HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
AUGUST 6, 2014
Chairman Michael Lane called the regular meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. In attendance were Commission members John Ames, Jr., Rob Busler and Nancy McGuire, Kees de Mooy, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk and guests.
Mr. Lane welcomed Mr. Ames to the Commission.
Mr. Lane 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.
Mr. Lane asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of July 2, 2014. Mr. Busler moved to approve the minutes as submitted, was seconded by Ms. McGuire and carried unanimously.
Items on the consent calendar were as follows:
1. BP2014-74 – Schroeder/Yerkes Co., 112 Cannon Street – roof
2. BP2014-75 – Erin Reynolds Huffer/Broken Paddle, 312A Park Row – sign.
Ms. McGuire asked to remove BP2014-75 from the consent agenda.
Mr. Busler moved to approve BP2014-74 from Schroeder/Yerkes Co. for a roof and miscellaneous trim repair due to rot on the porch at 112 Cannon Street, was seconded by Ms. McGuire and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2014-75 from Erin Reynolds Huffer/Broken Paddle at 312A Park Row for a sign. Ms. McGuire stated that she was concerned over the sign because signs were supposed to have molding around them. Mr. Lane stated that it would be difficult to put a molding around this particular sign because of its design. Ms. McGuire added that the sign would also be under a porch so it would not be exposed to the elements. Mr. Busler stated that a couple months ago the Sandbox sign was approved on Cross Street and that was just lettering. Ms. McGuire moved to approve BP2014-75 for the sign at 314A Park Row as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Busler and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2014-68 from Robert and Kathryn Peacock at 617 Cannon Street for a new house. Mr. and Mrs. Peacock were present for the application. Mr. Lane read the application into the record.
Ms. McGuire stated that she would like the applicant to describe the materials that would be used. Ms. Peacock stated that there was a list of samples, along with specifications of the doors and windows and had samples of the Hardiplank and decking.
Mr. Busler asked if the contractor designed this house for the applicant or if this was a model the applicant chose. Ms. Peacock stated that she chose the model and thought it fit nicely on the site. Mr. Busler asked if the applicant thought about flipping the floor plan so the living room, dining room, and kitchen were located on the west side. Ms. Peacock stated that she liked the view from the east and wanted the house as it was located.
Mr. Lane stated that according to the Guidelines, new buildings require a 2-hearing process. He said that all of the information was in front of the Commission today, so they could waive the 2-hearings and approve the project at this meeting if the Commission agreed.
Mr. Lane stated that there should be an archaeologist on site to assess the disturbance of ground.
Ms. McGuire stated that she thought the front door should be wood instead of fiberglass and would prefer smooth Hardiplank over the proposed artificial grain. Ms. McGuire stated that doors were an inexpensive way of incorporating old with new and thought wood was more in keeping with the neighborhood. She said that she also preferred wood windows over the vinyl clad windows but understood that this was new construction.
Mr. Busler moved to approve BP2014-68 for a new house at 617 Cannon Street as it was in keeping with the Historic District Guidelines of Section IV New Construction and Additions and that all excavation be monitored by a professional archaeologist meeting the “Professional Qualifications Standards” of the Secretary of the Interior. Concerns were raised over the door with a recommendation that it be changed to wood and the Hardiplank be smooth rather than showing a grain. The motion was seconded by Ms. McGuire and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2014-70 from Chris and Gina Candy for a new house at 203 N. Queen Street. Mr. Kevin Shertz, architect, and Mr. and Mrs. Candy were present for the application. Mr. Lane read the application into the record. Mr. Shertz stated that this property was developed until about 15 years ago when there was a fire. He said that the house was demolished after the fire and the lot has been empty since that time. He explained the design to the Commission, renderings of which are in the file. Mr. Shertz stated that in lieu of a front porch there would be a bracketed canopy over the entry door, similar to the old library building on Calvert Street. He said that smooth Hardiplank would be used for siding, along with composite corner boards, 2-over-2 metal clad windows and doors, 30-year architectural shingles, and a brick veneer foundation. He said that a landscaping plan was included in the file.
Mr. Shertz stated that his clients had their information today, similar to the last application, and would appreciate if the Commission would consider approval at this hearing. He said that his clients were eager to begin the build.
Mr. Lane asked about the appearance of the bump-out on the right side of the building. Mr. Shertz explained the bump-out was for a fireplace, noting that the bump-out would be screened with landscaping. Ms. McGuire suggested carrying the bump-out of the fireplace vertically to make it appear as though it was a full chimney. Mr. Bowering suggested adding a foundation to the bump-out so that it did not appear to hang in the air. Mr. Shertz stated that he would carry the bump-out down and use a brick foundation to match the rest of the foundation.
Mr. Shertz explained the window placement in detail.
Mr. Shertz explained that his clients would like to install a 6’ wooden privacy fence, as noted on the plans. He said it would be a vertical board fence, painted or stained. The Commission stated that Mr. Shertz should return with another application for a fence after the build, since it was not listed on the application. Mr. Shertz agreed.
Ms. McGuire asked if the applicant had considered solar panels on the secondary roof as it was perfect exposure. Ms. McGuire stated that she would like to see a front porch as there were porches along the entire block. She said that she also did not care for the metal doors. Mr. Shertz stated that everything he proposed was permitted under the guidelines for new construction.
Ms. McGuire asked about the front steps. Mr. Shertz stated that the front steps would be brick with a concrete walk leading to the steps. Ms. McGuire asked if the walk could be brick as it would temper the “newness” of the building. Ms. Candy stated that she was not opposed to a brick path.
Ms. McGuire stated there was no mention of the type of brick that would be used for the foundation. Mr. Shertz stated that it would be a solid red brick, similar to the brick along the street.
Mr. Lane stated that archaeological monitoring would be important at this site. Mr. Busler asked if there was any archaeological work done after the fire. Mr. de Mooy stated that he did not think there was anything on file or that there was a basement in the original structure.
Mr. Busler moved to approve BP2014-70 for the Candy residence at 203 N. Queen Street for a new house as it was in keeping with the Historic District Guidelines of Section IV New Construction and Additions, and that all excavation be monitored by a professional archaeologist meeting the “Professional Qualifications Standards” of the Secretary of the Interior. The fireplace shall have a brick foundation placed under it. The motion was seconded by Mr. Ames and carried unanimously.
The last item on the agenda was BP2014-72 from Kurt and Beverly Smith at 208 N. Queen Street for exterior renovations. Mr. Kurt Smith was present for the application. Mr. Lane read the application into the record.
Mr. Smith stated that the original windows on the house were 1-over-1 wood windows and he thought there was intent to modernize the house, at which time the front window was changed out and plastic shutters were added.
Mr. Smith stated that the front shutters would be replaced with wooden shutters and in proportion to the width of the windows. The shutters on the sides, rear, and on either side of the front door would be removed permanently.
Ms. McGuire thanked Mr. Smith for the application, stating that the background information provided was quite helpful. She asked if this house had a front porch at one time. Mr. Smith stated that the house did have a full porch with a center door and windows on either side, but that had been changed out in the late 1950’s.
Ms. McGuire asked if there would be a space between the two proposed new windows. Mr. Smith stated that there would be trim on each window, noting that he would like to be able to open the windows to catch the air from the river. Mr. Busler suggested one larger window as opposed to two smaller windows. Mr. Smith stated that each window would be the approximate size of the upstairs window. He said that the treatment of the windows on the first floor was similar to the neighboring house at 210 N. Queen.
Ms. McGuire asked if the new shutters would actually close. Mr. Smith stated that it would depend on what could be done with the current siding because at this point they were not able to remove the siding.
Ms. McGuire stated that if the front door is going to be replaced, it should be done with a wooden door. Mr. Lane agreed.
Ms. McGuire asked if the windows on the second floor are wood. Mr. Smith stated that all of the windows in the house are wood. He said that he was hoping to replace the picture window with metal clad windows.
Mr. Smith stated that he would not mind going to a wooden door but he did want to add a storm door. He said that he would talk to his contactor about going to wood for the windows and door, but he would prefer a double window to one window.
Ms. McGuire moved to approve BP2014-72 for exterior renovations at 208 N. Queen Street as presented, with the understanding that the new windows and door would be wood. A storm door and mission style entry lights on either side of the door are approved as submitted as are the removal of the existing shutters with wood paneled shutters to be installed on the front windows, which may or may not operate, was seconded by Mr. Busler and carried unanimously.
Mr. Lane stated that the meeting scheduled for August 20th regarding the sign ordinance has been postponed. He said that he would let the Commission know when it was rescheduled.
Mr. Lane stated that the Historic District Commission can not preclude an application because when a building is in the District, the application goes to them first. He said that there could be another layer where an applicant would go to the Planning Commission. Ms. McGuire stated that she thought there had to be a way to do things better because it was cumbersome for an applicant and they were getting mixed messages.
Mr. Lane stated that there is wording in the Guidelines that say, “Chestertown has a separate sign ordinance with requirements that vary by zoning district. These are available at the Town Office and all applicants must also meet these requirements.” Ms. McGuire stated that maybe the Commission should recite that to applicants because she did not think everyone read them.
Mr. Busler stated that the Guidelines were not cast in stone and could be revised and changed. Mr. Lane stated that once the sign ordinance was discussed perhaps the Guidelines could be reviewed again.
Ms. McGuire stated that it would be nice for a sentence to be added to the application, asking applicants if they were familiar with the sign ordinance.
Ms. Busler stated that the “Sandbox” sign presented a new and not inappropriate approach to signage. Mr. Lane stated that signs were also reversible.
There being no further business, Mr. Busler moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:10 p.m., was seconded by Ms. McGuire and carried unanimously.