HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
FEBRUARY 5, 2020
The Historic District Commission held a workshop session beginning at 4:30 p.m. In attendance at the workshop session were Owen Bailey, Jeff Coomer, Ed Minch and Alice Ritchie, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator) and guests.
Mr. Jeffrey Coomer called the workshop meeting to order at 4:30 p.m. to begin a review process on the Historic District Design Guidelines and Procedures. Mr. Coomer stated that they would go through the document page by page and make comments.
Mr. Minch stated that he thought everything in the introduction to the document was well researched and well-written.
Mr. Coomer stated that at the top of page 9, there was a study in 1999 of 6 historic districts in Maryland which included a summary of key findings. Mr. Coomer asked if there was an updated version that could be included and is it meaningful to cite a 21 -year-old study. Ms. Barbara Jorgenson was in the audience and stated that the person who wrote the study did update it and he could be found on Linked-ln.
Mr. Minch stated that there was a statement in Section 1.3 that “even vinyl siding will eventually have to be painted” and said that he would like to remove the sentence. Mr. Coomer stated that he has seen vinyl siding painted and suggested that the wording be “even vinyl siding will C eventually have to be painted or replaced’.
Mr. Bailey stated that the last paragraph of page 9 says that there was a typo and the word should be “expanded” instead of “exapanded”.
Mr. Coomer asked if the tax credits listed on page 9 were still in force. Mr. de Mooy stated that he would check on the validity of the tax credits and would also make sure the links to websites had not changed.
Mr. Coomer stated that he heard at one point there were classifications within Historic Districts and asked if this was something that should be included, such as holding Water Street to a higher standard than other blocks in the Historic District. Mr. de Mooy stated that at one time there was a grading system used by the National Register District, but it was immediately abandoned. Ms. Ritchie stated that buildings are considered to be contributing or non-contributing.
Mr. Minch stated that there were some instances where people who were struggling to afford the proposed renovations were being forced to use materials that were not in their budget. He said he would like to find a way to remedy that. Mr. Coomer stated that it does sound as if a house on Water Street may be held to a higher standard than a house on another block but there had to be a way to approve such work. Ms. Ritchie stated that some houses were more important to the District than others.
Mr. de Mooy stated that there were places in the Guidelines where it was noted that decisions are made on a “case-by-case” basis. Ms. Jorgenson stated that page 25 reads, “shall be lenient in its judgement of plans for site and structures of little historic, archaeological, or architectural significance or for plans involving new construction”. Mr. Minch asked how lenient they could be and what precedence allow for lenience. It was decided that this would be a point of discussion as the Commission moved along in their review. Mr. Coomer stated that the questions and answers on page 24 and 25 addressed the difference between contributing and noncontributing.
The Commission moved to page 18, Section Il. It was decided to remove the last section indicating where and when the meetings would be held, should the times and days change in the future. The second to last line on page 18 has the word “events” misspelled and that should be corrected.
Mr. Minch asked that Sustainable Community Tax Credits should be reviewed to see if they are still relevant or if information has changed.
Ms. Ritchie asked if the Commission was sticking to the deadlines for applications as outlined on page 19. Mr. Coomer stated that routinely the applications are not received by the Historic District Commission in the timeframes noted on the applications and said that they should have them earlier than they are sometimes received.
Mr. Minch stated that he thought there should be some discretion in allowing for late submission of applications. Mr. Coomer stated that when they look at the Procedures, they should look at reasonable timeframes for submission. Ms. Ritchie stated that she would prefer to see applications specific only to what they were requesting and not written in letter form.
Mr. David Foster was in the audience and said that he would like to discuss the issue of replacement windows. He said that maintaining original windows become a problem for landlords because of lead paint. Mr. Coomer asked if this could be addressed when windows were discussed. Mr. Minch stated that if they moved along as they did today, windows would be addressed at the April workshop. Ms. Silver suggested scheduling the workshops by specific topics and posting them for the public.
The workshop ended just before 5:00 p.m. Alexa Silver arrived shortly before the end of the workshop.
Alexa Silver, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. along with Commission members Owen Bailey, Charlie Barton, Jeffrey Coomer, Alice Ritchie and Kurt Smith, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator) 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 Historic District Commission meeting of January 8, 2020. Ms. Ritchie moved to approve the January 8, 2020 minutes as amended, was seconded by Mr. Bailey and carried unanimously.
The Consent Calendar consisted of the following items:
- BP2020-14 — Kellstrom, 212 W. Campus Avenue — siding replacement;
- BP2020-17-Brown, 209 N. Queen Street-roof;
- BP2020-21 — Pritchard, 119 High Street — roof (back of house);
- BP2020-22 — Rappisi Fine Art, 241 High Street — door decal.
Mr. Smith moved to approve the applications on the Consent Calendar as submitted as they are in keeping with the Historic District Commission Guidelines, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was a change in plans for the approved Ramunno Townhouse project at 226 S. Water Street. Mr. John Hutchison, architect, was present for the application. Mr. Hutchison stated that he presented at the January meeting with other revisions, but the client wanted to make decks accessible from the bedrooms on the second floor. He said that the drawings he submitted showed what was approved and what changes are proposed. He said that instead of standing seam metal roofing there would be a small tongue and groove deck, with standard railings to match other railing systems approved on the houses. Mr. Hutchison stated that the middle unit would not have a deck. The two side units would still have a standing seam roof as an apron in front of the deck.
Mr. Coomer asked the depth of the proposed deck and the distance of the standing seam. Mr. Hutchison stated that it would be 3′ 5″ to 4′ deep and the standing seam roof would project an additional 2’8″.
Mr. Barton moved to approve the deck additions to the second floor of the Ramunno Townhouse building as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Coomer and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2020-12 from Renewal by Andersen and Mr. and Mrs. Windsor at 206 Washington Avenue for window replacement. A representative from Andersen Windows was present. He stated that the windows in place were not original and would be replaced by the “Renewal by Andersen” Series windows, which was a step above the 400 Series window. The Renewal by Andersen is constructed of Fibrex, a composite material that looked like wood. He said that there was some metal capping around the existing frames and trim which they would like to remove and replace with wood trim. m
Mr. Barton asked if this material was like Trex decking. The Andersen representative stated that Trex was a wood composite mixed with PVC, like Hardiplank, but the concept was the same.
Mr. Coomer asked if the Fibrex material was paintable. The representative stated that the material was paintable and in some areas like Georgetown and Roland Park they are required to paint the windows upon installation. Mr. Minch asked if the product was guaranteed. The representative stated that there was a 20year guarantee on the windows, which includes labor. Mr. Minch stated that when vinyl windows were extruded, the corners and edges tended to be rounded over and asked if these windows had a sharper edge. The representative stated that the cornices were smooth like a mortise and tenon joint on a wooden window. He said that there were not muntins in this window but that could be done if necessary. He said that these windows were almost identical to a wooden window.
Mr. Coomer moved to approve BP2020-12 for window replacement at 206 Washington Avenue as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Barton and carried unanimously.
The last item on the agenda was BP2020-19 from David Slama and Chesapeake Green Design to create a 3-season room by adding windows to an existing patio. Mr. Leland Weldon of Chesapeake Green Design was present for the application. Mr. Weldon stated that this house was built in 1938 and was one of the few fieldstone houses on the Eastern Shore. He said that there were features of the screen porch that would be retained when the windows were added. C He said that the screen frames would be replaced by a bank of windows laid out in a way that looked like the screen arrangement using tempered glass near the bottom. The screen doors would be replaced with a slider door. There is already a full width step off the porch so there is no need to make changes to the steps to accommodate the door changes.
Mr. Weldon stated that the proposed windows are the same that were used on Mr. Slama’s cottage a few years ago when the Slama’s remodeled. Mr. Minch asked how the windows opened. Mr. Weldon stated that all the windows were sliders.
Mr. Bailey moved to approve BP2020-19 as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Coomer and carried unanimously.
Ms. Silver stated that there was a late permit from Duane and Barbara Whitson at 210 Washington Avenue to replace two (2) windows as shown on the house diagram for the countertop and cabinets to fit in a kitchen remodel. Mr. Whitson said that the bottom of the two (2) windows had to be raised to allow for a standard countertop, noting that currently there is only 30″ to the sill plate, but a standard countertop was 36″ and did not include a backsplash. Mr. Whitson stated that the current siding is aluminum and he thought that a window box may be added to hide where the windows were changed from the exterior. Mr. Minch stated that he was not opposed to a flat panel where the window existed.
Mr. Coomer moved to approve two (2) window replacements in the kitchen at 210 Washington avenue, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.
Ms. Ritchie stated that she would prefer not to take last minute applications. Mr. Coomer stated that there were not too many last-minute applications but this one was unobjectionable, whereas another might be.
Ms. Silver stated that she will be travelling for work at the March meeting. The Commission would meet on Wednesday, March 4 at 4:30 p.m.
Mr. Coomer stated that he would like to continue working on the Guidelines in sections up to Section 3.6 (page 35) at the March meeting.
There being no further business, Mr. Bailey moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:39 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Alexa Silver
Town Clerk Chair