2019, Historic District Commission, Minutes|

HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

                                                              OCTOBER 2, 2019               

Chairperson Alexa Silver called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. along with Commission members Charles Barton, Jeffrey Coomer, Ed Minch and Alice Ritchie, 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 the minutes of the Historic District Commission meeting of September 4, 2019. Ms. Silver stated that on page 2 in reference to Historic District Commission Rules of Procedure the section cited as “Section 19-68.6” should be “Section 19-6(H)(6)”. Ms. Ritchie moved to approve the September 4, 2019 minutes as amended, was seconded by Mr. Coomer and carried unanimously.

The Consent Calendar for October 2019 was as follows:

  • BP2019-129 – Kent County Courthouse, 103. S. Cross Street – Replacement Doors;
  • BP2019-134 – JLC Property/Fluke, 109 S. Queen Street – Replace Doors on Rear Addition;
  • BP2019-135 – Edge/Holt, 215 Philosophers Terrace – Replace Roof;
  • BP2019-136 – Edge/Fluke, 109 S. Queen Street – Replace Metal Roof on Rear Addition;
  • BP2019-137 – Bell, 127 High Street – Sign.

Mr. Bailey moved to approve the Consent Calendar as follows as the applications were in accordance with the Historic District Commission Guidelines:

  • BP2019-129 – Kent County Courthouse, 103. S. Cross Street – Replacement Doors;
  • BP2019-134 – JLC Property/Fluke, 109 S. Queen Street – Replace Doors on Rear Addition;
  • BP2019-135 – Edge/Holt, 215 Philosophers Terrace – Replace Roof;
  • BP2019-136 – Edge/Fluke, 109 S. Queen Street – Replace Metal Roof on Rear Addition;
  • BP2019-137 – Bell, 127 High Street – Sign.

 

The motion was seconded by Mr. Barton and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2019-90 from David Wright at 102 Church Alley for a front porch. Ms. Ritchie asked if the porch would be built to the same width as the porch on 100 Church Alley. Mr. Wright stated that the brick porch would be 20” in height like 100 Church Alley but all of the steps will be cut into the porch. He said that the porch could not be built any higher due to the placement of the front door.

Ms. Ritchie stated that she thought it was going to look large on the street. Mr. Wright stated that he did not think it would look any larger than the other houses in the area, noting that there are porches like the one that he was proposing on Queen Street. He said that if they were concerned with scale, it may look smaller without solid brick, but he preferred the look of solid brick.

Mr. Barton moved to accept the application as supplemented was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

Mr. Ingersoll was present and stated that Mr. Minch asked him to discuss solar panels with the Commission. He said that there are places where solar panels would be perfectly located and other areas that would be totally inappropriate. He said that one thing about solar panels is that they are reversible and not permanent. He said that he would return at a future meeting to discuss solar arrays in depth.

Ms. Silver stated that after last month’s meeting she has been thinking about conflict of interests and went through the National Trust for Historic Preservation publication on procedural due process and said that it reads that if there is a member of the Commission with a conflict of interest for an application, not only should you not remain at the table but you should not be in the room for discussion. She said that remaining in a Commissioner seat or in the room puts an undue sense of pressure on other Commission members. Ms. Silver stated that if a person on the Commission had an application before the Commission, it would be preferable to have it presented by another party. Ms. Ritchie stated that especially any controversial issue should be represented by another person.

Mr. Minch stated that he would be presenting a house at the next meeting as he oversaw the project and although he did not see it as controversial, he will have another person present it.

Mr. Barton stated that it was important that the public not perceive a conflict of interest. Ms. Ritchie stated that the issue of a conflict comes into play because most of the Commission know the people in Town and they had to decide how far removed they should be from the application when they recuse themselves.

Ms. Silver stated that if a member of the Commission was presenting an application another person should present it, if possible, and remove themselves from the room for the discussion. If there was a conflict of interest with a close friend, family member or for financial reasons, the Commission member should also remove themselves from the application. She said that she wanted all commissioners to think carefully and follow the Guidelines.

Mr. Coomer stated that he was not certain that leaving the room was necessary. He said that he thought it was a judgement call. Ms. Ritchie stated that there were times where recusal was necessary. Mr. Barton stated that he was part of a body where things went sour and taking yourself out of the room was the way to sometimes handle these things.

Ms. Ritchie stated that she would like an update on 209 N. Mill Street at the next meeting.

Mr. Barton stated that he was going to check with the National Historic Trust on the regulations for solar panels. Ms. Silver stated that she has information from the National Park Service and Department of Interior Standards regarding solar panels. She said that visibility seems to be the big issue. Ms. Ritchie stated that there had to be clear guidelines. Mr. Minch stated that he thought the standards should be liberal, but he was also going to be clear on where solar panels belonged.

Ms. Silver stated that applications were decided on a case-by-case basis but every time they approved something they were uncomfortable with she thought they were sinking further “into the mud”. Mr. Minch stated that the case-by-case base gave the Commission the ability to install solar panels on some houses but not others with more historical significance. Ms. Silver stated that the reason for allowance had to be clear in the minutes.

There being no further business, Mr. Bailey moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:24 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                          Alexa Silver

Town Clerk                                                     Chair

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