Astoria City Council decided not to speak of a window suit brought against the city by owners of a historic home against the Lower Columbia Preservation Society to replace wood with vinyl composites.
Thomas and Priscilla Levy sued the city for failing to give 120 days to see if they could replace 19 wooden windows with a wood-plastic composite called Fibrex. The Historic Landmarks Commission approved the motion over objections from city staff before the Conservation Society appealed.
Thomas and Priscilla Levy plan to replace 19 wooden windows in their historic home on 16th Street and Grand Avenue with Fibrex, a composite of reclaimed wood fibers and thermoplastic polymer.
The city council should decide for or against the appeal in January. However, the meeting was scheduled shortly after the deadline.
The Levys argue that the windows are rotting and irreparable. The monument protection society asserts that the approval of the window replacement by the city violates regulations for the protection of historical architecture.
The nature conservation society filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit and defend the appeal. Society members urged the city to help defend the ordinances protecting historical architecture.
“We believe your councilors would have seen our evidence at the January appeal hearing and likely would have agreed that some of the criteria for reviewing the historic design were not met,” said Rachel Jensen, executive director of the Conservation Society.
Doug Thompson, the company’s president of the company’s board of directors, said the city risked not being part of a dispute resolution over its own process to protect historic architecture.
“It seems to me that the city has a dog in this fight,” Thompson said.
Alderman Roger Rocka said Tuesday that the alderman had received conflicting reports on the condition of the windows but couldn’t hear the Levys and the Conservation Society bring their cases before the matter was taken out of town and into court.
“I think if you were able to successfully argue it before the council, you could well argue it in court,” Rocka said. “But we just never got to know the facts of the situation. So personally, I wouldn’t know which position to take. “
Mayor Bruce Jones argued that the city council was reviewing the Levys and Conservation Conservation Society materials to make a decision on the appeal in January.
“I’m sure all of those thoughts ran into our minds tonight,” said Jones.