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HPC Minutes

September 11, 2014 - Workshop

Staff of the Department of Public Works convened a work session on Thursday, Sept. 11th, at 7:00PM in the Dorchester County Library meeting room, 303 Gay Street, Cambridge.

Commissioners Attending: Ron Berman
Absent: Patricia Weischmann, Dormaim Bromwell Green, Mike Russo.

Other Representatives or Staff Attending: Dan Brandewie, City Planner II, Commission Jackie Vickers.

Mr. Brandewie noted that he was aware that Patricia Weischmann could not make it tonight. As conveyed to him by email, Brian Roche has elected to not remain on the Commission until a successor is named. Staff's understanding was that Mike Russo was appointed to the full time HPC position. Staff and Commissioner Vickers will confirm their status as it would be preferable if they could stay on and participate until new members are appointed.

Jane Devlin, in attendance as a member of the public and representing the West End Citizens Association mentioned that they have a submitted a name for Council's consideration for the Commission but was reluctant to disclose any information on this person.

A discussion was held on how to proceed with the guidelines. The following recommendations were put forward:

1. Produce 5 copies for MHT for delivery on Monday, marked "draft".
2. Continue to take comments, suggestions, modifications over the next week or so.
3. Thursday, Sept. 25th, Set up public meeting to final changes recommended by HPC members. Run copies of Design Guidelines and put document on the internet by Sept. 29th. Allow for 30 day comment period by public.
4. October 2nd and October 9th (reserve dates for additional workshops to consider public comments if necessary).
5. Conduct workshops on Nov. 6th on November 13th for final review of public comments and changes.
6. December 4th, Conduct Special Public Meeting to act on draft guidelines; submit guidelines to Council for public hearing and action.

Discussion on the Guidelines and Recommendations:

1. Modify Section 1.7 to expand upon how to deal with situations where if a property has substitute materials already installed and they seek to replace, repair or materials and items, a procedure should be spelled out to address this situation. For example someone may have a vinyl fence damaged by an accident and they seek to either repair or replace the vinyl fence with another vinyl fence. This situation may come up with artificial siding and vinyl windows. It should not be the policy of the HPC to mandate installation of a higher quality of material/item or require the restoration of original siding or wood windows

2. Section 4.1 Picture of house with components. Change paragraph related to Gutters and Downspouts. As presently worded, it would require ½ round gutters and it doesn't deal with square or K style gutters.

3. Section 4.2 Windows:
a. develop language that deals with situations as in 1.7 where a property already has replacement windows in and they seek to upgrade or replace those windows with something else.

b. (replacing windows for the purpose of achieving energy efficiency). Delete item 3 in the "window" check list which reads: "An energy audit is recommended if asking to replace windows for efficiency reasons" This is in conflict with the opening sentence of Section E which states the replacing windows to achieve energy efficiency won't be allowed. Or modify the first sentence to read differently.

4. Recommend removing the last bullet point: "windows on the visible portion of the the structure must be composed of the original or composite material. It was thought that this was to stringent. The term "visible portion of the structure" is too vague as it is thought that the HPC can be more lenient on the non-primary sides of the house or on secondary facades. The term composite is too vague. There are many types of composite materials and the current line of thinking is that vinyl clad over aluminum or wood windows are a reasonable alternative if replacement windows are justified and they match the original. It is recommended that the NAPC conference training material on the use of substitute materials be reviewed at the next meeting.

5. 4.6 D Pressure Treated Lumber: modify this paragraph to clarify when pressure treated lumber can be used. On the one hand the sentence reads that "pressure treated wood" can only be used when in direct contact with the ground, but then allows it for structures in the rear yard. It is generally believed acceptable that pressure treated lumber used in a rear yard situation, such as with pressure treated deck board is acceptable.

It was suggested that staff will prepare draft changes based on these suggestions and contact other members for feedback and for final consideration over the next week and at the Sept. 29th meeting if there isn't a consensus.

Respectfully submitted,

Daniel L. Brandewie, City Planner II

Signature: ____________________________________ Date: _______________________


Note: These minutes were approved at the meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on _____, 2014.