The City of Lake Forest Historic Preservation Commission met June 28
The City of Lake Forest Historic Preservation Commission met June 28.
Here is the minutes as provided by the commission:
A regular meeting of the Lake Forest Historic Preservation Commission was held on
Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at 6:30 p.m., at the City of Lake Forest City Hall, 220 E.
Deerpath, Lake Forest, Illinois.
Historic Preservation Commissioners present: Chairman Grieve and Commissioners Bill
Redfield, Carol Gayle, Elizabeth Sperry, Robert Alfe and Jan Gibson
Commissioners absent: Commissioner Wells Wheeler
City staff present: Catherine Czerniak, Director of Community Development and Kate
McManus, Assistant Planner
1. Introduction of Commissioners and staff, overview of meeting procedures.
Chairman Grieve reviewed the meeting procedures followed by the Commission and
asked the members of the Commission and staff to introduce themselves.
2. Recognition of past Commission member Susan Athenson.
Chairman Grieve thanked former Historic Preservation Commission member
Susan Athenson for her time on the Commission and noted the many significant
projects that were reviewed by the Commission during her tenure.
Commissioners Alfe, Gibson and Gayle thanked Ms. Athenson for her service
and leadership noting that her comments and insight were always thoughtful
and productive and helped advance the work of the Commission.
Ms. Athenson thanked the Commissioners and staff and stated that although serving
on the Commission is hard work, it is important and impactful to the community. She
stated that change inevitably comes to successful communities and noted that it is
important to manage change in a way that retains the character of the community.
3. Consideration of the minutes from the May 24, 2017 meeting.
The minutes of the May 24, 2017 meeting were approved as submitted.
4. Consideration of a request for a Certificate of Appropriateness for an addition
to the rear of the existing residence located at 251 King Muir Road. A building
scale variance is also requested.
Property Owners: Larry and Linda Remensnyder
Representative: Michael Breseman, Architect
Chairman Grieve asked the Commission for any Ex Parte contacts or conflicts of
interest. Hearing none, he invited a presentation from the petitioner.
Mr. Breseman reviewed the history of the property noting that the neighborhood
was developed by Henry Turnbull as the Deerpath Estates and that this property
was one of the original 14 homes constructed in the subdivision. He stated that
the owners previously received awards from the Preservation Foundation in 2008
and 2015 for the restoration work they completed on the house and for a
compatible kitchen addition. He reviewed historic photos of the site and an
aerial image dating from 1939. He stated that the proposed addition requires
setback variances which were recommended for approval by the Zoning Board
of Appeals. He stated that the owners have a passion and love for their home
and have cared for it for many years, He noted that they are seeking approval
of the addition of a modest 1st floor master suite. He explained that they
explored other options to meet their current needs including selling the home,
but determined that adapting the home in a manner that is compatible with
the historic character is their first preference. He noted that the house, as is
typical for historic homes, has no first floor master bedroom. He stated that a first
floor master bedroom is required by the owners to allow them to age in place.
He explained that although house is non-conforming to current zoning setbacks,
the proposed addition does not encroach any closer to the property line than
the existing structure. He stated that a building scale variance, in addition to a
zoning variance, is also required as the existing house is slightly over the
allowable square footage due mostly to the steeply pitched roofs that
contribute to the overall square footage calculation. He stated that the addition
results in an 11 percent overage above the allowable square footage. He
stated that there are ornamental railings on the house which will be replicated
on the addition. He stated that the railing will be decorative since the balcony is
not functional. He stated that the flat roof on the addition is subservient to the
main mass of the original house and the porch detailing between the addition
and original house serves as a transitional element. He stated that the design
uses the vocabulary of the existing home. He reviewed photos of the
neighborhood. He stated that the addition will be located in an alcove at the
rear of the house. He explained that mature trees on the site would be adversely
impacted if the addition were located elsewhere. He reviewed the footprint
and location of the addition and explained that a patio will be extended to the
south. He noted that the stone walkway and existing vegetation will remain, but
noted that a portion of the existing fence may be replaced. He noted that the
blank east wall of the addition will be softened with landscaping. He reviewed
the interior floor plan. He noted that since the library is original to the home, the
location of the addition was selected to avoid impacting it. He reviewed some
conceptual sketches and alternate roof forms that were considered. He stated
that the flat roof form was selected as it is most appropriate and deferential to
the original home. He stated that the master bed room is modest in size. He
stated that the addition will be constructed of textured brick with a brick cornice
to match the detailing on the house. He explained that adding a fake window
to break up the rear addition was considered, but rejected because a window
would not be consistent with the rhythm of the façade. He stated that the
existing rear turret windows will not be impacted or covered by the proposed
addition. He provided 3-D color renderings of the house and addition.
Ms. McManus stated that the house is designated as a Local Landmark. She
noted that the proposed addition is sited in a manner that will not impact the
streetscape or the front façade of the house and is consistent in design and
detailing with the original residence. She stated that the addition is modest in
size and will allow the owners to stay in their home and age in place. She noted
that a building scale variance is requested and stated that based on staff’s
evaluation, the addition meets the building scale criteria.
In response to questions from Commissioner Gibson, Mr. Breseman stated that
the existing underground yard drain will be relocated and he confirmed that the
downspouts will tie into the drain tile if permitted by the City Engineer. He stated
that they will work closely with the City’s engineering staff to address any
drainage issues. He confirmed that the flat roof over the 2008 addition is a single
ply membrane roof consistent with the type of roof proposed for the new
addition. He added that the roof will have a slight taper to allow water to
In response to questions from Commissioner Sperry, Mr. Breseman confirmed that
there is an oak tree at the rear of the property and that the owner’s arborist has
provided a tree maintenance and protection plan in an effort to minimize any
impacts to the tree as a result of the proposed construction. He stated that it is
not anticipated that the tree will be impacted.
In response to questions from Commissioner Alfe, Mr. Breseman confirmed that
the addition will have a full basement which will be used for storage.
Commissioner Alfe complimented the project and noted that the brick work on
the addition matches the existing house very well.
Commissioner Gayle thanked the owners for their care of the home and noted
that attention should be paid to any measures that will increase the oak tree’s
chances for survival.
In response to questions from Chairman Grieve, Mr. Breseman stated that they
did consider adding a small window to the east facing wall to allow sun light in,
but noted that the owners had concerns about privacy since there is a
bathroom in the interior space.
Hearing no further questions from the Commission, Chairman Grieve invited
Peggy Pandaleon, Board member of the Preservation Foundation, expressed
support for the petition on behalf of the Foundation and noted that the
Foundation agrees with staff’s recommendation for approval. She stated that
consideration should be given to adding a trellis to the east wall. She stated
that the owners are excellent stewards of the home.
Paul Bergmann, Lake Bluff resident and author of the National Register
nomination for the Deerpath Hill Estates, stated that the neighborhood is
thoughtfully designed adding that the Remensnyder home fits in well
schematically with the neighborhood. He noted that it is important to maintain
the architectural integrity of the house which the proposed addition does
because it maintains the character of the streetscape and preserves the original
front façade of the home. He acknowledged that historic homes inevitably
need to change over time and noted that the proposed addition is a positive
solution that meets the owners’ needs. He stated that he is in full support of the
Hearing no other testimony, Chairman Grieve invited final comments from the
Commissioner Alfe noted that the railing detail is very attractive.
Commissioner Sperry stated that the addition will allow the owners to reside in
their home and continue to be stewards of the house.
Commissioner Gibson noted that based on the siting and sensitive design of the
proposed addition, the architectural integrity of the property is retained and the
owners will have the ability to remain in the home with living space that meets
their needs on the first floor.
Chairman Grieve noted that there appears to be strong support for petition
among the Commission and thanked members of the public for their testimony.
He recognized the changing needs of owners and noted that the addition is a
thoughtful solution and meets the design standards and the criteria for a
building scale variance.
Hearing no further comments from the Commission, Chairman Grieve invited a
Commissioner Alfe made a motion to grant a Certificate of Appropriateness for an
addition to the existing residence and a building scale variance. He noted that the
approval is subject to the following conditions of approval:
Conditions of Approval
1. Plans submitted for permit must reflect the project as presented to the
Commission. If any modifications are proposed in response to Commission
direction and/or as a result of design development, plans clearly detailing
the areas of change must be submitted at the time of submission for permit,
along with the plans originally presented to the Commission, and will be
subject to review by staff, in consultation with the Chairman as appropriate,
to verify that the plans are consistent with the intent of the Commission and
the approvals granted.
2. Prior to construction of the addition, comprehensive photo documentation of
the existing residence, in the area of the proposed work, must be provided to
the City in a digital form determined to be satisfactory by the City. The
purpose of the documentation is to preserve an historic record of the
property at this point in time, in both the City and in the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff
Historical Society archives.
3. Tree Protection Plan – Prior to the issuance of a building permit, a plan to
protect trees during construction must be submitted and will be subject to
review and approval by the City’s Certified Arborist.
4. A landscape plan for the area near the proposed addition shall be
submitted prior to issuance of a permit and will be subject to review and
approval by the City Arborist. The plan shall reflect any existing trees and
landscaping proposed for removal, existing trees and landscaping that will
be protected and preserved and all proposed new trees and landscaping.
The City Arborist is directed to review the plan to verify that adequate
screening, whether through existing vegetation or proposed enhanced
plantings, is provided along the perimeter of the property in the area of the
5. Details of exterior lighting, if any is proposed, shall be reflected on the plans
submitted for permit. All fixtures shall direct light downward and the source
of the light shall be shielded from view.
6. Prior to the issuance of a building permit, a materials staging and
construction vehicle parking plan must be submitted to the City for review
and will be subject to City approval in an effort to minimize and manage
impacts on the neighborhood and on neighboring properties during
construction and to minimize impacts on trees intended for preservation. No
on street parking is permitted due to the narrowness of the street and
proximity to the intersection.
7. This project must abide by all of the terms, conditions, restrictions, and provisions of
The City of Lake Forest City Code, and all other applicable codes, ordinances.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Gayle and passed by a vote of 6 – 0.
4. Opportunity for the public to address the Historic Preservation Commission on nonagenda
Susan Athenson, 901 Summit Ave, questioned if the Commission had the opportunity to
review and discuss the results of the Teska Study.
Chairman Grieve confirmed that the Commission held a work session to discuss the
results of the Study and ways to build upon the recommendations.
In response to Ms. Athenson’s questions, Ms. Czerniak stated that a summary of the
work session was provided in the meeting minutes. She noted that with the Teska Study
in mind, the Commission reviewed and offered suggestions for updating the
application, checklist submittal requirements for items that come before the
Commission. She stated that the City’s communication consultant is also reviewing the
materials from a lay person’s point of view for clarity. She noted that the City is
experimenting with different meeting formats with the Building Review Board. She
stated that staff is organizing a bus tour for the HPC and BRB to allow for informal
discussions of projects recently reviewed by both bodies.
Commissioner Sperry added that during the work session, the Commission also
discussed the public perception of the BRB and HPC, specifically amongst the realtor
community. She noted that there are misconceptions about the number of projects
that require public hearings and public review noting that in actuality, the number of
petitions that require this more extensive review is very low. She stated that it is
important to educate the realtor community so that misinformation is not perpetuated
and suggested that relationships should be fostered between the review boards and
Commissioner Athenson agreed that educating realtors is very important and that
some in the realtor community do not seem to be well educated on preservation
Ms. Czerniak stated that at a recent Real Estate Professionals’ meeting, representatives
from Teska Associates Inc. were present to review the recently completed report with
the real estate agents and answer questions.
5. Additional information from staff.
There was no additional information presented by staff.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:12 p.m.