Historic District Commission Meeting – May 3, 2017

HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

MAY 3, 2017

Alexa Silver, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Ted Gallo, Barbara Jorgenson, Nancy McGuire and Ed Minch, Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.

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 meetings of April 5, 2017. Mr. Gallo moved to approve the minutes of March 1, 2017 as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

The Consent Agenda was as follows:

  • BP2015-57 – Al Cassinelli, 327 High Street – Modification to sign (name change from “High & Vine” to “Bad Alfred’s”);
  • BP2017-45 – Vimi Properties, 119 S. College Avenue – Fence;
  • BP2017-46 – Harrington, 112 Riverside Terrace –Shed;
  • BP2017-50 – Ellen’s/Big Mixx, 106 Philosopher’s Terrace – Roof.

Ms. McGuire stated that she would like to remove BP2017-45 and BP2017-46 from the consent agenda.

Mr. Gallo moved to approve the following applications as submitted:

  • BP2015-57 from Al Cassinelli at 327 High Street for a name change on approved signage as it was in keeping with Historic District Design Guidelines III.13 Signs; and
  • BP2017-50 from Ellen’s/Bigg Mixx at 106 Philosophers Terrace for a roof replacement as it was in keeping with the Historic District Design Guidelines III.7 Roofs.

 

The motion was seconded Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2017-45 from Vimi Properties for a fence at 119 S. College Avenue. The applicant was not present at the meeting.   Ms. Mulligan stated that the applicant owned several properties on College Avenue and has the same fencing in each of the yards and would like install the same style fence along the Cannon Street side of 119 S. College.  Access will remain for the alley to all properties.

Ms. McGuire stated that she removed this application from the consent agenda because she had a concern with fencing throughout the Historic District where fences were approved to be painted or stained and the owners were not painting and/or staining.

Ms. McGuire stated that she went through Town and found 53 fences that have not been stained or painted and asked what could be done to enforce the matter.

Ms. Mulligan stated that she includes the fact that fences are to be painted and/or stained on permits but it was difficult to follow because the raw wood did have to sit for some time before it was painted or stained.   Mr. Minch asked how long the statement “to be painted or stained” has been included on the permits.  Ms. Mulligan stated that it is included on all permits in the Historic District as far back as she could remember.

Ms. Silver suggested a letter to those who have not complied with the permit. Ms. McGuire stated that the permits had to be enforced.  Ms. Mulligan stated that she did not think there was enough staff to police whether or not a fence had been painted with all of the other duties employees have on a day-to-day basis.

Ms. Mulligan suggested a form letter if someone provided addresses. Ms. McGuire stated that the letter should be sent on the behalf of the Historic District Commission.  Mr. Minch stated that he would be willing to look at a 6 month period and provide the addresses of those who have complied.

Ms. McGuire moved to approve BP2017-45 for a fence at 119 S. College Avenue as it was in keeping with Historic District Guidelines V.5 Fences, with the provision that the fencing be painted or stained within a 6 month timeframe, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2017-45 from Meghan Harrington at 112 Riverside Terrace for a shed. Ms. McGuire stated that the permit application did not indicate the type material that would be used.  Ms. Silver stated that the shed was made of resin.  Ms. Mulligan stated that this property is approximately 30 years old and the shed cannot be seen from public view.  Ms. Silver agreed, stating that she went to the site and it would not be visible. Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2017-45 for the shed as indicated on the permit application at 112 Riverside Terrace as it was in keeping with Historic District Design Guidelines IV.5 Sheds, noting that this property was non-contributing in the proposed shed cannot be seen from the public view, was seconded by Mr. Gallo and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2017-44 for a ground level deck at 536 High Street. Mr. Jay Yerkes and Mr. Matthew Johnson of Yerkes Construction were present for the application.  Mr. Yerkes stated that the deck boards will be cedar but the framing will be pressure-treated wood.  He said that cedar would not be stained but a water sealer may be used.

Mr. Yerkes stated that the deck would have supports near the house but it would be a separate structure. Mr. Yerkes stated that he would look for any artifacts while digging, noting that he always had someone from Washington College on site.

Ms. McGuire moved to approve BP2017-44 for a ground level deck at 536 High Street as proposed in cedar as it was in keeping with Historic District Design Guidelines V.6 Decks, Patios and Pools, was seconded by Mr. Gallo and carried unanimously.

The last item on the agenda was BP2017-47 from Shore Distributors at 305 N. College Avenue for demolition of a single story house on the north side of the property and for an addition on the commercial building. Mr. Eric Catellier (architect) and Mr. Jim Morris (president of Shore Distributors) were present for the application.

Mr. Catellier had photos of existing conditions on the site and said that their plan is to demolish the house on the lot to allow for a 30’ addition on the north side of the existing building. He said that the house was built at the same time the commercial business in 1963 and had been vacant for 17 years.  The house was originally built for the person managing the store.  Mr. Catellier stated that the application has been before the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals, both of which had approved the plans.

Ms. McGuire stated that there would be more space between the commercial building and houses on Campus Avenue with the new addition and demolition of the existing house. Mr. Morris stated that area was actually the setback and there were existing plantings along the north side that would remain.  The other areas would be green space.

Mr. Catellier showed renderings of the new addition which would have a flat roof. Ms. Mulligan stated that the neighbors were aware of the project due to the Board of Appeals hearing.  There were no objections to the proposed addition or demolition of the house.

Mr. Catellier stated that the existing roof on the commercial building was a light gauge metal frame which was pre-engineered and could not handle any more snow or wind loads so the addition could not be pitched to it.

Ms. McGuire asked about the windows on the addition. Mr. Catellier stated that there will be no windows.  There were panels that matched the size of the existing windows on the front of the building.  The color of the building will remain as it exists.  Landscaping will be added along the front façade with native species.

Ms. McGuire stated that this would be a good opportunity to improve street signage for the property.

Ms. Jorgenson asked if there was any thought in donating the house to Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together Kent County, or another organization that could use it or at least some of the contents.

Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2017-47 for the demolition of the non-contributing single story house, which has no historical significance and an addition along the side of the commercial building at 305 North College Avenue as it was in keeping with Historic District Design Guidelines, VI.2 Demolition and IV.6 New Additions, was seconded by Ms. McGuire and carried unanimously.

Mr. Minch stated that there was a group called SCORE (Senior Core Of Retired Executives) and he attended a meeting where they discussed impediments to economic development. One of the attendees blamed the Historic District Commission as an impediment.  Ms. Jorgenson stated that she was on a Main Street Committee and that point of view has been expressed by some but none can give specific examples.

Ms. McGuire stated that it was the Commission’s fault that more people did not know what the Commission did and the reason for their existence. She said that as soon as the Historic District was created the houses within it were 25% more valuable but people view it as a property rights issue as opposed to property value.  Ms. McGuire stated that there should be a brochure published including all the information about the District.

Ms. McGuire stated that she did not want to be harsh but the Historic District Commission should not care why people are or are not going to do something with their property; their job was to preserve the architecture of the Town. She said that owners should know the value of their historic home and the value of having a Historic District Commission.

Ms. McGuire stated that the purpose of the Commission is stated in the ordinance as, “to safeguard the heritage of the municipal corporation by preserving sites, structures or districts therein which reflects the elements of culture, social, economic, political, archaeological or architectural history; to stabilize and to improve property values of such sites, structures or districts; to foster civic beauty; to strengthen the local economy; and to promote preservation and appreciation of historic districts, sites, structures and districts for the welfare of the residents of the Town or the municipal corporation”.

Mr. Minch stated that any brochure published should be done in conjunction with the Planning Commission, as the Historic District Commission is not the only entity that influences what the Town looks like.

Ms. McGuire stated that someone had to have the job of following up on permits issued to see that they are finished, using fences as examples. She said that someone had to follow up to see that the fences are being painted, noting that she had 53 photos of fencing where the painting has not occurred.  Ms. McGuire and Mr. Minch will look at properties to send letters.  Ms. McGuire stated that there should be an appeal to everyone in Town to maintain their fencing with paint or stain.

There being no further business, Ms. McGuire moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:02 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Gallo and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                           Alexa Silver

Town Clerk                                                     Chair

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