Leesburg BAR Rejects Replacement Windows in Fire Renovation

After weeks of deliberations, Leesburg’s Board of Architectural Review voted to require Michael O’Connor to replace four windows that were installed during repairs to his fire-damaged building at 11 S. King St.

The first floor of the building was the former home of Caulkins Jewelers. The new tenant is Black Hoof Brewing Company.

The BAR’s certificate of appropriateness authorized most of the repairs that have been made since the 2015 fire, involving the replacement of more than two dozen windows and several doors. Board members last month raised concerns that the work was done without review for conformance with the historic district’s architectural guidelines.

Since then, talks have focused on four windows in which sashes with four panes over four panes replaced windows that had two panes over two panes. O’Connor said he was unaware that two-over-two windows were on the building’s street-front second story until the town’s preservation planner presented images taken from Google Earth’s street view that showed the originals.

“These windows were done in good faith. They are perfectly good windows,” O’Connor said.

He said the new windows are similar to many seen on downtown buildings, but a majority of BAR members said the two-over-two windows were historically significant and should be retained.

Saying he would comply with the board’s determination, O’Connor characterized the replacement requirement as an “unnecessary aggravation.”

“Any cost is substantial when you have a tragic four-building fire, especially for work that is already complete,” he said Tuesday. He said the town would be pleased with the look of the buildings once repairs are complete.

“We could have put a blue tarp over it and put a ‘for sale’ sign on it and walked away,” O’Connor told the BAR. “We haven’t skimped on anything.”

Crews begin work on repairs to the fire-damaged building at 11 S. King St. on Aug. 2.
Crews begin work on repairs to the fire-damaged building at 11 S. King St. on Aug. 2.

2 thoughts on “Leesburg BAR Rejects Replacement Windows in Fire Renovation

  • Pingback: These Windows Were Done In Good Faith. – Window Companies Hub

  • 2016-10-18 at 3:50 pm

    Ironically, the Leesburg Government put their foot down on this issue, which is laughable after the likes of Gwen Pangle and Kelly Burk helped their dear friend (Mr. O’Connor) get his million dollar (?) sidewalk widening project, which is the single biggest waste of tax-payer money in the history of Leesburg. We lost parking, and based on my observations, the use of the outdoor dining along the busy roadway is essentially not existent during most of the summer and winter months, so with the very limited tax revenue it will likely take a century to recoup our ROI. I guess it’s an investment in people, just like Gwen helping her son in-law by pulling strings getting Dog Money Brewery off the ground. It sounds like it’s time for the Town Council to sign-off on the next phase of the sidewalk widening project…. Mr. O’Connor – based on your closing comment, and as a business Owner, you are why many of us, don’t patronize your businesses as you have always thought you were above the law. Many vying for and currently on the Town Council bow to you and you treat them and the Town with disdain. Our Town continues to waste our tax money on the likes of you, their friend, which is saddening and 99% of the residents and tenants have zero idea of the underlying relationships to those within government, on commissions, business owners, etc., which there are many, many conflicts of interests, especially the likes of Gwen Pangle…..

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