HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
OCTOBER 7, 2015
Chairwoman Alexa Silver called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Veronica Golden, Nancy McGuire and Ed Minch, 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 asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of September 2, 2015. Ms. McGuire moved to approve the minutes as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.
Items on the Consent Agenda were as follows:
- BP2015-127 KRM/State’s Attorney Office, 205 Cannon Street (rear of old PNC Bank) – Sign;
- BP2015-138 – Abigail Robson, 520 High Street – roof/dormers
- BP2015-142 – Allstate/Schmidt, 101 S. College Avenue – Roof
- BP2015-145 – Edge Construction/Doug Ashley, 227 High Street – Roof
Mr. Minch stated that he would like to remove BP2015-138 from the consent agenda. Ms. McGuire asked to remove BP2015-127 from the consent agenda.
Mr. Minch moved to approve the following application as submitted as they were in keeping with the Historic District Commission Guidelines:
- BP2015-142 from Allstate/Schmidt at 101 S. College Avenue for a roof, and;
- BP2015-145 from Edge Construction/Doug Ashley at 227 High Street for a roof.
Ms. McGuire seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2015-127 from KRM/State’s Attorney Office at 205 Cannon Street. Ms. McGuire stated that she was not clear on the location of the sign. A representative from KRM was present and stated that the sign would be located by the Cannon Street entrance and exit in the island at the old PNC Bank location. Ms. Golden moved to approve the application as submitted as it was in keeping with the Historic District Guidelines for signs was seconded by Ms. McGuire and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2015-139 from Abigail Robson at 520 High Street for a new roof and dormers. Ms. Robson and Mr. Alex Edge of Edge Construction were present for the application. Ms. Silver read the application into the record. Mr. Minch asked if the material on the dormers was going to change. Ms. Robson stated that she was replacing the cedar in kind and pressed tin roof. She added that the she would like to change to a standing seam metal roof in a silver color, as the pressed tin roof shingles were difficult to find. She said the roof was leaking. Mr. Torr Howell of Blue Heron Construction was in the audience and agreed that the pressed tin shingle style probably still existed but was near impossible to find.
Ms. McGuire stated that this building dated back to the 1700s and would not have originally had a metal roof. She asked if the applicant had given any consideration to using cedar shakes. Ms. Robson stated that she did not consider cedar shakes due to the durability of a metal roof. She said that she thought cedar shake would dramatically change the look of the roof.
Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2015-139 as submitted as it was in keeping for a roof and dormer repair as it was in keeping with the Design Guidelines, was seconded by Ms. Golden and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2015-110 from Cheryl and David Hoopes at 208 Mt. Vernon Avenue for Azek deck flooring. Mr. David Hoopes was present for the application. Ms. Silver read the application into the record. Ms. Silver stated that the Commission approved mahogany floor boards at the last meeting. Ms. Mulligan stated that Ms. Hoopes explained after the last meeting that the porch was not original to the house and added on about ten years ago. The flooring was already replaced once in those ten years and was rotting again, so the applicant wanted the Commission to reconsider the original action.
Mr. de Mooy stated that with a new structure or additions there are more lenient standards. Ms. McGuire stated that she could understand leniency if it was on the rear of the structure but this was on the front.
Ms. Golden moved to approve BP2015-110 for Azek decking as submitted as the work adhered to the Design Guidelines, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2015-98a from Diane Russell at 416 High Street for exterior renovations. Ms. Diane Russell was present for the application. Ms. Silver read the amended application into the record, noting that the original application was dated July 29, 2015.
Ms. Russell passed around photos of the existing roof and the roof that she was proposing for replacement. She also said that she is now aware that she made a mistake in replacing the windows on the sides and rear of the house but at the time she was unaware that it would be an issue. She said that her realtor, who happened to be from Baltimore, told her that she should not make any alterations to the front façade but failed to mention that the side and rear facades also required approval from the Historic District Commission.
Ms. Russell stated that she replaced the windows with vinyl windows similar to the neighboring property.
Mr. Minch stated that the proposed roof was more in keeping with a commercial building. Ms. Russell showed a photo of the roof that she wanted the new roof to look like and said that Chestertown Lumber gave her the sample advising that it was the type metal roof approved by the Commission. Mr. Torr Howell of Blue Heron Contracting was present and said that the roof typically used on this style house would be roof model SLR16, a standard standing seam metal roof with a 16” spacing between the seams.
Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2015-98A porch roof, to be a standing seam roof (SLR16), upon submission of a sample to the Zoning Administrator, as it was in keeping with the Historic District Guidelines, was seconded by Ms. Golden and carried unanimously.
Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2015-98A for the partial replacement of pine tongue and groove porch flooring boards with pine tongue and groove wood floorboards as it was in keeping with the Historic District Guidelines, was seconded by Ms. Golden and carried unanimously.
Ms. Silver stated that part of the problem with this window portion of this application was the process. She said that the fact the replacement windows were in an alleyway and out of public view made a difference in the Commission’s decision-making process, but the original windows were replaced without permission. Ms. Silver read the applicants letter regarding the replacement windows on the house.
Ms. McGuire asked the applicant when she became aware that she was in a historic district. Ms. Russell stated that after she spoke with Ms. Mulligan the first time regarding repair issues as she was given the Guidelines at that time. Ms. McGuire said that the real estate broker should have given the information to the applicant before the purchase.
Ms. Silver stated that the windows replaced were not in the public view and were in very bad condition, four (4) missing entirely. She said that if the Commission was going to set a precedent, she wanted to make sure that the precedent was being set for the proper reasons.
Ms. McGuire moved to approve BP2015-98a for replacement windows at 416 High Street on the side and rear of the house, nine (9) in total as submitted, as they are not seen from the public way and are only 2’ from the neighboring buildings, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2015-129 from Blue Heron Contracting for exterior renovations at 118 Riverside Terrace. Mr. Bill Crowding, contractor, and Ms. Katherine Dalton, owner, were present for the application. Ms. Silver read the application into the record, noting that this building was a non-contributing structure. Mr. Crowding stated that he spoke to the architect and the deck, steps and fencing are to be composite, not wood. He asked for those changes to be made in the application.
Ms. McGuire asked if the condominium association had approved the plans. Mr. Crowding stated that the association seemed to be in favor of the project. Ms. Dalton stated that the condominium association seemed to be in favor of the project and was just waiting for specifications on a window and the propane tank.
Mr. Crowding stated that he brought sample materials and showed them to the Commission. Ms. Dalton explained the plans in detail.
Ms. Golden moved to approve BP2015-129 as submitted for this non-contributing building as it was in keeping with the Historic District Guidelines, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2015-134 from Blue Heron Contracting, LLC and Mr. and Mrs. Hickman at 200 N. Water Street for a front porch. Mr. Torr Howell of Blue Heron Contracting was present for the application. Ms. Silver read the application into the record.
Mr. Howell stated that he was requesting to use ipe decking, which was wood but will not rot, noting that it was more expensive than other woods but would last forever. He said that you can keep this type of wood oiled but it fades to a nice gray over time and it should not be painted. Mr. Howell said he was requesting poly-cast columns and said that you could not tell it was not wood once it was painted.
Ms. McGuire moved to approve BP2015-134 as submitted as she was familiar with the property and the application was in keeping with the Design Guidelines for porches and decks, was seconded by Ms. Golden and carried unanimously.
Mr. Howell stated that the ipe and AZEK were approximately 10% more expensive and that was the cost that he received as a contractor. He said that a homeowner doing their own renovations would likely pay 35% more for ipe wood over AZEK. He said that the real cost was in the labor. He said that he was using tongue and groove for the wood floor that he was proposing and said that ipe is also available in a groove only system with hidden T-fasteners.
Mr. Howell stated that he has been using ipe for 15 years and has never seen it deteriorate. He only saw spot mold once on the surface. Comparing ipe to mahogany, they have a similar look but ipe was a much better product, that he said he would recommend using it in the Historic District. Mr. Howell stated that many are allergic to the dust and oil in the ipe so he always made people wear masks and goggles when working with it.
Mr. Howell asked what the Commission permitted in the way of riser materials. He said that there was a product called Boreal that was a composite type polymer product but once it was painted you could not tell the difference between it and real wood. He said that Nichiha was a cementitious siding that was another good product, similar to Hardiplank.
Ms. McGuire stated that it would be most helpful if Mr. Howell would supply the Commission with samples of the materials he discussed during the meeting so the Commission could review them for future applications.
The last item on the agenda was BP2015-125 from Mr. Tony D’Elia at 223 S. Queen Street for a solar array. There was nobody present for the application. Ms. Mulligan stated that this was the first of several projects in the co-op solar program that was being offered in Kent County and the surrounding area. Ms. Mulligan asked if the Commission would require additional information on the applications that will be forthcoming.
The Commission requested that a representative from the solar installation company attend a meeting to describe how the panels would be installed and to show samples of panels.
Ms. Mulligan stated that important factors for the building inspector were wind and snow loads and thought replacement roofs may accompany solar applications on older homes. Mr. Minch stated that his feelings on solar panels were that they were reversible in that they could easily be removed from the house, so the Commission should be lenient in their decision-making. Mr. de Mooy stated that on a contributing structure, the Commission would have to be careful of the placement of the panels, regardless of the fact that the panels could be removed. These points are covered in the Guidelines.
Ms. McGuire asked if the co-op was performing energy audits with each house. Ms. Mulligan stated that she was not aware of how the co-op worked.
Ms. Mulligan stated that she would contact the installer and ask him to make a presentation at the next meeting. Ms. Silver suggested that any additional solar applications that come before the Commission for the November 2015 meeting should go for approvals after the presentation.
Mr. Minch moved to table BP2015-125 until the November 2015 for more information, was seconded by Ms. McGuire and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Mr. Minch moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:40 p.m. was seconded by Ms. McGuire and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Alexa Silver
Town Clerk Chair