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HPC Agenda Packet 10.14.2021 Thursday October 14, 2021 5:30 p.m. Emma Harvat Hall City Hall IOWA CITY HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION Thursday, October 14, 2021 City Hall, 410 E. Washington Street Emma J. Harvat Hall 5:30 p.m. Agenda A) Call to Order B) Roll Call C) Public discussion of anything not on the agenda D) Certificate of Appropriateness HPC21-0071: 1133 East Court Street – Longfellow Historic District (demolition of original siding and sheathing and installation of new sheathing, cement board siding, vapor barrier, and new wood trim) E) Report on Certificates issued by Chair and Staff Certificate of No Material Effect –Chair and Staff review 1. HPC21-0086: 520 Grant Street – Longfellow Historic District (roof shingle replacement) 2. HPC21-0087: 424 South Summit Street – Summit Street Historic District (roof shingle replacement) 3. HPC21-0094: 125 -127 East College Street – Local Historic Landmark (vinyl window signage installation) Minor Review –Staff review 1. HPC21-0090: 619 N Linn Street – Northside Historic District (roof shingle replacement) 2. HPC21-0092: 638 South Governor Street – Governor-Lucas Street Conservation District (deteriorated window replacement) 3. HPC21-0093: 320 East College, Trinity Episcopal Church – Local Historic Landmark (roof shingle replacement) 4. HPC20:0050: 520 Grant Street, Longfellow Historic District (garage repairs, overhead door replacement and deck stair relocation) Intermediate Review –Chair and Staff review 1. HPC21-0062: 533 South Summit Street – Summit Street Historic District (alterations and reconstruction of north side porch previously approved by HPC) 2. HPC21-0091: 812 South Summit Street – Summit Street Historic District (south side door alterations) F) Consideration of Minutes for September 9, 2021 G) Commission Discussion Historic Preservation Survey H) Commission Information I) Adjournment If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate in this meeting, please contact Jessica Bristow, Urban Planning, at 319-356-5243 or at jessica-bristow@iowa-city.org. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs. Date: October 8, 2021 To: Historic Preservation Commission From: Anne Russett, Senior Planner, Neighborhood and Development Services Re: Case No. HPC21-0071 – 1133 E. Court Street The property owner at 1133 E. Court St. has requested that the original wood siding be removed due to technical challenges that exist related to moisture concerns from the presence of modern insulation in combination with the synthetic aluminum siding. In order to approve removal of the original wood siding, the following conditions must exist: 1. Synthetic siding covers the original wood siding; 2. Evidence of technical or economic challenges is noted related to the deteriorated condition of the original wood siding or the impact that rehabilitation may have on building performance, health or safety.; and 3. If original wood siding is removed, it must be replaced with an appropriate material that matches in exposure, texture, and design. The original wood is covered with aluminum siding. The property owner’s architect explains the technical challenges that exist in the letter dated February 15, 2021 to the City Council (attached to the staff report). The architect states the challenge of properly repairing this system is immense and likely technically infeasible. Staff acknowledges that the property owners have health and safety concerns related to moisture that factor into their long-term plans for the maintenance of the home. As for the third condition, the property owner and contractor notified staff that the wood-substitute siding products being considered cannot exactly match the original wood siding. Specifically, the original wood siding has a narrow reveal of 2 3/4 inches. The narrowest reveal of the wood- substitute siding found and available by the property owner and contractor is between 4” to 4 ¾” inches. Additionally, the original wood siding is mitered at the corners, which cannot be mimicked with wood-substitute siding materials. Staff is unable to find a modern product that matches the existing 2 ¾” exposure. This leaves the property owner with only wood as an option. Based on staff’s rough estimates, the price for cedar bevel siding with a 2 ¾” exposure for this home is approximately $24,800. As a comparison 6” HardiPlank with a 4” exposure would be approximately $8,700. These estimates include only the raw cost of materials, it does not include any additional labor or painting cost. The guidelines include an exception for Uncommon Situations (Section 3.2). This exception can be used when elements of an application warrant special consideration. It allows the Commission to consider alternative design solutions that allow architectural flexibility for projects that satisfy the intent of the guidelines as interpreted by the Commission. The intent of the recent siding exception (Section 4.11) adopted by the City Council was to provide a path forward for the property owners at 1133 E. Court Street to remove the original wood siding and replace it with wood-substitute siding. Due to the narrow reveal of the original wood siding (the Historic Preservation Handbook states that most siding has an exposure of 3 to 5 inches) and the fact that modern siding cannot be mitered, alternative design solutions should be considered. Staff recommends that the Commission approve the following: 1. An exception to allow the removal of the original wood siding as outlined in 4.11 of the Historic Preservation Handbook. October 8, 2021 Page 2 2. An exception to the condition in Section 4.11 that the siding be replaced with a material that matches in exposure and allow for the wood-substitute siding with an approximate 4” exposure. Since wood-substitute siding cannot be mitered, this exception would also allow for transitions, such as a corner board, between the original wood siding on the front porch of the home, which will be maintained, and the new wood-substitute siding. Corner boards must be wood and would be introduced at each corner. Staff will approve the configuration of the corner boards. Staff Report September 2, 2021 Historic Review for HPC21-0071: 1133 East Court Street District: Longfellow Historic District Classification: Contributing The applicants, Adam and Gosia Clore, are requesting approval for a proposed alteration project at 1133 East Court Street, a Contributing property in the Longfellow Historic District. The project consists of the addition of three windows to the west wall of the rear addition and the removal of the original siding and original trim for the installation of a vapor barrier and the installation of new LP Smartside and new wood trim. Applicable Regulations and Guidelines: 44.0 I ow a Ci ty H i s tori c P re s e rva t i on Gu i d e l i n e s for Alte ra ti on s 4.4 Energy Efficiency 4.11 Siding 4.13 Windows 4.14 Wood St a ff C om m e n ts Property History This house was built ca. 1910-1924 as a Foursquare with a low-pitched hip roof, flared eaves, and dormers. The dormers have paired windows. The windows in the main floors of the house appear to be one-over-one individual double hung windows. The porch was enclosed with combination storm windows about 1972. A 2- story rear addition was added in 1998. The house is clad in aluminum siding which was likely installed during one of these projects. In 2005, the Commission approved changes to the rear deck built in 1998. In 2013, the Commission approved the installation of skylights in the south (rear) portion of the hip roof and the replacement of the vinyl deck railing with wood. Earlier in 2020, staff approved the replacement of the roof shingles, the replacement of the porch roof membranes, the installation of a railing on the second-floor rear porch and the removal of the aluminum siding at the front porch. Replacement and repair of deteriorated material to match the existing was included while the porch redesign would need to be approved by the full Commission. In December 2020, the Commission approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for the replacement of any missing porch columns, balustrade, and flooring in wood using 1152 Court Street as a reference for porch elements that do not remain. The Commission also approved the removal of the aluminum siding on the house and the repair of the historic siding and trim, replacing individual pieces with matching wood, cement board or LP Smartside if they are deteriorated beyond repair. The Commission denied the applicants’ application to install new aluminum or cement board over the historic siding or to replace that historic siding with new material regardless of the condition of the historic material. The applicants appealed and the Commission’s denial was upheld by City Council. In July 2021 a new exception to the guidelines for siding was approved by City Council following development by the Commission and staff at Council’s request. Current Project Description The applicant is proposing to add three new windows to the west wall of the rear addition. A sketch of the location is included in the staff report. The applicant proposes to use windows from the Andersen Windows 400 series which includes awning and casement windows with exterior vinyl cladding (and wood interior, which is standard). The applicant is also proposing to remove the aluminum siding on the entire house and the historic wood siding and trim on the historic portion of the house, with the exception of the siding and trim at the front porch, which will remain. The original siding will be replaced with smooth LP Smartside with the narrowest lap exposure available. Wood trim will be used that matches the historic trim. All new trim will match the trim in the front porch area. The applicants have submitted, as part of their application, a memo from their architect that is dated February 15, 2021 and was originally submitted to City Council as part of their appeal of the Commission’s denial. This memo includes the applicant’s explanation of the technical difficulties in their situation. The memo provides a discussion of the difference between the historic breathable wall assembly and the modern assembly and how this house now exhibits elements of each. This discussion does appear to assume that the historic wall assembly will by nature of its assembly, always cause exterior paint to fail with the addition of modern insulation exacerbating that situation. This memo also includes information about insulation and wall assembly retrofit as described by the Building Science Corporation and Preservation Brief 39. The memo is attached to the staff report. Historic Preservation Guidelines Section 4.13 Windows of the guidelines recommends that new windows are added that match the type, size, sash width, trim, use of divided lights, and overall appearance of the historic windows. New windows should be added in a location that is consistent with the window pattern of the historic building. It is disallowed to install modern types of windows including sliding, awning, casement, and bay windows when they were not original to the building. It is also disallowed to install metal, vinyl clad, or vinyl windows on primary structures. Section 4.11 Siding recommends “replacing deteriorated sections of wood siding with new or salvaged wood siding that matches the historic wood siding.” It is also recommended to remove “synthetic siding and repair historic wood siding and trim.” It is disallowed to “remove historic trim pieces such as door and window trim, skirt and frieze boards, and corner boards.” “Matching synthetic siding may be used to repair damage to small sections of existing synthetic siding.” Fiber cement board with a smooth finish is often an appropriate substitute for wood. This section also begins with an opening statement: “Wood siding along with the trim details and a variety of paint colors combine to make one of the most important defining characteristics of historic districts. This display of detail and color is essential to the character of the older neighborhoods, and therefore siding is protected by the design guidelines. The primary threat to the traditional appearance of older neighborhoods has been the application of synthetic siding. This has been installed in an effort to avoid periodic painting. While synthetic siding may last longer than an application of paint, it does deteriorate over time and does need to be replaced when it fades, cracks, dents, or deteriorates. The application of synthetic siding covers many architectural details of a building, damages the historic siding and trim, traps moisture within the walls, and in some cases, necessitates the removal of historic elements altogether. For all of these reasons the covering of historic properties with synthetic siding is not allowed.” The new exception for siding that could apply to this project reads: “The following exception provides flexibility to owners of eligible buildings with existing synthetic siding installed over original wood siding. The City recommends repair of original wood siding over replacement whenever feasible. Removal of the synthetic siding and repair of the original wood siding and trim is often the most sustainable and affordable solution. However, some property owners may have legitimate economic or technical concerns due to the deteriorated condition of the original wood siding or the impact rehabilitation may have on building performance, health or safety such as the potential for moisture damage due to the presence of modern insulation. Therefore, this exception encourages City staff and the Commission to consult with homeowners and/or their professional agents to assess applications involving the presence of synthetic siding and provide flexibility to situations where property owners wish to avoid economical and technical challenges such as moisture damage, remove the synthetic siding and the original siding, and replace it with an appropriate material as described in this handbook that matches in exposure, texture, and design…. Synthetic siding may be removed, and if original wood siding exists underneath it may be repaired or removed and replaced with wood or an approved alternative material, provided the following conditions: x Synthetic siding covers the original wood siding; x Evidence of technical or economic challenges is noted related to the deteriorated condition of the original wood siding or the impact that rehabilitation may have on building performance, health or safety.; and x If original wood siding is removed, it must be replaced with an appropriate material that matches in exposure, texture, and design. Economic challenges could exist in situations where compliance with the guidelines results in costs that are exorbitant. In order to demonstrate an economic challenge, applicants must submit detailed cost estimates. Staff and the Commission can evaluate if the added costs to comply with the guidelines is necessary or if there is another less costly solution.” Section 4.14 Wood says it is disallowed to “cover original wood siding, soffits, and eave boards with another material...” Historic Review In Staff’s opinion, the existing group of three windows on the west side of the house are likely a modern alteration during an earlier kitchen remodel. With the exception of the bay on the east side and the paired windows in the dormer, all historic windows on the house are single individual windows. Grouped windows are otherwise only newer installations such as that found in the addition which was added prior to the designation of the historic district. Even so, staff finds that adding a group of windows in this area would not impact the historic character of the house as long as the windows are separated by framing and appropriate trim, match the head height of the historic windows and the sill height of either the existing west side group of windows or the sill height on other first floor windows in the historic house. Staff finds that Anderson Windows 400 series is not an appropriate window for this house. First, awning and casement windows would not be appropriate on a Foursquare and are disallowed by the guidelines. Also, while they are wood windows on the interior (as are most windows) they are vinyl clad on the exterior. While this may match the addition, vinyl-clad windows are disallowed by the guidelines and matching a modern addition that was not reviewed by the Commission is not recommended by the guidelines. Instead, staff recommends that the new windows are one-over-one double hung wood (inside and outside) or metal-clad wood (with wood interior and metal clad exterior) windows that follow the guidelines. In the future when the windows in the addition are replaced, the appropriate window that would be approved would also follow this recommendation. During an inspection of the siding, earlier this year, multiple staff were able to view the historic siding in specific areas with the aluminum removed. It was found that the siding underneath was in good condition. The paint showed evidence of both multiple dried layers of old, hardened peeling paint and areas of fewer layers of paint that was intact. Holes from the installation of insulation aligned in single rows with a hole at each space between studs with an additional row running under the windows. Staff did not witness existing moisture damage to the wood. It was evident at the front corner near the porch that the house has narrow lap siding mitered at the corner without corner boards. In the area reviewed by staff, there was no watertable or drip edge, which is not typical. Additional inspection of the remaining wall base would be recommended once the aluminum is removed to determine this detail. The wall may have terminated with the lap siding running all the way to the foundation. The frieze board and any other details beyond those evident in the porch were not visible and would also require further investigation to determine the trim configuration. It was also evident that the siding at the connection to the addition was simply cut off. The applicants have proposed to use “smooth LP siding with the narrowest exposure available, which will closely mimic the original wood siding.” Since the siding on the house has mitered corners and a portion of the historic siding will remain, ensuring that the new siding follows the guidelines by matching the “exposure, texture, and design” of the historic siding will ensure that the new siding may blend in with the old where they meet. It is expected that any material would be trimmed as necessary to fit. LP Smartside or cement board are approvable if they can meet these conditions in the guidelines. The Commission must determine whether or not the applicants have met the conditions for an exception to the siding guidelines based on technical difficulties. The exception states that synthetic siding and original wood siding may be removed if the following conditions exist: x Synthetic siding covers the original wood siding; x Evidence of technical or economic challenges is noted related to the deteriorated condition of the original wood siding or the impact that rehabilitation may have on building performance, health or safety.; and x If original wood siding is removed, it must be replaced with an appropriate material that matches in exposure, texture, and design. Synthetic aluminum siding covers the original wood siding. The applicant’s architect outlined the technical challenges in the attached memo. The following is an excerpt of the memo, which speaks to the technical challenges: “The house a system is fundamentally different now than it was in 1924. The walls have clearly been insulated, the original trim has been removed and the wood is now a swiss cheese amalgamation of insulation access points and nail penetrations from the aluminum siding. The challenge of properly repairing this system is immense and likely technically infeasible. The removal of the original trims (likely because they failed) causes a challenge to properly flash and ensure water tightness around the penetrations and openings which will ultimately lead to water infiltration into the wall and insulation and a long term mold issue.” Regarding the exposure, texture, and design of the siding, staff recommends that the original siding and trim is fully documented by staff in photos as a part of the historic record of this house. Staff also recommends that the trim details that are currently unknown are also reviewed and final configuration are approved by Staff and the Commission Chair. Staff would also recommend that the addition would match the historic siding and trim condition of the house as it would have if it had been reviewed when constructed, including all window, door, frieze board, lack of corner boards and the bottom of the wall condition. RR e c om m e n d e d M oti on Move to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for the project at 1133 East Court Street through an exception for siding based on technical difficulties in the current configuration as presented in the staff report with the following conditions: ƒ The historic exterior is fully documented in photographs by staff once it is exposed ƒ The trim details are reviewed and approved by staff and Commission Chair and the trim on the addition is installed to match the historic house ƒ The three new windows are separated by framing and trim and match the head and sill height of existing historic windows on the house, are double hung windows, and are constructed of wood or metal-clad wood. 1133 East Court Street 1133 E Court – older photo from SE (rear corner) 1133 East Court- older photo from SW (rear) corner New window location 1133 East Court- west side No watertable or drip edge mitered corner visible under corner piece New window location 1133 East Court Street -sketch of proposed new windows west side 1133 East court porch interior existing historic siding, trim, ceiling, and frieze boardfrieze board 1133 East Court Street- porch interior frieze board 1133 East Court – west side near porch 1133 East Court Street- east side bay window 1133 East Court Street- east side bay window detail insulation hole wood in good condition weathered wood 1133 East Court Street- west side detail "newer" adhered paint historic paint becomes brittle over time with many layers all visible wood in good condition no watertable and drip edge 1133 East Court Street- west side addition connection detail historic house newer addition 1133 East Court- west wall insulation holes insulation holes trim not uncovered but may be missing or cut back MINUTES PRELIMINARY HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION EMMA J. HARVAT HALL September 9, 2021 MEMBERS PRESENT: Margaret Beck, Carl Brown, Kevin Boyd, Sharon DeGraw, Cecile Kuenzli, Kevin Larson, Jordan Sellergren, Frank Wagner MEMBERS ABSENT: Noah Stork, Deanna Thomann STAFF PRESENT: Jessica Bristow OTHERS PRESENT: Nancy Bird RECOMMENDATIONS TO COUNCIL: By a vote of 7-0 the Commission recommends that City Council direct Staff to research the Opt- in Incentives for Local Landmarks developed in conjunction with the Iowa City Downtown District and described in the September 1, 2021 memorandum to the Commission with the goal of exploring these and other options and incentives and developing them into policy proposals that appropriate city commissions and councils could later review. CALL TO ORDER: Chairperson Boyd called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. PUBLIC DISCUSSION OF ANYTHING NOT ON THE AGENDA: None. CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS: HPC21-0071: 1133 East Court Street – Longfellow Historic District (demolition of original siding and sheathing and installation of new sheathing, cement board siding, vapor barrier, and new wood trim) Bristow said that the applicant has requested a deferral to the October meeting. She said Staff recommends honoring the request. MOTION: Brown moved to defer consideration of the 1133 East Court Street Certificate of Appropriateness to the October meeting. Kuenzli seconded. The motion carried on a vote of 8-0. HPC21-0081: 508 South Summit Street – Summit Street Historic District (rear demolition and new rear addition) Bristow said this house is a four square with an attached porch, a regular window pattern, a hipped roof, paneled balustrade, mitered corners, a two-story original open bump out, and an original garage. She said this project had to get special approval for the minimum open space requirement for the new rear porch addition, and that it will be set in from and terminate at the corners (with the same distance from the overhang) and have a hipped roof. She said it was recommended that the new addition have mitered corners and match the existing roof line of the house. She said the new addition would extend the kitchen area, as well as have a pair of French doors to reach the new rear porch. Bristow said the materials used will be stucco-coated foundation and wood lap siding also being used. She said the applicants are interested in using AZEK for the trim, which the Commission has not often approved for projects in the past. She said the applicants want the option to use AZEK as a backup plan, but that Staff is not recommending approval at this point in time. Kuenzli asked why the second story windows are so much shorter than the windows on the main floor. Bristow said she assumes because the applicants are making that room a master bedroom and would prefer to have a higher windowsill. She said if the Commission feels that the windows should match the existing then the guidelines would certainly support that decision. Bristow said the applicants have requested to use Trex for the rear porch floor, which Staff does not recommend. She said that there is an exception that can be applied for the applicants to use treated deck boards as long as the space between them is an eighth of an inch or less. She said typically all porch floors are required to be tongue and groove. Boyd opened the public hearing. Boyd closed the public hearing. Kuenzli said she thinks it would be nice to use tongue and groove flooring rather than treated plain wood. She said she also thinks the shorter second story windows are an issue. Wagner made suggestions about the soffit material (bead board), the windowsills, the trim around the windows, and other trim as needed. Bristow said she would talk with the applicants about the materials used and the requirements to match the existing structure. Brown asked if panels not being required on the rear porch is a notion that is consistently applied in projects that come through the Commission. Bristow said yes. Bristow said she would follow up with the applicants and make the appropriate recommendations in line with the Commission’s suggestions. MOTION: DeGraw moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for the project at 508 South Summit Street as presented in the staff report with the following conditions: (1) the addition repeats the existing conditions of the bellcast eaves, the mitered corners at the siding, (2) the applicant use vertical-grained tongue-and-groove Douglas Fir for the porch flooring, (3) beadboard is used for the soffits, (4) the and that the wood trim matches the existing trim including thickness and the use of drip caps. Larson seconded. The motion carried on a vote of 8-0. OPT-IN INCENTIVES FOR LOCAL LANDMARKS: Boyd said he has been working with Nancy Bird and the Iowa City Downtown District regarding recommendations made in the National Register and by the City Council to get more people and businesses involved in historic preservation. He said he wrote a memo that summarizes their conversations and provides a framework of options in response to the recommendations received. Boyd opened the public hearing. Nancy Bird, with the Iowa City Downtown District, said that there is a lot of investment in the buildings downtown and that there has been widespread interest from property owners as well as the community in preserving these buildings the best that they can. She said that there are many incentives already in place that work, like we see with the College Street development (which is a great example of partnership and owners’ buy-in) and the option of freezing the tax increase, which really tends to get business and property owners’ attention. She said they can always do more public education to promote historic preservation as well. Bird said she is happy to be working with the Commission about ways to incentivize and support historic preservation instead of regulating it and hopes that it produces more collaborative efforts moving forward. Boyd closed the public hearing. Boyd said this could apply to commercial buildings outside the Downtown District as well. Larson said, from a student perspective, it would be interesting if there was more of an educational component to understand the history of the buildings and such. DeGraw and Sellergren asked what the rationale was for taxing the buildings. Boyd said he thinks the taxes are increased because the value of the building also increases. Kuenzli said that they need to consider that private residential property owners also carry a financial burden for keeping their property up to date in a historic district. DeGraw agreed, but said it was a conversation for later down the road on how to make historic preservation more affordable for a larger group of people. Bristow said that residential properties are eligible for the state tax credit, and commercial buildings are eligible for both the state and federal tax credit. MOTION: Sellergren moved to ask the City Council to direct Staff to research the attached framework to explore other options and incentives that align with these proposals and goals and turn them into policy proposals that appropriate city commissions and councils could later review. DeGraw seconded. The motion carried on a vote of 7-0. Carl Brown left the meeting before the vote took place. REPORT ON CERTIFICATES ISSUED BY CHAIR AND STAFF: Certificate of No Material Effect – Chair and Staff Review HPC21-0078: 320 East Jefferson Street – Jefferson Street Historic District (roof shingle replacement) Bristow said the property owner is re-roofing this property with asphalt architectural shingles. HPC21-0079: 328 East Jefferson Street – Jefferson Street Historic District (roof shingle replacement) Bristow said the property owner is replacing their roof with appropriate matching materials. Minor Review – Staff Review HPC21-0076: 604 Ronalds Street – Brown Street Historic District (roof shingle replacement) Bristow said the owners are replacing the roof and that it is an unusual case because they using green shingles (it is possible it has always been green). HPC21-0085:1107 Clark Court – Clark Street Conservation District (solar installation) Bristow said the owners are installing solar panels on the south side of the roof as well as the rear addition and the outbuilding. Intermediate Review – Chair and Staff Review HPC21-0075: 701 Grant Street – Longfellow Historic District (basement window replacement) Bristow said there was one odd window that they replaced to match the rest. HPC21-0082: 1132 Burlington Street – College Hill Conservation District (minor change to prior COA) Bristow said this project came before the Commission a few years ago (rear addition with an added screen porch, deck, and stairs), and now they are extending the screen porch to the rest of the addition and just having a landing with stairs instead of the deck. CONSIDERATION OF MINUTES FOR JULY 21, 2021: MOTION: DeGraw moved to approve the minutes from July 21, 2021. Wagner seconded. The motion carried on a vote of 7-0. CONSIDERATION OF MINUTES FOR AUGUST 12, 2021: Boyd said, under the discussion about the Montgomery-Butler House, he also mentioned that there was an agreement with the Army Corp of Engineers, the State, SHPO, and the City to preserve the Montgomery-Butler House in a three-way agreement on December 9th, 1997. MOTION: Sellergren moved to approve the minutes from August 12, 2021 as amended. Beck seconded. The motion carried on a vote of 7-0. COMMISSION INFORMATION: Bristow said to read the email about ex-parte communication, and that she could answer any questions they might have about it. Boyd asked for clarification about referring to projects versus discussing the specific details of a project. Bristow said general questions are within the purview of the Commission to answer, but specific questions about specific projects should not be discussed outside of formal meetings. Sellergren asked about when someone seeking to influence a Commissioner on a Certificate of Appropriateness reaches out directly. Bristow recommended that they disclose that in the meeting when the project is discussed, if they have already had the conversation, otherwise not to partake in it at all. Boyd suggested that someone from the City Attorney’s Office come in to provide appropriate training and then the Commission could have further discussion about this topic. 2021 Historic Preservation Survey Boyd suggested that they add this to next month’s agenda as a discussion item. ADJOURNMENT: DeGraw moved to adjourn the meeting. Wagner seconded. Meeting was adjourned at 6:35 p.m. HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION ATTENDANCE RECORD 2020-2021 NAME TERM EXP. 01/14 01/28 02/11 03/11 04/08 05/13 06/10 7/08 7/21 8/12 9/09 BECK, MARGARET 6/30/24 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- X X X X BOYD, KEVIN 6/30/23 X X X X X X X X X X X BROWN, CARL 6/30/23 X X X X X X O/E X -- X X BURFORD, HELEN 6/30/21 X X X X X X X -- -- -- -- DEGRAW, SHARON 6/30/22 X X X X X X X -- -- X X KUENZLI, CECILE 6/30/22 X X X X X X X X X O/E X KIPLE, LYNDI 6/30/22 X X X X X X X X -- -- -- LARSON, KEVIN 6/30/24 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- X X O/E X PITZEN, QUENTIN 6/30/21 X X X X O/E X X -- -- -- -- SELLERGREN, JORDAN 6/30/22 X X X X X X O/E X X X X STORK, NOAH 6/30/24 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- X X X O THOMANN, DEANNA 6/30/23 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- O/E X X O/E WAGNER, FRANK -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- X X WU, AUSTIN 6/30/23 X X O/E O/E O/E X X -- -- -- -- KEY: X = Present O = Absent O/E = Absent/Excused --- = Not a Member Date: August 30, 2021 To: Geoff Fruin, City Manager From: Tracy Hightshoe, Neighborhood and Development Services Director Re: Historic Preservation Survey Management staff of the Neighborhood and Development Services (NDS) department conducted an informal survey this summer for those who own property in Iowa City’s historic or conservation districts and those who own a designated landmark as well as the contractors who provide construction services for these properties. To staff’s knowledge, the City has never surveyed or asked for feedback after a district’s designation to provide input about the benefits or issues that property owners may experience. Various concerns have been voiced to City management over the years by contractors and those living in the districts about difficulties experienced when trying to complete exterior renovations or why they did not pursue renovations. The surveys gave an opportunity for property owners to provide feedback about the historic preservation review and approval process. At the April 8, 2021 Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) meeting a subgroup of members, including the HPC Chair, volunteered to review the survey before distribution. The HPC members who reviewed the draft surveys requested that the surveys be written in a neutral way to try not to influence the results. Due to this, most of the questions are open-ended. The questions and the responses received are attached for your review. Over 1,200 surveys were mailed to property owners and over 90 contractors were contacted by email. The City received 134 owner and 24 contractor responses. The surveys were not intended to be scientific, but rather aimed to help staff gain insight into what property owners and contractors felt worked well and what elements of the historic review and approval process could be improved. Staff noted the following takeaways from the responses received: • Realtors were most frequently cited as the source for learning their home is in a historic/conservation district. • Many cited preservation of the character of the homes and neighborhood as the best part of living in a district. • Common themes for those who reported issues include the need for more staff time to reduce review times/provide faster responses, more flexibility with material selection and the cost of proposed improvements. Many respondents also indicated difficulty finding qualified, responsive contractors. • Contractors most frequently identified affordability and energy efficiency as home improvement goals that have proven to be difficult to achieve due to historic preservation requirements. Based on the responses received, staff plans to make the following administrative changes to the historic review process. The majority of changes will allow the Historic Preservation Planner more time to focus on the reviews that are more technical, complicated and/or larger in scope and will incorporate other NDS staff to assist with limited reviews under the guidance of Urban Planning (our historic preservation staff). 1. Routine re-roofing requests in historic districts will no longer be processed by the Historic Preservation Planner. Re-roofing projects are largely straightforward reviews that can be processed by other staff trained by the Historic Preservation Planner. September 2, 2021 Page 2 2. Housing Inspection/Rehabilitation staff, as requested by the Historic Preservation Planner, will assist by completing site visits to make determinations on level of deterioration for applications requesting the replacement of exterior features such as windows and siding. 3. The Planning Intern will provide more assistance with photo documentation of buildings, as requested by Planning staff. 4. Staff will improve how Certificates of Appropriateness (COA) are written to include more specific detail on what is approved (e.g. materials) to provide more clarification to the applicant and reduce additional coordination after approval. All of the above actions will help address concerns noted in the survey about the review time. The changes will allow the Historic Preservation Planner additional time to focus on more complex applications by having other professional staff absorb routine requests and conduct some of the site visits. Other actions that will be initiated by staff based on the survey responses include ongoing efforts to work with the Iowa City Area Realtors Association to educate realtors on the location of the City’s historic and conversation districts, as well as their benefits and requirements. Staff will also continue updating our list of contractors who work on historic properties as new ones are identified. If City Council or HPC want staff to initiate a further review of any section(s) of the Historic Preservation Guidelines, staff will incorporate this item in our workplan. As review of a section(s) of the Historic Preservation Guidelines can be time intensive, staff will not initiate a review unless there is interest to review and possibly adopt new guidelines by City Council and/or the Historic Preservation Commission. cc: Historic Preservation Commission Historic Preservation Property Owner Survey - July 2021 Q1. When you purchased your home were you aware it was in an Iowa City Historic or Conservation District or designated as an Iowa City Historic Landmark? 134 Answered, 0 Skipped Yes, 57.46% No, 42.54% Q2.How were you made aware of your property's designation? 76 Answered, 58 Skipped City's Annual Notification Letter to Owner, 6.58% City's Website, 6.58% Contractor, 0% Neighbor, 11.84% Realtor, 39.47% Other, 35.53% If other, repsonses included previous owner, signs/placards, lived in prior home in district, family, city staff, news articles, don't remember Q3. Property owners are encouraged to use Iowa City's Historic Preservation Handbook for guidelines and requirments before making exterior repairs or renovations. Have you (or a contractor working for you) consulted the Historic Preservation Handbook or contact Preservation staff to discuss a project before making repairs to your home? 129 Answered, 5 Skipped Yes 80.62% No 19.38% Q4. Have you ever applied for a building permit or contacted City staff to discuss a project that needed historic review in order to complete exterior renovations (siding, window, doors, porch, etc.) 130 Answered, 4 Skipped Yes, 61.54% No, 38.46% Q5. Please explain what worked well. 70 Answered, 64 Skipped 1 Easy to reach out via email for answers to questions about projects. 2 Talking ahead of time with HPC staff; working with the contractor to make sure he was staying in touch with the HPC about the plans; presenting the plans to the HPC board. 3 The representative was available by phone so that helped to speak with someone 4 It was all pretty easy. 5 All of it. 6 It was pretty easy to navigate. Commission was great. Staff was helpful. 7 The historic committee representative responded to questions in a timely manner. We received interesting information about the original appearance of our home. The end result is beautiful. We were able to achieve most of our goals. 8 The guidelines are clear. Staff was knowledgeable to help us figure things out. 9 Excellent advice and contacts for contractors! 10 Both parties worked to find an agreement. 11 Not a lot, really. 12 Being able to submit photos and documents electronically was helpful. 13 It was much easier to make historically appropriate modification after the guidelines were in place. We have owned the home before the district. My partner knows a lot about historic preservation and has been able to shepherd the process so we have been able to get some thing approved by staff, but I am unsure if everyone can do that as easily since they are not as knowledgeable about the process. 14 The request for permission was eventually accepted. 15 Honestly the process was so convoluted and difficult that we almost gave up and we almost decided not to do any improvements at all. Terrible process 16 skylight installation in rear of house, approximately 2013 17 We were able to come to some consensus about the overall plan and look. 18 Nothing. I find the whole process to be burdensome, frustrating, and pointless. I had to replace the rotted wood soffits with WOOD - which, no surprise here, is now rotting again. No one walking past our house stops to admire the "historically accurate" wood soffits. The Historic Preservation Commission imposes unnecessary and expensive burdens on property owners. I will never buy another house in a "historic preservation" district based on my experience here. 19 The project didn't rise to the level of Commission review, only staff review was required. The entire process went smoothly and without a hitch due to staff's extensive knowledge and professionalism. The manual produced by the City/Commission is also very useful. 20 The handbook was helpful and the staff were responsive 21 It seemed easy. The woman we worked with was so helpful. Made the process easy to understand. 22 All of it really - Jessie was great to work with. She helped me a ton. Overall - easy 23 In general, rules were clarified which was useful. 24 Explanation of what needed to be done 25 Speaking directly to the person in charge of the HPC (Jennifer?). Her explanations were helpful, and she was pleasant to speak with. 26 I owned my home prior to it becoming part of the "conservation" district. It's not historic and yet I must get permission/permits to change anything on the home. For example - I wanted to replace the 60 year old wood windows. When I called your office several years ago they said I could ask permission to put on vinyl windows but your office preferred I keep the wood window (which are energy inefficient). I could find no one who wanted to deal with the 19 windows I needed to replace at a cost of approx. $1000 + dollars a window. It's cost prohibitive for a single mom, working half time, which I was at the time. And then try to find a carpenter. Every project becomes a burden, and though I like my neighborhood, when I explained to a gentleman in your office at the time, that I was unable to afford what refurbishing wood windows he said, and i quote - "maybe it's time for you to sell your house". So in general I've had no great interactions with those who are supposed to be helpful. 27 Received good advice and help with plans. Commission was reasonable and flexible. Inspectors were knowledgeable. 28 Honestly, the preservation commission members (in 2003?)did not impress me as very qualified, or confident in their decisions 29 We were told we could not put siding on. Had to maintain paint. Sort of disappointing. 30 All of it really. Easy to understand, staff was great to work with. I’ve gotten approval multiple times. My only complaint was the most recent when I had to use a city permitting system - it was not user friendly and hard to navigate. 31 It's a relatively easy process if what you are doing is conservative. 32 We had an outside stairs that was in disrepair, the really cold winter previously had damaged it more than anticipated. Primarily we had used a lot of salt on the steps and they were rusting away very quickly. We had to replace them and it was a pretty seamless process. It didn’t take long to get the approval. We were really grateful for the partnership in making it happen so we could make the steps safe again for our tenants. 33 Communicating with preservation staff. Review by commission. Clear info in handbook and via staff. 34 Staff is helpful. 35 The Historic Preservation Commission was very helpful in ensuring a kitchen addition reflected the original Arts and Crafts style of our home. 36 The Planner had some good design suggestions for our addition and assisted our contractor in drawings and the historic review process. The Planner provided a letter for our insurance company outlining the City requirements for siding replacement that was hail damaged. 37 ability to submit email attachments. ability to meet face to face with city staff to finalize acceptable options 38 Received direction from Historic Preservation Planner on how to proceed and was given some ideas for maintaining historic nature of property in line with the improvements we were seeking to make 39 I had no problem working with the Historic Preservation Committee. Things got done one a timely basis even though it was during Covid. 40 City employee, Jann Ream, was very helpful. 41 because requested change was not historically significant, the response came back quickly. 42 Not much. 43 Jessica is very helpful and pointed out what to do and how. 44 Very little. 45 We replaced our windows. The person we contacted at that time was easy to work with. 46 the on line material is easy to access (but not being required to do this extra step would be simpler) 47 so long agoI don't remember details 48 Nothing. Historic Preservation Staff was condescending, and unhelpful, and basically told us we could not replace the ancient, damaged windows on our home. I received a lecture about the "imbedded energy" in old windows, and how landfilling them would be a travesty. It should be noted that I have worked in solid waste management and environmental science for over 3 decades. I was also told that our windows should be repaired and doing so would be the energy conservation equivalent of installing new, custom period-appropriate windows. The staff person I spoke to, Jessica, indicated that she was familiar with our home, and knew the contractor who had flipped it. She also indicated that the Historic Preservation Board had a member who did window restoration, the inference being that repair would be given preference. We ended up replacing only the windows on the 1970s circa addition of our home, after our contractor told us it wasn't worth the fight to replace the windows in the original structure even though we were willing to pay for the best custom windows available. We pulled the appropriate permit from the City , paid the fees ,and had the allowed work done. The DAY AFTER the job was done, the tax assessor was on our porch, wanting to inspect. Thus, our taxes went up and we still have leaky, damaged, ancient windows throughout the original part of our home. We have noticed since that both Longfellow and Horace Mann Schools have BRAND NEW windows as part of their recent renovations. This sort of municipal hypocrisy makes us deeply regret our decision to return to Iowa City to retire. We paid over $350,000 for our home, and realize now that being in a conservation district is a detriment to both our attempts to save energy, and be held as equal to other entities in City government. Epic fail. 49 Staff was very helpful explaining the guidelines and point out how to best achieve our project. The advice provided actually saved us some money and resulted in a better repair project. 50 Received good guidance on how to proceed and what parameters we needed to work within. Staff was very knowledgeable. 51 We investigated applying for some of the grants that were available possibly for replacing the windows and exterior siding which are all well worn. The staff was very helpful and informative but we havent had a chance yet to revisit the idea but may do so again in the future. 52 Sorry, I don't remember. 53 I don't really remember. I guess our questions got answered... 54 builder was acquainted with the process. 55 Jessica Bristow is very helpful and responsive, and the process is simple and straightforward. 56 Staff were very helpful working through the process. 57 it was a simple replacement of a porch footing so it could be done with a Certificate of No Material Effect 58 Not much: regulations seemed again and again to push us to pay more for less energy-efficient solutions, even in situations where no one would see the renovations from the outside. 59 It was pretty straight forward. Filling out the form online and being able to check the progress was great. 60 We built a deck on the rear of house. Following review, we were asked to modify several design aspects. Outside of having additional time added to completion, the process seemed to work okay 61 Design options were shared with myself and contractor and final choice approved in advance of work. 62 Took time to complete. 63 Everything worked well. Jessica has been very helpful on several occasions. The permit application process was easy. 64 I contacted the HPC about adding a handrail to my front steps; they gave me contractor suggestions and approved our design. All happened quickly and smoothly. 65 Whenever we have a project, we call Jessica Bristow. She comes over, we talk, and then we submit a plan. Consulting with historic preservation people BEFORE contracting work is the key. 66 The streamlined process for minor modifications works very well. The HPC was considerate and even affirming on a major project we did. 67 Eventually my deck and screen porch project was approved because my contractor knew how to navigate the rules amd meetings. 68 Prompt response to our request to install skylights 69 I appreciate living in this neighborhood and am hoping that these letters I'm getting and this survey indicate that the City intends to start enforcing these policies. 70 Having all information online. Q6. Please provide your suggestions for improving the historic review process. 65 Answered, 69 Skipped 1 The handbook is overwhelming, kind of technical, and not especially helpful as a basic starting point when considering projects. Would be helpful to have a simplified "cheat sheet" with some really basic information about what to consider, what is fitting, what isn't, what to ask contractors, etc. 2 I would like the HPC to be a tad more flexible about allowing certain kinds of renovations that will keep the area vital while not radically impacting the historic authenticity of the residences. For example, I've heard that requests to remodel garages (while preserving the look of the building) have been turned down. I think this is problematic, because cars — and sometimes larger vehicles like SUVs — are a fact of contemporary life, and remodeling a garage while keeping its exterior in conformity with the house will only increase the resale value of the house and make the neighborhood more attractive to future residents. Similarly, newer roof materials ought to be approved if they don't radically alter the look of the house. I would strongly urge a more pragmatic approach to requests from homeowners, with a view to preserving not only the historic architecture of the area but also the ongoing vitality of the neighborhood. I'm not saying that the HPC should allow everything — far from it. I do think that historic preservation is really important. I'm just asking for a reasonable degree of flexibility, especially regarding outbuildings like garages. 3 Maybe an if/then flowchart or infographic but simplified to illustrate what HP property owners need to consult for and why 4 More staff time. My neighbor told me you all are cutting staff. Please don’t. 5 The city website to apply is awful - get rid of that. 6 More staff time. Help with tax credits. 7 I have owned my home in the Longfellow Neighborhood for 15 years. It was purchased as a starter home, and eventually could not accommodate my growing family. We considered moving to a larger home in a newer development, but these all lacked the historic character, proximity to services, and walkable neighborhoods which we had come to love. Instead, I undertook an extensive renovation project on my home, bringing it up to current building standards and expanding the living space. This experience lends me perspective on this issue, and I would make the following suggestions: First, make the process more accessible and transparent. Prior to my remodel, I personally informed all my neighbors as a courtesy. Many expressed their surprise that such a project was possible, and shared stories of projects postponed or abandoned due to concerns about conforming to the historic preservation guidelines. I had an excellent team of architect and contractors with experience working within the historic parameters. However, not all homeowners need or can afford a team for their project. The perception that the guidelines are limiting or non-inclusive deserves to be improved. Second, update the guidelines to fit this progressive community and to encourage diversity in our neighborhoods. The character of old homes is a drawing feature, and worth preserving. However, our homes should be allowed to move into the modern era in terms of technology and energy efficiency. For example, the guidelines initially limited replacing our broken, rotting windows with contemporary insulated windows. The guidelines should be adapted to reflect our responsibility to reduce energy consumption, and to support a stable climate. In another instance, my elderly father-in-law who lives in the same neighborhood requested permission to install a wheelchair ramp due to his declining mobility. The guidelines limited his options to an extremely long ramp which would not allow him to transfer from his vehicle to the house in a feasible manner. Guidelines like this would appear to discriminate against the differently-abled. In many cases, homeowners want to tackle small projects, but discover that completing them within the guidelines requires much more work than expected. The cost can rapidly outpace the long-term financial gain for homeowners, which leads families away from these neighborhoods. I am extremely happy with my home, and thrilled to remain in the neighborhood I love. I would like to see other families be able to do the same, and to see these homes adapt to keep our neighborhoods beautiful for another 100 years. 8 It's been a long time since I've used the historic review process. From what I remember, things went smoothly. 9 I think some people are frustrated because they don't understand what can/cant be done and how to get help from the city on this. The city seems to lack sufficient staff with sufficient knowledge to be able to help. 10 Faster responses. Sometimes we’d email staff and they were out of office. 11 Do not require such detailed drawings before approval. Many of us don’t have the money, time, or connections to get the level of details that are asked for to gain approval, yet we are asked to invest money and time in something that may not be approved. Makes it very difficult to move forward on a project. 12 I support the goal of historic preservation but question why changes that are obvious improvements are rejected for being non-conforming. I think the process could be improved by weighing the goals of preservation with the necessity of making non-conforming property improvements. For example, my next door neighbor has not allowed to install a parking pad on the alley behind his house. As a result, he keeps multiple vehicles in his driveway. In order to take one of the vehicles out of his garage, he has to use my driveway or move two to three cars out of his driveway. 13 I'm not sure which house it is that I own that's currently (apparently?) in a HP district? But I used to own a house that was in a HP district, a house that was in no way, shape or form historic. However because of the district I was held to a historic standard that placed undue financial stress on my ownership, despite it having no relevance whatsoever to the house itself. That, I found, was totally unnecessary and not useful to the overall goal of the HP goals. 14 Update the code / guidebook to reflect modern times. There are so many new options for things and the guidebook is super outdated. And please give us more point people at the City. We only had one person we were working with, and so many things got stopped or discouraged and we felt like there was no one to turn to, because we were given no options for next steps. 15 There is a lack of professional construction knowledge within the commission. Rulings made without consulting experts and licensed architects and in several cases go against expert onion and best building practices. Reviews for even replacement with like materials require fees and lengthily reviews. Recommendations by staff and commission often go well beyond the scope and wishes of the applicant, and in most cases cost, time, and basic feasibility are not considered. All of this makes us wish we had never purchased a home in a historic district. 16 I didn't find a good way to appeal for exceptions, or a pathway to influencing/lobbying for changes. 17 Review entire process to allow owners to make improvements for sustainability, energy efficiency and to tear down, if needed. Many homes have outlived their usefulness and need to be replaced. We are currently looking at moving because we are middle aged and planning ahead to age in place. We would love to stay, but current ordinances will not allow us to adapt our home. The City should encourage the tear down of certain homes to allow for redevelopment and reinvestment in close in neighborhoods 18 The staff rarely answer the phone or respond to email/questions posted on website. 19 It might be nice if you didn't have to wait so long to get approval from the board. Some projects might just need singular approval. 20 See my comments to the prior question. Be realistic. Allow people to make renovations that are energy efficient (i.e., replacing windows, having solar panels) and that do nothing to "detract" from the historical nature of the neighborhood (i.e., using a material other than wood for soffits). 21 No suggestions for improvement whatsoever. Based on our household's experience as well as the experiences of our neighbors, the review process works well. 22 None. 23 More access to the woman I worked with. Her email had her hours on it and we should have more of her. 24 More Jessie! 25 The directions and the form DO NOT MATCH one another. The directions tell you to look for headers that don't exist. There are no instructions for what is meant by or required for "a plan." Clearly, no one who creates or manages these webpages and documents has ever user-tested them! 26 Provide someone to guide a remodel process, so the homeowner or contractor isn't required to be aware of all your rules and work w/ the homeowner's budget. I understand the that Iowa City is a wealthy city, but not all of us are wealthy, and able to afford the remodelers who want deal with all the historical preservation rules. I was in this neighborhood prior to the implementation of historical preservation rules and it would be helpful if your office could provide names of contractors who understand the rules you have implemented and want to work in historical neighborhoods. 27 Zoning should be form based as this recognizes heights and features of historic structures. List of qualified contractors/skilled craftsmen and painters should be made available. Recommendations for climate friendly preservation repairs or updates should be sent as part of annual letter 28 Interview prospective commission members to find out what their approval range is 29 More staff time - the Historic Preservation Commission is leading and the city staff isn’t there to support its work. Please allocate more staff time to preservation work. 30 I am not convinced that the guidelines at this point do enough good to warrant how restrictive they can be for new additions or ADUs for instance. We want to preserve what we have but we do not want to live in a museum. The HPC overlays cover most of the core neighborhoods at this point, which puts it at odds with other important City goals related to density/missing middle/etc. We need to figure out how we honor the integrity history and particular scale and massing of the neighborhoods while also allowing them to evolve. I'd rather see additions that fit with the scale of the neighborhood but maybe even contrast in material than to see faux attempts. Let the new chapters of the neighborhood be written in either the older language of materials, sure, OR newer ones to. These things can coexist, beautifully sometimes. 31 My greatest challenge is the notion that an original picture of the property must exist before an alteration is allowed. We have a building that was altered from it’s original state many years ago, and it’s ugly. I’d like to find a similar building- built around the same year and the same architectural type, and partner with the historical society to agree on changes. There are not always old pictures and just leaving it ugly because there are no original photos doesn’t make sense to me. I think we should be able to consider similar buildings that currently exist that have not been altered and would be representative of what it might have looked like, and use it as an example. 32 Increase hours for preservation staff person 33 Provide options that are clear, easy to understand, and won't take an attorney and several experts to understand what can and can't be done. If any changes take on an element of hassle or more work than deemed valuable, it won't get done. and improvements will be put on a "back burner" 34 Resources for new property owners would be very helpful--it's not easy to find contractors who do good work on historic properties, especially if you're new to town. Even a list of all the contractors who did work on the homes that won awards in the past year would be helpful. 35 Many, Many, Many more staff members. Provide Design Assistance, Provide Cost Estimation Help, Provide Contractor help, Provide Coordination with State Preservation. 36 I thought all went well, so I am happy with how the historic review process currently stands. 37 The Planner seemed to have great discretion in determining the smallest details of our project. While these were presented as required elements, it was later apparent that they were only suggestions. 38 make contractors more aware of HP guidelines. 39 Increase turnaround time 40 I didn't have any problems or issues with the process. 41 Guidelines are too restrictive, e.g., roofing. 42 I appreciate the intent behind the historic review process, and I understand it's potential value. But in practice, the process is unnecessarily complicated, onerous, and expensive. Often, it was more important to appease the Historic Preservation Planner (HPP), rather than follow the guidelines as outlined in the handbook. On several occasions, I proposed something that fit within the handbook and even at times proposed something that was suggested earlier by the HPP, and then was met with resistance by the HPP who had a different (and much broader) interpretation of the handbook or had changed her mind about a previous suggestion. Our goal with our home renovation has always been to improve the quality of our home in keeping with its original design, which included bringing a non-compliant part of the home back into compliance. But the HPP insisted on several changes that reflected a personal preference rather than a handbook requirement, adding thousands of dollars to our project. Fortunately, I am in a financial position to absorb these costs, but I know there are many others who are not able to do so. For a city as racially and economically segregated as Iowa City, the city needs to rethink whether and how the historic preservation district system (as constituted and as practiced) fits within the city's larger goals of equity and social justice. Our city's values should be measured in the outcome of its policies and practices. Looking at the demographic makeup of our historic districts, it is clear that we are failing that test. 43 Website is not very user friendly. It would be really helpful to have a list of suggested contractors by skill area. 44 The process was incredibly hazy and overbearing. I'm an expert in construction and design so I understand how things work in this realm... probably better than the City staff I was dealing with. Very little was explained to me and reasoned out. When I did try to go through the channels that were required, it still seemed like rules changed, much was merely conjecture or opinion, and that many of the decisions made were not based on sound building science. The historic review process needs to be incentivized and treated like a partnership. Instead it feels bloated and like a pigeon-holing into the preconceived notions of a few individuals who fancy themselves historic experts but are not. HISTORIC PRESERVATION SHOULD BE ABOUT FORM AND FUNCTION NOT ABOUT PRESERVATION OF DATED AND INEFFICIENT/INEFFECTURAL MATERIALS. 45 get rid of it! It's the opposite of an incentive to maintain my house. The rebates or grants are a nice attempt, but the amounts (potentially,) available are almost laughable compared to the actual cost of work. 46 Keep up the good work. 47 Staff needs to learn to LISTEN, and not lecture or presume. The City should not hold homeowners to historic rules or requirements that the School District, City, County, University or commercial developers are not held to. Historic preservation should not trump energy conservation. There should be NO member of a city board or commission that has a direct financial relationship with the entities being regulated. Board members with conflicts of interest should be required to recuse themselves on those votes where they have commercial interests involved. 48 Keep up the good work. Knowing that our neighborhood will be preserved overtime has encourage us to invest in our property. 49 There was nothing problematic for us during the process any of the times we needed a review. 50 The process seems fine but when we last checked the number of times per year that applications were review were only a couple so if that has not changed, adding more dates for review might aid in the timeline for projects. Also, we live in a neighborhood with many rentals and many of the landlords really do not keep up their property at all so it does seem strange that there is a more involved review process if someone wants to improve their property but very little pressure from the city when itinerant landlords are more than delinquent on maintaining their property. Our neighbor's house is 18 feet from ours and we have never met the actual owner in the 8 years we have lived there and the property is very much an eyesore (poison ivy in the bushes, tree limbs on the roof left for years, eves that are non-existent or unconnected to drainage systems and pour directly onto the adjoining property causing more water in the basement, and a constant inflow of new tenants with a constant outflow of cannabis smoke making the kids in the neighborhood think there is an infestation of skunks). Thanks for letting me rant even if any of this is beyond the control of those who are reading it. 51 I have no suggestions. I think it works very well right now. 52 Online form? 53 rewrite the guidelines so they could allow for modern technologies but still preserve historic design. 54 Guidelines should be reviewed every two years with new energy efficient materials considered for use in older homes to improve their longevity. 55 I felt I had to repeat myself in the form about what was needed to be done. It was took a long time time get approved! 56 We have other work on the house we would like to have done, but finding someone to do small to medium sized repairs within the framework of the guidelines has so far been elusive. I suspect this may be the reason why remodeling project in the neighborhood were not always submitted for board review. 57 Contractor expressed concern over work stoppages and delays (on other projects, not mine) due to awaiting approval from HP. 58 Of course, it would be nice for home-owners if you needed less information, because it takes time to collect it and provide it. But your requests seemed reasonable to me. 59 None 60 Encourage people to consult with historic preservation BEFORE doing a project. 61 Make the historic preservation guidelines and building permits process easier to locate on the website. Possibly do a segment on one of the weekly video updates explaining the process to new homeowners. Make sure realtors are telling people they are moving into a historic district or at least explaining the fact that some neighborhoods have more requirements that also provide substantial benefits to property owners. 62 I’m not sure what’s been done since I went through the process 8 years ago. At the time the wait time was really long for approval. 63 None needed 64 Make sure everyone uses the process and follows the rules 65 We had to take the plans, drawing, materials list, etc. physically down to the City admin bldg. This must not have been available to submit online? And then the person it was given to forgot to pass it along, so we had to call and follow up for approval. Thankfully, it wasn't anything that had to be reviewed by a committee, so after we did all that, the final approval was quick. But it did temporarily hold up the project and seemed more trouble than necessary. Q7. Did you need the additional assistance of a professional (building contractor, architect, etc.) to help you through the historic review process (selection of materials, design of improvements, etc.)? 77 Answered, 57 Skipped Yes, 59.74% No, 40.26% Q8. What type of professional did you use? 42 Answered, 92 Skipped Answers included: Contractor, architect, repairmen and historic preservation consultant Q9. Have you considered, but delayed making exterior repairs or improvements to your home? 126 Answered, 8 Skipped Yes, 63.49% No, 36.51 % Q10.Please explain the reason for waiting to have the work done. 77 Answered, 57 Skipped 1 Hard to know what to priortitize, needed to get money from the bank, needed realtor's input, painters didn't want to take on the job, then it all just takes time to coordinate and get folks lined up for the work (storm windows, roof, exterior paint job). 2 I need new windows because they are rotting. I know that it must meet guidelines and they will be quite expensive. 3 The work is not imperative, and the cost is prohibitive. So we're waiting until we absolutely have to do it. 4 The guidelines are very strict as is the expense for following the guidelines. We cannot change the front door to a more energy efficient as the cost is very high when following the guidelines. An ordinary front door cannot be used. One would have to be special ordered, etc. There are many other outside repairs that should be done but cannot due to strict guidelines and costs. Therefore we 'band-aid' the repairs for now. 5 Supply and demand 6 You miserable autocrats won’t let me. 7 Money, extra expense of the Historic Landmark designation. 8 Covid 9 There aren’t enough quality contractors in Iowa City - too many don’t return calls or emails. Or don’t turn around estimates. And only a few truly I’d trust to work on my historic house. 10 Too many Iowa City area contractors are hostile to work with. They do not have an understanding of how to repair historic houses. 11 City staff were no help in finding contractors who knew how to do the work. 12 Inability to use alternative materials that mimic approved in appearance. The inability to create desired outcome due to amount of area owned by city and Historic property regulations, despite other properties in same HP area having same. Etc 13 I have several storm windows I need to repair. I know how to do this work, but finding the time is difficult. 14 Finding quality and responsive contractors in Iowa City is a challenge. And several seemed sexist and not friendly to historical homes. 15 Money! 16 Conservation rules seemingly increase the cost of repairs (ex: wooden window replacement) , limit ability to make the house more green (ex: solar panels, roof insulation, etc) and the permitting process is daunting. 17 Money. 18 Prohibitive cost of “historical” repairs 19 It’s insanely expensive 20 Literally can’t move forward without hiring someone, don’t know who, or for what, really. Drawings? 21 $ 22 My contractor has let me know that he is not willing to go through the preservation process again because it was too time consuming. 23 The whole process was so confusing, and we felt we were being actively discouraged along the way. The guidebook and the committee seemed to be in place to stop us from doing anything, honestly. 24 We did not make improvement to the house due to lengthy HPC process and limited options. 25 We have had put off most of the maintenance and repairs on our home because HPCs demands are in opposition to the best practices and recommendations from professional builders and architects 26 It was for storm windows and I waited to understand all my options, including replacing the windows with high-efficiency windows. 27 See previous answer 28 See response to my prior questions. I find the review process to be frustrating, cumbersome, annoying, and unnecessary to the preservation of anything remotely resembling history. 29 Contractors here are unreliable. I can’t believe it! No one returns calls or meets appointments. 30 Thinking about it. 31 1) Because I've heard horror stories of how unreasonable the Commission is, and 2) I couldn't complete the forms. 32 See answers to prior questions. 33 Budget 34 Not because of the commission, mostly for not being sure how to deal with a bad choice the previous owner was allowed to make 35 Cost. 36 Too many Iowa City contractors don’t understand historic homes. There aren’t enough preservation-friendly contractors. I’ve had to wait to find one. Or I’ve spent too much time meeting folks who tell me things that aren’t good for my historic home. 37 It is expensive to build to historic standards. It's what I want to do, to honor the past (rebuilding a demolished front porch, for instaance) but especially if you need to hire the work done, there just aren't a lot of skilled people around anymore capable of doing things to historic standards, which means the remaining folks that are doing it are quite high end. It means it is a challenge for those lower on the income spectrum to live in these neighborhoods. I do the work myself for this reason but clearly not an option to most folks. 38 Sometimes is the conflict between wanting to make improvements and then dealing with my perception of a lack of common sense and frustration in going through the approval process. It is a hindrance, it adds layers to the process, and it can be very exhausting. I know that’s not always the perception of the Historical staff but it is the perception of many of the residents who own a building in the area. And the difference in the cost of a window that’s has 1 1/4” trim from a 1 1/2” trim is $15,000 per window. So easier just to keep the old windows and deal with leaks- but then there’s rotting and decay- honestly it’s a lose- lose when common sense doesn’t apply and it’s all about what was original. I think there needs to be balance with affordability and will anyone really care that the trim is 1/4” different? It’s still beautiful and it isn’t rotting away. 39 cost. finding qualified contractor. 40 Combination of things. Right now, all tradesmen/women are super swamped. Also, it is kind of a hassle to know what is required for approval and what is not. I can read and I think I can read well, but there are times I can't make out what the handbook means. When this confusion happens, I then have asked via email before and I always get a quick answer--but the hassle sometimes makes me put off work 41 COVID-19 42 Too much "red tape" is involved to get a project off the ground. 43 Covid-19; uncertainty about who to contact for what for specific repairs to a historic property (we'd like to do it well and not have to pay someone to do a poor job a second time). 44 Cost 45 Because I didn't want to get in trouble with the city for doing what I wanted to my house. Don't like the fact that some person at the city can dictate what I want to do to MY house. 46 I need to paint the south side of our home, but it's on a steep hillside, so I'm dragging my feet somewhat. 47 Financial 48 Cost, having to develop a plan an put it thorough the commission, 49 Wood is rotted through on porch. Need to submit information to the Historic Preservation Committee and wait until contractor has time to repair. 50 Not in Iowa City Area to jump through all the hoops necessary to have projects considered. 51 my property is nonconforming 52 Just recently purchased home. Delayed rear porch improvements knowing it would take a review and probably some extra time. 53 Because working through the historic review process is so onerous. 54 no funds 55 My windows (vinyl from 1998) are broken beyond repair. The extra step of needing to get approval from the Historic Preservation committee has kept me from replacing the upper story windows. 56 Expense of historic items 57 Unnecessary cost to do silly things and the lengthy and bloated review process. 58 cost 59 Hassle. Regulations that punish those with the best of intentions. 60 Just moved in, I needed to understand how the space flows. I contacted one contractor but I haven’t got a reply yet. 61 No one available to do the work 62 Very expensive to have new windows put in since they are costly in the first place but it would require copletely removing the existing windows and surrounding wall and then much more work to replace the wall so as to set in new windows. The current original windows are extreemly inefficient but we have considered just adding updated storm windows to help with that. Until then we have just put plastic on the inside and outside (at least for the windows not facing the street). If we did have the money we would hope that there is a calendar of review session at least 4 times a year (there may be that many now but when we did it last I think there were only 2 review sessions). 63 There are rental properties all around us and they are in terrible condition. If we spent $30,000-$50,000 on the improvements we'd like to do, we are afraid we would never be able to get that money back in a sale because the houses around us are so trashy. Can anything be done about the terrible rental properties around us? 64 have thought about solar panels but wondered if that would be possible. Not far enough along to test the application 65 $'s 66 When presented to historic district the requirements for replacing windows were extremely costly. 67 Worrying about having to get quotes and then knowing I had to wait until approve or if there are suggestions of what might not be approved, which can take months before we can agree to actually do the repairs 68 Old double hung windows. Enough said? 69 Complying with some of the historic requirements is quite expensive which prohibits project completion. 70 Cost is a factor. Contractors are backed up due to the derecho. The application process for the preservation funds takes extra effort and I want to be certain I have everything in order. I needed to wait until the next funding window to apply for monies. Plus I need to prioritize areas of focus. 71 Cost 72 Cost, availability of people who could do the work according to historic preservation guidelines. 73 Locating contractors 74 Unclear about process and pessimistic about long wait time and cost of materials I would have to use to meet the requirements 75 Procrastination & lack of desire to jump thru the hoops 76 Cannot afford the windows required by historic preservation, though house had aluminum siding installed before that designation 77 Mostly due to finances, but there is also the consideration of whether materials/choices will be limited and how much additional work it will be to file the historic documents and how much that will impact the project schedule. Q11. Please indicate what type of work was considered. 74 Answered, 60 Skipped Answers included: Siding, windows, including storm windows, paint, roof, exterior doors, garage, new addition, porch restoration, fencing, solar panels, foundation repairs, deck, shed, handrails, accessibility remodel, steps, breezeway, ADU, landscaping, driveway, gutters, masonry, general repair. Q12. What do you believe is the greatest benefit of living in a historic or conservation district? 113 Answered, 21 Skipped 1 The beauty and charm of the neighborhood and that the people around you find value in it as well. 2 A collective belief in well-maintained properties. 3 First, the beauty of the homes — you just don't see lovely, regal architecture like this in newer areas. Second, the history of each residence — it's wonderful to learn about who lived there in the past, especially in this City of Literature. Third, a very special type of person buys a house in a historic district, so we're forged a close-knit community of like- minded people. 4 None 5 None. I will never do it again. At least not in Iowa City. You put them in a known historic bldg (Horace Mann elementary) but the gestapo will not let me put them in mine. My participation in this community ended with that arbitrary and capricious decision. 6 The quality craftsmanship and character 7 The protection of the district means I know what types of buildings will be built in my area. For decades Iowa City let those with money destroy my neighborhood and built subpar buildings. Now my neighborhood is protected from the developers who don’t care about the quality of the neighborhood. 8 It's a unique piece of information to share with friends and family. It also makes me feel a little more connected to my neighborhood. 9 Unlike other parts of Iowa City where the City encourages wasteful demolition and development on natural lands, these neighborhoods are Green and full of character. 10 Theoretically, the benefit should be that new buildings aren't overly out of place where they're built. 11 I don't know what the benefits are? That the individual houses can't get torn down so a sky rise will be built, I guess? 12 The greatest benefit to me is the overall feeling of being a part of my community. My children and I can walk the well-planned neighborhoods under the shade of old trees, and can easily walk downtown, to school, to a shopping center, etc. Additionally, we are close to emergency services, 24-hour pharmacy, groceries, and other services. 13 The neighborhoods feel authentic! 14 the variety of homes, built at a small scale, from old materials (i.e. maintaining buildings), with established trees. The paint colors are far more varied than siding. The neighborhoods were designed for people, not cars. 15 As if there’s just one! Iowa City tears things down. Living with neighbors who are mindful about the environment and not adding to the landfills. The quality of life is better. 16 Preservation of history, sense of place, beauty! 17 Theoretically if protects the character of a neighborhood (especially in a college town). I can't necessarily agree that newer housing built in the last 10-15 years adheres to the neighborhoods character or ascetics. 18 Home value. 19 Location, otherwise not sure there is one 20 More negatives rather than positives. 21 None 22 The property holds its value 23 Preservation of character 24 It is wonderful to live here, but there are many instances where structures or rules have been approved around us. Now that we have a project, it seems that we won’t be able to do the same things others have. 25 none 26 I appreciate seeing the houses around me and the feeling of the historic nature of my neighborhood. 27 The character of the homes and the walkability to downtown and schools. 28 We live here for the community, the people, and the proximity to downtown. We do not live here for the houses, and especially not for whether or not they meet some set of "historic" guidelines 29 Character! Plus local history 30 None. We purchased the house based on its proximity to schools and downtown, not because of it being in the district. 31 Retaining the character of the neighborhood 32 Prestige 33 Overall consistency with history, attention to detail, thoughtfulness. 34 The neighborhoods are walkable and close to downtown and UI. 35 Preservation of properties. 36 The character of the neighborhood is the greatest benefit. 37 We have great neighbors. But I'm not sure that has anything to do with this being a historic district. 38 The certainty that our neighborhood will not be transformed into the incoherent wasteland of housing that is exemplified by the past 45 years on Dodge, Johnson, and Van Buren streets south of Burlington. I define "incoherent wasteland" to mean the widespread use of inappropriate building materials, additions to buildings that are out of scale to the original structure (aka Frankenstein houses), poorly done construction, lack of design standards on new construction, etc. Historic and conservation districts provide a level of confidence and predictability about the exterior character and condition of the structures within those zones. 39 Well-kept homes and consistency of quality and pride in home ownership 40 Iowa City tears down too much and I like living where they don’t. 41 The character! We love it. Please keep them. 42 Can't use a design out of style with neighborhood. 43 Not sure. I like being close to downtown. But I cannot see that the commission has dealt with the fact that neighboring houses have made changes (like a brand new deck) that do not preserve the sense that the house was built in the 1800s, but rather looks like a 1950s house. 44 Preserving my home and possible help with home repairs. 45 proximity to downtown and diversity of house style. 46 Contributing to the history of the community by maintaining an historic structure. 47 Keeping people from wrecking the character of an older house by ruining it with cheap modern materials 48 Fantastic neighborhood, very eclectic, big trees. 49 Keep areas from teardowns and replacements with structures that do not fit the neighborhood. Security knowing your neighborhood is protected from development not in keeping with residential neighborhood 50 I know I can invest in my property with certainty about what is going to happen with my neighbors’ properties. I know they won’t be demolished for buildings that don’t fit the neighborhood. I know they won’t be allowed to remove original siding. I’ve seen the guidelines work to make my neighborhood more livable and protect my investment. 51 Neighborhood / community. An architecture (front porches, proximity of houses, green space, etc) that promotes walking and conversation between neighbors and strangers. 52 No benefit other than historical homes are expensive to maintain so it’s not economically diverse. 53 preserving the original architectural features and charm 54 Allowing an introvert like myself to have sometime to talk about when new people stop by and look at the historical sign out front. 55 Knowing my investment, sense of beauty, quality of life, historic appreciation are protected and buttressed by neighboring homes in district, and thus my stewardship, supported by district requirements, adds much to Iowa City. 56 maintaining some history in buildings... 57 It has encouraged family ownership 58 Neighbors can't tear down/renovate w/out review. Better looking neighborhood. Higher property values. Access to tax credits. 59 It's not a benefit its a nightmare. 60 Being surrounded by, and taking part in the preservation of, historic and beautiful homes. 61 Protection of older homes from being torn down and replaced by McMansions 62 sense of time (history), diversity yet cohesiveness, sense of neighborhood 63 Character 64 I enjoy the unique old housing styles and the neighborhood character in historic districts 65 A unique sense of place that isn't cookie-cutter suburbs, a connection to the both the historical and local community. 66 The charming beautiful old houses. 67 I am a lone house on the street. I truly find it difficult to have to deal with all the rules and regulations that other houses in the neighborhood don't have to deal with. 68 no benefit for me 69 Maintaining the beauty of the homes and neighborhood. 70 consistently cared-for houses 71 Love old Iowa City. Maintaining a part of it. 72 I love the neighborhood feel -- old trees, schools and shops within walking distance, proximity to downtown. 73 seems to build equity 74 Never getting around to fixing anything because you miss the deadline for the approval meetings. 75 Preserving high quality and interesting homes. Make our city unique and provide a sense of history. 76 The beauty of the neighborhood. 77 The beauty and unique nature of old houses. 78 none 79 walkable, and proximity (close to downtown) 80 Consistency, stability, value of ownership, consensus 81 Theoretically, preserving historic structures. But given that the University and School district seem to be exempt from these rules, the only benefit i see is that our homes can enrich those members of the Historic Resources committee that profit from forcing citizens to use their services. 82 I don’t like tan houses that all look the same. I also like walking the dog down alleys. I grew up in a historic house surrounded by boring 1970’s houses. (East Davenport st) it always took away from the house. So although I didn’t seek this neighborhood for being historic it’s looks appealed to me. 83 Sustainable neighborhoods that will stand up overtime and will pass on quality materials, craftsmanship and historic beauty on to future generations. 84 integrity of beautiful old homes is maintained 85 location to work. lots of shade trees. 86 Well, I would think historic, well-taken-care-of homes, but that is not true, unfortunately. 87 Just the knowledge that just not anything can be slapped up on a house, etc 88 The character of the neighborhood 89 home upkeep is generally good. Before there was a historic district many houses were torn down to build apartment buildings that don't age well. 90 It keeps the neighborhood esthetically pleasing and maintains stability and strength in property values. It maintains the character and uniqueness of Iowa City's history. 91 no development 92 This is a really complicated question for me. When we bought our home in 1987, the Longfellow neighborhood was not a historic district. All of the exterior changes we made were done before it was designated. I know some of the changes (like the new casement windows we put in would not be allowed under the current guidelines. I went to the neighborhood meeting when designation was being proposed and I feel much was glossed over. The horrible apartment building on Iowa Ave had just been built and it was presented to us that designation would prevent something like that being built in our neighborhood. The reality was, of course, that the general zoning designation - RS-8 - was enough to prevent that from happening. I honestly do not see the benefit of living in a historic district. In many ways, the guidelines contradict stated goals of the City . We require contractors build to Leeds certifications but property owners in Historic districts are not allowed to replace the original inefficient single pane windows with modern efficient windows even if they are wood and architecturally historic design. Original windows have be so rotted that they are deemed beyond repair before approval is given for replacement. I do not think that is fair to homeowners who are willing to put in high quality historically designed windows (at much extra expense) . All they want is an energy efficient home. Other guidelines are also problematic and really do nothing to protect the historic streetscape. I have watched my neighbors grapple with these issues ever since the district was put in place. 93 The obvious: the maintenance of some sense of community history and architectural history. 94 Maintenance of property by most owners. 95 There is not one, it makes it difficult for homeowners who would like to maintain and keep up their home. 96 That all the houses in the neighborhood is held to the same standard to help with my house value and overall appeal of the neighborhood. 97 I like the stability. I like the feel of the neighborhood. I like knowing great dislocation and a high rise apartment house will not be built on the block. I like preserving older things. 98 I appreciate the older architecture and old growth trees. 99 Preservation of styles not found in modern building 100 Beauty of the area, pride in ownership. and support from city 101 Aesthetic, contributing to value of the property 102 The charm that comes from retaining some historical aspects of houses 103 Beauty, value, and stability of the housing stock, and the fact that being in a district tends to discourage rentals and/or other occupants who don't care about upkeep and maintenance. 104 The pleasure of beholding the architectural qualities of the surrounding homes and the surrounding trees. 105 it's a wonderful neighborhood 106 beauty 107 Neighborhood stabilization and preservation of existing small house building stock. 108 Preserving existing homes 109 Character of the neighborhood 110 If it were enforced, I believe it would help keep the neighborhood looking nice and increase property values 111 Well maintained homes. Now, large houses being bought by families with younger kids to fill them up. 112 It is a lovely community, and by definition, is close to downtown, of course. So it's convenient for tenants. (Our duplex is not original to the neighborhood, nor do we live there.) 113 I have more confidence that unbridled development will be limited and any significant changes to the neighborhood will have an additional level of oversight Q13. Is there anything you would like to add, suggest, or further explain? 87 Answered, 47 Skipped 1 I'd just like to enter a second plea for a little more pragmatic allowance of necessary updates so that people who live in these districts can have easier lives in the 21st century! 2 Loosen the strict policies so we can afford to make the improvements. We love that these houses cannot be torn down in order to make way for large, ugly, new apartment buildings and the quaint neighborhoods, but new windows, rather they be vinyl or wooden, new siding whether vinyl or wooden....shouldn't matter as long as the houses are well taken care of . 3 You will kill the soul of what was a vibrant college town by hiring untrained and uneducated people to mandate arbitrary decisions about how home owners ( my house is NOT historic, only the neighborhood) can improve their houses while allowing sleazy modern high rises to replace the entire heart of the city. Not one person with an ounce of education , intellect or authority has ever come to my home to listen to my plans or explain their view. I hope you have a similar experience at a home you also had hoped to be your last. Now I have to move to Wisconsin when I retire. 4 Protect more building from the landfill. 5 How many historic buildings downtown are we going to lose before you all decide to do something? 6 I wanted to clarify that I haven't talked to the city about approving any projects because I haven't attempted to start an projects. 7 More staff time for preservation staff. 8 The point of historic preservation should be to preserve the architecture and character of a neighborhood, not to fix it in amber. There's nothing wrong with new building materials or techniques if they don't significantly change a building's visual character. Also, accessibility and environmental needs should override historic preservation guidelines--more homes should have solar panels and energy efficient windows, and if someone needs a ramp to their front door they should get it, no matter how it looks. 9 I wish I felt certain things would have a better chance of being considered if brought up. Bamboo, instead of chain link fencing. Composite decking, that looks like painted wood. Community gardens. Etc 10 I wonder if a window glazing workshop might take off. Neighbors could get together to learn or help others with putty work on old storm windows. 11 Historica preservation should be used for historic neighborhoods but not as an all purpose tool to try to stabilize neighborhoods which have many rentals. Historic preservation needs to be promoted for everyday houses as a way to conserve resources and having something that can be fixed. I want a wide variety of history preserved - not only rich white people. We need to make sure historic districts have a variety of people living in them - which includes renters. We need to make sure there is flexibility to ensure large houses could be divided to be multi-family if needed, while retaining the character of the exterior. And please make sure people know this is not about paint colors, interiors, a tidy yard patrol, or a home owners association for the privileged. 12 Yeah. Stop pretending Iowa City cares about climate change when you all allow demotion of buildings-particularly historic ones. New “green” buildings aren’t as green as the ones already built. If you care about climate, you must care about preservation. 13 It will be increasingly difficult to attract younger and new hone owners to the neighborhood as the historical homes become less desirable due to efficiency, home layout, and prohibitive rules 14 Strange survey. What is the point. How about questions like this: “Has the historic preservation made it prohibitively difficult for you to make basic improvements?” “How easy is it to work though the historic preservation approval process…” ETC 15 No 16 No 17 I don't understand the process for additions to property clearly. A neighbor has a single car garage on an alleyway (cannot be seen from the street) that is falling apart. When asking if he could tear it down and replace he was told no, he had to "restore it"--a cost that is much more than rebuilding a new single car garage. However, a house on the corner of Summit and Benton just built a HUGE eyesore of a double care garage with what looks like an apt above it right on Summit street (one of IC's most beautiful historic streets). It looks terrible and detracts from the historic neighborhood designation of Longfellow. How on earth does that get approved and my neighbor's garage replacement not approved? It seems that the approval process is subject to a "who you know and how much money you have" instead of what is reasonable for a home owner and what truly maintains the character of an historic neighborhood.. 18 If you want the neighborhood to thrive, you need to let homeowners make sensible decisions for improving their property. If it is too hard -- and we believe it is, because of the historic preservation committee -- homeowners will not bother to go through the process and the home will become dilapidated. A thriving neighborhood depends on ease of repair and improvement. We feel the strict rules actually harm the neighborhood. 19 Stop tearing down downtown. 20 Homeowners should have the ability to opt out of being in the district. The commissioners are not knowledgable about the subject matter. The process is subjective and not- transparent. 21 We would like to see more acceptance of professional contractors and architects recommendations. We would like HPC to use the leeway provided within the existing guidelines to accept the use of modern building materials that capture the character of homes but allow them to be affordably maintained. We would like to see the commission and staff consider affordability and efficiency with the same importance as preservation. Finally, we would like a streamline the review process so that routine repairs and maintenance (roofing, window replacement, repair of railings etc.) are approved in a fast and automated way when identical materials are used so applicants do not have to wait weeks to months for approval. 22 I believe some of the standards should take in to account more modern materials which are better for the environment. Specifically, windows. I would love to see the rules written in a way that hold a certain standard for aesthetics while allowing for newer materials, Here's an example: I renovated a house and had to keep the original single-pane glass windows. I know it would have been possible to exactly match the look of the original windows while using modern double-pane insulated windows. The benefit would be a much more energy efficient house. I believe if the owner is willing to bear the cost of this then it should be allowed. 23 The historic neighborhoods seem to have become segregated by race and income. They seem to only attract white upper middle class owners. Why is that? 24 My neighbor did not Asher to guidelines. Evidently there is no penalty for not doing so? 25 I feel most people that choose to live in a historic district do so because they appreciate the overall cohesiveness and charm of the neighborhood. I think many would choose to do work to their house that reflect that appreciation - not necessarily needing approval or guidance from a historic preservation commission. I also think that the neighborhood should be able to evolve with the times. Houses may need to be modified in a way that allows them to function in today's world. 26 I think there is an unfortunate element of "classism" (I'd hate to say racism, but maybe that, too) that is truly at the root of these types of property designations. In this age of inequity and injustice, it might be time to stop "preserving" all this history. 27 I think that we as a city should be very proud of the fact that we have a highly-functioning Historic Preservation Commission and well-trained and committed staff who assist property owners with meeting our historic preservation standards. Should the cost of maintaining these standards be a concern, the City of Iowa City could provide financial assistance (for example, tax incentives or grants) to promote preservation efforts. 28 More resources about history online. 29 My IC historic neighborhood is the best. Please keep it. 30 Yes. There should be a greater distinctions between historic and conservation neighborhoods. We considered buying a house in a conservation neighborhood that was a fixer upper or a complete tear down. We didn't because the burden of dealing with how the city said we'd have to deal with it was too costly even though we would have improved the neighborhood and assessed value. The neighborhood north of downtown has a lot of dumpy houses that buyers might fix up more or replace with more viable homes if people had more reasonably costs options for maintaining the character of the neighborhood. There should also be more accommodations made to renovate homes to be age in place homes and to use reasonable cost effective replacement window options. It is not friendly to people with physical mobility issues to demand an unattached garage away from the house with Iowa winters and all ages should be welcome in all neighborhoods. I also do NOT want form based zoning in the Goosetown or neighborhoods downtown and do NOT want triplexes and quad plexes popping up on corners. 31 NO 32 see prior answers. 33 To encourage major work on the exterior of historic homes, the Neighborhood & Development Services Department should work with the City Assessor to provide property tax relief 34 I would like the city to volunteer to remove metal or vinyl replacement siding of off homes in the historic districts. And have the siding underneath repaired and painted 35 There should be the ability to make property changes that increase the value and aesthetic but not necessarily replicate the existing structure historically. For example, a century old house should get approval for a contemporary addition that is good design and works with the existing elements of the structure but not recreate it to replicate the exact original. It does however need to be reviewed and approved that it meets good design and integration with the original. 36 More staff time. It seems like the city is trying to choke preservation by limiting staff time. I’ve heard neighbors say how much like like working with city staff, they just need responses faster. 37 would appreciate resources for finding qualified contractors who are knowledgeable about historical preservation. 38 I don't appreciate the spies who live among me and surreptitiously watch me and pass on notes to the historic preservation society. I did something as simple as put some little marker flags in my yard once to mark the underground fiber cable and I could not believe the questions I got about just what I had planned to do at those flags!? One lady came clean that her neighbor was a spy for the preservation and then all the questions made sense. 39 Like many good things, preservation is not about immediate, short-term gain. Preservation and sustainability go hand-in-hand; think embodied energy, everybody. And imagine Iowa City without districts! The loss of character, link to the past, and of homes built with quality materials is unfathomable. 40 Common Sense should rule. Consideration for the project and if it would have any effect on the history of the area...some projects should be allowed to be done, with out the burden of extra paperwork, forms, documentations, etc 41 I would like to see solar panels excluded from need for approval or facilitated for approval by the city. 42 More HP staff. More City Engagement. More City Investment. 43 Yes, stay out of other peoples business and let them do what is right for them not for some people who don't even live in the house. 44 Thank you for helping preserve the beauty of our historic neighborhoods. 45 Our home is in a Conservation District and our property has been designated as "non-contributing". Yet the Planner seemed overzealous in requiring things like the method for siding corners which added doubled the original estimate for labor and added significant expense to our project. Near the end of the project we were told that we needed to dye the foundation materials so as to "age" them to a similar color of the original foundation, When I questioned how to accomplish that I was referred to another contractor who had the same requirement in the past. When I protested that we were already well over budget & could't afford additional expense, she stated that she had no ability to inspect our project upon completion and wouldn't know if we had done it or not. At times the goal of the "requirements" was to highlight that our project was an addition. For other elements the goal of the "requirements" was to smoothly blend the addition into the existing home. This was confusing, seemed capricious and conflicted with our use of the addition interior. I felt at times that the Planner wielded too much discretionary power over the homeowner, but there was no one to whom to appeal. I also felt that I couldn't afford to contradict the planner mid-project and just needed to be as compliant as possible. I feel that there needs to be a clear distinction between "suggested" and "required". 46 moved into house before established as a historic district, but we supported historic district designation 47 Would be nice if we could replace old rotted windows with more energy efficient windows. 48 Just because a house is old, it doesn't mean it is of historical value. This property has no gingerbread moldings, beautiful porchs, leaded windows.... It is a small two bedroom 1900 nondescript cottage type house. Being held to strict historical rules limits renovations that would improve the appearance of the home, rid it of asbestos shingles and it of unused addition. The house across the street that too is a lone wolf can't change the exterior tar paper type fake brick to something that would be much more appealing because it never looked like that in the past. Ridiculous. Ugly is ugly. Let owners have some leeway and discretion on making changes as long as they are period appropriate and made with acceptable materials. 49 less regulation on non conforming propertirs 50 No. 51 Please exercise caution in sharing responses with the HPP and the commission. I worry that I could be identified and that would have an adverse effect on my ability to get approval for future projects. 52 I love this old house. With a little hard work it could really be something. 53 I have found this process difficult. A better online system, or person to contact, or something more efficient would be helpful. I respect and understand the thinking behind the rules. However, I have trouble with not being able to make repairs to elements of the house that are not original to the house. It does not make sense to me that newer parts of the house (i.e. late-1990's windows on a midcentury house) cannot just be replaced with current windows. 54 A homeowner should be held to the standard that is in place when a property is purchased. If a more restrictive standard is put in place then there may need to be a financial grant to help the homeowner meet the higher standard. 55 Would like relators to have to disclose a district to s possible homeowner. 56 This process HAS to change and HAS to get better. As it currently exists the HPC process in Iowa City is a discriminatory process that allows wealthy white folks to control the housing stock through their own, often misinformed desires. Housing preservation needs to be about keeping the form and function of historic properties not about preserving old, worthless, and ineffectual materials because it makes some people happy. Preserving old windows that don't function well doesn't make sense. Keeping 100+ year old siding that has served it's functional use doesn't make sense. These things aren't reducing carbon footprint, they are increasing it by utilizing TONS of materials, labor to repair things that barely work and maintaining low efficiencies on houses energy use. If we're going to go by the City's new climate action plan AND preserve old housing stock this MUST change. People can't afford to do much of what is in the rules and even if they can, those rules are worthless. Allowing people to do historic homes in the way that they look, and fill a need, is far more important. People should be able to gut homes and created net-zero versions of the old look while replacing all of the materials that have served their useful lives. 57 I live in the Northside. The following is for all of the Historic Districts, but the Northside specifically. I am also a remodeling contractor that works on historic homes. I was excited to hear a Historic Preservation survey would be conducted by the city, but I am disappointed how it is being conducted! Your letter begins with "Great news!" and then proceeds with four bullet points touting the benefits of the Historic District. This results in “response bias.” I’m guessing feedback will be low. And I’m guessing many people won’t waste their time responding to something they know will not change. Seeking accurate responses from homeowners should start with a well-designed survey that does not include framing the survey in a leading way. In addition, the correspondence should be an opportunity to educate homeowners about what owning a home in the historic district means. Currently having a home in the historic district comes with a set of challenges that outweigh the advantages. These include financial challenges to homeowners as well as sustainability challenges to the materials and homes themselves. Neither of these make sense if the goal is to preserve a valuable neighborhood in Iowa City. I do not live in a historic district only because of the historic character of the houses. I live here because it is a well-designed, walkable neighborhood with many advantages for sustainable small city living; close to amenities including services, a public school and the University of Iowa. Yes, it would be a shame to see widespread disregard for the historic value of the houses in the neighborhood. Some have good design and have been well maintained. Others have simply served their time and require a level of maintenance and/or renovation that are not feasible for homeowners. To maintain our historic districts long term and make them inviting for homeowners, guidelines and procedures should be able to be updated to accommodate important considerations that are not included now. Considerations should be allowed for energy efficient components in existing homes and tear down of homes that are beyond realistic repair. If a historic district is established to preserve a neighborhood, ours needs to be updated to include the flexibility to see this district into the next century. Most of the homes in the historic district were kit homes, shipped from companies like Sears and Roebuck. This was the most affordable way to build at the time. From a remodeling/building contractor viewpoint, I know some of the homes are in desperate need of major repair that is simply not feasible for most people. At some point almost every foundation will need either major repair or total replacement. Looking at housing patterns for our community at large, we know it is far less expensive to live in a newer house farther from downtown and the University. The diversity of the historic district is going to continue to be less accessible to young families, first time homeowners, and even dual income-middle aged homeowners like myself, as well as continue to contain big rental houses with no major upgrades. For these reasons I do not see the Northside staying sustainable while under the Historic Preservation requirements. While I do not have hard data on building permits and projects that have been approved/denied, I know what I see in my own neighborhood and from working with many clients here through my profession. I do not see progress in this neighborhood that upholds the original intention of the historic district. New apartments have not been built - if that was one goal, that part has 58 Protect more neighborhoods 59 Please hold the university and the school district to the same rules as home owners. Please adhere to the climate change goals of the city and don't punish people for trying to replace windows. 60 Iowa City should continue to be leader in historic preservation - it will make our older neighborhoods desirable. We have seen older neighborhoods in other towns that we have lived deteriorate due she lack good upkeep. Cheap fixes like vinyl siding have are a sign of disinvestment. 61 I was a member of the Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission for a number of years. 62 The city crack down on deadbeat landlords who show no interest in improving their property while running it almost like an uncertified youth hostel. If there was a requirement that the owners physically visited their property at least once a year and let the neighbors who who they are so they can call them if there are problems (rather than, say, calling the police or animal control) that might be good. Historic preservation is great but if the city does not pressure the landlords to keep their property up, then all the maintenance of historic beauty in the neighborhood is negated. Sorry again for the rant;-) 63 Force slum lords to clean up their trashy rental properties! 64 I live in a beautiful neighborhood. I hope it is preserved. 65 no 66 I would like to see a rejuvenation of UniverCity program or some equivalent way to incentivize the return of families to the neighborhood, rather than student rentals. 67 Could be a little more flexibility in guidlines. 68 I have a unique perspective as a former city employee in the building department. When I was a city employee, I had to temper my opinions but I no longer have to do that. Over the years, I saw that how the guidelines were administrated fluctuated according to who was on the HPC board and who the was in the position of Preservation Planner. Interpretations varied from year to year. And again, there are guidelines that just don't make sense to me. Let's be clear - Iowa city's historic guidelines are all about preserving the streetscape. If we were truly concerned about historic preservation, the guidelines would cover interior alterations as well. Right now, some could buy a pristine Craftsman bungalow in Longfellow and completely gut the interior - take out every piece of historic trim and built-ins. So it's all about the streetscape. Why would we care about minute exterior details - like vinyl clad wood windows (not allowed) versus metal clad wood windows (allowed). No one can tell the difference from street. Preservationists would tell you that is because vinyl can't be painted. That may have true when the guidelines were first proposed but modern paint technologies have changed and vinyl can absolutely be painted. Over the years, I have seen neighbors have to spend thousands of more dollars on their additions and exterior projects because of requirements that make no sense - like fake rafter tails on a flat roof. I have had many discussions with neighbors who are very frustrated with the process. These houses are not museums - they are family homes. Families today live a very different lifestyle from families a 100 years ago. I'll end with a quote from a former preservation planner at the city, Christina Keuker who I felt embodied how the districts should be administered. She told me that "she wasn't here to tell people what they could or couldn't do with their homes. Her job was to help them do it in an historically sensitive manner." 69 No 70 We bought our house and did renovations before rules went into effect. Since then, it's only been repairs. I am aware of one property owner who cannot find someone to do major repairs right now because too few contractors are interested in taking on a project in our neighborhood. The one estimate they got was so expensive they had to say no. 71 I would discourage people from buying homes in a historic district, not a positive experience for middle/lower income families. 72 It gets so fuzzy on what needs a full review and what needs a no material change review. I wish there was a quick and easy hand out explaining the differences. 73 A more thorough referral system for contractors, etc., who understand the historic designation and are willing to take on smaller jobs 74 Do not understand the lack of sidewalks in some areas of my district creating safety hazards on Sheridan Ave. I, and others, have expressed concerns over years to no avail. 75 The process is cumbersome and very imposing on homeowners. Cost seems to be a frequent issue so necessary repairs to homes in historic districts to maintain modern functionality seem to be frequently put off. 76 Additional grant opportunities for structural, cosmetic, and foundation preservation and repair. Consideration of expanding support to interior of homes so that people are maintaining the entire health of the house not just what passersby can see. For owners that have similar home styles, building a network of owners who can share tips/hacks/tricks and solid contractors experienced in supporting the specific style of home in question. 77 I wish that we could replace our garage. 78 Keep up the good work, including the UniverCity Program! 79 NO 80 no 81 We lived in our home prior to the district being created, so I said, "No" to, "Did you know this was a district before we moved in?" A suggestion: publicize districts as an asset, not a burden. Some of my neighbors think it is the thumb of government on their choices but they haven't though about towns where tear downs or even grouping of lots and rezoning for multifamily housing happen routinely. 82 We could maintain the tree canopy better. Trees are cut down by the city, but they are not replaced. At least, there could be a workshop or person to inform owners on trees, which trees are recommended, and service providers. I would attend such a workshop or go on a walking tour with a guide. 83 I am concerned the cost of keeping my home up to the standards will price me out of living here 84 No 85 I think I've made it clear in other comments that I do not believe the guidelines are followed by all residence and when I have contacted the City about it, I was told that I needed to be patient. I do get, and review, the notices of the HP meetings - it sure seems like those who go thru the process have to jump thru a LOT of hoops and additional expense. There just needs to be a happy medium. 86 Our house at 621 Brown St. was never an elegant one and twice had liens placed against it because of being in bad shape. I had the cracked maroon stucco removed , and while it is lthe most simple house on the. street, it fits in well enough, I believe, and is kept in good repair. I would never replace the front windows that suit its age with their narrow panes, but I think it reasonable to replace the bedroom windows on the inconspicuous sides of the house with less than high quality windows that will syill correct the air leakage problems. There is really nothing about the house that is first quality, love it though I do! I wish the narrow aluminum siding had been available when I changed the exterior appearance, but I have learned to live with it, and we keep the trim nicely painted so it's a pleasant looking house--but it doesn't need first-class windows, only well- working ones! 87 Thank you for the annual reminders that this property is in an historic district. And also thanks for wanting to improve your process, starting with this survey. Historic Preservation Contractor Survey - July 2021 Q1. How many exterior renovations on homes in historic or conservation districts in Iowa City have you completed in the last five years? 24 Answered, 0 Skipped None, 4.17% 1-5, 54.17% 6-10, 8.33% More than 10, 33.33% Q2. Out of the number completed, what percentage of these homes required a building permit and/or historic review and approval? 20 Answered, 4 Skipped 1 Just the one 2 Most of them usually do 3 About half 4 Most of them 5 They probably did but not sure we got them 6 100% 7 100% 8 10% 9 all of them 10 One 11 4 12 Unsure - we require the homeowners to secure permits and approvals. 13 75-90% 14 all of them 15 all 16 80% 17 80 18 5 19 1 20 45% Q3. What types of exterior work were completed? 19 Answered, 5 Skipped 1 Garage construction. 2 Porch and deck work, some siding repair 3 Roof, siding, porch repair 4 Restoration and repair 5 Siding and window repair 6 Window Work, roofing, siding 7 Addition and replacement of siding on existing. Window and door replacement. 8 egress window, siding, roof, window, porch, stairs, small repairs 9 stairs, windows, siding, doors, trimwork. 10 Porch restoration, doors, windows, painting 11 everything associated with an addition. roofing, siding, windows, foundation, etc 12 Windows and doors 13 Windows, doors, porches, siding, roofing, railings, additions 14 siding, trim, storm damage repairs 15 Screen porches, garage rebuild, railing additions, window sash replacements 16 Foundation repair-replacement, egress windows, siding and windows, additions and remodels. 17 Window restoration 18 siding replacement 19 Painting, gutters, stuff Q4. Do you routinely consult the Historic Preservation Handbook or contact City Preservation staff to discuss a project before applying for a building permit for exterior renovations in historic or conservation districts? 21 Answered, 3 Skipped Yes, 76.19% No, 23.81% Q5. Based on renovations that required historic review, what worked well? 18 Answered, 6 Skipped 1 It’s all pretty easy. 2 Staff support was great. She helped navigate how the guidelines work 3 Jessica is great. Helps make it easy to navigate the written guidelines. 4 Jessica is great to work with but her limited staff time slows down the process. 5 Just not asking 6 We were fortunate to not have to go through board review which takes extra time. It was approved in house within a few days. 7 Staff provided lots of input and interpretation to the HP guidelines. Communication was generally prompt. HPC process was clear. 8 jobs requiring minimal regulation, small repairs or certificate of no material effect 9 talking to staff, Jessica is the best. I had no idea you had a handbook. 10 The process worked well overall, tedious though. I would be hesitant to do another historic home as all of the regulations. It was difficult to find contractors who could do the work, and it was a tedious process to keep in communication to confirm our renovations would pass historic review. For example, when we needed a new door, it took approximately 15 email exchanges as the staff could not tell us what type of door to buy, they could Only tell us what would not work with the doors we kept tying to purchase even tho they looked like the ones in the book that were suggested. We also spent about $18k restoring old windows that are not efficient and new windows that look like old windows would have been more cost efficient in the short and long term with installation and energy savings. 11 This is tough to answer. the whole process is a layer of logistics that isn't needed for "non-historic" houses. But It's not that it doesn't work well. It just takes more time and money to design and navigate. 12 NA 13 The process is smooth as long as we stick with products and techniques that had been approved in the past. It also went smoothly when we accepted staff recommendations. 14 Walking in and talking thru things, flexibility! 15 The historic review is time consuming trying to get approval and waiting for approvals meeting times is not contractor friendly 16 When a home is being sold, prospective buyers are made aware of the requirements of home renovation within a historic district 17 building department is knowledgeable about what the steps are and what is required 18 I could call someonkjfolajfas' dsa adfiaorejajlfj Q6. Please provide any suggestions to improve the historic review process. 16 Answered, 8 Skipped 1 More staff time for faster responses please. 2 More staff time - delays so things down. Faster responses please - I know her time is limited, so give her some more. 3 More staff time for preservation staff. My customers want to move quickly. And I can’t when I have to wait. 4 More staff time. Faster reviews 5 lol 6 Anything that shortens the review time. 7 The guidelines are overly broad and focus almost exclusively on material preservation to the detriment of character and form. While the standards appear to be "comprehensive" they are written in a manner that places a great deal of judgment and discretion in the hands of Staff and the HPC with little or no recourse for the homeowner, builder or design professional. A lack of subjective standard in many cases causes confusion and non-standard application of the standards. More weight should be allowed to consider alternative approaches and materials that preserve form and character. Additionally, energy efficiency and budget should receive a higher level of consideration - much of the information (particularly pertaining to costs and availability of vendors) provided by staff and the HPC is outdated or not consistent with current market conditions. An alternate appeal process needs to be added between the HPC and the city council. Consideration should be given to either the Board of Adjustments or Board of Appeals to discuss decisions based on content rather than the pure process appeal provided by the city council. The disposition and makeup of the HPC disproportionately represents the interest of those interested in preserving the status quo and creates a potentially unfair situation for homeowners navigating the process. 8 Stop imposing exorbitant costs on homeowners in historic districts, then discussing "affordable housing" out of the other side of your mouth. Neighborhood stability can be maintained without removal of such a huge chunk of personal property rights. Historic guidelines stem from, and are zealously defended by, a narrow special interest group, and this is not in the greater public interest. Back off a few notches. 9 Skip using the new portal. It sucks. 10 It would be nice if the whole process didn't take as long as it does, but I don't have any suggestions on how that could be possible. 11 NA 12 Our clients and staff feel that the process is out of their hands. Basically we are required to ask city staff what is allowed, and then the client must decide if that is close enough to their vision that the project is still appealing. The process would be more appealing if the homeowner felt more in control of the process. 13 Flexibility,….the intention of preserving the feel of an historic neighborhood is good. But we live in a modern age and climate change and energy conservation are real and important issues that need to be considered when repairs or improvements are being made to older homes. I have many customers who don’t want to seek out input from historic review because they feel they are too restrictive and not sensitive to costs of maintaining a home to the standards required. I know that the review process and the micro managing of details encourages people to go around the rules. These are peoples homes….not just an investment in IOWA CITY’s charm. 14 Not having to wait so long for approval meetings. Less strict restrictions, homeowners are always complaining about how much more the project cost be cause of the requirements that the historic review implement. 15 Don't hesitate to reach out to qualified contractors if there are questions about the construction or historical significance during the review process 16 Staff and the commission should recognize that they do not own the property and that somebody has to pay for work being required. Q7.Were the guidelines for the work clear and easy to understand? 18 Answered, 6 Skipped Yes, 61.11% No, 38.89% Q8.What part of the guidelines are easy to understand? 6 Answered, 18 Skipped 1 The part about not reading them 2 On the surface, the guidelines appear to be reasonably organized. 3 materials that are pre-approved 4 The idea that a historic district is supposed to more or less look like it did when built. 5 Repair vs replacement….under the roof….outside the roof 6 Very few Q9. Which part of the guidelines are more difficult? 4 Answered, 20 Skipped 1 The part about government overreach 2 Reading into the guidelines, however, becomes a maze of subjective requirements, judgment and contradiction. There are not "waivers" but there are "exceptions" which further add to confusion. Catch all statements at the beginning of each section essentially put the final say back with the staff and HPC decision maker with little or no recourse to the applicant should their petition be denied. The rules within each district further complicate the guidelines as does determining what applies to each individual property. The designation of "contributing" vs. "non-contributing" property appears to be an arbitrary judgment call and not in accordance or correlation with the designation of the district. There is no recourse to the homeowner to "opt out' of the additional requirements and costs levied by the requirements. There is frequent citation of the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation but a closer look at the individual preservation briefs reveals a great deal of contradiction or at the very least interpretation favorable to the goal of the current guidelines to preserve material at nearly all costs. As a professional familiar with these types of regulations and the underlying documents, it is difficult to understand how an homeowner could navigate the system and guidelines without professional assistance. This seems patently unfair and adds an additional cost burden to the process, particularly for small or limited scope projects. 3 anything/everything outside of the pre-approved lists 4 The boundaries of the historic preservation commission. Is it the entire exterior of the home? is it the view from the street? Why are some materials accepted and others rejected? Is the difference between 1/2" thick lap siding and 3/8" thick smooth engineered siding relevant? Why is the difference between an aluminum clad window and a fiberglass window important? Why is a painted smooth PVC or engineered lumber trim board not allowed? I understand the need to maintain the character of the neighborhood, but why do we need to use substandard materials to do that? Modern wood doesn't last like old-growth wood. Modern materials are better in every way, but are not allowed. Q10.If your client considered exterior improvements, but deferred the improvements, do you know the reason? 9 Answered, 15 Skipped Yes, 55.56% No, 44.44% Q11. Please identify the reason(s) for deferring? 5 Answered, 19 Skipped 1 Certain improvements had to be modified or altered due to historic preservation requirements. Others were deferred due to excessive cost. Some requests were denied so the client chose to forego improvements rather than compromise to meet the current requirements. 2 The overall cost is almost always the reason 3 Cost is the major driver. Using historical materials increases cost by 20-50% on any given project, and the completed project will have much higher maintenance costs than a similar project with modern materials. There are times that the process is considered too daunting, but unless the client is unwilling or unable to pay for it, we can circumvent that by doing the historical work. Drafty windows or doors are not allowed to be replaced until they are rotted away. The homeowner will often wait until they are rotten because the cost of repair is prohibitive- often more than the cost of replacement- and the repaired window or door is still poorly insulated, single pane glass, and an exterior that is 90% of the way through its life cycle and requires a lot of maintenance for the remaining 10%. 4 Cost of complying 5 Typically the cost and did like the materials the historic review requested. Q12. Please indicate what type of improvement was being considered. 5 Answered, 19 Skipped 1 Home addition, porch addition, siding replacement, window replacement. 2 additions, garages, siding, windows, steps, porches, etc. 3 Windows and doors, porches, additions. 4 Windows sash - want to replace but urged to repair. 5 Siding, foundation, egress windows-wells Q13. Are there home improvement goals from homeowners that have proven to be difficult to achieve as a result of local historic preservation requirements? Check all that apply and provide detail as requested below. 18 Answered, 6 Skipped None, 33.33% Accessibility, 33.33% Affordabilty, 72.22% Energy Efficiency, 44.44% Health & Safety, 5.56% Other Comments: Just let people do what they want Adaptive Resuse This is a loaded question. Existing poor design. For example, flat or low sloping roofs are problematic in our climate. We should not have to honor poor design. Staying in their home when they'd like to have more space. Also aging in place. Availability of materials This question is trying to get users to say preservation is in conflict with these and it isn’t. Q14. Please provide specific details and share ideas on possible solutions. 10 Answered, 14 Skipped 1 More staff time 2 I don't see any area's where historic preservation of neighborhoods is desired that renovations on homes in those neighborhoods can happen in a cost effective way. 3 First and foremost, add a level of appeal between HPC and city council. A full review and rewrite of the HPC Guidelines would be amazing to focus on form and character versus material preservation. Our city is more than an collection of sticks and bricks - it is about the composition of our neighborhoods and vitality and willingness of homeowners to maintain their homes as our society changes and morphs. The homes that served a society a century ago may not work well to meet the needs of modern families - we must be willing to allow our dwellings to grow with our evolving needs. The costs to maintain a home will also create increasing socio-economic division in our community or, in the worst case, a deterioration of older housing stock. Systems created a century ago were not in any sense energy conscious and it is a demonstrable fact that aging buildings consume a disproportionate amount of energy to maintain and condition. Materials that were once plentiful may no longer be available or may have such dire impacts to source that it is nearly unconscionable to compel their continued use. It is also important to keep in mind that the homes covered by the historic district were not intended to last hundreds of years - they were the affordable housing of their time and it will take novel solutions to preserve the character of these structures while also meeting the responsibility of lowering energy demand to attempt to forestall environmental calamity. A revamp of the guidelines to allow flexibility and shift from material based requirements is the only sustainable path forward. 4 The "historical value" of most structures in historic districts has been overrated. Ardent preservationists have not been very been interested in compromise or property rights, but if rigorous standards designed for truly historic buildings remain in place while conflicting with other more important goals such as housing affordability and energy efficiency, will increasingly come under attack in the future. A very vocal minority of financially secure residents, who obviously revel in the elevated social status they imagine comes with residing in an historic district, will scream bloody murder if historic standards are relaxed. You can expect a disproportionate response from such people. Ardent preservationists have always pretended that there's no downside, even to the point of deception. We can no longer afford to allow this narrow perspective to dominate the narrative and wield most of the control over historic guidelines. You can craft a regulatory framework that protects neighborhood stability without being more concerned with the architectural purity of a house than with the people who live in it. 5 There is none, it will cost you more to be historically correct. 6 Not only do I work on historic homes, I also live in the Brown St. District. In my opinion, the Historic Preservation program is doing the opposite of it's goal. Many houses (specifically in the Northside,) are being neglected because they are too big and too costly to repair. Make no mistake, navigating the hist. prez. process increases costs. In other words - Historic Preservation requirements are the opposite of an incentive. The grants and zero interest loans are a nice try, but not very helpful. The only way I can see historic preservation being a long term plan is to really help out financially. Perhaps not increase property taxes if a major remodel is done? But again, some of the houses are so big and require so much work - it's just not practical. I honestly think the best solution is to end the program. 7 Allow modern materials that retain historic character- engineered siding, fiberglass windows, engineered and solid PVC trim boards, and fiberglass columns. Allow aging in place options- ramps or lifts. Give up the idea that a window or door can be infinitely repaired, or that it can ever perform as well as a modern window or door, on both an energy efficiency and a comfort basis. Storm windows are not excellent solutions in most cases- they are usually just better than the existing windows. They can be cost effective stop gap solutions but they are not good long term. 8 If you want to replace a window (double hung) in a bath over a tub so that it can be made into a shower….there are two ways to modify that window without removing the light and symmetry of window placement: 1) you can replace it with a short window that stylistically matches the house 2) you can modify the existing double hung so that it still looks like a double hung window that is just frosted on the bottom half…but tile over it on the inside. In kitchens where window are too low to run countertop underneath them…allow to replace with similar new windows that are shorter. Complying storm windows are prohibitively expensive, conforming sash replacements should be allowed and if you want historic sashes to be maintained that needs to be incentivized. 9 Don't require concrete or CMU wells for egress windows. It doubles the cost and you cant see the wells anyway. 10 Gap financing may be helpful. Q15.Is there anything you would like to add, suggest, or further explain? If so, please explain. 13 Answered, 11 Skipped 1 Stop tearing down historic buildings! They can be reused. 2 Most of my customers want to be good neighbors and follow the guidelines. 3 The City should support more preservation efforts. 4 Why even do this survey? 5 no 6 Thank you for the opportunity to provide input. 7 no 8 Most of the houses in the historic districts were kit houses bought through companies like Sears and Roebuck. They were shipped here via rail and assembled on site. This was the most affordable way to build at the time. Yes, they have great character, but they are no longer the most affordable. In my opinion, the only way to maintain these houses as “original,” is to offer realistic incentives to remodel. Otherwise, they are going to continue in disrepair. Since the City has photos of every house in the districts, do an investigation now to find out if most houses are in better or worse shape since starting the program. This might be hard to measure, but simple “curb appeal” should be obvious. A final thought… Manville heights is a similar neighborhood. It seems to be doing fine without the historic guidelines. My company remodeled the original Manville House using historic guidelines. My point is – some historic preservation will continue even if it is not required. And in cases where the design was poor to start with - change is ok. 9 The process usually feels like the homeowner is begging for permission from the powers that be. In contrast, the housing and building departments feel like resources to make sure the job gets done right. There is accountability, to be sure, but the process is not adversarial. 10 It is hard to charge customers for all the time it takes to get the HP process done! 11 The website is terrible ….and an added and an added deterrant 12 Faster turn around time from historic review on projects. 13 historic preservation is useful for neighborhood stabilization. not all building owners value the character of neighborhoods, which negatively impacts those who do.