Geneva's Historic Preservation Commission OK'd revised plans that will turn the Pure Oil building into a bank drive-through if it gains Plan Commission and City Council approval.
Blogger Noel Rooks reports that the HPC approved the plan to put a bank drive-through for Geneva Bank & Trust in the Pure Oil building Tuesday night.
Rooks said commissioners separated the landscaping plan from the motion in order to review it further before a meeting May 29. The architect added in a "lollipop style" sign to the presentation that will mimic the old Pure Oil signage. There will also be some type of plaque or commemorative to educate the public on the significance of the building, Rooks said.
HPC members who originally voted against demolition of the iconic blue-roofed, cottage-style former gas station had good reasons to vote for the latest rendition offered by Geneva developer Joe Stanton.
Staff analysis and fact-finding on the application's compliance generally was positive.
"The proposed use of the historic building, as a bank drive‐through, utilizing the existing service bays, requires minimal changes to the building and retains the majority of the north and east facades," the staff report says regarding the first of the 10 requirements.
Staff members also generally approved of the plans to demolish a building at 12 S. Fifth Street, which is "listed as non‐contributing to the Historic District." Staffers also recommend allowing modifications and an addition to the 514 W. State St. building exterior.
If there was going to be a rub Tuesday, it might have to do with the garage doors still in place at the Pure Oil building, which presently is home of The Pure Gardener.
"The removal of the garage doors could be considered 'removal of distinctive features' of the building," the staff report says. "Staff has inquired if it is possible to consider retaining the garage doors on two of the three bays (the ones proposed only for bank use) so that they may be closed when the bank is not open, preserving the general feel of the building as a service station."
The Pure Oil garage doors will either be preserved and stored or left in place in the up position to maintain the look of the former station, Rooks said in her blog post on Geneva Patch.
Here is the staff analysis. You can find the full HPC agenda and packet on the city of Geneva's website.
502 West State Street – Pure Oil Gas Station
Built as a gasoline filling station by the Pure Oil Gas Company c. 1935, the building is an excellent example of roadside architecture. The building is one of the distinct types of gas station buildings built at that time. Its design was used to market the Pure Oil services in the 1920s and 1930s, and to create its niche in marketing services to motorists. The Tudor Revival style, likely designed by Carl Peterson architect for Pure Oil, is reminiscent of the popularized Tudor style being used in residential structures of the same time—like 405 S. First Street or 120 N. Second Street in Geneva.
Pure Oil Gas Stations’ distinct white painted brick walls and contrasting royal blue colored tile roof epitomized the Pure Oil gas station throughout America and reflected the strong design of their logo. The historic Pure Oil Station building is an iconic building in Geneva. It is a significant historic building in Geneva’s Historic District. Over its 74 year history, the building has served as an automotive service station and repair shop, and most recently as home to the gardening store, the Pure Gardener.
BUILDING DATA/ HISTORY: 12 S. Fifth Street
Built: c. 1890 Rating: Non‐Contributing Style: No Style
Description: Originally the building was built as a "twin" to the building once located at 524 W. State that was moved to 202 N. Sixth St. The building has been changed over the years, lessening its original historic integrity.
BUILDING DATA/ HISTORY: 502 W. State Street
Built: Rating: Style:
1937 Significant Tudor Revival
Description: Originally built as a gas station for the Pure Oil Company, more recently the building has served as a service station and home to Pure Gardener, a gardening and gift store.
BUILDING DATA/ HISTORY: 514 W. State Street
Built: 2002 Rating: Non‐Contributing Style: No Style
Description: Built in 2002 after the residential building originally located at this site was moved to 119 N. Second St.
Agenda Item 4A: 12 S. Fifth Street; 502 W. State & 514 W. State Street
HPC Review of Building Permit for Demolition & Exterior Rehabilitation
The previously reviewed plan to build a drive‐through banking facility at this location called for the demolition of the Pure Oil Gas station. The demolition would have made way for the construction of an addition to the 514 W. State Street building for a bank drive‐thru.
The Pure Oil Gas Station is a significant historic building. In February, the Historic Preservation Commission denied the request to demolish the structure. The decision of the HPC was appealed to the City Council, where the HPC decision was upheld. The HPC and many others spoke out in defense of the building’s preservation, questioning whether it was possible to either: (1) find another use that would require minimal changes or (2) adapt the building for use as a drive‐through banking facility without making significant changes.
The revised plan submitted by the applicant proposes adaptive use of the building as the bank’s drive‐through facility. The revised plan is a great improvement as it preserves the building’s main street‐facing elevations (north and east). The plan also includes the demolition of the southern section of the building, removal of the garage doors, and the punching of a hole in the west wall of the building for use of the westernmost service bay as a drive‐through banking lane. The width of the existing garage bays at 9 feet exceeds the typical drive‐through width of 8 feet, 6 inches. The height of the bays at 10 feet for the two larger and 8-foot high should allow for most cars to traverse the bays for the drive-through.
In looking at the HPC’s adopted review standards, the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, the proposal complies with the general tenor of the Standards, that the building’s main facades are retained and preserved. However, the removal of the garage doors could be considered "removal of distinctive features" of the building. Staff has inquired if it is possible to consider retaining the garage doors on two of the three bays (the ones proposed only for bank use) so that they may be closed when the bank is not open, preserving the general feel of the building as a service station.
The plan includes repair of the building overall including window repair and repainting. The east section, while no specific use has been identified, will be preserved. Perhaps the east section could be a location for a public information center or public restrooms. Retention of the space and minimal proposed changes of the building means that a range of uses could be considered in the future.
The proposed plan calls for a monument and landscape improvements at the corner. While the monument design or text is not currently known, the architect intimated that it will be a monument highlighting the building’s history in the city of Geneva.
Demolition of 12 South Fifth Street
The building located at 12 S. Fifth St. is listed as non‐contributing to the historic district. The building has been altered over the years, so its demolition would not be considered a loss of a historic building. However, the massing and height of the structure represents the pattern of growth and development in the historic district. Replacing the building with a surface parking interrupts the historic pattern on this block and perpetuates the commercialization of West State Street southward. Before demolition, it would be ideal for the applicant to photograph and document all four elevations of the building and its garage for the building files at the Geneva History Center.
Modifications & Addition to 514 West State Street
The 514 West State Street building was built in 2004. The proposed modifications to the building exterior include adding architectural features that echo details of historic architecture. The SOI Standards are clear about not adding conjectural features or elements from other historic properties. The changes proposed come close to replicating historic styles but the building would still be discernible as newer construction even as it ages.
Agenda Item 4A: 12 S. Fifth St.; 502 W. State and 514 W. State St.
HPC Review of Building Permit for Demolition & Exterior Rehabilitation
Staff has analyzed the parking for the project. If proposed outside of the downtown parking moratorium area, the project would have required 24 parking spaces on site. The moratorium requires that the number of spaces present on the site on July 6, 2001, be maintained. The proposed plan provides 17 spaces on site, and six to seven in the right of way.
Drive‐Through Vehicle Stacking
Staff has reviewed the proposed plan against the city’s requirements for vehicle stacking for bank drive‐through facilities. Some municipalities have a sliding scale for stacking requirements as follows: five/lane for one lane; four/lane for two lanes; and three/lane for three lanes. The city code currently requires five spaces for vehicle stacking for each drive‐ thru banking lane. Some municipalities have reduced the minimum stacking spaces below five spaces for any number of lanes created. A zoning ordinance text amendment to reduce the stacking requirement would be required for the proposed plan. Staff is currently conducting research on stacking requirements. While staff does not have a specific recommendation at this time, the increase in online banking and ATM use makes a reduction in the vehicle stacking requirements a reasonable consideration.
The architect requested historic photographs of the building to identify possible sign options. In historic photos, the Pure Oil Gas Station had a monument sign with its distinctive logo at the corner. A sign plan has not yet been proposed therefore an application for HPC review of signage would be required in the future. Other signs on the site will be required to direct vehicular traffic as well as a sign for a possible lessee of the eastern section of the building. Therefore, an overall sign plan would be recommended.
State Street Access
The city’s Public Works Department reviewed the site plan and recommended a right turn only out onto State Street. It is likely that the Illinois Department of Transportation will concur with this recommendation. The right turn lane may require curb geometry to direct traffic. In addition, staff recommended that the exit lane (curb cut) be narrowed to 14 feet and be centered in relationship to the drive‐thru lane. Work at the access drive will also require extension of the brick paver ribbon sidewalk details that are provided along West State Street. Installation of “Do Not Enter” signs discouraging motorists from entering from State Street should also be provided.