Council ignores heritage committee recommendation on homeowner’s new windows
A Gower Street homeowner will get the windows he wants, despite the recommendation of the St. John’s heritage committee.
City council voted Monday night to reject the committee’s decision that the windows the homeowner wants to install don’t fit the city’s Heritage Area guidelines. The committee recommends windows that match other houses on the street, while the owner wants to install new windows that are the same as the ones it currently has.
“This is a resident of the downtown who’s hoping to maintain some of the historical integrity of the home,” said Coun. Jonathan Galgay, who moved to reject the committee’s recommendation and to allow the homeowner to proceed as planned. “It would be another story if they weren’t doing so and the building were falling down and the city would have to act on that. … In order for the homeowner to proceed based on the heritage advisory committee’s recommendations, they’ll actually have to change the structure of the house.”
Most of the rest of the summer-depleted council — Coun. Art Puddister, Coun. Bernard Davis, Coun. Wally Collins — agreed, but Coun. Dave Lane and Coun. Sandy Hickman, co-chairman of the committee, voted to accept the committee’s recommendation.
Lane said the guidelines are in place because the city has decided that St. John’s has heritage areas worth preserving, and that owners of heritage properties know what the rules are.
“If you already had windows, in this case, that don’t match what we say, we say it’s no problem, but when you do decide to make a change, that’s the opportunity to fall in line with the regulations that we’ve set up, so that over time we get the heritage area that’s uniform and matches from one property to the next,” he said.
Lane warned making exceptions would complicate the process further, but forcing the city to set down rules on when it will make exceptions.
“I don’t want to go down that garden path,” he said.
Council voted 4-2 to reject the recommendation.