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Martinsburg council expected to consider appeal of of HPRC decision

City engineer and planning director says ruling was inconsistent

August 11, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A 3-2 decision by the Historic Preservation Review Commission to allow vinyl siding to be installed on a building in the city's downtown historic district has been appealed by Martinsburg's city engineer and planning director.

Michael M. Covell, who had never appealed an HPRC decision, has asked Martinsburg City Council to vacate the commission's July 12 vote on a request by Telamon Corporation to install siding at 226 Burke St.

"The decision of the HPRC is arbitrary and not supported by the evidence presented at the (July 12) meeting and further is not consistent with prior decision(s) of the HPRC concerning the installation of vinyl siding on historic structures in the historic district," Covell said in a three-page appeal.

City Council is expected to consider the appeal this evening in their regular monthly meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m.

Telamon Corporation is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to people in 10 states through a number of programs, including child care, employment, housing, education and community development, according to Telamon's website.

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Robin Kees, the Telamon's West Virginia director was not available to comment on Wednesday, but an administrative assistant told the HPRC in the July meeting that painting the residential building was too expensive due to lead paint regulations, according to meeting minutes.

Mary Jean Hartman told the commission that the project could cost as much as $40,000, which presented a financial hardship, according to the minutes.

Covell in his appeal said Telamon failed to provide evidence of the hardship posed and noted that Telamon failed to provide "any credible evidence concerning the cost savings of the vinyl siding versus painting."

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