hearing was opened at 6:57 PM.

Michael Petersen (MP) – He states that his wife and he walk this subdivision every night, and that they have never noticed this back there. Knowing the applicants, he states that whatever they do, it will be beautiful. He says that the pictures do not show it justice, and while it may not meet all of the requirements, it is going to be an improvement to the subdivision.

Mr. Guglielmo – How would you feel if you had the runoff from this structure into your property?

MP – He says that he would hope that that has already been taken into consideration with gutters. Again, knowing the applicants, he states that if there was an issue, he is sure that they would address it.

Jay Ewend (JE) – He states that he and other business owners saw this site yesterday. He says that this is an outstanding piece of property. Also, he says that he would like to applaud this committee because everyone is focused on their responsibilities. He states that he wishes that the commissioners could take that commitment to the law over to the Planning and Zoning Commission. However, he states that the end result is that they are trying to make an improvement. If there was a structure there prior, then the runoff was an issue then as well. If it becomes an issue he says, then they will work to rectify it. More people like this are needed in this neighborood. There are a number of people who should have enforcement officers out looking at their house. He states that the city should help the applicant.

TH – She states that the metal shed was on a concrete slab that is still there. The greenhouse was on concrete blocks which caused the greenhouse to flood. This was removed, with crushed granite being put down in its place. This should allow for better drainage.

Mr. Guglielmo – You didn’t think you had to come before the Commission for approval?

TH – She states that she was only replacing what was there.

Mr. Guglielmo – If you are replacing, then you are building new. You should know, you were on the Historic District Commission.

Mr. Guglielmo – Is this the same building footprint?

TH – She states that it is.

Mr. Guglielmo – The whole structure?

TH – She says that the new structure is not one inch larger. It is slightly taller to enable easier access. Also, she says that there have been heavy rains, and it is has not flooded inside of the greenhouse.

Mr. Guglielmo – Have the ordinances changed?

Mr. Guglielmo – No, the ordinances have not changed.

Mr. Guglielmo – Could you elaborate on the drainage issue?

TH – She states that there does not seem to be one. Water is not trespassing over onto the other properties.

Robert Hall (RH) – He states that they are going to put a gutter down the back side of the shed so that the water drains away from the other properties.

Mr. Guglielmo – So you plan to put a gutter in the back?

TH – She states that they left a space behind the shed so that they could get their neighbor’s leaves. She also states that they pay to have the neighbor’s trees trimmed so that the leaves stay off of the roof. The old roof was on there for 23 years. It was the same fiberglass needed for a greenhouse. She says that she doesn’t want to be under glass. If a tree falls down, it is not as safe.  The greenhouse is only used in the winter. Also, there will not be electricity or water in the building.  

The public hearing was closed at 7:04 PM.

Ms. McDougal – When an accessory structure is constructed, do we have requirements for what type of foundation or essentially how it is set on the ground?

MG – Yes there are requirements, however I would need to confirm what exactly those requirements are.

Mr. Guglielmo – That would be handled through the permitting process.

TH – She states that the greenhouse is 6.5 feet in width and 19 feet long, exactly the same as the previous structure.

Ms. Dudney – Also, it must match the primary structure, which it would appear the applicant is trying to do. It also cannot be taller than the primary structure.

Mr. Guglielmo – These are posts and concrete?

TH – She states that it is.

Mr. Guglielmo – Is the structure just sitting on concrete?

Mr. Walding – One of the reasons we have permits is because we are in a windstorm area. It must be able to withstand winds up to 150 mph. This is to protect your neighbor’s house.

TH – She says that in the 23 years it’s been there, the structure withstood many storms. The roof never needed to be replaced. The house was engineered to withstand 200 mph winds.

Mr. Walding – What about the structure, was it engineered to withstand a windstorm?

TH – She states that it was.

Mr. Walding – So when you go down to the City, you will need to have a windstorm engineer stamp the plans before a permit can be issued.

Mr. Hake – As with the previous project we discussed tonight, this seems to be an issue to take up with Code Compliance. I would again like to see the Code Compliance Division make a recommendation on this.

Ms. McDougal – Is there a reason that these projects are coming to us before issues are worked out with the Building Department? Is this because a Certificate of Appropriateness is required before a Building Permit may be issued?

Ryan Granata (RG) – Yes, you do need a Certificate of Appropriateness prior to getting a Building Permit. In this case, we were not aware of what the setbacks were until we received the applicant’s application. That is another concern that will need to be addressed, as it does not meet the setback requirement of this zoning district.

Mr. Walding – I would think that the City would take into consideration that the previous building was in this exact same location for 23 years.

RG – Our ordinance says that if you remove a building, then any new structure must meet all newly adopted standards. The previous structure would have been considered legally non-conforming, and when said building is removed you then lose your non-conforming status and must come into compliance. This is the basic tenant of a legal non-conforming use or structure. Every city has this type of ordinance and we are no different from other cities.

Mr. Walding – They could have repaired the original structures?

RG – Yes, you can repair up to 50% of the value but by removing the structure they have lost their legal non-conforming status.

TH – She says that you cannot repair a metal building with a large hole in it.

Ms. McDougal – When you get above that 50% mark that is when one loses their legal non-conformance as well. So if there was a tremendous amount of work to be done to start with, it likely would have triggered the structure losing its non-conforming status.

Ms. Dudney – This is something else that we need to resolve. This information needs to get out to people within the Historic District.

Ms. McDougal – I believe it would be helpful if for our next meeting, we had an agenda item in which we discussed how to stop these retroactive Certificates of Appropriateness for work that is already in progress or has been completed.

RG – Staff has been thinking about this as well and will be bringing it back up during staff comments.

Ms. Dudney – This is an existing condition. How would we resolve this? Would we move the building and chop up the concrete?

MG – Essentially yes, the building would need to be moved in order to meet the setback requirement.

RG – The tenant of non-conforming ordinances is that the City has an interest in ensuring that development meets certain standards, hence our ordinances. The idea of a non-conforming use is that uses will be phased out and replaced by buildings and uses that are conforming. This is commonly found in cities all around the country and we are no different here. The applicant has the option of requesting a variance to the setback requirement from the Zoning Board of Adjustments. The Historic District Commission could approve a Certificate of Appropriateness  with the condition that the applicant obtains a variance.

Ms. McDougal – Would we need to deny the application so that the applicant can make an appeal?

RG – If it is denied, the applicant can go before the Zoning Board of Adjustments to get the Certificate of Appropriateness and at a later date, request a variance. The second option is that this body can approve a Certificate of Appropriateness with the condition that the applicant obtains a variance to the setback requirement from the Zoning Board of Adjustments. If the variance is not obtained, then the Certificate of Appropriateness does not get issued and the applicant cannot get her Building Permit.

Ms. McDougal – Are there any other issues about the construction of this building that would cause staff to recommend against its approval.

RG – From a planning standpoint, the setback is the major concern. From a building standpoint, we cannot speak on their behalf though I do know windstorm requirements would be an issue. The buildings will need to be properly engineered to withstand 120 mph winds. The Building Department will not issue a permit or review for a permit until a Certificate of Appropriateness is granted.

CC – If we can approve with those conditions, the applicant can then work with the city to resolve the other issues mentioned.

RG – Exactly, the applicant can acquire necessary variances and approval from the Building Department. It is a few more steps, though in the end, it may be a cleaner process than having the Historic District Commission approve an item that does not meet our ordinances.

Ms. McDougal – I have no issue with the design or materials or concept of the building. My greatest concern are those issues that really fall outside of our purview, that would have been addressed had the structure gone through the proper permitting process. Staff has outlined a workable solution that could address all of these issues.

Mr. Guglielmo – I am concerned that there will be drainage issues associated with this structure.

TH – She states that it has not had any issues over the past 23 years.

Mr. Guglielmo – The roofline looks to be right on the fence.

TH – She says that the roofline was brought in by two feet.

Mr. Guglielmo – The water is not running off of the roof?

RH – The roofline was not slanted towards the fence before.

Mr. Guglielmo – That was prior, but now it is.

RH – We can put a piece of gutter up on the back and drain the water away from the fence.

Steph Mcdougal motioned to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for HC 15-09, 810 4th Street with the following conditions: The applicant work with the City to resolve the setback issues to the City’s satisfaction, that the applicant work with the City to meet windstorm requirements and that the applicant install a gutter to direct water away from their neighbor’s property.

David Hake seconded the motion


Mr. Calkins- What about the roofing material?

Ms. McDougal – I am motioning to approve the structure as is with those additional conditions.


Motion passed
6-0-0

IV.             Commissioner Comments
Mr. Hake – I have gone to two meetings and have twice been asked to approve something after the fact. This is something we need to get a handle on.

Mr. Walding – In the meetings I’ve been to, I have seen four cases where the project was constructed without a permit, and in all cases, the applicant has known that they needed a permit. The permits are for several things. When you obtain a permit, you must pay a fee. This causes your taxes to go up. It is not fair that those who do not receive a permit do not see a bump in their tax rate. The people who do get permits pay the taxes for the people who do not get permits. The permits are there to ensure windstorm requirements are met, taxes are appropriately distributed, drainage is accounted for and to protect the citizens of League City.

Mr. Hake – From my perspective, many of the drainage issues in the Historic District are self-inflicted. People are consistently allowed to do as they please. At some point, this begins to impact your neighbor. This is why permits are there.

Ms. McDougal – In the past, I have worked with other city governments as a private consultant on public information campaigns, educational programs. I can provide examples of these brochures to the Planning Department. These explain the rights and responsibilities of living in a Historic District and some of the ordinances that come with that. These also highlight some of the benefits including tax credits available to citizens. I understand that staff is stretched pretty thin, but we have seen a pattern begin to develop. The City needs to make a commitment to address this. This Commission in its current standing, is not providing good service to the citizens of League City. There is a plan to conduct a historic resources survey here in League City. Mr. Calkins has been assisting in the preparation and some of the data management for that project. In order to avoid stepping on the toes of the City Manager for the Main Street Redevelopment Project, I am holding off on public involvement for this survey until the City Manager can present the Main Street Redevelopment Project to the City Council. People get really confused by two projects occurring in the same location, so we are holding off on this.

Mr. Guglielmo – I would like to see the process work. We have been doing this for years, struggling to get respect, and we need it to come from ourselves. We need the residents to stick to the plan. The Historic District was resident driven and we need that to continue. Along Kansas Street, they are preparing to build new houses. I have had a problem with how they are crossing the ditch. I believe and I have spoken with the Public Works Director, that there are five new homes going in there. In my opinion, the way they are crossing the ditch is wrong. According to the ordinances, a home owner must use a similar material as is the street for their driveway. I have seen that in some instances, they have concreted up to the street. I also believe the pipes within those ditches are too small. These improvements are changing the character of the neighborhood and I think it is just wrong. If this happens for these five new homes and we allow it, then I am walking away. Staff, I appreciate your support.

Ms. Dudney – I am very interested in trying to promote our guidelines to the residents. Newcomers should be notified of what they have. We also need to be current on the Guidelines and the Residential Neighborhood Conservation Overlay. I also would like to know the current RNC and HCD sections of the Zoning Ordinance were approved?

Mr. Hendershot – I support the idea of a public media blitz letting newcomers know requirements they need to abide by within the Historic District, as well as what opportunities are available to them. The Historic District is important to people who live in League City, and given that importance, members of the Commission should be allowed to do their job. As an architect, I recognize the importance of needing permits as well as acquiring permits and following all appropriate codes. This information is readily available. Every community has these types of requirements.

V.                Staff Comments
RG – First, we wanted to let your all know that we do still owe you commissioner binders. These will be coming soon. We apologize for the delay. Also, we do still intend to look at the ordinances for the Historic District and work with the commissioners to revise this ordinance. Finally, we will be working with the Neighborhood Services Department to do public outreach on the importance of getting required permits. We would prefer to be proactive and not reactive to these situations. Thank you all for your service.

VI.             Adjournment
Meeting adjourned at 7:31 PM.

CERTIFICATE

THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE NOTICE OF MEETING WAS POSTED ON THE BULLETIN BOARD AT CITY HALL OF THE CITY OF LEAGUE CITY, TEXAS, BY THE 15th DAY OF JUNE, 2015 AND WAS POSTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH CHAPTER 551, LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT).  ITEMS POSTED IN THE OPEN SESSION PORTIONS OF THIS AGENDA MAY ALSO BE DISCUSSED IN CLOSED OR EXECUTIVE SESSION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT THE PRESENCE OF A QUORUM OF THE MEMBERS OF CITY COUNCIL AT ANY TIME DURING THE COURSE OF THE ABOVE-REFERENCED PROCEEDING MAY CONSTITUTE A MEETING OF CITY COUNCIL PURSUANT TO THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT, CHAPTER 551 OF THE TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE.  BY THIS NOTICE, THE PUBLIC IS HEREBY ADVISED OF SAID MEETING NOT LESS THAN 72 HOURS IN ADVANCE OF THE DATE, TIME AND LOCATION NOTED ABOVE.

 

_______________________________________                  _____________________________________

Mr. Richard Werbiskis                                                          Mr. Peter Guglielmo

City Planner                                                                           Chair, Historic District Commission

Date minutes approved: ___________________