Members of the Scenic and Historic Commission noticed construction being done to the Great Rentals Building. They asked the store to stop the unauthorized construction, but it was after the job had already been started.
"We've changed nothing on the building. It was a stucco wall, it remains a stucco wall," says Greg Heck, owner Great Rentals.
But the Scenic and Historic Commission and the Landmarks Society think differently.
"This particular material on this building and how its applied and how its detailed is totally inappropriate for the age of that building and the historical detailing of this building, so we were very upset by it," says Dave Bonacci, Scenic and Historic Commissioner.
The Scenic and Historic Commission says the issues goes far beyond the stucco on these walls - they say Bagg Square West is one of the last remaining commercial streets in Utica.
"This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in all of utica and to do something like this to one of the oldest buildings in the city without being reviewed by the scenic historic commission is really a problem," says Michael Bosak, Landmarks Society.
Great Rentals owner says he has done work before on the building before and didn't know he needed approval from the scenic and historic commission.
"We changed all the colors of the paint 10 years ago, 5 years ago we added awnings, not a word, no one says a thing every time we beautify the store. But we actually don't change anything this time, just repair a wall and we have these people all over us," says Heck.
Heck visited city hall today - he says he does not need a building permit but the commission was right in that he needs a variance from the codes department for historic areas - he says he wishes the commission handled the situation differently.
"The only issue i have is how they treated the employees, one of them actually said you people have no sense, belittled a couple of the people," says Heck.
The Scenic and Historic Commission says it would like to help great rentals make improvements, while also fulfilling its historic guidelines.
"We would like to work with the owner to put him in the right direction so he can make improvements to his building that will not only help him but will help the whole neighborhood and the city of Utica," says Bonacci.
The City of Utica Codes Department did place a stop-work order on the building as of Monday. But since then, Heck says he has picked up an application from the codes department for historic areas and he says the department said the wall is - indeed - the same as it was before and they didn't see a problem with approval. At this point, we'll have to wait to see what happens with the process.