HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
SEPTEMBER 3, 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, Alexa Cawley and Nancy McGuire, Kees de Mooy, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk and guests.
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 August 6, 2014. Mr. Busler moved to approve the minutes as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Cawley and carried unanimously.
Items on the consent calendar were as follows:
1. BP2014-87 – David M. Williams, 113 Court Street – roof
Mr. Ames moved to approve BP2014-87 for David M. Williams at 113 Court Street for a forest green standing-seam roof as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Busler and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2014-81 from Jeffrey Sutton at 512 Cannon Street for demolition of the house due to a fire. Mr. Lane read the application into the record.
Mr. de Mooy stated that he was familiar with the property and said that it was past recovery. He said that the house has been open to the weather and the roof is about to fall in. In addition to the damage by the fire, the house was also wrecked by the water used to put the fire out. Mr. de Mooy stated that it was uncertain as to whether the foundation could be saved, but he was ready to condemn the property.
Mr. de Mooy stated that in speaking with Mr. Sutton, he wanted to rebuild in the same design. He said that he would bring forth a set of plans in the near future.
Ms. McGuire asked if there was a basement. Mr. de Mooy stated that there was a basement. Mr. Busler stated that precautions should be made if there was an open foundation. Mr. Lane stated that if the demolition was approved, part of the motion should include the new building going up so that it is not open-ended.
Mr. de Mooy stated that Mr. Sutton was attempting to preserve the setbacks and massing so that what is built back will match what existed. Mr. Lane stated that the Guidelines read that no demolition will be approved unless proposals for replacement have been approved unless the structure poses an imminent threat to the public. Mr. Lane stated that Mr. de Mooy has stated that the imminent threat is present.
Ms. McGuire moved to approve BP2014-81 for demolition as she was familiar with the property at 512 Cannon Street as the property was not a contributing structure and Mr. de Mooy has substantiated that the dwelling poses an imminent threat to the public’s health and welfare due to a fire, subject to the condition that Mr. Sutton return at a future meeting for the review and approval of a replacement structure, was seconded by Ms. Cawley and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2014-86 from Unity Landscape Design Build and Earl Runde at 116 Riverside Terrace for a deck and driveway improvements. Mr. Lane stated that there was nobody present for the application. There were questions regarding the submission.
Mr. de Mooy stated that this was a non-contributing structure with a deck off the back and a driveway. He said he thought it was a simple application.
Ms. McGuire stated that it was not so much a matter of concern but getting on the record that the proper questions were asked of an applicant so the Historic District Commission decision can be substantiated. She said that the buildings were not contributing, but none of them had decks extending into the yard. Ms. McGuire stated that any motions should be subject to the understanding that the applicant required approval of their HOA and Critical Areas. Mr. de Mooy stated that those approvals were not in the purview of the Historic District Commission.
Ms. McGuire stated that there should not be assumptions that other approvals were received because the Commission is asked to approve something and then approvals from other agencies were not in place and it made the Commission look foolish. She said that the Commission had to do a better job stating what approvals they could give, and alerting applicants to the other approvals that they had to get.
Ms. McGuire stated that the application for Riverside Terrace is incomplete. There was no indication of how the existing driveway was constructed. Ms. Mulligan stated that she took the photographs herself and put it in the file. She said that there were no photos showing how their house fit into the scheme of things.
Mr. Busler stated that staff reviewed the application and from staff’s point of view there is nothing preventing the Commission from approving it. Mr. de Mooy stated that he thought it was a rather straightforward application, but if the Commission disagrees than the matter should be tabled.
Mr. Lane stated that the precedent was that if an applicant wanted approval they should be at the meeting. Ms. McGuire stated that the Commission was criticized for their decisions and she wanted to make sure that the proper questions were asked of each applicant for approval.
Mr. Busler stated that he did not mind having initial discussions and then discussions by other boards as well. Mr. Lane stated that once an application was filed the Commission was under timeline restraints but it could be stated for the record that because Historic District approval is given does not mean that all other approvals were in place.
Mr. Ames moved to table application BP2014-86 at 116 Riverside Terrace to the October 2014 meeting with a representative to be present to discuss the application, was seconded by Mr. Busler and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Mr. Busler moved to adjourn the meeting at 4:25 p.m., was seconded by Ms. McGuire and carried unanimously.