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20200809 Simpson Residence Correspondance (2) To: Saratoga Springs Design Review Commission From: Pam Funiciello resident of 116 Circular Street and owner/manager of 61 Phila Street Date: January 19, 2021 for Wednesday, January 20 Design Review Commission Meeting Re: Design Review applications#20200809 and 20200852 -demolition of 65 and 69 Phila St On behalf of myself and the other owners of 61 Phila Street, I again voice opposition to Helen Simpson's application for demolition of 65 and 69 Phila Street. If you haven't already, please read my December 8, 2020 letter to the DRC and the minutes of the April 5, 2001 DRC and October 27, 2004 Zoning Board meetings that were attached to my December 81h email. With other City minutes and records, they document the Simpson's disregard for the input and oversite of City officials as you work to uphold the laws, codes, regulations and practices intended to preserve our community as a place of historic beauty and heritage. This letter includes a pictoral history of the Simpson's neglect. There is no evidence that the Simpsons ever wanted to preserve the structural integrity, let along archetechtural and historical integrity, of the properties. Please look at these photos and see if you don't agree. The date on each numbered photo is the date on which it was taken. #1 October 25, 2014 #2 October 25, 2014 #3 December 7, 2020 _x '°�, " *" ".yam Arr. Photos#1 & 2 (above) Back(NW) corner of 65 Phila These photos were taken when I called Helen Simpson to tell her that the back of 65 Phila had collapsed. Eventually, the opening was covered with chipboard. Chipboard is one of the cheapest plywood-type materials available and not intended to withstand outdoor exposure. Nonetheless, the Simpsons have consistently used it on both 65 and 69 for structural repair and maintenance including exterior walls and skirting. Photo#3 (above) Back (northern side) of 65 Phila The current condition of the repaired back section is difficult to see through the vines tangled in the wire fencing, but it's the unpainted gray chipboard to the left of the painted chipboard wall of the main building. #4 December 7, 2020 Photo#4: (on left) • Back (northern side) of 69 Phila This photo is provided to give you a clearer image of the photo the Simpsons submitted with their application, which they notated: "Photograph (8): Unstable portion of brick wall at rear of building". Note that the"unstable portion of brick" is surrounded by chipboard that is warping and peeling. Painted brick xdf'2� P Painted chipboard #5 December 7, 2020 Photo#5: (on left) Back (NE) corner of 69 Phila Note the extent to which chipboard was used for exterior walls which I believe was installed by the Simpsons sometime after the April 5, 2001 DRC meeting when Helen applied for partial demolition of the back of 69. (Please refer to DRC minutes for the 2001 DRC ruling on that request.) =y4 C #6 September 27, 2016 � x U Photo#6 (on left) ��P� �' ; � Materials at back of 65 Phila r Case Simpson and an assistant began repairs in` ° "� �� N September 2016 in response to neighbors on Phila and kms", ` Lafayette Streets making numerous complaints to the City about sanitation issues stemming from the feral cats and pigeons living inside 65 and 69. (The accumulation ;x Y of dried pigeon excrement wafting from the properties �-_ � was a health hazard and a complaint I heard from my ���� tenants.) On September 27, I spoke with Case about the pigeon problem. He told me he needed my permission to put scaffolding up to access the hole in the cornice. I told him I'd be happy to grant him access, but just asked that he provide an insurance certificate. Photos#7& 8 (below) Materials at the back of 65 Phila Materials remain, untouched for 2 months. #7 October 13, 2016 #8 November 7, 2016 �vo� e -. 4 _r . . ' ,......,, --7,-6•,:".-*` d ,,,, `ugh ' ;� frA %'., a iz, ''.',,,4'484412,4-4"=„`. Tdrii01;:,,,i7""iiiiitelithe ' ..fif.11...``'--: ' ' , ' , #9 October 13, 2016 Photo#9 (on left) � 7- x" . Hole in cornice of 65 Phila ,�---' re �3� This was one of the main entry points where pigeons roosted. (Squirrels also got in here.) ,,,,4'' #10 November 27, 2016 e Photo#10 (on left) Ladder to pigeon roost(Taken by 61 Phila tenant) Fr { Apparently, the hole in the cornice was patched on November 27, 2016. No insurance certificate was provided, but the hole was sealed up by the next day. '" Yup, that's a feral cat climbing the unattended ladder. Don't be fooled : ' into thinking that the cats were sealed out of other entry points to the ' buildings. Maybe this cat just wanted a peek at the penthouse, since '' he usually resides in a "garden apartment". (Sorry, but sometimes , "you gotta laugh to keep from crying!") #11 March 25, 2019 Photo#11 (on left) and Photo#12 (below) Feral cat colony and other wildlife at 65 Phila A feral cat population remains with easy access to basements. With Helen's permission, I set traps between November 2018 and March • I 2019, in a "Trap, Neuter and Release" stop growth.� . p, program to the of the colony. Homes were found for 4 kittens. 4 cats were trapped and – neutered at my expense. Helen declined to help with the costs, ' 4 fF, , ; blaming my tenants for the cat problem by feeding them. Tenants of li;'''—g''*----ge,.-:''''1,1„,,.:'-?, i ` , . ' ! 61 Phila don't feed the cats, and I routinely implore passersby not to �� " do so, because of the mess and wildlife it attracts. With no human t� is ' activity in or around an abandoned building, all kinds of critters seek i°'' '` 1 I '11'11 } shelter. I've also notified Helen of rotting smells coming from 65 ° which I suspect was a dead animal. Nothing was done to investigate or remove the source of the smell. I can't imagine how you could ' ' ' show the building to a potential buyer with the summertime stench. #12 February 8, 2019 fyl I F. 'p go R -f;,. ,,, I , .-11-11., 1 a I, i ., :: , , 1 , , , , i fr, , I, ,, , , 11 I 1 t sir "+ t• ^; ' i .. ... . v._.. 7.-:,A.:–.4.P.1... + .. , . . Photos#13 & 14 (below) Chain link gates on porches of 65 and 69 Phila When the City required that the properties be secured from entry or trespass, this was the Simpson's architectural choice. When the fence when up at the front of the houses I told Case I wasn't happy with chain link, especially as porch gates. He told me that the City wanted it fenced. If I didn't like it: "talk to the City". #13 December 7, 2020 #14 December 7, 2020 � 3 } �3 I / }77{], � i k� �} by d 7 tit jxi: arc `_x r ,.k F b ,„ "ry t y a _, (,.,,,y,,\„J„,.,,,,,_'(' \.,,,lio,„: ..k..; ' ' ' Is VIIIiik; f, ;,, 4 � Viu .,. '` a "` t s 'i\,,: ' : as^ , maxY My family and I are regularly at 61 Phila. I was there every day when my parents lived there from 2003 to 2016. When there, it's common for people to ask about 65 and 69. Some are just courteous: "Did the owner die?" "What a shame that they let them deteriorate in such a nice neighborhood."Some are lifelong Saratogians on walks downtown. Some are tourists commenting on the amazing old houses that attract them to our city. Some are potential buyers. They ask permission to look at 65 and 69 from my yard. They tell of interest in buying and restoring them as a home or investment property. They ask what it's like to live in the neighborhood.A"For Sale" sign intermittently posted on the properties doesn't guarantee the properties are actually for sale. Before getting her real estate license, Helen would post a sign with her phone number. It's not uncommon for potential buyers to tell me that they've tried calling, but no one gets back to them. Others say offers are dismissed without counter. These interactions have happened as far back as 17 years ago and as recently as 2020. I'm confident there would be buyers interested in restoration, if the properties were appropriately priced and marketed. This is the current description of 65 Phila on realtor.com: "Best Location in the city!! Sold AS_IS. Comps average SF costs 241.00 =482,000. Comps 116 High Rock sld 11/2017 $400,000, 116 Catherine St. $225,000, 40 Warren St. 250,000, 184 Spring St 506,000. All comps are tear downs or total rehabs. Owner would like to sell 65 and 69 Phila St together. Package price is 600,000 Commission paid on 65 Phila St. Only." Helen, the sole listing agent, seems to believe "tear down" is a marketable option and a foregone conclusion rewarding years of ignoring and neglecting. Please don't let the Simpsons ignore City codes and regulations. Please make the years of neglect stop. Don't reward the Simpsons with demolition by willful neglect. Because, as to hardship? In hindsight, the Simpsons made a great investment in buying the properties. The fact that, they have since spent their money on taxes, fees, fines and development plans that consistently involve some sort of demolition or new construction, instead of recognizing and protecting their initial investment in irreplaceable historic properties is inexplicable. Thank you again for your commitment of time and energy to the betterment of our community.