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Parker-Gray homeowner draws ire of BAR with new vinyl windows

Vinyl windows, the topic of discussion at an upcoming BAR meeting (image via City of Alexandria)

The Alexandria Board of Architectural Review (BAR) has a storied history of seemingly petty battles with property owners, but the newest one might take the cake.

City staff is recommending denial of a Certificate of Appropriateness for vinyl windows, window trim and shutters at a Parker-Gray home — meaning the owner may have to restore the original windows or find historically suitable replacements.

Last year, after extensive discussion, the BAR said a homeowner would likely have to remove newly installed HVAC piping from a building at 319 North Alfred Street — which was done earlier this year. In 2021, another Parker-Gray business got in hot water over a new paint job on a building in the historic district.

“The applicant is requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for after-the-fact installation of vinyl windows, window trim, and shutters at the property located at 335 North Patrick Street,” the staff report said. “The application is in response to two separate BAR violations being issued to the property.”

The home was built in 1877 and was used as a grocery for a period in the early 20th century, the staff report said.

The report says the homeowner replaced wood windows, window trim and shutters with vinyl windows and shutters. The staff report quoted the city’s design guidelines in saying windows are a “principal character defining feature of a building” for both functional and aesthetic purposes and defines the “historic architectural style of a building.”

The bottom line, according to the staff report, is that the vinyl windows and shutters will have to be replaced.

“Staff finds that the installed windows, trim, and shutters do not comply with the relevant guidelines and policies and are inappropriate for this early Parker-Gray building,” the report said. “On numerous occasions, the Board has found that these products should not be used on buildings within the historic district, and in this case the fact that it is a corner building means that a larger number of window openings are directly adjacent to the sidewalk.”

The case of the vinyl windows is scheduled for review at the BAR meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

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