Tuesday, May 27, 2014
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First ‘Certificate of Appropriateness’ for building modification issued by LHPC
Tartar to install fan for Vintage Fare

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[May 27, 2014]  LINCOLN - Last Tuesday evening the city of Lincoln Historic Preservation Commission met for their monthly meeting. On hand were commission members April Doolin, Mike Fak, Brian Messner, Julie Gerardeau and Julie Cooper. Also present was recording secretary Risa Riggs and city building and zoning officer, John Lebegue.

In the first order of business Cooper was sworn in by Riggs as a new member of the commission replacing Ron Keller who had recently resigned.

The primary call to action was a motion to approve a request from a downtown property owner, Greg Tarter. A ventilation fan is needed in the kitchen area of the Vintage Fare Restaurant.

This would be the second time the commission reviewed this request. In the first instance, the request was denied for lack of complete information.

This week, members quickly recognized that Tarter had done a much better job making his request, and that they had before them all they needed in order to make a decision.

When the Vintage Fare moved from its location on Pulaski Street to the corner of Broadway and North Kickapoo, it was a move to a building with no alley access. The building had never been a restaurant, so it had to be remodeled to accommodate cooking.

When the building was originally built it was a bank with concrete floors on the second level. Because of this and the fact that the building joins with others on the north and east sides, the only logical place to install a ventilation fan was on the street side of the structure, where it would be readily visible to the public.

With the downtown area now being a historical district, Tarter had to apply for the certificate of appropriateness and show that the new installation would adhere as closely to possible to preservation guidelines.

On Tuesday night, Lebegue explained the new plan for the fan to the commission. Tarter had selected a fan that would serve the purpose, but still not be too large. He would remove the upper pane of glass from a ground floor window and replace it with the fan and a wood surround. The wood could then be painted to match the color of the building.

In addition, the bottom pane of glass would be painted to cover the mechanics of the fan and block the view into the kitchen from the street.

Doolin said she had talked with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and this was the process they had recommended for accommodating the restaurant. Doolin noted she personally wasn’t in love with the plan, but she felt like she should not be more hard line on the issue than the IHPA would be, so she was going to go along with it.

She also said that Tarter had earlier planned to fill in the window gap with glass blocks. She said IHPA had vetoed that suggestion saying it was too permanent of a change. The idea is to keep the building as historically correct as possible, but also to be able to return it to its former condition if the restaurant were to move or close.

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Lebegue was asked how far the fan would stick out on the exterior. He said the total depth of the fan was 28 inches, but part of it would be inset in the window frame. He estimated the fan would stick out possibly two feet. He added that fan would be up high, and not at eye level view.

He was also asked about the sills and frame of the window, would they be changed? He said that would not be permitted according to IHPA standards. Because the original frame is wood, it will need to remain wood. This later led to another discussion about updating windows in general. It was explained that generally energy efficiency will take precedence over historical correctness. It was noted that upgrades in windows, doors, bathrooms and kitchens are generally acceptable.

Gerardeau asked if the windows could be wrapped with aluminum and noted that all the windows in the building are bad. Doolin said she felt like that was a discussion for another day.

The group also talked about the color of the fan. Tarter had provided the commission with a specification sheet on the fan he wants to install. The sheet indicated the fan came in a shiny aluminum, but it was also noted there was a flat black option.

The group stipulated they wanted Tarter to pursue the flat black, but if there was also another color option closer to the color of the building they wanted him to opt for that.

The group, through several amendments, came up with a motion to approve. In the motion, Tarter would be allowed to install a fan in the upper pane of a ground floor window. He may not install an aluminum colored fan. He must paint the surround in the upper pane and the glass in the lower pane to match the color of the building. He must remove the fan, its wood surround and the painted glass, and restore the window to its original look should the restaurant move or close.

The motion passed unanimously.

This will be the first Certificate of Appropriateness the commission has issued.


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