Historic District Commission – July 11, 2018

HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

JULY 11, 2018

Alexa Silver, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Owen Bailey, Jeffrey Coomer, Ted Gallo, Barbara Jorgenson, Ed Minch and Alice Ritchie, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.

Ms. Silver welcomed Mr. Jeffrey Coomer to the Commission.

Ms. Silver stated that the Chestertown Historic District Commission takes its authority from Chapter 93 of the Code of the Town of Chestertown and operates under the Historic District Design Guidelines that were adopted by the Mayor and Council of Chestertown on October 7, 2002 and revised March 7, 2012.

Ms. Silver asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of June 6, 2018. Ms. Jorgenson moved to approve the minutes of June 6, 2018 as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

The items on the Consent Calendar were as follows:

  1. BP2018-64 – Chestertown Spy, 200 S. Queen Street – Sign;
  2. BP2018-65 – Movement Mortgage, 205 S. Cross Street – Sign;
  3. BP2018-68 – Huber/Edge Construction, 215 N. Water Street – Roof;
  4. BP2018-70 – Elbe Body Massage Therapy, 300 S. Cross Street – Sign;
  5. BP2018-71 – Stoltzfus Roofing/RB Miller Consulting, 524 Cannon Street – Roof;
  6. BP2018-72 – Wasserman, 536 High Street – Fence;
  7. BP2018-78 – de’Marsi, 220 Washington Avenue – Roof.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that BP2018-78 indicated that rotted wood is going to be repaired and replaced and wanted to make sure that it was being replaced with wood. Mr. de’Marsi stated that the plywood was rotting and had to be replaced.

Ms. Jorgenson moved to approve the consent calendar as was submitted as the following applications were in accordance with the Design Guidelines:

  • BP2018-64 – Chestertown Spy, 200 S. Queen Street – Sign;
  • BP2018-65 – Movement Mortgage, 205 S. Cross Street – Sign;
  • BP2018-68 – Huber/Edge Construction, 215 N. Water Street – Roof;
  • BP2018-70 – Elbe Body Massage Therapy, 300 S. Cross Street – Sign;
  • BP2018-71 – Stoltzfus Roofing/RB Miller Consulting, 524 Cannon Street – Roof;
  • BP2018-72 – Wasserman, 536 High Street – Fence;
  • BP2018-78 – de’Marsi, 220 Washington Avenue – Roof.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Gallo and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2018-66 from Ben Tilghman at 204 N. Queen Street for demolition of a rear shed addition. Mr. Tilghman was present for the application and said that the shed addition was attached to the original house at some point but was in terrible condition. He said that eventually he intends to install a patio in its place but he would return to the Commission for approvals after it was designed. Mr. Tilghman stated that the original exterior wall is visible from inside the house and once the shed addition was removed it would go back to its original state. Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2018-66 for demolition of shed addition at 204 N. Queen Street as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Jorgenson and carried unanimously.

 

The next item on the agenda was BP2018-62 from the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company for a sign. Mr. Dave Eason, president of Chestertown Fire Company, and Mr. Mark Mumford, past president, life member and past board member, were present for the application.

Mr. Eason stated that the current sign was dilapidated to the point that it was of no use and the Fire Company would like to install a new sign as shown in their application, noting that the changeable copy part of the sign was already purchased. He said that the Planning Commission gave a favorable recommendation to the Zoning Board of Appeals for the sign at their meeting of June 20, 2018.

Mr. Eason stated that the signboard could be internally lit but the Fire Company would add exterior lighting similar to the medical building on Philosopher’s Terrace. He said that he understood internally lit signs were not permitted in the Historic District.  The Fire Company wanted to be able to use the sign for public information and have people be able to see it at night. Mr. Eason stated that funds received from Federal, State, and local entities accounts for approximately 80% of the fire company’s operating capital and that they had to raise the additional 20% to keep the organization going.  He said that is was a full time job managed by volunteers who have full time jobs, and a tool, such as this sign, was a valuable way to get word out about fundraising events in addition to public service messages.

Ms. Jorgenson asked where the sign would be placed. Mr. Eason stated that the sign would be placed in the same position as the existing sign, so it can be seen from both directions.  The new sign would have a brick border and the Fire Company’s logo at the top.  Mr. Eason stated that the logo portion and the brickwork could be reworked.  He said that the signboard portion of the application was 4’high by 8’ wide.  Ms. Ritchie stated that if the sign was approved as submitted it would be 6’5” high by 10’ wide.

Ms. Ritchie asked if the size of the sign would interfere with visibility, especially since it was on a corner. Mr. Eason stated that this was taken into consideration as the fire trucks needs to have clear visibility when turning and the sign would not interfere with vehicular traffic.

Mr. de Mooy stated that the Conditional Use portion of the application was due to the fact that the sign had changeable copy.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that she had issue with the sign as it would be significantly larger than the existing sign and the proposal was for it to be internally lighted. She said that she did not take issue with downlights being adding that she would like to see the style of lighting before it was approved.  Mr. Mumford stated that the Planning Commission suggested the Philosophers Terrace medical building lights as those had been approved by the Commission.  Ms. Mulligan stated that the lights suggested by the Planning Commission are Night Sky Compliant, which would allow for the sign to be read but the light would not spill into other areas.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that the proposed sign was two and a half times larger than the existing sign.  Mr. Eason stated that the brickwork and sign on top of the sign could be scaled back.   Ms. Jorgenson stated that she thought the Fire Company should return with a lighting sample for approval at a future meeting, noting that the lights at 7-Eleven across the street were attractive and dimly lit.  Mr. Minch agreed stating that the lighting was important because the sign was on the corner and he wanted to make sure that it was not distracting to traffic.  Mr. Eason stated that he would be happy to return to the Commission with lighting samples, adding that the last thing the Fire Company would want to add is something hazardous to drivers or offensive to the neighbors.

Ms. Ritchie asked if the board could be smaller or the brick could be scaled back. Mr. Eason stated that the signboard was purchased prematurely and could not be returned and said that the signboard cost $5,000.00.  Mr. Coomer stated that he thought the brick surround was a nice addition.  Mr. Eason stated that they were making cosmetic improvements to and around the building and this was the final push to make the appearance of the Fire Company what they want it to be.

Mr. Minch asked if the size of the sign met the requirements in zoning with the brick. Mr. de Mooy stated that he did not consider the brickwork part of the sign, but the signboard with the logo included did meet the sign requirements.  Mr. de Mooy stated that the Historic District Commission’s purview for the application was to determine the aesthetic and other impacts of the sign on the streetscape, not interpret the Sign Ordinance and whether the size conforms or not.

Ms. Silver stated that the only concern she had over the sign was the internal illumination. She said that she thought down lighting and brickwork would look attractive, fitting in well with the Historic District.

Mr. Coomer moved to approve BP2018-62 as submitted, with the exception of lighting which will be considered at a future meeting, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried with six (6) in favor, Ms. Jorgenson opposed.

The next item on the agenda was BP2018-69 from Peter Minturn at 216 Washington Avenue for demolition of a garage. Ms. Nancy McGuire of Maryland Heritage Properties was present for the application.

Ms. McGuire stated that the ridge was completely gone on this building and the studs were rotting from the bottom of the foundation, adding that it was not built in a quality way. She said that the applicant wanted to tear down the garage and if another was built in the future it would be placed further back on the lot so that it was possible to turn around in the driveway, thereby allowing cars to enter onto Washington Avenue facing forward.

Ms. Ritchie moved to approve BP2018-69 for demolition of a garage at 216 Washington Avenue as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2018-73 from Alton Darling, builder, and Gail Regester, owner, who were both present for the application requesting exterior renovations to 103 Cannon Street. Ms. Silver read the application into the record.

Ms. Regester stated that although this house was in the Historic District, the house was constructed in 1991. Ms. Regester stated that she included photos of the original house which they tried to replicate when they built it.  She said that the house was rotting away, noting that she has repainted, patched and caulked to the point that it can’t be done anymore.  Ms. Register stated that she was requesting to replace the existing windows with Andersen “A Series” units, which were wood clad with fiberglass, using the same grill pattern.  The cedar siding would be replaced in kind where necessary.  Ms. Regester stated that she would like to replace the trim and corners of the house with fiber cement board.

Ms. Silver stated that the Commission should show leniency due to the fact that this house was built in 1991. The Commission agreed.

Mr. Minch stated that he thought the Gothic window on the third floor made the house. Ms. Regester stated that she did not agree, noting that the original house had a square window which had a wooden piece cut to look like an arch.  Ms. Jorgenson stated that the photo looks like there was an arch.  Ms. Regester said she had a custom window installed with an arch which rotted.  She said that she is making the room into a bedroom and it required an egress window according to the fire code.

Ms. Regester stated that she would be willing to have an arched window in place as long as it served as an egress window. Mr. Darling stated that he thought the arch could be done but the window would be a casement window.

Ms. Jorgenson if the door in the rear of the building was a replacement in kind. Ms. Regester stated that the replacement door would be wood in keeping with what was existing.

Ms. Jorgenson asked why the applicant was not willing to do the replacement trim in wood. Ms. Regester stated that the wood rots away.  She said that she has replaced trim boards over and over again and it rots.  She said that most of her block has rot problems due to materials that do not last and their proximity to the river.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that this house was a perfect example of what was wrong with today’s wood products. Mr. Minch stated that it was also a perfect example of what should be built in the Historic District when building new.

Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2018-73 for exterior renovations at 103 Cannon Street to include Andersen “A Series” wood clad with fiberglass windows as presented in the application with a gently arched top on the upper third story window, fiber cement boards for side trim and wooden rear door as proposed, was seconded Mr. Gallo and carried unanimously.

The last item on the agenda was BP2018-79 from Chesapeake Bank & Trust c/o Michael Macielag, IRA, Custodian, for window replacement at 343-345 High Street.  Mr. Jan Rosenthal was present for the application and stated that there were twenty-two (22) windows that he was requesting to replace, none of which were original.

Mr. Rosenthal stated that he prepared an inventory of the windows for the Commission. Ms. Silver stated that she thought it important to explain which windows the applicant wanted to replace with wood and then which were proposed for vinyl windows.

Mr. Rosenthal stated that he proposed to use Andersen 400 Series Woodwright wooden windows with fiberglass coating on the front façade of the building on the second and third story. Mr. Rosenthal stated that on the south side of the building he would like to use the Andersen 400 Series Woodwright windows on the original portion of the building on the second and third story closest to the front facade.  Mr. Rosenthal stated that from that point on along the south side, rear, and north side of the building he was proposing Edgemont vinyl replacement windows.  Mr. Rosenthal stated that the north side of the building only had 22” between it and the neighboring structure and the windows could not be seen from any angle.  Mr. Rosenthal had samples of each type of window to show the Commission.

Mr. Rosenthal stated that he was aware that the Commission did not typically approve vinyl windows and said that these windows were not original to the structure and some of the windows were not even visible from any angle to the public. He said that allowing vinyl on the other facades of the structure was the practical thing to the do in this instance.

Ms. Ritchie asked how Mr. Rosenthal could be sure that the windows were not original. Mr. Rosenthal stated that in the back of the original building there are windows in place where the addition was built in the wall with rope pulls.  He said that no other windows in the building have the rope pulls.

Ms. Silver stated that she would prefer to see the Andersen 400 Series Woodwright wooden windows on the south side of the house installed up on the original structure, beginning the use of the vinyl windows on the addition. Mr. Rosenthal agreed to the change.

 

Mr. Bailey moved to approve BP2018-79 for replacement windows as described as follows:

  • Front Façade: 6 windows with Andersen 400 Series Woodwright wood windows (1-over-1);
  • South side:   4 windows on south side on original structure to be Andersen Series Woodwright wood windows; 3 windows on addition to be Edgemont vinyl replacement windows (1-over-1);
  • Rear: 3 windows on rear to be Edgemont vinyl replacement windows (1-over-1);
  • North side: 5 windows on north side to be Edgemont vinyl replacement windows (1-over-1).

 

The motion was seconded by Ms. Jorgenson and carried unanimously.

Ms. McGuire asked if the HDC could review buildings that she considered to be demolition by neglect. Ms. Mulligan would take the addresses and pass the information along to the Zoning Administrator.

There being no further business, Mr. Bailey moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:05 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

 

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                           Alexa Silver

Town Clerk                                                     Chair

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