According to Canal Winchester officials, the Landmarks Commission's approval of vinyl replacement windows in a Historic District building does not signal a shift in preservation standards.
Canal Winchester Planning and Zoning Administrator Chad Flowers said the Landmarks Commission had an in-depth discussion at its July 22 meeting about the vinyl replacement windows property owner Phillip Eichhorn installed on the second story of a building at 4 S. High St., before seeking approval from the commission.
The building is home to both the historic Wigwam restaurant and the National Barber Museum, which is now operated by the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society.
"The commission did discuss that they do not want to set precedence for the installation of vinyl windows," Flowers said. "In this case, Mr. Eichhorn installed the windows as an emergency due to the poor condition of the existing windows on the second floor."
Landmarks Commission member Joe Messerly abstained from the vote and Commissioner Mike Ippoliti, who is on the National Barber Museum board, was excused from the meeting.
The four remaining commission members voted in favor of approving the installation of the vinyl replacement windows after the fact, based on safety concerns surrounding the decaying wood windows.
Flowers said the Old Town Guidelines in Canal Winchester favor replacing old materials with the same or similar materials and generally frown on the use of vinyl; however, he said, the commission has some discretion as to how those guidelines are applied.
"I am unaware of any applications (for vinyl replacement windows) that have been approved prior to this application," Flowers said. "Property owners in the Old Town Overlay District should be aware of the approval process for making exterior changes to their properties.
"All property owners who have questions about the approval process and/or how to apply for a certificate of appropriateness can contact the development department at 614-837-7501."
According to city code, "No construction, reconstruction, exterior alteration, or demolition shall be made to any property within the Historic District or Preservation District until a certificate of appropriateness has been applied for, and issued by, the Landmarks Commission."