Michigan State Historic Preservation Review Board Meeting Minutes, May 13, 2011


Minutes of
The State Historic Preservation
Review Board Meeting
May 13, 2011, 10:00 AM
Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Boardroom 4th Floor,
735 East Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Michigan

Board Members Present
Scott Beld, Janese Chapman, Lynn Evans, Richard Harms, Elisabeth Knibbe, Ted Ligibel, Carolyn Loeb, Jennifer Radcliff

Board Members Absent
Ron Staley

Staff Members Present
Dean Anderson, Laura Ashlee, Bethany Berdes, Bob Christensen, Brian Conway, Scott Grammer, Ted Grevstad-Nordbrock, Martha MacFarlane-Faes, Brenna Moloney, Jessica Puff, Diane Tuinstra

Members of the Public Present
Nathan Nietering and Sheri Greenhoe concerning the Michigan State Medical Society Building, Nancy Bacon and Judy Wheatley concerning the Taliaferro House, Erik Wilson, Wayne Bauman and Greg Jones concerning the Michigan Paper Company Mill, Kristine Kidorf concerning the Tushiyah United Hebrew School, Maura Johnson concerning the Marine City Water Works, Robert Knoll and Sharise Knoll concerning the Nacirema Club

Harms called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.

Approval of Agenda
Loeb moved approval of agenda
Chapman supported the motion
Vote: 8-0

Approval Of Minutes
Harms made two amendments to the proposed meeting minutes before approval. First, the names of the board members who supported and seconded the motion for Evans to be elected Vice Chair should be changed to reflect that Staley moved to elect Evans and Knibbe seconded the motion. The second correction is found on page 7 of the meeting minutes. The last line should read "repairing the replacement windows" instead of "replacing the replacement windows".

Approval Of Minutes
Ligibel moved approval of the minutes, as amended
Loeb supported the motion
Vote: 8-0

Staff Reports

Brian Conway, State Historic Preservation Officer

  • The Governor's Awards for Historic Preservation were held on Wednesday, May 4, 2011.
  • Bethany Berdes was introduced as the new Executive Secretary for SHPO.
  • Historic Preservation Community Assessment Program
    • SHPO has instituted a Historic Preservation Community Assessment P rogram.
    • SHPO staff members work with communities that have shown an interest in historic preservation and the Michigan Main Street Program.
    • The basic service level is where we go into communities, meet with community leaders, talk about historic preservation, do an overview assessment that identifies potential historic districts and potentially eligible individual buildings in that community and provides a copy of the assessment to the community in hopes of starting them on historic preservation activities.
    • The intensive service level expands on the basic level by additionally providing communities with a National Register of Historic Places nomination written by SHPO staff.
    • This program is a first step to connect communities to historic preservation and to the Michigan Main Street Program.
    • Interested communities must apply for this program, and 2-3 will be selected each year.
  • Green Team
    • Comprised of Daniel Snyder, Mollie Douglas, Jessica Williams
    • SHPO is partnering with Michigan Main Street Program in collaboration with Community Action Agencies and Land Banks on foreclosed or abandoned properties
    • Intent is to take two projects from start to finish as a demonstration showing how to correctly incorporate green technology with historic preservation.
    • SHPO will be awarding a grant to a non-profit agency to act as project manager while our staff will be writing the specifications for the projects.
    • Goal is to develop a standard set of specifications for future use when reviewing more of these projects.
  • Section 106 in Detroit
    • SHPO is working with the City of Detroit Planning Department, t he Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Preservation Wayne, and the Detroit Historic Preservation Advisory Board to reissue or renegotiate a programmatic agreement to facilitate and streamline the Section 106 process in Detroit.
    • We have had a programmatic agreement with Detroit since 1997; but with the amount of economic stimulus money coming into Detroit we found that our past agreement was not adequate.
    • We're taking an aggressive approach to looking at demolitions and right-sizing efforts and how we can incorporate historic preservation into that broader issue with a legal tie through the programmatic agreement and functional tie by working with the Detroit Works efforts in Detroit.
    • Martha MacFarlane-Faes is leading the effort and we will be meeting with the Detroit Works group in Detroit soon.
  • Historic Tax Credits
    • Michigan's Business Tax will be abolished 12/30/11.
    • This means that we will no longer have a Michigan State Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program.
    • Tax credits are being pulled out of both the personal income tax and Michigan Business Tax laws.
    • A public notification was sent out earlier in March stating that the program was suspended pending budget negotiations.
    • We will be issuing an update with the intent to continue to accept new applications until the deadline.
    • The new deadline will reflect the administrative time needed to review and approve tax credit applications prior to the end of the year.
    • The transition law will indicate that anything approved prior to December 31, 2011 will be grandfathered in.
  • The MHPN conference is May 19th, through 22nd, 2011 in Saugatuck, MI.
  • The Office of the State Archaeologist was absorbed into SHPO.
    • Dean Anderson was designated as the State Archeologist.
    • SHPO signed an inter-office agreement with the DNR, where the DNR will hire another archeologist to work with Dean at the SHPO, and the SHPO will provide the funding for the position.

Dean Anderson, State Archeologist

  • Governor's Awards
    • Archeology award for Riley Mammoth Excavation, Morrison Lake Golf Course, Ionia
    • Project in cooperation with the Morrison Lake Golf Course and the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology
      • Scott Beld, Dan Fisher, and Adam Roundtree from U of M were a part of the team
    • Mammoth site has pushed human Pre-Clovis in Michigan back 800-1000 years
  • DNR Planners
    • 10-year plan for state parks in the Thumb, specifically Sanilac Petroglyph site
  • Native American Repatriation
    • Under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), Scott Grammer is working with the Sault Tribe of Chippewa to repatriate the remains that were recovered from Fayette
  • Section 106 Ottawa County
    • Continue review of ongoing MDOT project of US 31 crossing the Grand River from I-196 to I-96
    • Continued excavation of archeological sites

Brian Conway, State Historic Preservation Officer

  • Right-Sizing
    • Brian Conway was invited to Washington D.C. to speak about right-sizing with the Mayor of Youngstown and the Director of the Midwest Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to establish a task force for right-sizing.
    • Voted to establish a task force to look at this issue specifically and look at Detroit as a model.
  • Brian Conway was appointed to the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers
    • Gives Michigan a stronger connection to what is happening at the federal level

National Register Nominations

Site: Nacirema Club, Detroit, Wayne County
Presented By: Christensen
Moved for Approval: Evans
Seconded: Knibbe
Vote: 8-0
Criteria: A
Level of Significance: Local

Radcliff asked if there were any other buildings in the vicinity with the same level of recognition.  Chapman responded that there weren't but noted that the area had been looked at for local designation and the club is situated in Detroit's Circle of Churches and was a neighborhood of significant African American influence.  She added that many blacks moved to the area from the Black Bottom area of Detroit, and that many of the churches still remain and are locally listed as historic.  Radcliff asked if this was the first and possibly only National Register nomination for the neighborhood.  Chapman responded by saying we don't know yet.  Knibbe noted that it was certainly a place that was culturally significant.  Chapman, Ratcliff and Ligibel agreed.  Christensen stated that the nomination cannot be submitted until a description or pictures of the interior have been received.  Knibbe added that it didn't matter because the interior was in bad shape.  To this there was a consensus of agreement.

Site: Thomas W. & Margaret F. (McKay) Taliaferro House, Bloomfield Hills, Oakland County
Presented By: Christensen
Moved for Approval: Knibbe
Seconded: Chapman
Vote: 8-0
Criteria: B, C
Level of Significance: Local

Chapman asked if there is any relationship between Henry Ford, continuous flow process and this property. Harms stated that continuous flow processing was based on the dissecting process in the meat packing industry in Chicago.  Chapman asked if there was a relationship between Taliaferro and Ford.  Christensen stated that he did not find evidence of a relationship.  Harms asked if there was any notion of significance greater than the local level due to the owner's prominence in the industry.  Christensen stated that he had considered it, but wasn't sure.  He added that there isn't enough information at this point to show that, but it is possible. Radcliff asked if there was a water feature or any recognition of original landscaping.  Christensen said that the nomination refers to a rock garden and some landscaping that are original.  Bacon stated that there are huge, elaborate rock gardens and pathways that are original.

Site: Timothy & Lucretia (Jones) Warner Homestead, Brighton Township, Livingston County
Presented By: Christensen
Moved for Approval: Evans
Seconded: Loeb
Vote: 8-0
Criteria: A, C, D
Level of Significance: Local

Evans asked if the trees should be counted as objects because they're part of the historic landscape.  Christensen said that they could be counted separately and landscape could be counted too.  He added that he didn't think either one of those was included in the nomination and stated that it was a good suggestion.  Knibbe recommended the landscape elements be included in the nomination.

Site: Old US-31 Trail Marker Trees, Resort Township, Emmet County
Presented By: Christensen
Moved for Approval: Ligibel
Seconded: Radcliff with the provision to seek more information and discover the age of the trees.
Vote: 1-7 (rejected)
Criteria: A
Level of Significance: Local

Christensen asked the board if they thought this nomination was worth pursuing and what information should be considered.  Conway asked if the trees were all maples, the same species.  Christensen said yes.  Beld stated that he found information online that indicated the trees formed naturally by trees falling on trees.  He added that references he found in the literature were no older than the 1930s, and that the Daughters of the American Revolution and villages and towns would put markers on the trees to connect history to a place.  Beld continued by stating that he'd like to see the trees cored to document how old they are.  Harms asked how the trees were marked.  Christensen replied that a trail found in the Hinsdale Atlas extended from Resort Township to Mackinaw. Ligibel stated that his understanding was they wouldn't all be clustered together and he was interested in them as ecological artifacts that someone intentionally planted to say something.  Ligibel found a reference to 1876 and the United States centennial celebration where Michiganders planted maple trees along highways.  Ligibel felt the trees may be more a reflection of that and asked Christensen if they were linear.  Christensen said they were.  Ligibel stated that he hadn't found history of Indian marker trees being lined up like these, and it was more likely to be a trait of settlers.  Knibbe stated that the age of the trees was critical.  Radcliff agreed.  Knibbe stated that she grew up on a farm with trees that were deformed like the marker trees and the centennial/settlement connection made sense.  Harms brought up ornamental tree topping done in Europe.  The board agreed.  Knibbe asked if there was a farm nearby.  Christensen said there is.  Knibbe suggested that the history of the farms may be important.  Chapman stated she had talked to an arborist, Jim Porterfield, who, after examining the trees, determined that they were too linear to mark a trail.  Harms interjected saying a trail would wind around and wouldn't be straight.  Chapman said it looked more planned.

Site: Tushiyah United Hebrew School/Scott Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, Detroit, Wayne County
Presented By: Kidorf
Moved for Approval: Loeb
Seconded: Ligibel
Vote: 7-0; Knibbe abstained
Criteria: A, C
Level of Significance: Local

Harms asked if the name plate might have had Roman numerals indicating the date of construction.  Kidorf said it may have, and noted there was a cornerstone that had the date of construction, but it was a good idea to look into.  Radcliff said that on Jewish synagogues the date of construction could be based on the Jewish calendar, making it a completely different date.  Kidorf agreed and stated she would look into that.  Chapman added that the building was also being considered for local designation at the same time.  Ligibel asked if the loss of the tax credits would have an impact.  Kidorf said potentially.  Chapman added yes, and that they were not happy about the possible impact.  Kidorf said that the developer, Richard Hosey, is on the Michigan Historic Preservation Network Board, so hopefully he'll make it happen.

Site: Michigan Paper Company Mill Historic District, Plainwell, Allegan County
Presented By: Jones
Moved for Approval: Knibbe
Seconded: Evans
Vote: 7-0
Recused: Knibbe
Criteria: A, C
Level of Significance: Local

Radcliff asked if all of the buildings on the first slide (site plan) were going to be retained.  Jones replied that portions of the site would be removed, that the period of significance is up to the 1950's, when the local ownership changed, and that anything not contributing to the period of significance would be removed.  Radcliff asked what the goal of the project is.  Jones said it was to be a phased rehabilitation with offices for the City of Plainwell and the development firm, adding that eventually there will be more mixed use as well.  Radcliff asked if they had a revenue stream from the beginning.  Jones said yes.  Ligibel asked if they should make the nomination based on everything pre '55.  The board and Jones agreed.  Jones stated that there was a map with a key showing contributing and non-contributing.  Radcliff said that 1954 was the date and commented that the site was pretty cool.  She asked what was going to happen to the land that wasn't in the smaller boundary.  Bauman stated that it was a super-fund site and was going to be cleaned up and should be opened up for further development in late 2012, early 2013.  Wilson added that they were trying to insure the success of the project, that it was important to the community.  Knibbe asked how many square feet was the contributing part of the building.  Bauman thought it was around 100,000 to 150,000, but he wasn't sure.  Radcliff asked if the public would have access to the river front there.  Wilson stated that there would eventually be a river walk.  Bauman added that the tax credits were absolutely vital, but they were committed to the first phase.

Site: Marine City Water Works, Marine City, St. Clair County
Presented By: Johnson
Moved for Approval: Ligibel
Seconded: Radcliff
Vote: 8-0
Criteria: A, C
Level of Significance: Local

Ligibel asked about the building plaque on the left of the door.  Johnson thought it was the dedication plaque.  She added that the window openings and orientation had been retained, though the windows were replaced.

Site: Michigan State Medical Society Building, East Lansing, Ingham County
Presented By: Nietering
Moved for Approval: Chapman
Seconded: Loeb
Vote: 7-0; Ligibel abstained
Criteria: C
Level of Significance: State

Radcliff asked if the architect/builders record referred to just the '79 building as being a Christman building.  Nietering believed the Christman portion was just the glass atrium connecting the two buildings and Yamasaki did the '61 and '79 portions.  Conway stated that Christman may have been the contractor.  Radcliff said that was what she meant.  Evans asked if it was pre-fabricated.  Ashlee stated that Katherine Eckert had seen it come in on trucks.  Conway said it's a very prominent building in East Lansing and anchors the corner of West Saginaw Avenue and Abbott Road.  Conway added that the Michigan State Medical Society does an outstanding job maintaining the building.  Greenhoe stated the Medical Society was thrilled to have the building considered for the National Register and added that they worked with Yamasaki and Associates until the closing of the firm on any renovations or retrofitting for technology in order to prevent taking away from Yamasaki's original vision.  Radcliff asked who has archived the architectural drawings.  Greenhoe understood that the SHPO had the drawings, but their office had some of the original blueprints.  Conway stated that the SHPO was fortunate to get the Yamasaki documents before they were shredded by Oakland County. He added that the firm's documents are now housed at the State Archives.  Neitering added that he had looked at the drawings at the State Archives.  Greenhoe stated that the Medical Society continued to work closely with the interior designer who worked with Yamasaki on any interior changes.

Site: Campbell-DeYoung Farm, Elmwood Township, Leelanau County
Presented By: Ligibel
Moved for Approval: Loeb
Seconded: Chapman
Vote: 7-0; Ligibel abstained
Criteria: A, C
Level of Significance: Local

Radcliff asked for clarification between "upper" and "lower" barn, and "Bank" and "English" barn.  Ligibel stated that the upper barn was the one near the chicken coop.  Radcliff wanted to know what upper and lower referred to, if they were being used geographical terms.  Ligibel said yes and apologized for the confusion, stating upper and lower were the terms the Leelanau Conservancy uses, and that Mr. DeYoung used.  Radcliff asked if the bank was built up with the barn or if it was a natural bank.  Ligibel said part of it was and the DeYoungs enhanced it in order to reach the threshing floor.  He added that the National Register nomination was done by Amanda Trambu as her final project.  Ligibel also stated that the Conservancy was very excited about the National Register nomination.  Radcliff asked how they could guarantee the continuance of the water supply.  Ligibel said that it was fed by a natural spring and that the DNR was involved but that there wasn't any water in it now because they were going to be doing work on the power house.

Historic District Committee Study Reports:
Presented by Richard Harms

Adams Building & Masonic Building Historic District, Sault Ste. Marie
Knibbe asked why only two buildings out of what seemed to be a downtown were included.  Christensen replied that they were the only two listed on the National Register at this time, and were part of a tax credit project, but were part of a downtown that seemed to be eligible for listing.

First United Methodist Episcopal Church Historic District, Lansing
Loeb thought that it might make sense to discuss the neighborhood in which the structure was originally built, and asked if she should contact Amy Arnold.  Harms said yes, to send her an email.  Christensen stated that it was his understanding that the report had been unofficially retracted because the tax credits were no longer available.

Rood Building Historic District, Grand Rapids
Ligibel asked if there were any images included in the report.  Harms said the building is an Italianate in fairly good shape, designed by Robinson who was the première architect in Grand Rapids at the time this building was constructed, but this wasn't his best work.

Hermann's Bakery Building Historic District, Royal Oak
Knibbe said that it looked like it was part of a block with more eligible buildings.  Radcliff and Chapman agreed.  Knibbe said that it looked "cherry picked" and thought they should discourage such designations.  Radcliff said that across the street were two Beaux Arts buildings one of which is locally designated.  She added that the chair of the study committee was also chair of the commission and put her own house on the local register but none of the other houses eligible in her neighborhood.  Knibbe said that in order to be eligible for Michigan historic preservation tax credits, which is what they're doing this for, you have to follow the Michigan standards for establishing a historic district, and if they're "cherry picking" we need to say no, but maybe at his point it's too late. Radcliff added that they've allowed it before.  Harms stated that they could still comment on it.  Radcliff and Knibbe thought they should comment.  Harms agreed.  Radcliff added that she didn't recognize very many names on the study committee report and said that many of her friends are no longer involved in protest of the district.

University Club Historic District, Detroit
Chapman said that it is an interim designation with a lot of controversy around it. She added that the owner came to a meeting May 12, 2011, and said that he bought the property to demolish the building, and he's upset that the city placed an interim designation on it. He said that he knew it was historic when he purchased it, and at this point in time he's allowing "demolition by design." He also noted that he was fined by the historic district commission.  Chapman added that the owner has already taken the slate off the roof to sell. The city doesn't know what the future of the University Club is going to be at this point.

Market and Main (Huron) Building Historic District, Mackinac Island
Evans said that the justification for creating two separate districts was that they were developed at separate times.  Knibbe stated the report should be clearer, and note that the two districts were built at separate times in order to justify two separate districts; otherwise this should be one district. 

West End Historic District, Mackinac Island
The Board made no additional comment.

Downtown Belding Historic District
Ligibel recommended the boundary justification needs to be rewritten.

No Appeals

Date of Next Meetings
September 16, 2011; January 20, 2012

Radcliff moved adjournment
Chapman supported the motion
Vote: 8-0, adjournment at 12:45 p. m.

Prepared by Bethany Berdes and Jessica Puff