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Kirby upset over window issue
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The debate on the use of vinyl windows in McMinnville’s downtown historic district is heating up rather than coming to an end.
“This action has really made a liar out of me,” said Bobby Kirby, Historic Zoning Commission chairman, during the November meeting. “What’s done is done, but I don’t think there was a follow through on what we agreed to do and it makes me look really bad.”
Leading to Kirby’s discontent was October’s vote to reject a request by local attorney Larry Ross to place vinyl windows on the second floor of his property at 110-112 E. Main Street. Ross installed the windows before making the request.
Kirby, who missed the meeting in October, was asked during September’s meeting to contact Ross with a compromise: If he allowed the city to remove the awning in front of his property, the Historic Zoning Commission would grant his request and allow the windows to stay.
Kirby says after he received a verbal agreement from Ross to compromise, he told Ross he did not have to attend the October meeting.
“I felt this was a done deal,” said Kirby. “The committee appointed me to sit down with Larry and make a deal with him. He agreed to allow the city to remove the awning and we would approve his request. I didn’t know it until I read the minutes of that meeting that the committee rejected his request last month. I have an issue with that.”
When it comes to windows, historic zoning guidelines do not prohibit the use of vinyl windows. The guidelines do encourage property owners to restore the historic windows and “modern materials may be used but should be in the same style, mass and color as the original.”
McMinnville Planning and Zoning manager Josh Baker informed the commission in September that Ross is not willing to remove the windows and forcing him to could be an uphill legal battle because other buildings in the historic district have vinyl windows on the second floor.
Leading to the compromise offer was a longtime desire by the city for the property owner to remove the front awning because it blocks a planter box. With Ross the current owner, committee members made the offer to him in an attempt to get its removal.
“I don’t know what we can do to resolve this,” said Kirby. “We need to do something. I don’t conduct business like this in my private business and I don’t think we should do it like this here.”
The issue will be back on the agenda for next month’s Historic Zoning Commission meeting.