2019, Historic District Commission|


JULY 10, 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, Ed Minch and Alice Ritchie, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator) 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 June 5, 2019. Minutes were tabled for the August 2019 meeting.

The Consent Calendar for July 2019 was as follows:

  1. BP2019-88 – Spangler/Edge, 226 Cannon Street – Roof
  2. BP2019-93 – Wallin, 117 N. Queen Street – Fence
  3. BP2019-98 – Fordi/Chestertown Builders, 109 Court Street – Roof
  4. BP2019-99 – Gillespie, 135 N. Queen Street – Roof
  5. BP2019- 103 – Casa Carmen, 312 Cannon Street – Sign

Ms. Jorgenson moved to approve the Consent Calendar as follows as the application was in accordance with the Historic District Commission Guidelines:

  • BP2019-88 – Spangler/Edge, 226 Cannon Street – Roof
  • BP2019-93 – Wallin, 117 N. Queen Street – Fence
  • BP2019-98 – Fordi/Chestertown Builders, 109 Court Street – Roof
  • BP2019-99 – Gillespie, 135 N. Queen Street – Roof
  • BP2019-103 – Casa Carmen, 312 Cannon Street – Sign.


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

The next item on the agenda was BP2019-82 from KRM Construction for new residential construction at 416 High Street. Mr. Chris Holmes of KRM Construction was present for the application. He said that KRM was planning to build a 2,000 sq.ft. house with a rear-facing garage on Cannon Street.

Mr. Coomer stated that he lives across the street from the property and that he is aware of the plan for the area which was being subdivided to allow for the construction of 8 single-family houses. Mr. Coomer stated that he studied the 400 and 500 blocks of Cannon Street and Kent Street which had 71 houses in total. All Cannon Street houses had the doorway on the primary façade. Most houses have porches or porticos (40 out of 48) and only 6 have the gable end facing the street; 5 of those houses are more consistent with Arts & Crafts style houses and 1 a Victorian moved to the location several years go. None of the 6 houses have a gable end facing the street with a side kick-out using the same roofline on a secondary roof nor did the houses have attached garages. He said that he was unaware of any houses in the Historic District with an attached garage. Mr. Coomer stated that the proposal seems to treat Cannon Street as the side façade of the property which he did not think was appropriate or in keeping with the streetscape.

Mr. Holmes stated that the Victorian style house referred to by Mr. Coomer had the same entrance that the proposed construction does. Mr. Coomer stated that the Victorian house also had a primary façade with a doorway and was an “L-shaped” house with a gable end. Mr. Holmes stated that there was a house recently built on Cannon Street with a gable end facing the street.

Mr. Minch stated that he lived behind the proposed development and asked if the drawings were to scale. Mr. Holmes stated that they were roughly to scale. Mr. Minch said that this house was set back a little from the neighboring house and would be set back 3’ from the sidewalk. This house was also much larger than any other house on the block. He suggested moving the house back and wrapping the porch around the front to break up the façade. Mr. Holmes said that he did not know that a front porch was in their client’s budget, but they did want to be able to park 2 cars in the driveway and did not know if pushing the house back would impede rear parking. Mr. Minch stated that the window placement should also be brought closer together to bring the massing of the building down.

Ms. Jorgenson stated that she agreed that the façade facing Cannon Street resembled a side façade and that was not how a house should be oriented. She said that she thought at a minimum the porch should wrap around the front façade. Mr. Coomer stated he was not convinced that adding a porch to part or all of the Cannon Street façade would be sufficient to establish that façade as the front of the house given the other issues with the design and orientation.

Ms. Ritchie stated that she looked forward to seeing new plans reflecting the comments of the Commission. Mr. Holmes stated that he would discuss the project with his clients and return but said that this might prevent them from building altogether. Ms. Silver stated that since this was a concept there was no need for any motion.

The next item on the agenda was BP2019-89 from David C. Wright for a fence at 100 Church Alley and BP2019-90 for a fence and a front porch at 102 Church Alley. Ms. Ritchie stated for the record that she and Mr. Wright have worked together in the past and are neighbors, although the professional association ended in 2010. Mr. Wright was present for the application.

Mr. Wright stated that the purpose for the gate (at the riverside of 100 Church Alley) was to dress the building up, keep his dog penned in, and remove the existing rustic style fence. He said that he planned to paint the wood picket fence and new wood gate white.

Mr. Wright stated that at 102 Church Alley he proposed a higher fence with a 6’ gate with trim which would be painted the color of the building at 102 Church Alley. He said that it would make the property appear larger in width and look more in balance with 100 Church Alley.

Mr. Wright stated that 102 Church Alley would have a front porch added like 100 Church Alley, noting that it would be 8’ x 14’5” and line up evenly on the street with the porch at 100 Church Alley. The rails will be like what exists on 102 Church Alley with the steps moved over to allow for additional usable space and a metal roof. The porch would have a solid brick base. Ms. Ritchie asked for additional specificity on the proposed porch and the Commission agreed.

Mr. Coomer moved to approve BP2019-89 as submitted at 100 Church Alley for a wooden picket fence and gate, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.       

Mr. Coomer moved to approve BP2019-90 for a fence at 102 Church Alley as submitted, tabling the application for the front porch portion of the application pending additional detailed drawings, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2019-100 from Eric Fitch at 517 Cannon Street for a shed. Mr. Fitch was present for the application. Ms. Jorgenson stated that the application reads that the shed is pre-built with wood (LP siding) but what was provided in the literature was that the shed was maintenance free vinyl with vinyl window shutters and flower boxes. Mr. Fitch stated that the picture was meant to show the color of the shingles and siding. He said that he was not using vinyl siding but the engineered LP wood siding. He said that the shed will be placed on the gravel driveway. Mr. Minch moved to approve BP2019-100 for a fence at 517 Cannon Street as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Coomer and carried unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was BP2019-97 from Barbara Custer at 105 N. Kent Street for exterior renovations. Mr. Jay Yerkes of Yerkes Construction was present for the application. Mr. Yerkes stated that the proposal was for a front and rear porch. He said that the way the steps are constructed presently are a code violation. The proposal was for wood decking, but he did not know right now whether it was going to be stained, cedar or painted.

Ms. Jorgenson asked if the porch would be built to the sidewalk and if that was permitted. Mr. Yerkes stated that there was no setback requirement for this property and the construction already ran to the sidewalk with the existing stairway.   He said that there was nowhere else to take it because the house is only 4’ from the sidewalk.

Ms. Jorgenson asked how there would be access to the screen porch in the rear. Mr. Yerkes stated that there is a window at the rear of the house that would be made into a door. The side door to the bedroom will be removed and reused as the back door and the exterior will be repaired to blend in with the existing siding on the house.

Mr. Yerkes stated that cedar and mahogany will be used with metal roofing on the front facade. The back porch will have painted clapboard siding and painted cedar trim with a shingle roof. He said that the flooring on the back porch has not been decided.

Mr. Bailey moved to approve BP2019-97 for front and rear decking at 105 N. Kent Street as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.    

The next item on the agenda was BP2019-102 from Sundance Home and Duane Whitson for window replacement at 210 Washington Avenue. Present for the application were Rick Albert (Sundance Homes) and Duane Whitson (property owner). Mr. Whitson stated that he just purchased the property and was looking to fix it up for resale. He said that he was going to repair the shutters as they were working shutters, remove the storm windows and install vinyl replacement windows.

Ms. Jorgenson asked for an inventory of windows in the house and whether they were original to the house.   Mr. Whitson stated that he was uncertain if the windows were original or not. Mr. Albert stated that there are 3 windows that are not original (no original frames or sashes). There were at least 8 original windows and each of them had at least half of the panes replaced. Mr. Minch asked what the 3 non-original windows were replaced with. Mr. Albert stated that they were similar in style and constructed of wood, but he did not know the brand. Mr. Albert stated that there were also storm windows in place. Mr. Minch asked if all windows were operable. Mr. Albert stated that about half of the windows work and some have broken sash weights and are painted and/or nailed shut.

Mr. Albert stated that all windows were 2-over-2 except for the dormer which was a 12-over-2. He said that all grid styles will be matched and that this window type was chosen because the insulation rating on the windows was superior to others. He said that the current windows have air coming through each of them making them inefficient. Mr. Albert stated that houses up and down the street have vinyl windows.

Mr. de Mooy stated that he would have offered to meet with the owners and go through the windows in the house to see what was original. He said that if the windows were not original to the house it was more likely that replacements would be approved.   He said that original wood windows in a house are recommended to be retained as they are a character defining element of the house. He said that a single pane window with a storm window will perform about as well as many insulated, newer style windows. Mr. de Mooy stated that he thought it was better to recondition existing windows rather than replacing them with vinyl windows.

Mr. Albert stated that he thought about removing the non-historic glass panes and installing the antique windowpanes to the windows on the front of the house. Mr. de Mooy stated that the glass was not what made the windows a character-defining feature.

Mr. Whitson stated that it did not appear as though the rest of the residents on the block have had to go through this process. Ms. Jorgenson stated that every application for windows goes through the process. Mr. Whitson stated that when he purchased the house he was told that the property was not part of the National Historic Register and that they would be able to make renovations to the property and that he could not afford the labor to rehabilitate the windows. They were not told that they were in the Historic District of Chestertown. Mr. Coomer stated that Guidelines should have been given to them when they took ownership.

Ms. Silver stated that she would like to table the application and have Mr. de Mooy evaluate the windows at the property before a decision was made.

Mr. Yerkes of Yerkes Construction was present and asked if the Commission would entertain a concept review for an awning and signage at The Retriever on High Street. Drawings were presented to the Commission. He said that this building used to be an alley for a livery in the back. The applicant would use structural steel as a perimeter frame with glass over the top with “The Retriever” in metal letters and a metal Labrador retriever over the window. The dog would be approximately 3’ x 3’. Mr. Coomer asked how the signage would be illuminated. Mr. Yerkes stated that he thought there would be lights behind it and that he would return with additional detail.

Ms. Silver asked where the Verizon application for the fuel tank and fence stood as the applicant did not attend the June meeting. Mr. de Mooy stated that to avoid the 60-day issue, the application should be tabled or denied. Ms. Jorgenson moved to deny BP2019-30 from Verizon at 119 Washington Avenue for a fence and fuel tank, was seconded by Mr. Coomer and carried unanimously.

There being no further business, Ms. Jorgenson moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:15 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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