Michigan State Historic Preservation Review Board Meeting Minutes January 18, 2019

Minutes of the State Historic Preservation Review Board Meeting

January 18, 2019, 10:00 A.M.
Board Room, Fourth Floor, Michigan State Housing Development Authority
735 East Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Michigan


Rhonda Baker, Kemba Braynon (arrived at 10:07), Lane Demas, Dale Gyure, Janet Kreger, Brian Rebain, Krysta Ryzewski, Grace Smith

New board member Dr. Lane Demas introduced, a history professor at Central Michigan University with a focus in the history of race and popular culture in North America.


Misty Jackson


Dean Anderson, Amy Arnold, Laura Ashlee, Brian Conway, Debra Ball Johnson, Katie Kolokithas, Joelle Letts, Martha MacFarlane-Faes, Nathan Nietering, Stacy Tchorzyski, Diane Tuinstra, Todd Walsh; Legal Affairs Division: Scott Grammer


Joe Frost, Mike Jaskula, Michael Appel, Jancey Mallett, Mary Keys, Lauren Strauss, Ken Siver, Michael Olsen, Ruth Mills, Darla Van Hoey, Scott Slagor, Glenn Pape, Ryan Schumaker, Nancy Finegood, Galaan Dafa


Rebain called the meeting to order.


Motion to elect Grace Smith as vice-chair of the State Historic Preservation Review Board for a 1-year term
Motion: Kreger
Second: Gyure
Vote: 7-0


Motion to approve the agenda of January 18, 2019 regular board meeting
Motion: Smith
Second: Baker
Vote: 7-0

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – September 14, 2018

Motion to move approval of September 14, 2018 minutes.
Comments: Smith: Tibbits National Register nomination – Smith restated that the minutes should reflect that the nomination should not use Criterion B for Mortimer Smith.

Motion: Kreger
Second: Baker
Vote: 7-0

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – November 2, 2018

Motion to move approval of November 2, 2018 special meeting minutes.

Motion: Smith
Second: Gyure
Vote: 6-0 Abstain: Baker

Comments: Kreger: Thanks to Nathan Nietering for detailed capture of the conversation and relevant issues in the minutes from November.

NOTE: SHPRB member Braynon arrived at 10:07


Review of Board Bylaws

Walsh passed out marked up copies of the current bylaws with suggested, largely technical changes noted.

Comments: Kreger stated most of the change goals are bookkeeping related, current bylaws reflect the federally-required goals of the Review Board with the addition of local historic district study committee report review. Conway noted that the review of National Register sites to be delisted technically does not require Review Board action, but SHPO felt it was best to bring it before the Board so all are up to date. Rebain noted that in the bylaws, it specifies that the chairperson is authorized as the signatory for all Board decisions, therefore this does not need to be voted on each time. Grammer stated he hadn’t previously been asked to review the bylaws and therefore had not had the chance to review all proposed changes yet. Rebain asked if there was any desire by the Board to receive more formal comments from the public during meetings, or continue in the ad hoc manner currently used. Gyure asked if there been any complaints with the current ad hoc approach. Rebain indicated there have been no complaints. Braynon suggested that if there were public comment, it should be limited in duration but that public comment can be both valuable and meaningful.  Kreger noted that the Board’s official duties are dictated by the National Park Service, which indicate that nothing that the Review Board does is binding. Conway replied that while that is true, the Review Board actually has substantial power for giving SHPO direction; one such example being how to handle the recent situation at WMU.  Further thoughts may be shared by email but Kreger recommended that today, the Board can feel comfortable approving the current bylaws and the technical corrections rather than delay.  Bylaws are meant to be regularly reviewed for updates, and this can happen going forward.

Motion to accept the technical changes suggested by SHPO staff which will be reviewed by Grammer.
Motion: Smith
Second: Kreger
Vote: 8-0

Board Training Update – Todd Walsh

National Register reviewer Jim Gabbert was contacted about meeting with the Review Board for a training and has expressed interest but does not have a set schedule yet, looking at June or July. 

Conway indicated he is pleased to have Dr. Lane Demas join the Review Board and noted that board member Sally Bund’s term has expired, and she was not reappointed by Governor Snyder. It would be a nice gesture for the board to make a motion for a resolution to be sent to Sally thanking her for her service. 

Motion to recommend sending a resolution of thanks to Bund
Motion: Baker
Second: Gyure
Vote: 8-0



  • Mollie Olinyk left the SHPO in late August.  Her responsibilities have been temporary given to other employees, and SHPO is interviewing candidates from across the country to refill the position.
  • Laura Ashlee is retiring in February after 32 years with SHPO.
  • Nathan Nietering is taking on additional responsibilities.  He will be assisting with the National Register program and will also take over the Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation.
  • Scott Grammer has officially been brought back as the legal counsel for Historic Preservation at MSHDA. 
  • The Certified Local Government program is up and running thanks to Laura; we hope to refill her CLG coordinator position as quickly as possible.
  • Amy Arnold has begun work on the next 5-year state historic preservation plan.  The plan provides direction to SHPO and to all organizations and communities relating to historic preservation priorities.  Six public meetings to be held this spring to discuss plan goals. The final version of the plan due to NPS due in mid-November.
  • The next round of CLG grant applications are due Feb. 4.
  • Federal Government shutdown update: SHPO is not directly impacted financially, MSHDA carries us through and then requests reimbursement from NPS each year. We do not yet know what our federal appropriation will be. Because NPS offices are closed, however, we cannot forward National Register nominations or tax credit applications to Washington.  Despite this, we continue to process and review them meeting our mandated deadlines.
  • GIS – MISHPO system – within the past few weeks we have shifted our direction and are now working with IT staff from the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget to make the system function the way we need it to.  Good progress is now being made although we have a long way to go before any public component may be available.
  • Some current Section 106 issues: Debra Johnson has completed required easement monitoring, we hold about 135 total. Most are in compliance, a few issues need to be addressed, specifically Keweenaw Mountain Lodge roof and possible cell phone tower issue. The Pere Marquette Bascule Bridge in Port Huron is significant for its engineering design. Privately owned, the owners want it removed. A local preservation group exists, everything hinges upon an Army Corps of Engineers permit and SHPO is consulting with all sides in an effort to keep the bridge.  Saugatuck Dunes development proposal continues with much local controversy, again, an Army Corps of Engineers permit is needed to allow the developer to cut a boat basin near the river mouth and associated development. SHPO is consulting here as well. There are also ongoing issues with Isle Royale, the Cultural Resource Management plan and related work is all on hold for now with the government shutdown.

Upcoming items:

  • HDC commissioner training events will be held in March in Kalamazoo and Ypsilanti.
  • Arnold and Conway have been invited to speak at the Preserve the Recent Past conference in March in Los Angeles, which is a high honor.
  • The annual MHPN conference is being held in Holland May 16-18. Kreger thanked Conway and the SHPO staff for not only attending the conference, but for presenting as well.  The entire audience benefits from their presence each year. 


  • This past September the Michigan Cares for Tourism volunteer group descended on Ft. Wilkins State Park. MI Cares is a partnership which selects a historic site to do repair work each year. Archaeology Staff were there to assist and help guide work relating to ground disturbance. The major flood event in U.P. in June caused much damage to roads and culverts, we have been working closely with FEMA and FHWA to expedite the review work they need to do to repair infrastructure. At a Manistee project, Consumers Energy ran into human remains; we are typically called for a sensitive negotiation between many parties to address these occasional issues.
  • Recent field work has included digs at the Ft. Wilkins site and in Onoway State Park where their pavilion burned and they are now working to build a new structure near the lake. Archaeology Day was very successful in 2018, date for this year Oct. 19, 2019. The annual Archaeology Day poster for 2018 features the Sanilac Petroglyphs stunning Li-DAR image. Li-DAR was used to document the petroglyphs to sub-millimeter accuracy which represents a strong partnership project with MDOT and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe. Archaeology presentations will take place at the MHPN conference this year in May.


  • In November, the Old-Merchants Tower in Battle Creek was listed by NPS. In December, Grande Ballroom in Detroit, the Choctaw shipwreck site, and the Cadillac House in Lexington were also listed.  Currently in process: Northville District will be done for the next meeting. Charlotte revisions underway, Fort Wayne in Detroit is underway, and the Hart Plaza nomination seen here last September will be reviewed by NPS when they reopen. Also coming up in May: Old Town (Lansing) and Sault Ste. Marie district nominations.
  • Kreger commented that the Cadillac House rehabilitation project will also be presented at MHPN conference, a small town project with big impact.


Nathan Nietering, Preservation Specialist

Nominated projects to receive 2019 Governor's Awards for Historic Preservation:

  • Cadillac House rehabilitation, Lexington, Saint Clair County
  • Capitol Theatre rehabilitation, Flint, Genesee County
  • Cobbs & Mitchell Building rehabilitation, Cadillac, Wexford County
  • Grand Army of the Republic Building rehabilitation, Detroit, Wayne County
  • Innovative Preservation Trades Training Programs, Michigan Historic Preservation Network, Statewide
  • Warner Historic Homestead restoration and associated archaeological education program, Brighton vicinity, Livingston County

Motion to accept and recommend the six nominations as presented.
Motion by Demas
Second by Smith
Vote 8-0


Site: Oxford Downtown Historic District, Oxford, Oakland County
Presented by: Scott Slagor, Commonwealth Heritage Group
Moved for Approval: Braynon
Seconded: Gyure
Vote: 8-0
Criteria: A, C
Level of Significance: Local

Comments: Village President of Oxford Joe Frost wished to thank SHPO staff. Oxford is a Main Street community which believes strongly in the tenets of the program, especially historic preservation. The Village strongly supports this nomination to the National Register. Kreger, asked how many years Oxford has been involved in Main Street. Oxford has been a select level community since 2004. The Oxford DDA was established in 1985. Kreger stated that you can tell the difference these tools have made to improving this community. Rebain added that this was a very well done nomination.

Site: Northland Gardens, Southfield, Oakland County
Presented by: Ruth Mills, Quinn Evans Architects
Moved for Approval: Kreger
Seconded:  Baker
Vote: 7-0 (Abstain: Braynon)
Criteria: A, C, g
Level of Significance: Local

Comments: Kreger noted that this nomination and the Plumbrooke Estates nomination are wonderful mid century modern examples because they are intact, whole neighborhood spaces where people can get used to the idea that they are in fact now ‘historic.’  Kreger also liked the acknowledgement in the nomination for the intentional inclusive ethnic background. Demas countered that there may have been a white backlash to the incursion of some of the incoming black community to the area. Maybe the case doesn’t need to be made to the extent as written. Braynon appreciated the nuanced history of ethnic integration here where people are working together to embrace that. The background of the FHA was helpful contextual knowledge in defining these types of community developments. Smith added that the nomination included excellent architectural descriptions. Ryzewski noted the good distinction between architects and builders, and the various types of builders. Smith added it was nice to read a little about some of the features of interiors of these homes, which is unusual for residential district nominations. Kreger stated it would be appropriate to also note the distinctive landscaping unique to each property.

Site: Plumbrooke Estates, Southfield, Oakland County
Presented by: Ruth Mills, Quinn Evans Architects
Moved for Approval: Smith
Seconded: Ryzewski
Vote: 7-0 (Abstain: Braynon)
Criteria: A, C
Level of Significance: Local

Comments: Ken Sivers, Mayor of Southfield wished to thank the SHPO. He agreed with Kreger’s statement that modernism is now ‘historic’ and must be documented as such. Southfield was the fasted growing city in America in the early 1960s and the explosive growth is embodied in mid-century architecture which people in Southfield didn’t initially recognize as significant. Some people now move to Southfield because they want to live in a mid century house! Through persistent efforts, people now recognize this important built environment and that it makes Southfield a special place. Kreger noted that nominations and efforts such as this short-circuit the typical preservation story in which before being recognized as historic, a neighborhood such as this must suffer through a period of decline followed by heroic efforts at reclamation. These are recognized from the start as wonderful homes that skip the familiar cycle.  

Joe Frost, Associate Planner with Main Street Oakland County expressed congratulates to Southfield on their advocacy and effort to designate districts.

Smith asked Walsh if criterion exception g is not cited, what will NPS do with the 1974 date? Walsh cited an example where a majority of the district is within the period of significance. They are still considered to be contributing because they are just barely too young to meet the 50-year threshold.Mills cited specific NPS guidance with a very definitive break where no new development took place after. Baker commented that in Sec. 8, pg. 15, the wording states that ‘several’ houses were added in the 1970s – does two count (per the list) as several? Walsh indicated this may be revised.

Site: William Hawkins Ferry House, Grosse Pointe Shores, Wayne County
Presented by: Brian Conway, State Historic Preservation Officer
Moved for Approval: Kreger
Seconded: Smith
Vote: 8-0
Criteria: B, C
Level of Significance: Local

​Comments: Smith inquired if there any way to include Ferry’s career as art collector. Walsh indicated NPS guidance does not appear to accommodate art collection as an area of significance.  Smith asked if it could be classified as OTHER/art collector, as the house was built specifically for the art. Smith went on to note that the garage is included in the nomination, but there is no description or mention of significance in sections 7 or 8. Demas inquired of the level of significance based on the prestige of the art collection and its significance. Kreger stated that it must be compared elsewhere across the state, or country, and there just haven’t been that many related events or contexts developed. Conway stated a very unique aspect of this Ferry house story is the family connection to the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

Site: Marwood Apartments, Detroit, Wayne County
Presented by: Debra Ball Johnson, State Historic Preservation Office
Moved for Approval: Smith
Seconded: Braynon
Vote: 8-0
Criteria: A, C
Level of Significance: Local

Comments: Representatives in the audience: the developers voiced support for the National Register nomination and are undertaking the rehabilitation with Federal Historic Preservation tax credits and MSHDA LIHTC, and Federal Housing Trust Funds, also local awards from Detroit and local tax credits.

The board took a 20 minute break – 1:10pm back in session

Motion to adjust remainder of today’s meeting schedule so that discussion of 2019-20 meeting schedule will follow Annual Resolutions
Motion: Baker
Second: Braynon
Vote: 8-0

Removal Requests

  1. Longyear Hall of Pedagogy, Marquette, Marquette County
  2. Philip and Maria (Hasselbach) Dingleday House, Canton Township, Wayne County
  3. Fourth Ward Polling Place, Petoskey, Emmet County
  4. Grand Riviera Theater, Detroit, Wayne County
  5. Saint Boniface Roman Catholic Church, Detroit, Wayne County
  6. Chateau Frontenac Apartments, Detroit, Wayne County
  7. Fountain of the Pioneers, Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County

Comments by Walsh: A wholesale clean-up of SHPO data resulted in determining these structures no longer exist. The City of Kalamazoo requested that the Fountain of the Pioneers be removed from the National Register.

Motion to recommend that the so-named structures presented January 18, 2019, be provided to NPS to be removed from the National Register.
Motion: Kreger
Second: Gyure
Vote: 8-0


Amy Arnold, Preservation Planner

Oakwood Historic District Boundary Modification Study, East Lansing, Ingham County

Comments by Arnold: The boundary modification proposes to add 50 homes to the north and about 20 homes to the west of existing boundaries. It will also add the former East Lansing High School, built in 1927, now the Hannah Community Center. Finally it would remove two infill apartment buildings dating from 2005 and 2008 from the district. The report lacked a strong historic context, provided no information about who lived in the homes or the architects, not enough history on the school and changes to the structure, and to the neighborhood over time. The maps were difficult to read and interpret. The report uses terms that aren’t acceptable, such as ‘English Cottage,’ which should be ‘Tudor Revival.’ We take issue with their desire to remove the two apartment complexes. Both designs must have been approved by the historic district commission, and once removed, the HDC can’t have the ability to review any future proposed changes. 

Kreger noted that Arnold’s assessment seemed accurate and highlights several important points.


Signature Authority for Board Chair
Motion: Baker
Second: Smith
Vote: 8-0

Signature Authority for Counsel
Motion: Kreger
Second: Braynon
Vote: 8-0

Conflict of Interest Forms

Annual conflict of interest forms were distributed to board members, signed, and returned to Walsh. Those board members not finishing them at the meeting must return them by mail in a timely manner. 


2019-2020 meeting schedule, to be adopted by the board: May 31, 2019; Sept. 20, 2019; Jan. 17, 2020
Motion: Smith
Second: Ryzewski
Vote: 8-0


Scott Grammer, Staff Attorney

Michael Jaskula v. Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission

Review Board member Baker recused herself and has not been provided with the case file for this appeal.

Review Board Comments:

Smith: There is a clear considered decision based on the Secretary of the Interior Standards.  Rebain noted that the Administrative Law Judge did a fine job tying the decision back to the Standards.

Kreger noted that in reading the transcripts, there was the discussion of size, scale and massing. Could those definitions have been looked up while the appeal was underway to help define these issues? Kreger continued that it seems these terms were being applied more in the sense of zoning instead of in the preservation context. 

Smith highlighted a discussion of guidelines vs. standards. None of these are black and white and all are subject to interpretation. Kreger: noted that the decision followed the standards, named them, gave their reasons, discussed the size scale and massing issues, came to a decision.

Motion to uphold the Administrative Law Judge’s decision to affirm the Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission’s denial of the petitioner’s request for a Certificate of Appropriateness for the property at 928 Virginia SE, Grand Rapids, a contributing building in the Fairmount Square Historic District.

Motion made by: Kreger
Second by: Smith
Vote: 7-0 (Baker recused)


NOTE: Baker rejoined the meeting to finish discussion and vote to adjourn.

Motion to adjourn: Smith
Seconded: Gyure
Vote: 8-0
Meeting adjourned at 1:53 pm

Prepared by Nathan Nietering