Historic District Commission, 2020|


DECEMBER 4, 2019             

Chairperson Alexa Silver called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. along with Commission members Owen Bailey, Jeffrey Coomer, Ed Minch, Alice Ritchie and Kurt Smith, 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 November 6, 2019. Mr. Coomer moved to approve the November 6, 2019 minutes as amended, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously. 

The Consent Calendar consisted of the following items:

  • BP2019-157 – Edge/Balaban, 103 N. Water Street – Roof.


Mr. Coomer moved to approve the following applications as submitted as they are in keeping with the Historic District Commission Guidelines:

  • BP2019-157 from Edge/Balaban at 103 N. Water Street for a roof on the main section of the house;


The motion was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2019-13 from The Retriever at 337½ High Street for approval of the final design for the proposed trash corral. Mr. Yerkes stated that he was presenting on behalf of the owner of the Retriever. Mr. Yerkes stated that there are fence details for the trash corral submitted as part of the package which would duplicate the fencing at the townhouses in the parking lot. Mr. Yerkes stated that the trash corral will be located at the back of the building close to the transformers, where a cement slab exists. Mr. Coomer moved to approve the plans submitted for the trash corral for BP2019-13, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

Mr. Karl Zierfuss stated that he just purchased “Shore Window Systems”, noting that this was the vendor he worked with for the storm windows he has already installed on many houses in the Historic District. Mr. Zierfuss stated that these were quality storm windows and said that since he took over the business that he has been “tweaking” the design of the windows so that they show even less of a profile upon installation.

Mr. Zierfuss stated that these storm windows sit within the frame and are flush with the existing windows of the house upon installation. The windows are operable but have an air-tight seal. He said that he does not caulk the bottom of the storm window because they need to breathe. He said that he has found if he does not take that step the sills rot on the windows on the interior of the property. He said that he never wants moisture to build within the window frame.

Mr. Minch asked if the windows have been tested for airtightness. Mr. Zierfuss stated that once the windows are caulked it is completely airtight. He had performance comparisons as part of the literature he distributed.   Mr. Zierfuss stated that the only other flush-mount company he was aware of (Birch) had gone out of business. He said that anyone who has these windows notices a big difference in their house once the work is finished.

Mr. Zierfuss stated that he makes his houses as airtight as can be when working and he said that you can barely tell that the storm windows were in place once installed. Each window costs between $265.00 and $325.00 (average of $300.00 per window installed).

Mr. Zierfuss stated that he has seen some big-name storm windows over the years, and they do not look as nice as his product. Mr. Minch asked if the windows were low-E glass. Mr. Zierfuss stated that he could get low-E glass for windows if a customer wanted them. Mr. Smith asked what type finish was on the window. Mr. Zierfuss stated that the windows had a matte-satin finish, but they could be painted. All windowpanes can be pulled out to be washed.

Mr. Zierfuss stated that these windows were a good option if replacement windows were not permitted in the Historic District.

Mr. Coomer thanked Mr. Zierfuss for his presentation and said that it was helpful to know these windows were offered locally.

Ms. Silver stated that she is a member of the Wayfinding Committee and invited Ms. MacIntosh to discuss the concept design of wayfinding signage in Chestertown. She said that a couple years ago Main Street applied for a grant from DHCD and received $100,000.00 for signage. Ms. MacIntosh stated that an RFP was then answered, and Main Street has been working with the firm Arterial since that time. Ms. MacIntosh stated that the Wayfinding Commission has gone through all stages of design, trying to incorporate the essence of the Town. She said that the post style has not been chosen but she was hoping that they will look historic and resemble the lamp posts at the Fountain Park. Ms. MacIntosh stated that once the look of the signs is decided the next part of their project will be placement.

Ms. MacIntosh stated that they were focusing on vehicular and pedestrian signs at this time and that the “ghosted” painting of the bridge will not be on the signage. She said that the goal is not to clutter Town with signs. Mr. Coomer asked if the posts will resemble the lamp posts in the downtown area. Ms. MacIntosh stated that they were trying to match up with the existing lamp posts.

Ms. MacIntosh stated that if the Commission agreed with the look of the signs, she would like to move forward to the Mayor and Council and present it to them.

Ms. MacIntosh stated that the signs will be charcoal in color and the vehicular signs will have a reflective finish. Ms. MacIntosh stated that at this point they were not incorporating the kiosk into the design, but they may in the future.

Ms. MacIntosh stated that she welcomed comments, or they could be given to Ms. Silver as she is on the Committee. Mr. Minch stated that he would like to see signage on the Rail-Trail.

Ms. Ritchie asked if the Commission could create a list of acceptable materials for applicants. Mr. Minch stated that they should start with the windows makers that have already been approved.

Mr. Minch stated that he would like at some point to clarify solar arrays. Ms. Silver stated that she thought solar should be decided based upon the visibility of the structure from the public way.   Mr. Coomer stated that judgement calls have to be made and he also agreed that visibility was an issue with solar arrays. Ms. Ritchie stated that she thinks verbiage such as “case-by-case basis” can give the impression of preferential treatment. She said that she would like to have the verbiage rewritten as she thought that the approval or non-approval on a “case-by-case” basis was not fair.

Mr. Bailey stated that solar arrays must be placed where the best sun exposure is available, or it was not cost effective. He said that the Historic District Commission was trying to protect the houses but thought sometimes it was being done in a way that was not friendly to the environment. He said that installing solar panels on a front façade would be acceptable to him if the house was of a height that it was not visible from the public way.

Mr. Minch stated that changes need to be done in a public forum and the Commission can initiate the changes. Mr. Smith suggested making amendments to the adopted version of the Historic District Design Guidelines, rather than reprinting the entire publication.

Ms. Ritchie suggested a discussion at the January meeting on updating the Historic District Guidelines as an agenda item.

Ms. Silver stated that the next meeting fall on January 1, 2020. The Commission decided to have the next meeting the following Wednesday, January 8, 2020.

There being no further business, Mr. Smith moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:55 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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