HDC denies brick facelift

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The Historic District Commission voted last week to allow some changes at the Eureka Springs Community Center, but drew the line at a proposal to paint a brick building.

The commission had a bare quorum Wednesday evening, which made Chair Steve Holifield a voting member. Holifield read from guidelines about painting brick, and those guidelines strongly oppose painting brick that has not been previously painted.

Glen Crenshaw and Diane Murphy spoke on behalf of the Community Center Foundation, explaining that the Center would like to develop the 200 Building at 44 Kingshighway as a commercial property. Crenshaw said the building needed a major facelift to attract tenants. The brick has some stains from past graffiti, and Crenshaw said they had tried several types of cleaner.

Murphy pointed out a number of buildings along the highway with painted brick. She also noted that the building, erected in the 1980s, has no historical value. Commissioner Greg Moon noted the property’s location, at the entrance to the historic district. “Painting those buildings is going to set a precedent,” he said. Murphy replied, “I’d like to suggest the precedent has already been set.”

All four commissioners voted against the request to paint the brick, but approved a plan to replace eight exterior doors. They also approved the demolition of an addition dating to 1995. That addition will need to be removed before a large kiln can be removed from the property.

Thumbs up on patio, fences and garage conversions

The other applicants received quick approval. At 17 E. Mountain St., Sue Ewan asked to add a stone patio and a new front fence, 21 feet along the front of the property and 15 feet on each side.

Becky Gillette, owner of the property at 298 N. Main St. where a two-story shed was recently reduced to a single story, received approval for a modification to a previously-approved fence. She said the fence would have to run past the low part of the roof, to protect people from walking off a deep gap. The fence will also serve as a trellis, Gillette said, and will quickly disappear behind foliage. Because the fence is in a back yard, she can raise the height of the fence from 42 inches to five feet.

The HDC approved a driveway at 2 Wood Circle for Van Martindale, giving the owner the option of using smooth or imprinted concrete, or limestone. The application also included a request to replace 12 windows, two doors, and two sliding glass doors.

Fatima VanZant, at 138 Mill Hollow Rd., plans to turn a garage into living space. She received approval to replace two garage doors with siding and windows.

Commissioners had taken a site visit to Clear Spring School on Dairy Hollow Road before the meeting, to consider a request for an addition to a garage, 15 x 25 feet. The project will require relocating one garage door, and adding an entry door on the east side of the addition.

The City of Eureka Springs received approval to remove a garage door at the downtown fire station. Instead of two bays, the building will retain one bay for a fire engine and use the other space for a community meeting room. Commissioners noted that the fire doors do not appear to be original to the 1910 building.

We know where you are and what you said, but that could change

Commissioners had scheduled two site visits before the meeting, and used a small voice recorder to comply with new state laws requiring an audio record of all civic meetings. Commissioners discussed the difficulties of using a recorder on site, and that led to a discussion about eliminating site visits. Those visits now include all Level III applications, as well as those Level II applications with complications.

Holifield suggested relying on the application, and said the commission could defer or reject any application lacking clarity. He also mentioned having overheard inappropriate comments from commissioners during site visits. All voted to stop scheduling site visits, except in special circumstances.

The commission will next meet at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21. Level III applications were due Aug. 8, and other levels are due by Aug. 15.