Excerpt from the Frederick News-Post:
Members of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission shot down a request Thursday to allow painted brick to stay on the side of the old Asiana building in downtown Frederick despite the property owner’s best effort to convince them of its beauty.
Property owner Duk Hee Ro attended Thursday’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting with property manager Valerie Raba seeking post-work approval for what city code enforcement employees described as a “poorly painted” front brick exterior in a March 9 violation notice.
Raba argued that the paint, which was placed on top of replaced brick, looked “excellent” and said Ro did “a beautiful job” on the work.
The Historic Preservation Commission members had different thoughts, though. They were hearing the case Thursday because the vacant building is in the Frederick Town Historic District and the brick was painted without the commission’s approval.
Stephen Parnes, commission vice chairman, said he “personally and professionally” disagreed with Raba’s assessment and called the work “subpar.” He and the four other commissioners who attended Thursday’s hearing concluded that the work does not follow the historic district guidelines. They unanimously denied the request to allow the bricks to remain painted.
The exchange between Raba and Ro and the commissioners and staff members heated up at times during Thursday’s hearing. Ro said she has completed work at the property, at 123-125 N. Market St., and worked with inspectors throughout the process. She said after the hearing that she believes the officials were “picking on” her.
Assistant City Attorney Scott Waxter said the property owner now has the option to apply to remove the paint, which has to be done in a specific way according to the historic district guidelines. Ro and Raba said they are awaiting a letter from the historic preservation staff members to decide how to proceed.
The violation notice said the property owner met with a planner from the Historic Preservation Commission in February to obtain an application for the work, but had failed to follow through by mid-March.
The notice went on to say that “Mrs. Ro” had a meeting April 4 with Brittany Parks, the city’s acting division manager for code enforcement, and applied for post-work approval from the Historic Preservation Commission two days later.
Staff members recommended in the project report that the Historic Preservation Commission deny the request because the historic district guidelines state that “painting unpainted masonry structures will only be approved to help stabilize deteriorating brick.”
Staff members determined that despite the fact that repairs were needed at the site, the issues were not a result of deteriorating brick and the new brick was to match the existing, including the same color and texture. The application said the brick was painted for aesthetic purposes.
“Attempting to blend two different types of brick together through painting is not recommended,” the report said.
The old Asiana building, which has been cited for various property violations for years, was set to roll off the city’s blighted structure list in April before the latest violation was issued.