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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Brad Fisher appealed a recent Heritage Commission ruling that denied his request to replace 11 wood widows on a house at 263 Jefferson Street with vinyl windows during last Thursday night’s Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen meeting.
The Heritage Commission had ruled that the vinyl-clad windows were inappropriate because the windows are one of the original character-defining elements of the 1930 Tudor Revival house.
Fisher explained that he had good friends who live next door and that he bought the house to save and restore it.
“They explained to me that it was because there were squatters in there for several years,” he said. “I found a way to peacefully get the squatters out. I bought the house and I intend to completely renovate it. The windows in question are in such bad shape. The squatters had no electricity, no water, no gas, and to heat the house in the wintertime they were ripping out trim work, chopping up furniture, burning it in the fireplace. So they destroyed the windows. Some of them are completely missing. The others are in bad enough shape because the glass on a lot of the storm windows are broken. So the windows are in poor shape.”
He argued that the windows in the house now are not original to the house’s construction and that the replacement widows would actually look more like the windows did in 1930.
“There are a lot of features of the house that are not original,” Fisher said. “This garage was slapped on, had a flat roof, it looked horrible. I put the gable on to match the gable in the house. I’m trying to make it look like there are several houses on that street that are true showpieces of this town, and that’s what I’m trying to do with this house. And that would include putting a more efficient window in.”
Fisher said he offered the Heritage Commission a compromise of putting in wood windows on the front and the others vinyl. Ward 3 Alderman Joe Steiger suggested they go with that option.
Ward 4 Alderman Joe Prince said that since the size and shape of the window would not be altered, it would be in keeping with past board decisions to demand that just the two front windows be wood.
He stressed that other buildings in the historic district have had different windows installed that he was in favor of saving the building itself.
Ward 4 Alderman Mike Raney expressed concern about overturning a decision by a board selected to make such decisions for the city.
“Who are we to undo that decision?” he asked.
In the end, the board agreed to go with the compromise option of requiring just the two front windows be wood.
City Administrator Happy Welch reported that the move back into the permanent city hall building is scheduled to take place Feb. 19, which is Presidents Day, a holiday for the staff. He said flooring was being put in that week, while the board table and other furnishings would be put in during January. He said Cochran Engineering would have information on a new stormwater basin in January.
Welch also gave the tourism report. He introduced Aaron Smith, the new tourism director, who started work Dec. 5. Smith introduced himself and gave some of his background. Steve Wilson, alliance Water Resources local manager, Police Chief Jasen Crump, David Bova, assistant city administrator, and Fire Chief Kenny Steiger all gave reports. Crump noted that his department is back up to full strength, after losing an officer.
The board passed three ordinances on first and second reading. One allows the mayor to enter into an agreement with Todd Faulkner Tree Service for the planned tree-removal project, for $18,900. Another authorized the mayor to sign a quit claim deed and transfer of property to the Timothy C. Bauman Living Trust. Bauman had refused to make repairs on his building, next to the Welcome Center, until an issue over ownership of the southern edge of the property was cleared up.
The third ordinance allows guest lodging at a house owned by Mark Buchheit at 342 S. Gabouri Street.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Kathy Kreitler spoke briefly about the Community Forum group, which is marking its 30th anniversary. Any entity providing a service is welcome to take part in the monthly lunch meetings.
Helen Doerr of Ste. Genevieve Master Gardeners urged the board to approve the tree-removal project (which was approved later in the meeting).
A third speaker told the board that he was available to help fellow veterans who were having issues.