Michigan State Historic Preservation Review Board Meeting Minutes May 12, 2017

APPROVED
Minutes of the
State Historic Preservation Review Board Meeting

May 12, 2017, 10:00 A.M.
Boardroom, Fourth Floor, Michigan State Housing Development Authority
735 East Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Michigan

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT
Brian Rebain, Grace A. M. Smith, Jennifer Radcliff, Misty Jackson, Sally Bund, Ted Ligibel, Rhonda Baker, Kemba Braynon

BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT
Dale Gyure

STAFF MEMBERS PRESENT
Bethany Berdes, Laura Ashlee, Mollie Olinyk, Diane Tuinstra, Todd Walsh, Debra Ball Johnson, Chelsea Dantuma, Brian Grennell

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC PRESENT
Katie Kolokithas (Vinkle House), Ruth Mills (Detroit Apartments and Branch Banks documentation), Alisa Crawford (DeZwaan Windmill), Greg Rainka (Brockway Mountain Drive)

The presentation computer needed to be restarted so the meeting started late.  Ligibel called the meeting to order at 10:05 a. m.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Smith moved approval of the agenda
Bund supported the motion
Vote: 8-0

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – JANUARY 13, 2017
Smith moved approval of the minutes
Bund supported the motion
Vote: 8-0

STAFF REPORTS - MARTHA MACFARLANE-FAES
•    SHPO moved to the MSHDA Building on January 9, 2017.
•    Brian Conway is at a speaking event and Dean Anderson is out so Martha MacFarlane-Faes will be speaking for both of them.
•    MSHDA is evaluating the acoustics and technology in the MSHDA Boardroom, and may implement updates.
•    This is the first meeting without Bob Christensen.  We have begun the process to replace him.  There is a MSHDA staffing meeting on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
•    Stacy Tchorynski has been hired by MSHDA full-time
•    Debra Johnson will be working on environmental reviews, easements, and survey.
•    Katie Kolokithas has been hired as our Survey and Information Coordinator, and will begin June 5, 2017.
•    Amy Arnold and Joelle Letts will be on leave in the coming months.
•    The Governor’s Awards were held two weeks ago and went very well.
•    Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program swag has come in this year and will be at the Michigan Welcome Centers.
•    Grand Haven Pier Light is receiving a grant for general rehabilitation.
•    We received $123,000 from the National Maritime Heritage grant and we matched it with the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program to have four Historic Structures Reports done for four off shore isolated lighthouses.  They are Thunder Bay, Manitou Island, Gull Rock and Stannard Rock.  We executed an agreement with OX Architectural in Ann Arbor to do this work.
•    MiSHPO is on track for a Fall release.
•    The Michigan Modern project has taken on a life of its own.  Conway is currently speaking at the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies meeting in Detroit.  He spoke to members of AIA Chicago, will speak to members of AIA Michigan on September 15, 2017, and will be speaking at a Society of Architectural Historians/Southern California Chapter in Los Angeles on September 23, 2017.
•    The Civil Rights project that Arnold is working on is focused on sites in Detroit.
•    During May and June, the Michigan Department of Transportation is overseeing an archaeological excavation in Midland adjacent to the M-20 bridge over the Tittabawassee River.  Construction work to replace the bridge could affect an archaeological site which is a pre-contact Native American site.  The SHPO and MDOT agreed that the site is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, so the excavation is taking place to mitigate the effect the bridge project will have on the site.  The State Archaeologist and the SHPO archaeology staff collaborated with the MDOT archaeologist on planning for the project and will assist with the oversight of the fieldwork as well.
•    SHPO staff will be at the MHPN Conference next week.
•    The NPS is hosting a regional meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on June 19 and 20, 2017.  McKay will remain for another two days to meet about flooding with the NPS.
•    Walsh and McKay will be going to Part 1 Tax Credit training in July in Baltimore.  Walsh will also attend a meeting of National Register Coordinators.

NATIONAL REGISTER - TODD WALSH
•    Patrick Andrus sent a return sheet for the Paint Creek Cider Mill. At this point the Review Board does not have to take any action.  It is up to the SHPO staff to contact the applicant and have them submit a revised nomination, if they choose to do so.
•    Walsh asked the Board to be more critical of staff and nominations.
•    Through the CLG program, SHPO has funded a boundary increase nomination for the Heartside Historic District, and a revised Local Historic District Study Committee Report for Heritage Hill Historic District. (Grand Rapids)
•    The nomination for Fort Wayne in Detroit is being rewritten, and will include an archaeology component.
•    The Northville Historic District nomination is being rewritten.  An intensive-level survey is being done.  Grant agreement has not been executed.
•    Hart Plaza (Detroit) will be surveyed, and have a nomination written.
•    The nomination for the Charlotte downtown commercial district is still being written.  It may be ready for review for September’s meeting.
•    A consultant is working on two nominations for Modern residential districts in Southfield.
•    SHPO will be providing nomination services for three communities (Old Town Lansing, Sault Ste. Marie, and Oxford), but contracts have not yet been approved by MSHDA.
•    Two potential projects are awaiting funding – a survey of modern resources in Flint, and revision/completion of three surveys in Lansing.  The Lansing surveys are the result of an earlier effort determined incomplete by SHPO staff.
•    Ligibel wants to address how the Board receives information and to create a timeframe so things are smoother in the future.  Walsh will develop with a plan for the Board’s review.

NATIONAL REGISTER NOMINATIONS
Site: Apartment Buildings in Detroit, 1892-1970, Multiple Property Documentation Form, Detroit,
Wayne County
Presented by:  Ruth Mills
Moved for Approval:  Bund
Seconded:  Radcliff
Vote:  7-0, Braynon abstained

Ruth Mills says this project started in 2014 and it will help in the revitalization of Detroit.  It will also help give tax credits to these buildings.  After the overall survey in 2012 it was decided that these are the properties that have potential for tax credits and revitalization.

Site:  Branch Banks in Detroit, 1889-1970, Multiple Property Documentation Form, Detroit, Wayne
County
Presented by:  Ruth Mills
Moved for Approval:  Smith
Seconded: Jackson
Vote:  7-0, Braynon abstained

Braynon would like to know what other types we should possibly be looking at in the future.  MacFarlane-Faes said that if another survey were done it would be concentrated on fire stations, libraries and police stations.

Ligibel asked if these are all eligible for the National Register.  Ruth Mills said that is not the case.

This information will be on Mishpo.

The forms will not change but the lists can always be updated.

Site: De Zwaan Windmill, Holland, Ottawa County
Presented by:  Alisa Crawford
Moved to Table:  Baker
Seconded:  Radcliff
Vote:  8-0
Criteria: A and B
Level of Significance:  Local

Ligibel would like to know if the entire island was 36 acres.  He would also like to know if there are other buildings that should be part of the nomination.  Alisa Crawford said that she and Bob Christensen intentionally left them out.  Ligibel thinks the other buildings need to be included in the nomination as non-contributing.

Radcliff confirmed that there are other buildings on the island where the windmill sets.

It will be tabled until the boundaries are finalized and that level of significance be changed from Local to State.

Site: Brockway Mountain Drive, Eagle Harbor and Grant Townships, Keweenaw County
Presented by:  Greg Rainka
Moved for Approval:  Rebain, with modifications noted below
Seconded:  Radcliff
Vote:  8-0
Criteria: A and C
Level of Significance:  State

Bund asked if this will be the only road on the National Register.  Greg Rainka says he believes it will be.

Ligibel notes that there two mistakes in the number of posts mentioned in the nomination.

Ligibel wants to know if the stone bases are original.  Rainka says they are not and that’s why they are in the nomination as non-contributing.

It was noted that the County has agreed to this nomination.

Ligibel would like the amount of acres to be added to the nomination.

Site: Henry and Aurora (Walker) Vinkle House, Grass Lake, Jackson County
Presented by:  Katie Kolokithas
Moved for Approval:  Smith
Seconded:  Bund
Vote:  8-0
Criteria: C
Level of Significance:  Local

Radcliff wanted confirmation of when the porch was re-built.  Katie Kolokithas confirmed that it was 1974.  The owner is working with Robb McKay at the SHPO for a more acceptable roof over the porch.

Ligibel wants to know who owns the fairly new stone fence in the back and have it noted in the nomination as non-contributing.

HISTORIC DISTRICT STUDY COMMITTEE REPORTS – AMY ARNOLD       
Griswold Civic District Historic District Boundary Amendment, Allegan
Building’s built before 1850 are typically referred to as New England style. (See page 79 of Virginia and Lee McAlester’s A Field Guide to American Houses.)
 
The description and history statements should be separate. The report should contain a more detailed description of the current condition of the building.  If possible, it should address when changes occurred.  For example, windows were added to the second floor façade--when did that occur? When was the chimney removed? When was the rear addition added?  Also, call out the features that are original to the structure.  Even though it is a simple design, there are features that should be noted, such as the shed porch roof, the simple window surrounds, two over two windows, width of the clapboard siding, etc.
 
The history is very minimal. The report should include a short summary of the history significance of the Griswold Civic District. There should be more depth to the story of the Boston Company and its importance to the development of Allegan.  Did they build other buildings in town, if so do they still exist?  Also, try not to uses phrases like “thought to have” in the history.  Claims in the report should be backed up with documentation.  It is better to use primary source materials when documenting a resources history.  Both the resources that are listed in the bibliography are secondary sources.  We found two good online primary resources just by searching Google for “Boston Company Allegan” that can be used to expand the history:
 
Pioneer Collections, Vol, 4, Letter from CC Trowbridge, p. 173
 
A Twentieth Century History of Allegan County Michigan, Henry Franklin Thomas., p. 53. 
 
The appropriate title for “Reason for District Expansion” is “Boundary Justification.”  The justification should include a short overview of the buildings that already exist within this district and a brief explanation of how the Boston Company Building fits in with them in terms of the history of Allegan and the building type and architectural style.

The report needs to include a verbal description of the new district boundary in addition to the boundary drawn on the map. It would be good to include a map that shows both the building’s current location and its proposed new location.  
Photos should be labeled, for example “Front Elevation taken from the east.”   If you know the date of the historic photo it should be included.

927 Purdy Local Historic District, Birmingham
Regarding the list of Study Committee members, because Public Act 169 of 1970, as amended requires study committee members to have a demonstrated interest in historic preservation, the study committee report should show how the members meet that requirement.  This does not need to be a lengthy explanation.  Examples:  Joe Doe, member of the Birmingham Historical Society; Jane Doe, author of the local history publication Birmingham 1900 to 1970;  Tom Thompson, architectural historian.
 
Study committees must follow the National Park Service guidelines for National Register of Historic Places nominations.  Thus, the district name should be one that best reflects a historic association with the property.  See the National Register Bulletin 16: Guidelines for Completing National Register of Historic Places Forms section on “Name of Property.”  It is unclear from the report if Almeron Whitehead ever actually lived in the property or if he built it as a rental property.  Since the Bailey family appears to have owned the property for the longest period, from 1904 to 1945, The Bailey House might be an appropriate name.
 
What has been submitted as the study report is actually the research background data. It is not really a study report. The report should be summary and analysis, not the raw data. The SHPO has a manual on line that should be helpful in developing a report. A sample report study committee report is included in Appendix E of the manual.  Please see: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mshda/mshda_shpo_20150930_local_historic_district
 
The report should provide more history--a short overview of the people, trends, and time periods that shaped the development of the city of Birmingham-- in order to place the house in its broader context.  For example, if Almeron Whitehead did build the house, then more explanation of his role in the development of the city of Birmingham should be provided. The 1877 and 1912 editions of the History of Oakland County might be a good starting point for a general history of the area.  It is now available on line: https://archive.org/details/afk0725.0001.001.umich.edu.  Since the Baileys were the longest owners of the property, more information about them and their role in Birmingham should be included.  
 
“Late 19th century farmhouse” is not an accepted architectural style term.  The style for this house would be considered to be a gable front Folk Victorian. The appropriate term for the windows is double hung not “tall single hung.” Please consult a field guide such as Virginia and Lee McAlester’s A Field Guide to American Houses for appropriate architectural terminology. 
 
Rather than a vague statement such as “has undergone some exterior renovations,” the description statement should provide a more detailed overview of changes to the property, preferably in a chronological order that places the changes with the period they occurred.  
 
A period of significance must be included in the report. 
 
Public Act 169 requires that the boundary of the local historic district be depicted on a map.  We recommend that the report include at a minimum a map of the city of Birmingham that shows the location of the proposed district within the city and a parcel map of the street or block with the boundary of the district clearly drawn in a dark heavy line.  Maps must include the name of the city and county, name of the historic district, a north arrow and a date. 
 
In 2002, the SHPO adopted rules that guide the establishment of single resource districts.  A single resource must be one that individually meets the criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  The study committee report must make the case that the resource meets the criteria. Why was this property singled out for individual designation and does it meet National Register criteria on its own?  This is not clear in the report. Please see the Criteria for Evaluating Resources for Inclusion in Local Historic Districts at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/hal_mhc_shpo_CriteriaEstablishingHistDist_154704_7.pdf.

C. P. A. Building Local Historic District, Detroit
Overall, a thorough report.  The significance statement should explain how the resource meets criterion A and C, i.e. association with the architect Alvin Harley, etc. 

The Board had no additional comments.

APPEALS/ANNUAL RESOLUTION – KARA HART-NEGRICH
Jim McClurg v. City of Grand Rapids Historic District Commission

Rhonda Baker recused herself and left the room because she works for the City of Grand Rapids.

Background:
•    616 Wealthy Street is in the Cherry Hill Historic District of Grand Rapids;
•    Built in 1900;
•    Building has been in disrepair since at least 2006;
•    Purchased in court-ordered distress sale in 2012, has not made improvements;
•    9/2016 Petitioner requested GRHDC issue “Notice to Proceed” demolition, denied;
•    Petitioner appealed under MCL 399.205(6)(a), the building “constitutes a hazard to the safety of the public or to its occupants.”

PETITIONER’S ISSUES PRESENTED:
GRHDC improperly denied the Petitioner’s request to demolish the building at 616 Wealthy Street.
1)    Property is in severe distress from decades of neglect;
2)    Engineering studies found the structure and foundation to be deteriorated and unsafe, unlikely to bear stress of rehab;
3)    High lead levels in soil;
4)    Contractors refuse to bid on rehab;
5)    GRHDC acted arbitrarily;
6)    GRHDC’s decision not based on material evidence.

GRHDC’s RESPONSE PRESENTED:
•    Limit to MCL 399.205(6)(a);
•    No occupants, thus that argument is inapplicable;
•    Did not sufficiently show hazard to safety of public.

•    LEGAL ISSUE IDENTIFIED BY ALJ Williams:
•    1) Whether the owner should be allowed to demolish the building under MCL 399.205(6)(a) because it constitutes a hazard to the safety of the public or
         to its occupants.

PROPOSAL FOR DECISION:
ALJ Williams finds that:
1)    Building is deteriorated;
2)    Engineering reports state building unsafe, rehab not economical;
3)    Rehab would destroy historic significance.


ALJ RECOMMENDATION: 
ALJ Williams recommends granting permission to demolish the building.

Board Options:
•    Affirm the ALJ’s recommendation and reverse the HPC’s decision.
•    Reject the ALJ’s recommendation and confirm the HPC’s decision.
•    Remand the appeal for further fact finding (to ALJ or GRHDC).

Smith says she’s seen the building and has repaired worse.

Ligibel notes that nobody from the City Housing Office was present.

Smith states that the building inspector’s reports mentioned minor repairs, like maintenance.

The reports that were submitted did not address the interior.

Radcliff states that we are not here to review the Commissions reasons but their decision and according to the law.

Moved to reject the ALJ’s recommendation and confirm the HPC’s decision:  Smith
Seconded:  Jackson
Vote:  7-0, Baker recused herself

DATES OF NEXT MEETING
September 15, 2017, and January 12, 2018
Moved for Approval: Smith
Seconded: Baker
Vote: 8-0

ADJOURNMENT
Baker moved adjournment
Smith supported the motion
Vote: 8-0

Meeting adjourned at 1:07 pm

Prepared by Bethany Berdes