HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
OCTOBER 6, 2021
Mr. Kurt Smith, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:07 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Barbara Brown, Rebecca Murphy, Alice Ritchie and Victoria Smith, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mr. Smith 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. Smith asked if there were additions or corrections to the minutes of the Historic District Commission meeting of September 1, 2021. Ms. Smith moved to approve the minutes of the September 1, 2021 meeting as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.
The Consent Calendar consisted of the following items:
- BP2021-147 – Duke Law, 127 High Street – Relocate approved signage;
- BP2021-151 – Massoni Art Gallery, 113 S. Cross Street – Sign.
Ms. Smith moved to approve the consent agenda as presented, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.
The next agenda was BP2021-144 from Sunrise Solar and Heckles Holding at 111 S. Cross Street for a solar array. Mr. Dan Baugher of Sunrise Solar was present for the application. Ms. Brown asked if anything of historic significance would be damaged with the installation. Mr. Baugher stated that a new roof would likely be installed if the solar was ever removed, but it was a non-original metal roof. Ms. Ritchie moved to approve BP2021-144 for a solar array at 111 S. Cross Street as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Smith and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2021-145 from Elizabeth Tully at 201 N. Queen Street for a paver patio and pergola. Ms. Tully was present for the application as was Mr. T.J. Morris of Gibson Grounds. Mr. Smith asked if the pavers were pervious. Ms. Tully stated that the pavers were pervious, and Mr. Morris agreed. Ms. Brown moved to approve BP2021-145 for a paver patio and pergola as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2021-150 from Beth Speers and Philips and Donovan Architects, LLC. Present for the application for Ms. Speers, Eric Wilbers of Philips and Donovan, LLC and David Holman (contractor). Ms. Brown stated that the porch enclosure being flush with the front facade took away from the look of this Victorian house. Ms. Smith stated that this modernizes the Victorian the house and would likely set a precedent for other Victorian houses in Chestertown. Ms. Brown stated that this changed the house in such a way that she thought was not appropriate. Ms. Brown asked if the addition could be at the back of the house. Mr. Wilbers stated that by utilizing the existing structure and roofline as shown, it was a cost saving measure for the applicant, minimized the impact on the existing house, and pushing it back would interfere with the interior staircase.
Ms. Ritchie stated that this proposed construction did not preserve the historic nature of the house and was on a main façade. She said that this was a contributing structure, and the enclosure did not fit within the Guidelines for new additions. Mr. Holman stated that he did not think that the architecture was drastically changed, and the footprint remained intact. Ms. Ritchie stated that this changed the look of the house. Mr. Holman stated that the house had vinyl siding on it and the original windows were gone and that he disagreed that this was a drastic change to the overall building.
Ms. Murphy stated that she saw a difference as a wall was now being constructed where an open porch was once before but the porch addition, and if approved, it would change the character of the house. Mr. Holman stated that the front porch would still exist.
Ms. Murphy stated that if the house were closer to the street she would have more of a problem with the application, but the way the house is sited back on the property, the addition was not as much as a disruption. Ms. Murphy stated that she did not think that the addition to the porch would influence a passerby as the house was set back quite far on the property. Ms. Smith stated that this changed the character of the house. Ms. Murphy stated that she thought given all the mitigating factors she did not think that this would set a precedent.
Mr. Smith asked if there were other considerations given to where the powder room could go. Mr. Wilbers stated that there were not a lot of opportunities that would not violate setbacks for the house. He said that this was a good place to install the half bath and a porch column would be saved and reinstalled to try to retain the aesthetic of the existing front porch. Ms. Murphy stated that there were other houses in town where the condition exists, and the proposed enclosure was not a radical departure from other structures.
Ms. Murphy stated that there should be a balance between historic integrity and a homeowner’s ability to make improvements to their properties. Ms. Ritchie stated that she thought the addition should be on the back of the house. Ms. Murphy stated that the siting of the house and how deeply it is set back are considerations that should be considered and that the modification was a compromise.
Mr. Smith asked if there was any thought given to moving the wall back a bit. The architect stated that the existing staircase would create a pinch point to access from the interior and it needs to be flush to use the space. Ms. Murphy stated that if the proposed powder room could be pushed back further back beyond the foyer that additional space in the front of the porch would be useful.
Ms. Murphy moved to approve the application as submitted, which failed for lack of a second. Mr. Smith stated that the applicant should go back to the drawing board and see what they can come back with at a future meeting.
Ms. Murphy moved to table application BP2021-150, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.
The last item on the agenda was BP2021-153 from Jay Silcox and M&J Ventures at 312 Park Row for an exterior renovation of an accessory building. Mr. Smith stated that the accessory building would be remodeled to live in while renovations are taking place in the main building. He said that this would become an office after the main building is complete. He said that he would like to add a window to the rear of the building (closer to the fence area) to match the front existing window, which was a modification to the application in front of the Commission. Mr. Silcox stated that wood lap siding would replace the existing siding and match the main building and would be included on the permit for the main structure. Ms. Brown moved to approve BP2021-153 for renovations to the accessory building, including the additional window in the rear, seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.
Mr. de Mooy stated that meetings used to begin at 4:00 p.m. and he said that he would like to return to that meeting time, adding that this was the time specified in the Town Charter. Mr. Smith stated that he would like to discuss this with a full complement of Commissioners. Ms. Murphy stated that she did not object to changing the meeting time back to 4:00 p.m. Ms. Ritchie stated that until all Commissioners were present this matter should be tabled. Ms. Brown asked if a member could call in via Zoom if the Commission was back to meeting live.
Mr. Smith stated that the Commission did not have the authority to change the meeting to 5:00 p.m. and he said that he would ask for guidance from Mayor Foster and the Council. Ms. Murphy stated that moving the meeting back to 4:00 p.m. was bringing the Commission back into compliance with the Charter. After further discussion, the Commission decided to return to 4:00 p.m. meeting start time beginning at the next meeting.
There being no further business, Ms. Murphy moved to adjourn at 6:00 p.m. was seconded by Ms. Smith and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Kurt Smith
Town Clerk Chair
HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
OCTOBER 6, 2021
- Minutes of previous meeting of September 1, 2021
- Consent Calendar
- BP2021-147 – Duke Law, 127 High Street – Relocate Approved Signage;
- BP2021-151 – Masoni Art Gallery, 113 S. Cross Street – Sign;
- Old Business
- New Business
- BP2021-144 – Sunrise Solar/Heckles Holdings, 111 S. Cross Street – Solar Array;
- BP2021-146 – Tully, 201 N. Queen Street – Pavers and Pergola;
- BP2021-150 – Phillips & Donovan/Speer, 207 Washington Avenue – partial closure of front porch
- BP2021-153 – Silcox/M&J Ventures, 312 Park Row – Exterior renovation of accessory building