Historic District Commission, 2017|


NOVEMBER 1, 2017

Alexa Silver, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Barbara Jorgenson, Ed Minch 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 October 4, 2017. Ms. Ritchie moved to approve the minutes of October 4, 2017 as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

The Consent Calendar read as follows:

  • BP2017-118 – Suzanne Fisher, 118 N. Queen Street – fence;
  • BP2017-121 – Bob Ramsey/Finishing Touch, 311 High Street – window replacement (storefront);
  • BP2017-124 – Charles Wells, 131 N. Queen Street – fence.

Ms. Jorgenson moved to approve the consent calendar as follows, noting that all applications meet the criteria in the Historic District Design Guidelines as follows:

  • BP2017-118 from Suzanne Fisher at 118 N. Queen Street for a fence in accordance with Design Guidelines V.5 Fences;
  • BP2017-121 from Bob Ramsey at The Finishing Touch located at 311 High Street for storefront window replacement in keeping with Design Guidelines, IV.3.8 Windows and Doors; and
  • BP2017-124 from Charles Wells at 131 N. Queen Street for a fence in keeping with Design Guidelines V.5 Fences.


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

The next item on the agenda was BP2017-115 from TL Rentals at 314 Park Row for a sign, new stairs and new railing. Mr. Justin Taylor was present for the application.  Ms. Silver read the application into the record.  Mr. Taylor stated that this part of the building will be used for his offices.  He said that the sign hanging sign would be mounted to an existing bracket on the building. Mr. Minch moved to approve the application as presented as it was in keeping with Design Guidelines III.8 Porches and IV.7 Signs, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2017-118 from the Imperial Hotel at 208 High Street for 8 new windows and canvas awnings. Ms. Kathryn Meehan, owner, was present for the application.  Ms. Silver read the application into the record.  Ms. Ritchie stated that Ms. Meehan was a personal friend but said that she did not think that the application warranted a recusal.

Ms. Meehan stated that the existing aluminum windows installed in 1984 are in dire need of replacing. She said that the windows are aluminum clad and the application was to replace them in kind.  She said that the addition of canvas awnings was proposed due to the way the sun hits the building which causes the hallway to become too hot.

Ms. Ritchie asked if the intention was to replace all the windows at some point. Ms. Meehan stated that she thought that all windows would need to be replaced in the future.

Mr. de Mooy said that he wanted to note that the 30 years the aluminum windows lasted was about the maximum that could be expected from aluminum clad windows.

Ms. Jorgenson moved to approve BP2017-118 for 8 aluminum clad replacement windows and canvas awnings as they were in keeping with Design Guidelines III.6.3 Windows, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was a concept proposal for exterior changes to the front façade of 343-345 High Street from Michael Macielag at Chesapeake Bank & Trust. Present on behalf of the owner for the application was Mr. Joe Skinner (architect) and Mr. Jan Rosenthal of Central Insurance Agency, LLC.

Mr. Skinner stated that this structure was a mansard brick building until the 1950s when it was renovated with a new storefront and expansion. He said that part of the goal was to pull some of the attention away from the fact that this was such a flat façade.  He said that they would like to match the canopy at 335 High Street with something other than slate, perhaps using standing seam metal or a copper roof.  He said that there would be a portico built at the center point which would stand 4’ proud from the front of the building to match with buildings setbacks along the street.

Mr. Skinner stated that there will also be separate doors to each of the side shops, rather than one single door. He said that the center door will become the entrance to the upstairs apartments after the renovation.

Ms. Jorgenson asked the age of the building. Mr. Skinner stated that according to land records the property was built in 1908.

Mr. Minch stated that the portico appeared to be pseudo Greek revival and asked if there was a way to have the portico more in keeping with the mansard roof, perhaps matching the curve of the roof and using square columns rather than round. Ms. Jorgenson agreed.

Mr. Skinner stated that by adding the roof and portico much of the new brick would be covered.

Mr. de Mooy stated that when adding to a building in the Historic District there should be a clear delineation between old and new, indicating that this is already the case with the newer brick alteration.

Mr. de Mooy stated that the Town recently received approval for façade improvement grant funding that the applicant may be able to use for their renovations. Ms. Jorgenson stated that the grant was Main Street money and Main Street would decide how the money is allocated.  She said that the 300 block of High Street was identified as an area that could benefit from façade improvement.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that she agreed with the idea of having the portico come forward to match up with other buildings on the street, noting that the proposed pitch of the portico roof did not work on the building. Mr. Minch suggested an arch.  Mr. Rosenthal stated that the pitch of the portico did match the pitch of roofs in other areas of the block.

Mr. de Mooy stated that the bastardization of the building is a fact. Anything that will be done to the building will be an improvement.  He said that he agreed there should be small changes to the portico roof using the design of the mansard roof as it may work better than the proposed pitched roof.

Ms. Ritchie stated that the portico will be in the center of the main building but not in the center of the “shoebox” addition, so the portico as shown does not work with the existing windows on the second floor. Mr. Skinner stated that part of the goal was to pull at the horizontal lines bringing the eye to the front rather than the flat façade.

Mr. Skinner stated that they did look into splitting the addition to try to bring it in line with the original building but he said that there were steel beams which didn’t match the walls above so it couldn’t be done. Mr. de Mooy stated that taking cues from the existing streetscape would provide the best opportunity to blend with the entire block rather than trying to create something that matches the building.  Ms. Ritchie stated that just removing the top of the triangle on the portico roof would solve the problem.  Ms. Jorgenson and Mr. Minch agreed.

Ms. Silver stated that the project seemed to be moving the right direction and the renovation would be a huge improvement.

Mr. Rosenthal asked how the Commission if they would approve painting of the brick on the newer section of the building. Mr. de Mooy stated that if brick is unfinished it cannot be painted.

Mr. Rosenthal indicated that he would return with a revised application.

Mr. de Mooy stated that he attended the “Keeping History Above Water” conference in Annapolis. He said that there was a speaker from the National Trust in England speaking about coastal and sea level rise, erosion, and Mayor Cerino spoke about the issue of flooding at the Chestertown waterfront.  He said that there was an abundance of information on waterfront remedial strategies and other structural fixes for sea level rise, as well as flotation devices to allow the buildings to rise and fall with the tides.

Mr. de Mooy stated that the Town will, and is to some extent, addressing waterproofing whether temporary or permanent in the Historic District. He said that some of this work is being done on Cannon Street at the Marina.

Ms. Ritchie stated that Chestertown also has challenges with stormwater management in the Historic District. Mr. de Mooy stated that in historic areas it is not unusual to have these types of issues, noting a large project was just performed to address stormwater runoff and increasing high tides at the Annapolis waterfront.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that she thought the new consent agenda was working well. The Commission agreed.  Mr. de Mooy stated that he would like to be able to make all the HDC applications online.

There being no further business, Ms. Ritchie moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:50 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                           Alexa Silver

Town Clerk                                                     Chair

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