Landmark Commission to Learn About Hardie Plank
1. It amuses me to hear the dimensions and colors of a particular house’s windows debated at length in the City Council chambers.
2. We’re a neighborhood newspaper, and the commission has a direct influence on the beauty of one of our beloved neighborhoods, the Winnetka Heights Historic District.
Every time I attend these meetings, the use of Hardie Plank — a siding material produced by the James Hardie company — comes up. The city’s historic preservation planners are usually opposed to its use, because it’s not one of the materials permitted by the ordinance governing the historic district. I recall once hearing a planner, after persistent questioning from a commissioner, admitting that the ordinance doesn’t include Hardie Plank because the ordinance was written before Hardie Plank was invented.
Maybe the ordinance is going to change. The agenda for Tuesday’s Landmark Commission meeting begins with a briefing on alternative building materials in historic districts — a briefing that will be presented by James Hardie himself, according to the agenda.