2020, Historic District Commission, Minutes, Town Agendas & Minutes|

HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION

OCTOBER 7, 2020

Chair Jeffrey Coomer called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Charlie Barton, Barbara Brown, Ed Minch, Alice Ritchie, Kurt Smith and Victoria Smith, Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk), and guests.

Mr. Coomer 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. Coomer asked if there were additions or corrections to the minutes of the Historic District Commission Meeting of September 2, 2020. Ms. Smith moved to approve the minutes of the September 2, 2020 meeting as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

The following items were on the Consent Agenda for review:

  • BP2020-80 – Just Cause Strategy Consultants, LLC, 308 Park Row – Fence;
  • BP2020-104 – Hugler/Edge Construction, 200 S. Water Street – Roof;
  • BP2020-105 – Saunders, 302 N. Kent Street – Roof;
  • BP2020-107 – Van Name, 108 Spring Street – Landscaping and gutters;
  • BP2020-108 – Okano, 610 High Street – Fence;
  • BP2020-110 – Nailor, 414 Calvert Street – Fence

After several questions were answered, Ms. Ritchie moved to removed BP2020-80 from the consent calendar for clarification on the application. The Commission agreed.

Ms. Smith moved to approve the following applications as presented:

  • BP2020-104 – Hugler/Edge Construction, 200 S. Water Street – Roof;
  • BP2020-105 – Saunders, 302 N. Kent Street – Roof;
  • BP2020-107 – Van Name, 108 Spring Street – Landscaping and gutters;
  • BP2020-108 – Okano, 610 High Street – Fence;
  • BP2020-110 – Nailor, 414 Calvert Street – Fence

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

Ms. Linda Walls of Just Cause Strategies was present for application BP2020-80 for fencing at 308 Park Row. Mr. Minch questioned where the fencing would be installed that was marked for the side of the building. Ms. Walls stated that the fence would begin at the corner edge of the building. Mr. Barton stated that the plans appear as though the fence would begin forward of the corner of the building and asked if the applicant would agree to place the fence approximately 1’ back from the corner of the face of the building. Ms. Walls agreed, stating that the fences will open into the driveway as well. Mr. Minch moved to approve to approve BP2020-80 with the condition that the fences be set back at least 1’ from the face of the building and swing inward toward the driveway, was seconded by Ms. Smith and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2020-106 from Rebecca Flora at 218 Mt. Vernon Avenue for exterior renovations. Ms. Rebecca Flora was present for the application and described the work that she was planning for the rear of her property. Ms. Flora stated that the concrete steps and doors are not an appealing look to the house, and she thought the improvements she was requesting was in keeping with her house and houses in the surrounding neighborhood. Mr. Barton moved to approve BP2020-106 for exterior renovations as submitted and carried unanimously.

The next item on the application BP2020-109 from Ken Buys Houses at 111 S. College Ave for exterior renovations. Mr. Ken Nyczaj of Ken Buys Houses was present for the application. Mr. Nyczaj stated that the front of the house will be retained with the siding repaired or replaced in kind. He said that all windows on the house will be repainted and reinstalled. Mr. Nyczaj stated that he would like to use Hardiplank siding on the sides and rear of the house and replace the front door. There were samples of the proposed materials in the file.

Mr. Nyczaj stated that the siding on the rear and sides of the house was a mixture of wood which was not original to the house having a wider bevel than the German shiplap on the front façade. There was also aluminum and vinyl siding on the sides and rear of the house which was why he was looking to replace all siding on the sides and rear to match as closely with the siding on the front of the house in Hardiplank.

Mr. Coomer stated that Hardiplank has been permitted on side and rear facades in the Historic District in the past but there are times where the original wood was strongly encouraged to be repaired. Mr. Coomer stated that in this instance the houses are so close together that there will not be much visual impact. Mr. Nyczaj stated that the house on the corner has Hardiplank siding. Ms. Mulligan stated that there are many houses that have been permitted to use Hardiplank siding on the sides and rear in this area of Town. Mr. Minch agreed.

Mr. Barton stated that this was a case where practicality and economics meet with the aesthetics, while retaining the historical accuracy. He said that it seemed as though Mr. Nyczaj is making a good faith effort to match the look visually and this will lead to much less maintenance overall for future care of the building.

Mr. Coomer asked about the posts and decking on the porch. Mr. Nyczaj stated that he was going to retain the decking and wood posts (with new footers) and replace in kind where necessary.

Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2020-109 for exterior renovations as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2020-114 from Robert and Lois Plank at 206 S. Water Street for a rear addition. Mr. and Mrs. Plank (homeowners), along with John Hutchison (architect) and Jay Yerkes (contractor) were present for the application.

Ms. Brown stated that she had a small conversation, in passing, where the Planks told her about the addition, adding that she lives down the street, but the conversation was mostly about other things. She asked if she had to recuse herself from the application. Ms. Mulligan stated that she did not believe that was a reason to recuse. Mr. Coomer thanked Ms. Brown for disclosing that information to them.

Mr. Hutchison stated that this proposed addition was complicated in getting it to fit on the site and work with the existing house as this was a non-conforming lot. He said that the addition was for Ms. Plank’s mother to have her own living space.

Mr. Hutchison stated that the existing house was built on the property line and has a porch that was built a few years ago with a variance from the Zoning Board for setbacks. Mr. Hutchison stated that rather than seeking a variance to extend the living facilities along the property line, he planned the addition within the buildable area of the setbacks. Mr. Hutchison stated that the existing porch will be partially demolished to allow the new addition and will become larger, extending to the left as part of this build.

Mr. Hutchison stated that the porch will be covered with a wood screening system that has the capability to add storm windows during the winter months. It will not be heated or a permanent living area. Mr. Hutchison stated that the new addition will include a living room, bedroom, bathroom, walk-in closet and attic space for storage. The existing condenser units will be moved to the back of the addition.

Mr. Hutchison stated that the exterior elevations will have double-hung windows matching the rest of the house. Siding will be Hardiplank to match existing siding. Mr. Hutchison stated that the porch provides a hyphen which will distinguish old versus new. He said that the existing building is not historic (built approximately 2000), although it replicated a historic building that was on this lot. Mr. Hutchison showed views of the addition from all angles on the street. There will be an accessible second story porch added to the main house which will be sunken into the roofline.

Mr. Barton stated that he appreciated Mr. Hutchison’s attention to detail in scale and massing. He said that it was clear that he thought through the needs of the occupant. Mr. Minch agreed asking how the permeable surface worked out. Mr. Hutchison stated that they were working on the details of that now. Mr. Yerkes stated that the yard is basically already covered in paver brick.

Ms. Ritchie asked if the applicants went to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance before they came to the Historic District Commission. Ms. Mulligan stated that a variance is not required because the applicant was meeting all the setbacks.   Ms. Ritchie stated that what she was concerned about was the impervious surface because this property was close to the water. Mr. Hutchison stated that the property was not in the floodplain, but it was in the Critical Area. Mr. Hutchison stated that to achieve the permit he would have to do impervious surface calculation and if they were over they would do a management plan. Mr. Hutchison stated that there was a maximum number allowed before mitigation was required but there was not much additional impervious surface because there was so much brick existing on the property.

Mr. Coomer asked what would end up in the adjacent lot. Ms. Mulligan stated that it was a single-family lot and would become a dwelling if the lot was ever built upon. Mr. Hutchison stated that he was basing his design on what exists because he has no idea what would be done in the future as the adjacent lot was not owned by the applicant.

Mr. Coomer asked if the grid patterns on windows would match the main house. Mr. Hutchison stated that 6/6 windows exist on the main house and would be identical to the windows they were proposing on the addition.

Ms. Ritchie asked if the applicant would return to the Commission if there were any design changes.   Mr. Hutchison stated that he would return to the Commission if design changes were necessary.

Mr. Smith moved to approve BP2020-114 from the Planks at 206 S. Water Street for a rear addition as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

The last item on the agenda was BP2020-113 from Nancy Smullen and KRM for Lot 6 on “Colonial Lane” (located on a back lot of new development along the 400 block of Cannon Street) for a new single family dwelling. Ms. Nancy Smullen (contract purchaser), Chris Holmes (KRM Construction) and John Hutchison (architect) were present for the application.

Ms. Ritchie asked if this was part of a two-hearing process. Mr. Coomer stated that the guidelines call for two-hearings but if the applicant met all requirements, the second hearing could be waived. Ms. Ritchie stated that if they were going to waive the two-hearing process, she would like Mr. Hutchison to present the design aspect first and then get into the details of materials later.

Mr. Hutchison stated that this proposal was complicated because of its location. He said that the houses he has designed on Cannon Street are straightforward because of the historic context of the streetscape. This lot, however, was on the backside of the development on the other side of the alley built with the development. He said that the house will have multiple front elevations because of the Rail Trail and the alley, and it did not follow a street grid. The newer houses on the other side of the Rail Trail were on Radcliffe Drive and had a suburban context. Radcliffe Drive was also not part of the Historic District. There was also a commercial component in this area with the old Hadaway Scrapple building on Kent Street and the Town Yard on South Mill.

Mr. Hutchison reviewed the site, which was zoned R-5 (downtown residential) requiring 3’ side yard setbacks and 30’ rear yard setbacks. He said that the new alley curves away from the property and there a 30’ wide drainage swale easement that cannot be built on, even though the property line runs through the swale.

Mr. Hutchison stated that the building will have an attached garage like the other houses in the development. The difference in this house was that they did not want to have the garage opening facing a street or public way and the garage would be side-loaded.   He said the garage would be on the front façade of the building it was not being treated like a garage in terms of how the structure appeared on that façade. Mr. Hutchison stated that a landscaping plan will be submitted as part of the overall process, but he thought it would be an important element. Mr. Hutchison stated that the building was pushed as far toward the easement as possible because the space was necessary to get to the garage from the alley. Ms. Ritchie stated that the properties would dictate the location of the other two houses that may come. Mr. Coomer stated that Lot 7 will be most affected as Lot 8 could front on Radcliffe Drive.

Mr. Hutchison stated that the front lots (lots 1 through 5) facing Cannon Street have and will be designed in a historic context but the back lots (6 through 8) are almost like a buffer, where it was not appropriate to design the houses in a historic context, adding that he saw them as a merge between historic homes and more suburban design by the Rail Trail. He said that the larger lots appeal to a more rural character. Ms. Ritchie stated that the heading toward Wilmer Park along the Rail Trail toward Quaker Neck is going to become part of the Town and said that they did not know what those houses would look like. Mr. Hutchison stated that was a valid point, but the reality on this site is that all houses surrounding it are more suburban in character. Mr. Coomer stated that the area leading out toward Quaker Neck Road is not part of the Historic District.

Mr. Hutchison reviewed the layout of the exterior. He said that there would be a porch facing the alley and a screen porch facing the Rail Trail. The north elevation faces the alley, and the garage would not be identified as such from the alley view. The front entry included a porch facing the alley with second story dormers. He said that the Rail Trail elevation had the screen porch along the back. The east elevation faced Radcliffe Drive and would be important because there were no neighboring buildings at this time, noting that he added windows and worked on the gable to center the dwelling nicely. He said that the west side of the building included the driveway entrance with carriage doors which would face properties on Mill Street but would not be as visible as the rest of the house.

Mr. Hutchison stated that materials would be architectural asphalt shingle roofing, standing seam metal roofing on porches and dormers, Andersen double-hung windows with 2/2 lights, Andersen doors, Hardiboard and batten siding, trim will be Hardiplank or other cementitious paintable product, a parged foundation, and carriage style garage doors. Mr. Hutchison stated that he was looking at stamped concrete for the patio in the back and the front porch would be tongue and groove composite decking. Mr. Holmes stated that the rear porch may be changed to exposed aggregate instead of stamped concrete on the rear porch for cost savings. Mr. Coomer asked about the columns by the porches. Mr. Hutchison stated that the columns would be a composite material with a square-edged panel in an Arts & Craft style.

Mr. Minch stated that he thought this was a nice house proposal and what really made it stand out was the dormers and board and batten siding. He said that the details took it out of the suburban realm. Mr. Coomer stated that he liked the placement of the windows and asked if the screen porch on the back had an exterior door. Mr. Hutchison stated that there will be a screen door, but he has not designed it yet, but expected lower and upper screens with a screen door that will be aligned with the entry door to the house from the porch.

Mr. Minch asked the total square footage. Ms. Smullen stated that she thought it was 1,880 sq.ft. with the additions.

Mr. Coomer stated that he liked the way that the garage was situated because from Cannon Street the predominant feature will be the side gable end. He said that the downside of moving the doors was a need to create the service area to the garage doors. He asked if the surface would be impervious. Mr. Minch stated that his driveway is gravel and Mr. Ingersoll told him that it was not pervious. Mr. Holmes agreed, stating that gravel driveways are viewed as non-pervious. Mr. Hutchison stated that over time gravel becomes compacted and eventually becomes an impervious surface.

Mr. Coomer asked where the mechanicals would be situation on the lot. Mr. Hutchison stated that they would likely be placed on the side elevation with the garage doors. Mr. Coomer asked if there was a color scheme in mind. Ms. Smullen stated that she thought the house would be white with silver metal roofs and gray architectural shingles. Mr. Coomer stated that he thought it would be stunning.

Ms. Smith stated that she was happy with the design but did not care for the garage protruding in the front. Mr. Minch asked where she would have put the garage. Ms. Smith stated that she would have designed it so the house and garage are flush but thought that might make it look more traditional. Mr. Coomer stated that the shape of the lot was odd and then the swale cut into the buildable area and said that he thought Mr. Hutchison came up with the best design for the land. He said that his concern with the site was that the house is not pushed forward toward Cannon Street as it could ruin the ability to landscape which will soften the effects of the garage.   Mr. Minch stated that he thought the façade looked beautiful without foundation planting.

Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2020-113 for a new dwelling as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Barton and carried unanimously.

Mr. Hutchison stated that the applicant may be interested in changing siding for cost savings. He asked if he would have to return to the Commission for approval. Mr. Coomer stated that for a change of that magnitude the Commission would want to see drawings with sample materials.

There being no further business, Mr. Barton moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:40 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Smith and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                             Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                                       Jeffrey Coomer

Town Clerk                                                                 Chair

 

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