HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
JULY 7, 2021
Mr. Kurt Smith, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:06 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Barbara Brown, Ed Minch, Rebecca Murphy, Alice Ritchie and Victoria Smith, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mr. Smith 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.
Mr. Smith asked if there were additions or corrections to the minutes of the Historic District Commission Meeting of June 2, 2021. Ms. Brown moved to approve the minutes of the May 5, 2021, meeting as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.
There were several items on the Consent Calendar as follows:
- BP2021-97 – Karlik Design/KIT Team, 337 High Street – Sign (ratify)
- BP2021-94 – Harding, 201 E. Campus Avenue – Fence
- BP2021-98 – Meade/Teknika, 335 High Street – Sign
- BP2021-99 – Havemeyer, 117 S. Cross Street – Exterior siding (cedar)
- BP2021-101 – Helm, 103 Maple Avenue – Roof
- BP2021-102 – Schatzinger, 116 High Street – Roof
- BP2021-104 – Prezioso, 300 N. Water Street – Brick walkway
Ms. Smith moved to approve the consent calendar as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Brown and carried unanimously.
The next item on the agenda was BP2021-92 from Jenn Baker and John Laucik at 103 S. Queen Street. Jenn Baker was present for the application and stated that there is a sleeping porch on her property with no insulation and windows that were installed in the 1980s or 1990s that were failing. The crawl space under the sleeping porch has no access for maintenance and the step down from the kitchen is impossible for her to navigate with her wheelchair. She said that the exterior and interior renovations they are planning will allow for a ramp at the appropriate grade to the backyard and rear entrance making it ADA compliant. Ms. Baker stated that the only people who see the property are the adjacent backyard neighbors and then from the second and third floors of homes surrounding the rear of the house. There were no original parts of the front of the house that would be affected. Mr. Minch moved to approve application BP2021-92 as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Ritchie and carried unanimously.
The last item on the agenda was BP2021-85 from KIT Team, LLC. at 341 High Street for a demolition and concept renovations. Mr. Christopher Frank of Hammond Wilson Architects was present for the application, along with Cherilyn Widell. He said that there was a structural analysis of the building performed and Ms. Widell performed research on the history of the building.
Mr. Frank reviewed the history of the structure and said that he thought a portion of the structure fronting High Street could be salvaged and they would use wayfinding signage, like the sign at the GAR Building, to tell the story of the Robinsons and how the building was used as a restaurant.
Ms. Widdell stated that the receipts and letters that they found from the Robinsons have been sent to the Historical Society and to Chesapeake Heartlands at the C.V. Starr Center for Study of the American Experience.
Mr. Frank stated that the Maryland Historic Trust toured the building and advised that there was not much left to preserve and how they were disappointed in the condition of the building. He said that originally the owner was hoping to be able to use Historic Tax Credits as they did on other buildings they were restoring in the Historic District, but that is not possible with 341 High Street, given its deteriorated condition and lack of historic materials.
Mr. Frank stated that the presence of the building was important to High Street even though the materials of the building were no longer historic. He said that all visible aspects have been replaced over time and what was left was severely deteriorated. He said that there were metal roof shingles dating back to the 1920s which would be reused over the Retriever Beer Garden.
Mr. Frank stated that the building was significantly under-designed and lacked the capacity to meet building codes in every way where remediation was not a viable option. He said that there was sagging of the building from rot and water damage. He said that this building would have to have sprinklers, ADA compliance, meet life safety issues and a host of other code issues that could not be met if the building remained as is.
Mr. Frank stated that they were proposing to preserve the foundation walls and as much of the front façade wall as possible in the new construction. He said that floors would be raised to allow for the height to meet code, while keeping the streetscape largely intact. Mr. Frank stated that the roof at 341 High Street would be raised for ceiling heights to meet code and the issues with the existing front façade would be addressed. Roof eyebrow windows would be added to match those that were permitted on 339 High Street. Standing seam or asphalt shingle roofing would be used in new construction along with Boral composite exterior siding. Windows would be Marvin architectural wooden windows as have been permitted in the Chestertown Historic District and other renovations across the country. The doors on the back of the building would be a Craftsman design with three-over-one divided lights.
A green roof will be incorporated in the upper deck rear roof and will remain low-maintenance, using a roofing system called “Gro”. HVAC will be placed under the deck and on the upper deck and some mechanicals may be installed over the Retriever building.
Mr. Frank stated that they were seeking permission to demolish the building down to the foundation, trying to keep as much of the front façade as possible and that he would return with technical designs.
Ms. Ritchie asked if the first floor would be used for commercial space. Mr. Frank stated that was correct and they were hoping to have a café of some sort in that location. Mr. Frank stated that they were planning to keep the opening between the bottle shop and the lounge. Mr. Frank stated that there will be a platform lift at the rear of the building for ADA access to the lounge and apartments. Mr. Frank stated that there will be a firewall separation between 339 and 341 and 341 and 343 High when the building is rebuilt.
Mr. Frank stated that he thought this design was sensitive to the surrounding area and the best that could be done given the circumstances. Mr. Smith stated that the building was in keeping with the streetscape and added character to the storefronts.
Ms. Brown moved to approve that the building at 341 High Street, which is now a non-contributing structure because of its current condition, and to permit the present owner to demolish the building as presented to allow the new structure (in concept), as presented at this meeting subject to further design review by the Historic District Commission and reporting back to the Commission the viability of the foundation and front façade. The motion was seconded by Mr. Minch and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Ms. Murphy moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:45 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Smith and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Kurt Smith
Town Clerk Chair