2019, Historic District Commission|


FEBRUARY 6, 2019

Chairwoman, Alexa Silver called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Owen Bailey, Jeffrey Coomer, Barbara Jorgenson 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 to the minutes of the meeting of January 2, 2019. Mr. Coomer moved to approve the minutes of January 2, 2019, as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Bailey and carried unanimously.

The Consent Calendar for February was as follows:

  • BP 2019-04 – Edge Construction/Saunders, 223 Washington Avenue – Roof (ratify)
  • BP2019-06 – Susan Stinnett, 513 Cannon Street – Rear Window Removal
  • BP2019-08 – Mendez/Hall, 425 Calvert Street – Carport
  • BP2019-11 – Allstate Construction/Hornaday, 518 High Street – Roof
  • BP2019-14 – First Bridge Apartments, LLC/Big Island Ventures – 117 N. Water Street – Pier (ratify)

Ms. Ritchie moved to approve the consent calendar as follows:

  • BP 2019-04 – Edge Construction/Saunders, 223 Washington Avenue – Roof (ratify)
  • BP2019-06 – Susan Stinnett, 513 Cannon Street – Rear Window Removal
  • BP2019-08 – Mendez/Hall, 425 Calvert Street – Carport, with a notation that carports, in general, are not approved in the Historic District and this approval is because this is a non-contributing structure and it will not be visible from the public right-of-way;
  • BP2019-11 – Allstate Construction/Hornaday, 518 High Street – Roof
  • BP2019-14 – First Bridge Apartments, LLC/Big Island Ventures – 117 N. Water Street – Pier (ratify)

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

The next item on the agenda was BP2018-05 from Larry and Wendy Culp at 215 High Street for exterior renovations. Mr. Dan Campbell, architect, was present for the application. He said that he promised to return with final details for the building and the project was now ready for construction. The rear portion of the building was deemed non-contributing at the HDC’s last meeting and is in the process of being demolished. The front portion of the building is going to be restored to its historically original appearance.

Mr. Campbell stated that the back of the building is going to be expanded by 4′ to 20′ wide. The front of the building is in good condition as it was shored up during the 1960 renovations. Ms. Jorgenson asked how wide the alley will be once the addition is built. Mr. Campbell stated that the alley closest to High Street will remain at the 3′ width it was and as it goes further back it will vary between 3’9″ and 10′.

Mr. Campbell stated that the floor will be lowered closer to grade for ADA accessibility, with entrances at the front, side alley toward the rear, and for a bathroom. The principle façade will continue in brick along the alley side as it was widened in the 1960s when the front brick façade was added. The two storefronts and center entrance were smaller than it is now, and the door will be moved to replicate the original building.

Mr. Campbell showed a photo of the building from the 1940s. Molding profiles could be seen at the top and along the windows. He said that Marvin wood 6/6 windows will be installed with wood exterior grills to replicate what existed. The dormer windows will have the curved top wood windows to match. A lesser grade window will be used on the sides and the rear, The side wall in the alley must be fire-rated due to its proximity to the old bank building and mineral board siding will be used in that location. Roofing would be metal shingle, which will replicate what was original to the front façade.

Mr. Campbell stated that 7″ plank boards with a 5″ exposure will be used for the siding. There are wooden corbels projecting from the corners. The façade and crown molding will be replicated in wood. An antique door will be used for the entrance.

Mr. Campbell stated that the rear addition will have the brick wall along the alley, and there was a brick panel on the side by the front where the electric service now exists. The electric service will be run from the back so it will not be visible. Wood is not permitted for that side of the building because the material must be fire-rated. Mineral board will be substituted for clapboard. There will be an alcove for a trash enclosure. A setback of 4′ has an entrance with a canopy roof leading to the hallway, stair, and the business and apartment upstairs. There will be a limited access elevator installed for wheelchair access. The back of the building was previously an enclosed porch, and they will try to replicate it. Currently, there is a shed roof in the far back which is used as a utility space and it will be replicated with a dining room for the apartment above. The windows in the sides and rear will be wooden with 6/6 simulated divided lights.

Mr. Campbell stated that there will be a divider to distinguish old from new. Drainage will be to High Street, which is how it runs now. Metal shingles will be on the High Street side front façade, but the rest of the building will have asphalt shingles. The porches and canopies will have metal roofing. Louvered shutters will be on front of the building with hinges and shutter dogs.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that this application was exactly what the Commission wanted to sec for downtown Chestertown and moved to approve BP2018-05 for 215 High Street as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

Mr. Joe Karlik was present and asked if he could speak about signage for the building. He said that he found a vintage fiberglass ice cream cone sign at Second Chance in Baltimore, which he would like to hang with a custom bracket mimicking the time period. There is no lighting proposed for the sign and the colors and tones of the signs will be subdued. He gave a package to the Commission with a picture of the sign and a 10″ diameter disk following the arc of the building and fills the void left between the door and the ice cream cone. He said that the window will have gold leaf showing Stam’s luncheonette and other information about the business. Ms. Silver stated that the Commission appeared to be in favor of where the signage was headed and asked that Mr. Karlik submit a separate permit request for signage once they have the wording for the glass ready.

The next item on the agenda was BP2019-09 from the Kent County Arts Council at 101 Spring Avenue for exterior renovations, Mr. John Schratwieser, Executive Director, was present for the application along with Board Members Carla Massoni, Matt Tobriner, Dave Hegland, and Leslie Raimond. He said that Mr. Barton Ross was the architect working on the project.

Mr. Ross stated that the interior demolition work was complete which provided additional information on the exterior of the building. He said that they would discuss approvals for the exterior portion of the building today and then look for grants to complete the project.

Mr. Ross stated that the porch was falling off the building and the foundation was open to the elements. A history of the building and aerial photographs were distributed to the Commission. The structure is known as the Eliason house and was moved a couple doors down from its original location to 101 Spring Avenue in 1893.

Mr. Ross stated that the original house was a story and a half and showed where the additions have been added over the years. He said that in a 1907 photo there is a wraparound porch on the back. Aerial photos of the 1920s show the footprint of the building as it currently exists. The attic dormers were added when the building was moved in 1893, they are in good shape and he proposed to keep them. The back wall had major structural issues and would be rebuilt in place.

Mr. Ross stated that the Arts Council envisions gallery space, non-profit offices, a conference room, rental space, handicap lift, and five (5) apartment spaces for artists in residence to use.

Mr. Ross stated that the windows will be replaced in wood with simulated divided light and spacer bars replicating what exists. There are currently two (2) porches on the building and although they were ornate once upon a time, they are now falling off the building. A wrap around porch (6′ wide) will also conceal the handicap ramp and simple wooden railing. The porch will line up with the bump-out on the side façade and will be uniform all the way around. IPE tongue and groove wood would be used for the porch floors. Fiberglass columns were proposed, which will be painted to look like wood. Standing seam metal roofing will cover the porch. Railings were not required on the porch to meet code; wood lattice will be used enclose the space underneath. The building currently has asbestos shingle siding which will be removed and the original wood clapboard underneath and will be restored.

Mr. Ross showed a photo from March of 1936 with its original wood clapboard. He said that the chimney serves zero purpose and will be removed, noting that the original chimney that was in the front section is already gone. There are problem with ponding of water on the roof so the pitch will change slightly to correct that issue on the back side of the building. This will not be visible from the ground at any angle. Mr. Ross stated that the original portion of the building will have 9/6 or 6/6 windows. The new front door will be a 6-panel mahogany door with side lights, fitting the era when the house was built. The configuration on the back of the building will mimic what currently exists, including windows. He said that the divided light windows will emphasize the historic portion of the building.

Mr. Schratwieser stated that the original building dates from 1799 or 1800 and was the home of Isaac Mason (a slave who escaped via the underground railroad and moved to Massachusetts where he published his narrative “My Life as A Slave”. He said that a narrative such as Isaac Mason’s tied to an historic structure that is still standing is unique and one of the few in the entire country. For the last decade the building has had no life and due to deferred maintenance was in very bad repair. He said that this building was an important anchor for the downtown Historic District, A&E District, Main Street, and the Kent County Arts Council, which serves the entire county. He said that he truly believes restoration of this building is not only necessary but a great physical presence for a wide range of community arts and cultural organizations. Artists in residence will be in Chestertown anywhere from 1 to 3 months, living in this building and working on cause-related art that connects to community organizations in Kent County.

Mr. Schratwieser stated that he does not know what the total cost of this renovation is going to be. He said that a $100,000.00 capital grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Stories of the Chesapeake Grant helped to get the project started. There was great support from several key individuals in the community that helped pay for the down payment, roof and demolition work. He said that this restoration will take a while and would likely be restored in phases once grants became available. Mr. Schratwieser stated that they were also working with the Maryland Historic Trust for tax credits.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that she would like to see wooden columns on the porch as so much work is going into a complete restoration. Mr. Schratwieser agreed to use wood rather than fiberglass.

Ms. Jorgenson moved to approve BP2019-09 as submitted by the Kent County Arts Council, with the understanding that wooden columns will be used instead of fiberglass columns at 101 Spring Avenue, was seconded by Mr. Coomer and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2019-12 from the Historical Society at 301 High Street for structural and cosmetic repairs. Ms. Jorgenson recused herself from the application. She said she was the First Vice President of the Historical Society and would present the application.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that the back of the building at 301 High Street was falling off. The building has been in place since the 1860s but after a fire in 1910 the rear wall had to rebuilt and there was some question as to how well the construction was done. She said that interior steel tie rods with decorative rosettes are proposed to shore up the building in the rear. The front of the building will have the brick repointed as water was running behind the bricks. A lateral beam across the front of the building, which was not visible from the exterior, was rotted and had to be replaced. The decorative stucco on the front façade will be removed, the beam will be replaced, and then the stucco will be reapplied after the repairs were made. Ms. Jorgenson said that the only difference that will be visible on the exterior are the rosettes from the tie rods.

Ms. Ritchie moved to approve BP2019-12 from the Historical Society at 301 High Street as presented, noting that this is a necessary improvement to an important historic building and only the rosettes will be visible once the work is complete, was seconded by Mr. Coomer and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2019-13 from Mr. and Mrs. Larry Culp and Hammond Wilson Architects for work at 337, 337½, 339, 341 High Street, in particular, 337½ High Street (former LTO). Mr. Chris Frank of Hammond Wilson Architects, Mr. Joe Karlik of Locust Grove Studios, and Mr. Jay Yerkes of Yerkes Construction were present for the application.

Mr. Frank stated that the portion of the building they were focusing on today was where the LTO bar was located, formerly JR’s Pub. He said this property as a whole encompasses four (4) properties (341 High Street which was mixed use commercial having three (3) floors of residential apartments above it, 339 High Street which was an addition constructed alter 341 High, 337½ High was the LTO Bar constructed through what was once an alley with a livery stable in the back, and 337 High which was the former Lemon Leaf Restaurant.

Mr. Frank showed photos from the rear of 337½ High Street, which was a one-story building in the shape of an “L” and wrapped around the back end of 339 High Street. 339 High Street was a half story lower than the High Street elevation making it essentially split-level.

Mr. Frank stated that the Sanborn Maps showed a livery stable in the location where they were requesting to build a beer garden and where 337 ½ High Street was non-existent at that time, having found out that it was not built until sometime after 1951. He said that he met with the Maryland Historical Trust and toured the properties. The Maryland Historical Trust agreed with him that 337½ High Street is a non-contributing structure, but 341, 339 and 337 High Street were contributing structures. He said that wherever there were touch points of the project to the historic buildings they would be sensitive to those areas, with great attention to detail taken into consideration. He said that any work proposed that touches 337, 339 and 341 High Street will be respectful of original materials.

Mr. Frank stated that renovations for 337½ High Street, which will be called “The Retriever” consists of creating additional bathrooms which will be added at the back of 339 High Street. A basement will be hand dug and all issues at 341 High Street would be addressed. As an aside, Mr. Frank said that entrance to the apartments at 341 High Street was only possible by climbing onto the roof.

Mr. Frank stated that the former Lemon Leaf restaurant at 337 High Street will again be a restaurant, adding second floor dining, a banquet facility/meeting room, and a third-floor apartment with elevator access. Mr. Frank showed floor plans for all spaces.

Mr. Frank stated that the alleyway entrance at 337 High Street provided entry to all four (4) properties on the first floor. Property lines cut through buildings and businesses within the four (4) properties. All electric, water, sprinkler systems will be comprehensively upgraded during the renovation.

Mr. Frank stated that additional seating will be added near the front entry of 337½ High Street. There will be a wall bar area and a stairway to the basement for storage will be dug by hand on the outside of the existing foundation wall of 339 High Street. The dining room will be extended 3½’ and a beer garden will be constructed at the rear where the lawn area is located.

Ms. Jorgenson asked if modifications will change parking in the back lot. Mr. Frank stated that the grade may have to change, but he was trying to get the handicap parking to that portion of the property as the grade falls in the rear. He said that the curb may be pulled out further to compensate for the change in grade, but he did not want to push the parking back.

Mr. Frank stated that the building cuts through the historic alleyway, which is where the beer garden will be located. The flat roof will become the area to for HVAC equipment and placed far enough back so it does not impact the aesthetics from High Street.

Ms. Ritchie asked if the High Street façade was going to change. Mr. Frank stated that at this time there were no changes proposed for the front of 337½ High Street.

Mr. Frank stated that the berm in the rear of the 337½ currently has HVC equipment which will be relocated. The vision for the beer garden came from Mr. Karlik and had a timber pergola structure, metal gates, a parapet wall made of cement board and batten siding on the adjoining building, harkening back to the storefront vernacular of the past. He said that earth had to be retained and would be done with wood formed concrete walls. In order to soften the look, gabion walls were added to give texture while shielding customers from the parking lot. Containers will be inserted in the top of the gabion walls so that grasses and vines can be planted which will create a “green wall”. Mr. Karlik stated that a gabion wall gets better with age as it patinas. He said that drip irrigation will be added to reduce plant maintenance.

Ms. Jorgenson asked if the wire in the gabion wall would rust. Mr. Yerkes stated that water permeating through the rocks would help to prevent rust, adding that the gauge of the wire was thick. Mr. Frank stated that a gas fire pit made of steel will be added against the back wall with a laser cut sign that was meant to rust as it aged.

Mr. Frank stated that the entrances to the “stables” would have steel gates with panels of wood inlaid with steel in the middle, which will provide air flow while hiding the vehicles in the parking lot. Mr. Karlik stated that he was able to find cast iron columns for the project which was a neat way to provide some of the support.

Mr. Frank stated that they proposed to arrange the windows and doors so that the beer garden and fire pit will be visible from High Street. Lighting will be carriage style with LED string lights over the pergola. The repurposed columns would be used as gate anchors, with one at the end of the bar and one inside so that when the wall was removed there was something to hold it up. Pavers and grass in the rear would leave the site somewhat pervious. He said that when work begin at 341 High, they would use some metal shingles to use as a bar roof over the pergola.

Mr. Frank stated that the roof over the existing restaurant at 337½ will be 50-year architectural shingles rather than the standing seam roof that was originally proposed for budgeting purposes, and asked for permission for either roofing material, in case he was able to convince the owners to change it back to standing seam. The walls will be wrapped in board and batten to 339 High Street where they will dig the basement. There were some penetrations through the walls of the kitchen required for ventilation, air, heat, and the wall materials will be replaced in kind.

Ms. Jorgenson asked where the existing basement was located. Mr. Frank stated that the basement only ran under the kitchen at 337½ High Street. He showed the areas of flat roof that would hold the mechanical equipment. He said that he discussed the removal of the chimney with the Maryland Historical Trust who agreed that the chimney could be removed as it was not part of an original structure. All maintenance issues, including painting and issues with rot will be addressed. He said that they would handle everything with care as he did not want to disqualify any credits that were given by the Maryland Historic Trust on these projects.

Mr. Frank stated that as of now there were no plans for changing the front of 337½ High Street at this time, but he may return later.

Mr. Coomer moved to approve application BP2019-13 as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

There being no further business, Ms. Jorgenson moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:45 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk                                   Alexa Silver, Chair

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