Historic District Commission, 2017|


AUGUST 2, 2017

Alexa Silver, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Ted Gallo, Barbara Jorgenson, Nancy McGuire, 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 meetings of July 5, 2017. Ms. Jorgenson moved to approve the minutes of July 5, 2017 as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.

The Consent Calendar read as follows:

  • BP2017-74 – Robert Kestell/Allstate Building, 208 N. Mill Street – Roof;
  • BP2017-76 – Charles Bradshaw, 117 Court Street – Propane Tank/Lattice Surround;
  • BP2017-82 – Doug Ashley/Edge Construction, 227 High Street – Roof;
  • BP2017-84 – Robson/DiPasquale, 206 N. Queen Street – Fence;
  • BP2017-85 – Finishing Touch, 311 High Street – Lighting;
  • BP2017-86 – Flanagan/McDowell, 137 N. Queen Street – Screen Door/Fence;
  • BP2017-87 – Brandon/Wall, 522 High Street – Satellite Dish.

Ms. McGuire stated that she wanted to state for the record that she brokered the sale of 117 Court Street, but said she would vote as she did not see a conflict of interest. She represented the seller in the transaction.

Ms. Jorgenson asked if the fact that fences require painting or staining was on the permit applications. Ms. Mulligan stated that she added the following on fence applications in the historic district, “Fencing must be painted or stained in the Historic District. Follow Manufacturer’s guidelines for painting and/or staining.”

Ms. Jorgenson moved to approve the consent calendar in its entirety as they met the criteria in the Historic District Guidelines, as follows:

  • BP2017-74 from Robert Kestell and Allstate Building for a roof at 208 N. Mill Street in keeping with III.7 Roofs;
  • BP2017-76 from Charles Bradshaw at 117 Court Street for a propane tank with lattice (to be painted or stained) surround in keeping with III.12.1 Heating and Cooling Equipment:
  • BP2017-82 from Doug Ashley and Edge Construction for a roof at 227 High Street in keeping with III.7 Roofs;
  • BP2017-84 from Robson/DiPasquale at 206 N. Queen Street for a fence in keeping with V.5 Wall and Fences (fence to be painted or stained);
  • BP2017-85 from Finishing Touch at 311 High Street for lighting in keeping with III.11 Lighting;
  • BP2017-86 from Flanagan/McDowell at 137 N. Queen Street for a screen door and fencing in keeping with V.5 Fences and III.6.2 Storm Doors and Screens (fence to be painted or stained);
  • BP2017-87 from Brandon/Wall at 522 High Street for a satellite dish in keeping with III.12.2 Satellite Dish.

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


The next item on the agenda was BP2017-79 from Wendy Cronin at 504 Cannon Street for replacement porch pillars. Mr. Kurt Christophel, contractor, was present for the application. Mr. Christophel stated that the original brick at the bottom of the pillars will remain but the owner asked to substitute tapered pillars in fiberglass or Hardiplank as the original 8 x 8 wooden pillars are rotting. Ms. McGuire stated that tapered pillars were typical on Arts & Craft style houses.

Ms. Silver stated that she did research on the use of substitute materials and said that a National Park Service Preservation Brief indicated that fiberglass has been approved in some historic districts across the country.

Ms. Jorgenson asked what year the house was built. Mr. Christophel stated that he would guess some time in the 1920s. Ms. McGuire stated that she thought the existing pillars did not appear to be in keeping with the Arts & Crafts design of the house and that tapered panels would be preferred. Ms. Jorgenson stated that she agreed, noting that her question was if a substitute material should be permitted when the tapered pillars could be fabricated of wood. Mr. Christophel stated that the base of the existing pillar was concrete. He said that there were other instances of this type of pillar on Cannon Street.

Ms. Ritchie stated that she did not see a problem approving this application as the house had been altered dramatically with a new roofline, adding that this was not a contributing structure and, therefore, the Commission should be lenient with materials. Ms. Ritchie stated that page 32 of the guidelines also reads, “Use of alternative materials shall be reviewed on a case-by-case basis”.

Ms. McGuire moved to approve BP2017-79 for replacement of the upper pillars on the front porch at 504 Cannon Street as they were in keeping with III.8 Porches, as they would replace pillars in order to be in keeping with the architecture, and that page 32 of the guidelines allows replacement with contemporary materials on a case-by-case basis. The motion was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried with five (5) in favor, Ms. Jorgenson opposed.

The next item on and agenda was BP2017-78 from Grosvener/Harris at 106 Cannon Street for exterior renovations. Ms. Silver read the application into the record. Ms. Mulligan stated that she thought Ms. Cherilynn Widdell was going to represent the application but she was not present. She added that an architect had submitted the drawings for a bay window in the rear and to relocate a window on the side of the house. Ms. Silver stated that this was also a new house and a non-contributing structure. Ms. Jorgenson moved to approve BP2017-78 from Grosvenor/Harris at 106 Cannon Street for exterior renovations in accordance with III.6.3 Windows as this is a non-contributing structure and the changes are in keeping with the Design Guidelines and won’t be seen from the public way. The motion was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

The last item on the agenda was from Nancy McGuire at 103 South Mill Street for front steps with a parallel landing. Ms. Silver read the application into the record. Ms. McGuire recused herself from the application. Ms. McGuire submitted additional photos for the record. She said that existing brick steps were added to the building sometime in the 1960s but research showed that wood would have been used for the stairs in this 18th century structure. She said that the extra photographs showed examples of the same style steps in Chestertown. Ms. McGuire stated that she also met with Mr. Michael Bourne, historian, who indicated that brick would not have been original to the house.

Ms. McGuire stated that she took measurements of stairs on other houses in Chestertown to see how far they extended over the sidewalk. Ms. McGuire stated that what separated her house from the others was that there were steps from the street to the sidewalk and said that she amended the dimensions for the stairs accordingly. Ms. McGuire stated that the house was long so it helped to have a pair of steps with a parallel landing. She said that there would be 2 steps ranging in height from 18” to 23” off the sidewalk due to the slope.

Ms. Jorgenson moved to approve BP2016-117 from Nancy McGuire for wooden steps as described in the application as it was in keeping with Historic District Guidelines III.8 for new stairs with a parallel landing at 103 South Mill Street, was seconded by Mr. Gallo and carried unanimously.

Ms. Silver stated that she would share the information she researched on substitute materials with the Commission. She said there was a workshop offered on the subject but she could not attend it. Mr. Minch asked if the people who gave the workshop could be contacted about coming to Chestertown. Ms. Silver stated that she would speak to Mr. de Mooy to see if it could be arranged. Ms. McGuire asked if they would send a PowerPoint for the Commission to review.

Ms. Silver stated that there were so many new and changing materials on the market today that she was hesitant to change the Guidelines because she did not want the Commission painted into a corner on decision-making.

Ms. McGuire stated that she did additional research on fences and it was complicated with all the different wood species and how they weather. Ms. Silver stated that Ms. Mulligan commented on the application that the Historic District required painting and/or staining with instructions to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for paint or stain which would alert an applicant to the proper care of the wood. Mr. Minch stated that he thought each manufacturer would recommend paint or stain in their literature.

There being no further business, Mr. Minch moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:50 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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