Apology Presented For
Not Following Through
On Agreed Procedure
For Review Of Windows
BY SARAH R. GREGORY
During Tuesday's meeting of the Greeneville Historic Zoning Commission, Andrea "Andy" Daniels addressed the commission to apologize for not following an agreed-to procedure concerning review and approval of proposed replacement windows in the historic Valentine Sevier home which she is renovating.
Later, she took several members of the commission on a tour of the 190-year-old home, located at 214 N. Main St.
The Valentine Sevier home was constructed in 1820-21 for the prominent political, business, and philanthropic leader, who was also the nephew of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier.
Prior to being purchased by Daniels in late 2012, the house sat vacant and for sale on the real estate market for a number of years, and had fallen into a state of considerable disrepair.
Mrs. Daniels and her husband, Mayor W.T. Daniels, have put a considerable amount of labor and money into bringing the home back to a livable condition -- replacing all plumbing, electrical, and gas lines, heating and cooling systems and conducting extensive renovations to every room and area of the three-story brick home.
In almost all respects, the renovation of the house has been welcomed and strongly supported by members of the commission, which has the responsibility under the Town Zoning Ordinance of regulating exterior (but not interior) changes to structures in the Greeneville Historic District.
The commission took the unusual action in October, however, of expressing "disappointment" that Mrs. Daniels had not followed through on an agreement reached in March to install one proposed replacement window for the commission to review before granting approval for similar windows to be installed throughout the house.
Prior to that agreement's being reached at the March 5 meeting, some commission members had voiced concern that the proposed replacements were modern energy-efficient, tilt-out windows with vinyl grids, rather than traditional windows with wooden sashes.
Their concern was that the modern windows, while desirable in several ways and rather-old-appearing in their grid design, were not appropriate for such an old and historically significant house.
To resolve the issue, the commission voted in March to allow Mrs. Daniels to install one window for the board to review before taking a final vote on the rest of the windows, and she agreed to do so.
However, she subsequently completed replacement of all the windows in the home without the commissioners' being given an opportunity to review the example window, as had been agreed upon.
'I WANT TO APOLOGIZE'
Mrs. Daniels addressed that issue in her comments to the commission on Tuesday.
"I want to apologize, as I said in the paper [the Monday, Nov. 4 issue of The Greeneville Sun], because I did not call you back to look at the window," she said.
"I know that when you went by, you'd see the old windows, then you'd see the new windows, then you'd see the old again -- I don't know if you all noticed that they went in and out, in and out," she said.
"We didn't get everything quite right on the outside with the concrete, and we had to put new cyprus wood on the base of the windows," Daniels said, adding, "I don't know if you realize how bad it was."
Daniels then showed the board numerous pictures of the process, showing the rotting condition of the home's numerous windowsills and the metal storm windows that were in place when she bought the house last year. The storm windows, of course, were obviously not original to the structure.
She also presented photos of the new replacement windows.
"We have redone -- I don't know if you all are aware of it -- we have redone five projects downtown, W.T. and I and other business partners," she said.
"We did the Main Street Place, which is about four stories. We did the dance studio, which is across from Main Street. We did [our daughter] Deanna's house, close to Crescent School. We did Takoma Rehab. And this is our fifth project," Daniels said.
"When I was doing Main Street [dance] Studio, another person was on this board and talked me into redoing my old windows on the front side because it would be historical. They had the pretty [old] glass and everything, " she said.
"They took them to Knoxville. We spent over $1,000 per window for them to re-do and put them back in," Daniels explained.
"I had Buck White [owner of White's Windows and Siding] do the back windows [with modern replacements] -- all three for less than one window [in the front]."
The old wooden windows in her other building, Daniels said, are difficult to use.
"They're hard to go up and down because of the wood. That's one reason -- once I experienced the front and back of those windows -- and, like I said, I just could not clean all of those panes even if I did use wooden windows, which are extremely expensive," she said.
INVITED TO HOME
Daniels then invited all of the commissioners to her home following the meeting to see work that has been done, both inside and out.
"Everybody that comes to the house says the windows are gorgeous, even though they are not wooden," she said.
"I want you to come look inside and out and see how the windows are. And I do apologize for doing that [replacing them without approval]," she said.
"I know I didn't follow procedure, and I am very sorry. Because usually when I tell you I will do something, I will do it. It's just been hectic, and that's no excuse," she concluded.
Commission Chairman Sarah E.T. Webster then reminded Mrs. Daniels to bring other exterior renovations to the board for consideration.
"We do need to look at any outside changes," Webster said.
Commissioner Charles Alter complimented the renovation, telling Mrs. Daniels that the house looked good.
"I think we are all really happy that you bought the house, and I think, to myself anyway, our meeting and what we sent with the letter was something that we had to do as a board to follow procedure," said commissioner Melinda Hickerson.
"You did, and I don't think I should have any special privileges," Mrs. Daniels responded.
"I am so happy that they got the house and are willing to re-do it and repair it. I really was concerned that the house would not be standing in a couple of years," Webster said.
"It is a significant part of our historic and architectural fabric, so thank you," she added.
Hickerson then questioned if the board should take a vote to approve the windows.
"We never did get to vote," she said.
"That's true," Webster responded, adding, "we should go look at them up close."
Alter began to make a motion that the windows be approved, but Commissioner Roger Hankins noted that approval of the windows specifically was not on the meeting's agenda.
"You have to advertise the agenda. You'd have to advertise the agenda before you take a vote on it," he said.
Discussion of 214 N. Main St., the Valentine Sevier home, was on the agenda's meeting, however, unlike the Oct. 16 meeting, when commissioners decided to send a letter to Mrs. Daniels to express disappointment with the window replacement.
ON THE NEXT AGENDA
"We will go look today, and it will be on the next agenda," Webster said.
The meeting then adjourned, and some of the commissioners traveled to the home to see work that had been completed.
Following the meeting, commissioners Ben Brooks, Noah Young, Bill Brown, Hickerson, and Webster toured the home for approximately 30 minutes.
Daniels showed the group the interior and exterior of the property, explaining the different types of work that had been carried out, and explaining some of the home's history.
Commissioners saw windows replaced throughout the home, but did not discuss them.
The majority of discussions related to the extensive nature of the renovations -- how much had been done and how much was left to do.
Mrs. Daniels talked about plans for both the interior and exterior of the home, and thanked those who visited for looking at the ongoing renovation work.