BY SARAH GREGORY
Greeneville's Historic Zoning Commission gave unanimous and enthusiastic approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness that will allow renovations to the historic Valentine Sevier home, at 214 N. Main St., to proceed.
The home was built about 1820 by Valentine Sevier, a well-known Greeneville public official and philanthropist of his day.
Andrea "Andy" Daniels and Greeneville Mayor W.T. Daniels closed on purchase of the home in late December and have been preparing for renovations since that time.
"We're going to keep the house as much like it is as possible," Andy Daniels told the commission, which is tasked with maintaining the exterior architectural heritage of Greeneville's historic district.
The Daniels were able to get a head start on the renovation by removing heavy shrubbery that essentially hid the first level of the home.
A large walnut tree in the back yard had caused damage that resulted in rain entering two rooms for an extended period of time. According to the Daniels, those two rooms will have to be gutted.
"The rest of the house is very secure and not leaking, which is amazing," Andy Daniels added.
"We want to keep the room structure just like it is," she said.
The Daniels say they plan on maintaining the original character of the home, which has been considered to be high-quality craftsmanship from the time period in which it was built.
"The front will stay exactly the same," Andy Daniels noted, adding that a new glass storm door will be used to replace a metal storm door currently in use.
Replacement of old windows that contain lead and have rotting frames will also be undertaken.
New heavy-duty guttering will be installed.
Board Chair Sarah Webster recommended that the commission continue to meet regularly for updates on the project.
"I think we should look at all sides of that house because it is going to be visible all the way around," Webster commented, noting that the home is in a "glowing spot" as the Walters State Community College expansion project continues.
"I just think as you become definite on what you want to do, we need to look at it. That's my opinion," she suggested.
"Of course you're going to do it the best you can to the way it looks," Webster added.
"I think it's a wonderful thing," she continued. "I was very concerned about that piece of property."
Andy Daniels noted that she was adamant about maintaining historic aspects of the home such as an old smoke house and a law office on the property.
"I like old stuff. I want it to look old," she said. "And everything I do will hopefully be approved by you all."
A back porch that had been added to the home some years ago has been removed and will be replaced with a more historic style deck with columns.
Renovations to the home will be "more in tune with a historical look," said W.T. Daniels.
"We're not making any changes. We're not going to paint it pink or purple," he quipped to laughter from commissioner. "We've got a lot of cleaning up to do."
He noted that an old heating unit that was added to the back of the home and covered with wood has been removed.
"It made no sense," he said. "The furnace was actually on the outside of the house."
Andy Daniels said she was especially excited to begin renovations on a chimney at the back of the home.
The chimney -- which she says she believes to be original -- is boarded up.
"I can't wait to tear that off to see if the original fireplace they [the Sevier family] cooked on is there," she said.
Before the commission voted on the Certificate of Appropriateness, the Daniels' were asked to bring their selections for windows and guttering back for approval.
After discussion, Roger Hankins made the motion that the Certificate of Appropriateness be approved, calling it a "vote of confidence." The vote was unanimous.
SIGNAGE ISSUE DISCUSSED
Prior to discussion on the Daniels' renovation, commissioners briefly discussed signage issues in the historic district.
Hankins commented that the new back-lit sign at Capital Bank is a larger size than what was presented to the commission.
"I've had a lot of comments about that sign," Webster said.
"We had no basis for denial [of Capital Bank's signage request]," she added.
Webster noted that a review of the sign ordinance will be done. Further discussion of the issue will likely continue at later meetings.