Historic District Commission Meeting Minutes – November 2, 2016

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HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

NOVEMBER 2, 2016

Alexa Silver, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Ted Gallo, Barbara Jorgenson, Nancy McGuire, Ed Minch and Alice Ritchie, Kees de Mooy, Zoning Administrator, 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 stated that approval of the minutes would be moved to the end of the agenda.

The first item on the agenda was BP2014-138A from Wendy Cronin at 504 Cannon Street. Ms. Wendy Cronin (owner) and Mr. Kurt Christophel (builder) were present for the application.  Ms. Cronin stated that the addition requested would have a basement and there were photos of the existing addition with drawings of the new addition included in the file for review.  She said that the she would like to replace the vinyl siding with cedar shakes siding which would have been original to the house.

Ms. Silver stated that the original application BP2014-138 was to reconfigure the roof to meet building code. Ms. Cronin stated that by raising the roof they were able to add a story to the cottage with side dormers.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that the application had an “A” after it and wanted to know if it was an amended application. Ms. Mulligan stated that the “A” did not mean amended.  This was a new application for additional work at the same address but the permit number with an “A” was used in working with the building inspector.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that the original permit approved cedar shakes and a covered deck and said that they did not need to be reconsidered. Ms. Jorgenson stated that there were three elements to the addition; demolition, create a pitched roof and the addition of a basement.  She asked if the covered deck and the porch were the same thing.  Ms. Silver stated that the covered deck and porch were two separate items.

Ms. McGuire asked if the roof pitch was the same for the addition as the previously approved main roof. Mr. Christophel stated that the roof pitch was an extension of the approved roof pitch.

Mr. Christophel stated that another change was a pitched roof overhang on the side entry. Ms. McGuire stated that was not in the application presented at this meeting.  Mr. Christophel stated that it was included in the drawings.  Ms. Cronin stated that the existing addition had a door and steps but they were being moved to the other side.  Ms. Cronin stated that she did not make it part of the application as she didn’t see it as a big change.  Ms. McGuire stated that the side entry steps should have been included in the application.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that the request for cedar shakes siding was in both applications, but had already been approved.

Ms. McGuire moved to approve BP2014-138A for 504 Cannon Street for the rear addition and the rear porch, the siding of the addition to be the same as the main part of the building, with the applicant to return for the side door and porch overhang as depicted in the drawings and the roof is to match the main roof on the house, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

Ms. Jorgenson asked the applicant where exactly the door was being moved and if the applicant was amending the application to include the side entry. Mr. Christophel stated that the side entry was included in the drawings submitted to the Commission on page 2 and would be exactly as shown just on the opposite side of the building.

Ms. McGuire asked if the Commission thought the application was incomplete in the description but complete in the drawings. Mr. Christophel stated that he would like to frame out the side porch but would make another application.  Ms. McGuire stated that would be procedurally correct.

Mr. Minch stated that the wording of the application was to remove the rear addition and replace it as per the drawing. He said that the door being discussed was in the existing addition and would be in the new addition as it was shown in the drawings.  Ms. Jorgenson stated that the application could have been more artfully worded but was complete.

Ms. McGuire stated that the approval was for the addition, siding, roof materials and the rear porch. The applicant was to return with details on moving the entrance to the other side of the building and details on doors and windows.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that if the Commission felt as though the materials were not clear enough for the side entrance in the application, then the applicant can clarify. Ms. Cronin stated that it was a small landing and the wooden door that would be used was a 1920s door that she found at “Second Chance” in Baltimore.  Ms. McGuire stated that information should be in the application.

Ms. Ritchie asked if the side entry would be BP2014-138B. Ms. Silver stated that it would be part of the overall application submitted for today.

Mr. Christophel stated that there did not seem to be any discussion in the record about what windows were approved for the application. Ms. Mulligan agreed stating that she did look through the previous minutes and the application and could not find anything on specifications for windows.  Mr. Christophel stated that he would like to move original windows to the front of the house and install newer windows on the addition.  The entire front portion of the original house would have original windows.  Mr. Christophel stated that he would propose vinyl clad 1-over-1 windows for the sides and rear of the house.  Ms. McGuire stated that this would also be another application.

Ms. McGuire asked how many windows were currently open. Mr. Christophel stated that two dormers were wide open.  Ms. McGuire stated that the Commission cannot design what the applicant wanted to do next on this project.  Samples of the windows should have been at this meeting or on the application.  Mr. Christophel stated that he thought the Commission would have known what windows were approved.

Mr. Christophel asked if there was anything else in the scope of work that would require approvals beside the windows and door. Mr. Minch stated that the roof material should be provided.

The next item on the agenda was BP2016-116 from Mike Pugh and John Schratweiser at 602 Cannon Street for exterior renovations. Mr. Pugh and Mr. Schratweiser (owners) were present for the application.  Ms. Silver read the application into the record.

Mr. Schratweiser stated that this house was a 1938 brown shingle cottage, zoned R-3. He said that the renovations would not change the original structure but they were looking to expand the porch on the back of the house.  He said that they were early on in the project but would like to replace the roof, which had significant damage, before winter set in.  Mr. Schratweiser stated that they were looking at an agricultural metal roof to replace the composite shingle roof in place.  As a part of replacing the roof, the porch on the back had to be included as the same roof would cover the porch.

Mr. Schratweiser stated the existing deck on the rear was rotting and it had to be removed. Mr. Pugh stated that they were trying to hold on to everything Depression Era that was in place.

Mr. Schratweiser stated that there were two rotten open vents in the eaves of the house on the main building and they would like to replace them with small square windows on each side as shown in the drawings.

Mr. Schratweiser stated that the entire house is gutted at this point, adding that the previous owner was a cat hoarder and at one point there were forty cats removed from the house, leaving the owner with fifteen. He said that the odor in the house was repulsive and the only way to get rid of that was to gut the house.  Mr. Pugh stated that the house had been remodeled in the 1970s or 1980s when the back addition was built.

Mr. Schratweiser stated that there were two bathrooms in the house and there would be two bathrooms put back in the house but they would be moved to different locations. He said that he would like to install windows in the bathrooms and planned to use Anderson 100 series composite windows for the 2 windows and the smaller windows to cover the vents.  He said that all of the existing windows were vinyl.

Mr. Schratweiser stated that he and Mr. Pugh were working on this renovation themselves with some subs for plumbing and electrical. He said that they were on a budget but they were also on a timeline as they will be moving to Chestertown full-time.

Mr. Pugh stated that in the other houses of this time period it was common to have raised windows as they were planning on this renovation and showed a rendering of a similar house of that era.

Mr. Schratweiser stated that there was a side door with a small porch that they would shift approximately 2’ to accommodate the kitchen counters. He said that they were proposing Anderson 200 fiberglass doors for the French doors on the rear patio and side door.

Mr. Schratweiser stated that there are round spindle porches columns that he would like to replace with square columns in wood that would be 8” at the bottom which would taper to 5½” at the top on the front porch. The rear posts would be square as shown in the photo passed around to the commission but not tapered.  There would be no railing.

Mr. Pugh stated that a standing seam metal roof was not affordable as it was coming in at twice the price of the agricultural metal. Mr. Schratweiser stated that if they were not permitted to use the agricultural metal they would have to return with an application for an asphalt shingle roof.

Ms. McGuire asked if there was any way they could install wooden windows on the front of the house with vinyl on the other windows. Mr. Pugh stated that they were not changing out any of the other windows at this time.

Mr. Minch stated that he was concerned over the agricultural roofing proposed. Mr. Pugh stated that the roofing proposed has been used in the Historic District.  Mr. Schratweiser agreed stating that there were several houses on Kent Street and Cannon Street with the same roofing.  Ms. Mulligan stated a metal roof with the appearance of standing seam has been approved by the Commission in the past with similar features as the one proposed.  She left the meeting to find the model number that was used at Chestertown Lumber so that the applicants could price it out.  Mr. Minch stated that this roofing did not have the crimping involved and was made out of aluminum.  Mr. Pugh stated that he would like some form of an approval on roofing material because the house was leaking like a sieve.

Ms. McGuire stated that she thought the roof was flat so that it would not be noticed from the Rail-Trail and it might be a possibility to save money by not putting the tin on top of the back roof and put that money into a proper standing seam roof. Mr. Schratweiser stated that the roof will be seen from the Rail-Trail at a much higher view than from the backyard and that was why they were looking for a seamless roof.

Ms. Ritchie stated that the applicant should be given the opportunity to research price on the roofing suggestion before agreeing to it and finding the roof did not suit their needs. Mr. Schratweiser asked if he could get permission for the roofing proposed and if the price did not work, he would return.  Ms. Jorgenson stated that the cost factor was not a reason to be reheard.  Mr. Schratweiser stated that he would have to return to the Commission because he would then have to ask permission for an asphalt shingle roof which would change the application for the roof entirely.

Mr. Minch moved to replace the shingle roof with metal roof (SLR16), replace front porch columns with wooden columns as shown in the drawings, install 2 bathroom windows (Anderson 100 series) on the sides of the house, replace the sliding glass door in the back of the house with French doors (Anderson 200 series), replace the rear deck with a covered porch by extending the roof line, move the kitchen door 2’ as shown in drawings and replace with a single pane door (Anderson 200 series), and replace the vents with windows (Anderson 100 series) in the eaves of the roof. The motion was seconded by Mr. Gallo and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2016-117 from Nancy McGuire for front steps at 103 S. Mill Street. Ms. McGuire recused herself from the application.   Ms. Silver stated that this application was in order to repair siding under the steps.

Ms. McGuire stated that in repainting her house she has bare wood dating back to 1756 if anyone was interested in looking at it. She said that seeing the material makes one much more sensitive to historic preservation.  She said that the paint was burned off and the wood was in perfect condition.

Ms. McGuire stated that in one area behind the front steps (closest to High Street) has rotted. She said that she was trying to prime and paint before it became too cold.  Ms. McGuire stated that Mr. Rob Comfort was going to replace the rotted area with cypress wood with a beaded edge.  However, it was impossible to get to the area due to the steps that were installed sometime in the 1960s.  She said that the steps were concrete block with brick over them.

Ms. McGuire stated that all of her research shows brick steps, but there was discussion that they could have been wood originally. She said that she would like additional time for more research before proposing replacement steps but said that she needs permission to remove the existing steps for the repair.

Ms. McGuire stated that if the weather turns bad before she can get an application in to the Commission she would leave it because the door to those steps does not open at this time. She said that there is another door that is used to gain entry to the house.

Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2016-117 for the repair of the front façade and removal of the steps at 103 S. Mill Street, was seconded by Mr. Gallo and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2016-118 from Helen Cowley for a sign at 335C High Street. Ms. Cowley was present for the application and brought the sign that she planned to use which was painted on a wooden ironing board.  The store was called Bee Hive Antiques and Crafts.  Ms. Cowley stated that the sign would be fastened to the fascia board on the front of the shop.  Ms. Cowley stated that the ironing board legs could be removed but she would like to leave them and fasten them so that they could not move.

Ms. McGuire expressed concern about Cross Street that did not have a frame around it. Mr. de Mooy stated that as long as the size of the sign conforms to the Ordinance there is nothing so specific to say that a sign can’t be an ironing board.  Mr. de Mooy stated that the frame requirement is for surface mounted signs or hanging signs to prevent weather from getting into the edges.  In this case, the sign would be mounted under an overhang.  Ms. Cowley stated that she would apply sealant to make it weather proof.  Mr. de Mooy stated that if for some reason the sign did not weather well it would have to be removed anyway.

Ms. McGuire stated that she was concerned about setting a precedent with this sign. Mr. de Mooy stated that there are signs in town with only letters and some other examples of artful signage in Town.  Ms. Jorgenson said that there was nothing in the ordinance stating that a sign had to be square or rectangular; it just had to be a certain size.  Mr. Gallo agreed, stating that as long as the sign is made of the proper materials it didn’t matter what design it was.  Mr. de Mooy stated that a sign could not detract from the district or cause harm.

Ms. McGuire asked where she could find the sign ordinance. Mr. de Mooy stated that it was in the Zoning Ordinance.

Ms. McGuire stated that she wanted to make sure that the sign wouldn’t sway with the wind damaging the fascia which was a concern with the flower shop next door.

Mr. Gallo moved to approve BP2016-118 for a sign at 335C High Street, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried with five in favor, Ms. McGuire opposed.

Ms. Silver stated that another concept review was being presented for the Marina Interpretive Center. Mr. Walter Schamu, president of SM+P Architects and Zack Secor, project architect presented.  Ms. Schamu stated that the refinements on this application were from comments made at the September 2016 Historic District Commission Meeting.

Mr. Schamu stated that they tried to reduce the overall size of the building to better fit in a residential area. Mr. Secor stated that concerns addressed at the September meeting included the overall height of the building.  He said that the eaves were lowered slightly, thereby reducing the overall height by 5’.  The mass of the building projecting onto Water Street was also changed by moving the building back 3’, thus keeping it in line with the neighboring structure.

Mr. Secor stated that the main roof was brought back an entire bay leaving half of the second floor patio open. Planter beds were added to separate the building from the parking.  Mr. Secor stated that he would present as part of site plan moving the dumpster and fuel tank off site.  Ms. Jorgenson asked about the art area near the east entrance.  Mr. de Mooy stated that this art area was a hypothetical use for the bump out.  He said that the much more likely area to be used for art is the pocket part that will be created at the north entrance, which was not part of this site plan.  Mr. de Mooy stated that offsite things, including the location of the dumpster and fuel are not part of this particular project and would have to be addressed at a later date.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that the architects achieved the goal of reducing the mass of the building on Water Street. Ms. McGuire stated that cedar on the gable end of Water Street would complement the buildings on the other side of the street.

Mr. Secor showed samples of the vertical seam metal panels proposed for the building which would be a matte finish and the cedar board siding. There would be a full metal standing seam roof on the building in a galvanized silver color.

Ms. McGuire stated that there was a lot of gray in this building. Ms. Ritchie asked if the sun would reflect off the building.  Mr. Secor stated that he thought the roof would appear lighter than the sample and because of the mottled nature of the roof it would not be mirror-like.

Mr. Minch stated that this was an excellent revision taking into account everything that the Commission discussed. He said that he liked the gable on the Water Street side and asked if the gable depth could be increased by 5’making that bay deeper and the roof shorter.  Ms. Jorgenson stated that it would soften the look for the adjacent buildings.

Ms. McGuire stated that Mr. Creager’s building had a red roof and said that she found if a building has three colors it adds dimension and in this case it seemed like only grays were being used. She asked if the proposed color of the roof could be changed in order to give it dimension.  She said that she thought metal/silver color may startle people.  Mr. Schamu stated that a copper green or soft green could be considered.

Mr. Jorgenson asked about lighting for the building. Mr. Secor stated that there was very little outdoor lighting, mainly located over doors for safety and the style would pick up on the maritime theme as much as possible.  Ms. Jorgenson stated that she was sensitive to lighting on commercial buildings due to her own experience with the new College building next door to her residence.  Mr. Secor stated that any lighting in the arcade would be set back and the foot lights would be bollard lighting.  Ms. McGuire stated that there was a nice opportunity for lighting on the gable ends.  Ms. Jorgenson stated that she thought the people in the neighborhood would not want lighting in the gable ends.  Mr. de Mooy stated that the Planning Commission would rule on lighting during site plan review.  Ms. McGuire stated that the Historic District Commission should rule on the lights.

Ms. McGuire stated that she though the bathrooms were to be public. Mr. de Mooy stated that the boaters will have access via an access card so they can have 24 hour access.  Otherwise, there will be certain hours of operation where the general public will have access.

Mr. Schamu stated that there were still details to work out on the building and they would return to the Commission at a later date.

Ms. Silver stated that the Commission still had to discuss the minutes, and Ms. McGuire had a motion she would like to share with the Commission and there were some procedural issues that arose out of the last meetings. Ms. Silver said that she also had broader ideas she hoped would allow for better efficiency and avoid future problems.

After a lengthy discussion, Ms. McGuire moved to table approval of the minutes until the December meeting, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

Another lengthy discussion ensued regarding the Commission’s consideration of cost when evaluating applications, adherence to deadlines for submission of applications, completeness of applications and rules of procedure, including the use of Roberts Rules of Order.

There being no further business, Ms. Ritchie moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:26 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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