Variance given for Wigwam

Work continued Tuesday to refurbish the Wigwam in downtown Wapakoneta, after city officials granted an emergency variance.
G.A. Wintzer & Son President Gus Wintzer approached Wapakoneta City Council members Monday regarding a variance to extend the building to the north approximately 11 inches into the city’s right-of-way on Heritage Drive. The existing wall is being reinforced to ensure the integrity of the building, which housed chamber offices, and the YMCA served as city council chambers.
Councilors unanimously granted the zoning variance for Wintzer, whose company he leads with his brother, Carl. G.A. Wintzer & Son owns the building. The Wintzers have had the front of the building facing North Blackhoof Street renovated and have plans to improve the structure on the remaining three sides.
“Our intention is to pour a concrete wall about four bricks above the building’s foundation to protect it against traffic — not if somebody hits, but when somebody hits it,” Wintzer said, noting the existing brick shows signs of being previously hit and the new wall would be smooth so hopefully any crashes will more likely be a glancing blow. “We are going to install four warehouse windows much like there is now but much more energy efficient.
“On the north, south and east side of the building we are going to stucco it,” he said. “It is not really stucco — we will put up
insulation board, fiberglass mesh, then a texture of high-strength epoxy and mortar which will give it a stucco effect.”
The pillars, which are holding up the roof’s
trusses, will be repaired.
Peterson Construction Co., of Wapakoneta, is contracted to perform the work.
While Wintzer understood if councilors must have three separate readings, he made an appeal for the variance to be expedited if it could.
Councilors unanimously suspended the rule of three readings and passed the legislation as an emergency, meaning the variance takes effect immediately.
4th Ward Councilor Dan Graf and 2nd Ward Councilor Dan Lee commended the Wintzers for improving a downtown structure.
During the meeting, Mayor Rodney Metz clarified for councilors why the Wintzers did not have to seek approval from the Wapakoneta Zoning Board of Appeals first. He said since the encroachment was only on city property and city right-of-way and did not effect any private property that a different set of guidelines exist and the issue could be decided by councilors.
The mayor said moving expeditiously on the variance was critical.
“I felt it was very important to move on this variance tonight (Monday) because we have a building that is exposed structurally to the elements,” Metz said. “We also have re-rod material that is there and exposed and that does not create the safest environment, and it is an older building with historic significance that is exposed to the elements.
“I am grateful for them for taking on an older building and taking on that responsibility to improve that structure,” he said. “In my mind, it was not only very important for the integrity and support of the building, but so the owners could move forward. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before the weather turns bad.”
Gus Wintzer stayed after the meeting adjourned to thank each of the councilors and city administrators reviewing the plans for the building.