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Homeowner’s petition to paint brick houses in historic neighborhood is denied

By Deborah Wilber - | Nov 17, 2021

Benjamin Zack, Standard-Examiner file photo

Historic homes and apartment buildings in various conditions line Adams Avenue near 25th Street on June 15, 2017, in east-central Ogden.

OGDEN — A petition to allow brick homes in the Central Bench National Historic District to be painted was denied in a 6-0 vote by the Ogden Planning Commission last week.

Petitioner Brett Rogers says he was unaware of a zoning code adopted in 2011 to preserve the historic nature of the community when he bought his home in the east-central neighborhood of Ogden.

Rogers received a code violation for painting his brick home white after a citizen called the city to complain. Potential damage to the brick for paint removal led Rogers to ask the city for an amendment allowing brick homes in certain conditions to be painted in the area.

While the Planning Commission decided to uphold the restriction, members indicated they are in favor of an amendment allowing paint or a clear seal coat necessary to preserve deteriorating brick in exceptional circumstances.

A survey of the east-central community by planning staff found 25% of the brick homes were painted, and they are unsure as to which homes were painted legally before the ordinance came to fruition.

Rogers is one of many residents in the community who has received code violations for painting brick homes. According to the Planning Commission, removing the paint is the only way to be in compliance if the brick house was painted after 2011.

The Planning Commission acknowledged the task of identifying which homes have been painted since 2011 is difficult.

Abstract Masonry Restoration provided a quote to the Planning Commission for paint removal with a potential cost over $10,000. Masonry experts said certain removal techniques could cause further damage to eroded brick as well as the mortar between brick.

Michael Letts with White Mountain Inc. conducted a paint removal test on the exterior brick of Rogers’ home on May 11. Letts provided a written statement to the Planning Commission stating the brick on the home is too soft for any type of chemical or abrasive removal.

According to Letts, the paint is preserving the brick and holding it together. “Chemically removing the paint would weaken the brick and severely damage the integrity of the home,” he said.

After Rogers pointed out the city’s suggestions under its Keeping Ogden Beautiful policy, language on the website was changed from “Apply a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of a home or other building on a property,” to “Repaint areas where existing paint has deteriorated.”

Additional changes to the city’s website include creating a page explaining the east-central community area, the national register designation and what property owners can expect with regard to general regulations unique to the area.

Rogers says he was not provided any information in closing documents from Metro City Title or the previous owners indicating the home was located in a historic district.

While the Planning Commission sympathizes with Rogers, they say the owner is ultimately responsible for familiarizing themselves with the zone they are located in and what they can and cannot do.

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