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HPC Minutes

October 16, 2014

The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, October 16, at the Public Safety Building, 8 Washington Street. Patricia Weichmann, Chair began the meeting at 7:05PM and took a roll call of members in attendance.

Commissioners Attending: Mike Russo, Ron Berman, Patricia Weichmann.
Commissioners Absent: Dormaim Bromwell Green
Other representatives or staff attending: Dan Brandewie, City Planner.

Mr. Weichmann noted that a quorum is present. Staff confirmed there were no other changes to the agenda and that all items were properly advertised.

At the Chair's request, staff administered the oath to all persons desiring to testify.

Consent Agenda:

Ms. Weichmann noted that there were no items on the consent agenda.

Extension/Continuation Cases

HPC#56, FY 13-14, 400 Race St., Epicurean II, Doug Kyle (owner), Arcus Design Group, (architect): general exterior repairs-replacement of windows, installation of metal roof, façade repairs. Mr. Brandewie had no new information to report. No action needed.

Regular Agenda

HPC#21_FY 2014-15, 300 Oakley St., Nancy P. Patterson (applicant); replace one existing wood single pane window in bathroom with double hung vinyl. Mr. Brandewie noted that the owner could not attend the meeting tonight. He presented photos of the window. It is the interior side of the lot away from the street view. The owner has stated that the existing window is broken and she desires to replace it. One cannot view the window up close because it is obscured by metal storm window. Staff noted that this window is not architecturally significant is on a non-primary façade.

Ms. Farrell McCoy spoke in opposition of the request. Mr. Frank Cooke stated that the front porch partially obscures the view of this window. There were no additional public comments.

Mr. Berman acknowledged that he lives in close proximity to this house and it is minimally noticeable. Mr. Russo stated that his position was to encourage the applicant to explore repairing the window, that one vinyl window will stick out, and that there is not enough information as to the degree of repair needed. Discussion followed.

After further discussion, Mr. Berman offered to following motion: to approve the application as submitted; second by Patricia Weichmann. Motion failed with Mr. Berman voting-Yes, Ms. Weichmann-No; Mr. Russo-No. It was recommended that the applicant be allowed to present her case back to the HPC if she has additional information on the condition of the window or other replacement or repair options.

HPC#22_FY2014-15, 720 Glasgow St., Laurie Sanford, replace 4 windows with vinyl window replacements. Mr. Brandewie provided photos and a history of the HPC action approximately two years ago when the HPC approved one window in the rear right façade area. They deferred action on replacing other windows. Ms. Sanford is now back in front of the HPC to request approval of 5 windows on the lower front and sides of the house with a vinyl replacement windows. According to the owner, Habitat for Humanity is providing assistance with purchasing and installing the windows. The specifications provided are for an Anderson Silverline window and they would be custom ordered to fit the window openings. Staff is of the opinion that the windows are in marginal condition. The existing metal storm windows likely do little to help with the energy loss and aesthetically, they diminish the looks of the house. Staff notes that it is also thought that replacing just the lower windows on the lower front façade will diminish the appearance of the house.

Ms. Laurie Sanford, owner, explained the need for the windows. The wood windows have single panes and the upper sashes are inoperable. They are in rough condition. She can't afford to do more and she is only able to replace four windows due to the grant assistance that is made available from Habitat from Humanity. Jay Corvan spoke in favor of saving the existing windows on the basis that removal of original materials should always be considered a last resort. Once removed, they are not recoverable. Mr. Bill George spoke in favor of the request in that the HPC needs to recognize the need to work with the property owners on reducing energy costs repair expenses and replacement windows can help with this.

HPC members discussed the aesthetic aspect of just replacing the lower windows while having original windows on the upper floors. Members agreed that this would look like a mismatch. It was not clear to members that the applicant has further evaluated repair or other composite window options. Ms. Weichmann noted that the prices of composite windows are coming down in cost. It was her position that the HPC should consider deferring action on this request to allow the owner to evaluate other options. Ron Berman moved to table the application in order to allow the owner to evaluate and obtain additional cost estimates; and to evaluate other storm window options. Second by Patricia Weichmann. Motion carried 3-0 in favor. Ms. Sanford was in agreement with this action but noted that there was a deadline of November in spending the grant funds by Habitat for Humanity.

HPC#23_FY 2014-15, 216 West End Ave., Miguel Angel Pachero Garcia (applicant): replace and repair porch flooring with wood t/g flooring to match existing; repoint existing brick steps; install 3 vinyl replacement windows in 3 boarded up-vacated window openings in rear; replace 3 tab shingles with architectural-dimensional shingles. Mr. Brandewie gave an overview of the project with photos of the façade elevations. The house is in need of many improvements. The porch repair and brick work can be considered routine maintenance. The HPC is really acting upon the replacement windows and roofing material. Staff has no objections to the proposed replacement windows if the windows will match the 2 over 2 profiles. The HPC could be lenient also in the rear elevation and allow a double hung window since it is not visible from the street. The same issue comes up with this house in that you will have one white vinyl window on either side of the house which would be somewhat of a mismatch to existing windows. The applicant has been advised to provide window specifications that show the grid structures of the windows. Mr. Brandewie also noted that the rear of the lot contains inappropriate fencing material (chicken wire) and an unfinished wood fence with posts that were installed in excess of 6 ft. in height. These are HPC property and zoning code corrections that are needed and the HPC can make the correction of violations a condition of approval.

Mr. Frank Cooke stated that he thought it would be inappropriate to hold the current owner hostage for work done by the previous owner. Discussion followed.

Mr. Miguel Garcia had no additional comments but did provide the HPC with a copy of the window specifications. Upon further review of this document, staff noted that it called for internal grids, which is not consistent with HPC policy.

HPC members had no objections to the work. Mr. Berman noted that in this case, with the three windows being totally removed, he had no objections to allowing replacement windows. Mr. Berman moved to approve the application as submitted with the stipulation that the replacement windows shall have exterior grids; and that it is the preference to Commission to require the rear window to have external grids also to the extent possible. Patricia Weichmann seconded the motion. Motion approved 3-0 in favor.

HPC#24_FY 2014-15: 206 Belvedere Ave. Walter Judd Vickers-Gregory F. Bartoo (applicants): replace and repair front steps and front walkway with brick replacements; install new iron rail on steps; replace two concrete driveway strips with brick pavers or gravel; add two gravel or brick paver-parking spaces on sides of house. Mr. Brandewie provided an overview of the project and showed photos of the property. Staff noted one concern is over the proposed location of two parking spaces located very close to the dwellings. The owners prefer to place the parking spaces on the sides of the house due to obstructions in the rear yard from a tree and garage.

Mr. Judd Vickers, owner, described the project. Some of the work and use of brick pavers for the side strips are contingent on getting funding from the façade improvement grant program. He would like the flexibility of using either brick or gravel for the driveway strips and parking stalls next to the house. Mr. Bill George, who owns the adjacent residential lot also spoke in favor of the project. His long term plans would be to remove a garage on his property to allow better access. There was no additional public comment.

After further discussion, Mike Russo moved to approve the use of replacement brick for the sidewalks and steps as proposed: to allow the replacement of the concrete gravel strips with either brick or gravel; and to allow the addition of two parking spaces adjacent to the house on both properties at 206 and 204 Belvedere to consist of either brick or gravel. The motion was amended to include allowing staff to evaluate any change to material for possible further review by the HPC. Second by Ron Berman. Motion approved 3-0 in favor.

HPC#25_FY 2014-15: 1100 School St., Randy Connelly (owner); replace 3 tab shingle with arch/dimensional shingles; replace porch flooring; repoint brick steps, demolish part of rear shed. Mr. Brandewie provided an overview of the project and reviewed the application. The part of the rear shed or garage to be removed is not historically significant and was an add-on. This property has been in disarray for a couple of years now and this work is a positive thing. Staff is asking to review the porch flooring material prior to its installation but otherwise staff has no objections to the work.

Mr. Connelly, new owner of the property, addressed the Commission. The existing porch flooring consists of pressure treating lumber. His proposed flooring product (2.5 inch tongue and groove pine) will be more historically accurate. There were no comments from the public.

HPC members had no questions. Mike Russo motioned to approve the application as submitted. Ron Berman seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-0 in favor.

HPC#26_FY 2014-15: 1004 Glasgow St., Charlie Simpson for Surebuilt Home Restoration Services (applicant), replace fifteen windows in house with vinyl replacements. Mr. Brandewie reviewed the application and the history of the project. The home suffered extensive water damage from broken pipes that resulted in flaking paint on many inside surfaces. Surebuilt is the remediation contractor for interior repair work. As part of their work, the house needs to be lead compliant and the windows, on the inside at least, are not lead free. According to the contractor, due to the condition of the windows, it is not cost effective to strip the windows and repaint and fix them. In the contractor's opinion they would have to be entirely removed from the house for repair and remediation. Staff also supports their replacement due to their condition. While still considered a contributing structure, the house has also been modified a great deal over the years. The front façade was modified inappropriately by a previous contractor approximately 3 years ago. It had aluminum siding and three windows installed in the front facade after the fact. The HPC later approved this work but aesthetically, the appearance of the property still is negatively affected. Staff is suggesting that the HPC could consider adding a requirement of installing an awning to further enhance the property's appearance.

Mr. Simpson also spoke on the case and discussed the damage to the house. He showed a sample window product. All windows need to be replaced with the exception of the upper gable windows, the trapezoid window and part of an upper window above the entrance way. All inside trim has been removed that was lead contaminated.

HPC members asked he Mr. Simpson had evaluated the cost of repairing the windows or installing a wood product. Mr. Simpson stated that the approximate cost of repairing the windows could be as high as $1,000 per window.

HPC discussed the problems with previous work and windows installed after the fact. Members stated that it is not appropriate for the HPC to address and correct this problem. After further discussion, Mike Russo moved to approve 15 replacement windows to be the same configuration as existing windows; windows are to contain internal and external grids; the jalousie windows on the side are allowed to be replaced with casement style windows; the trapezoid window is to be repaired; the upper gable windows are to be repaired to the extent possible. Second by Patricia Weichmann: Motion approved 3-0 in favor.

Introduction of Commission Candidate:

Mr. Brandewie introduced Ms. Sharon Smith. She has expressed interest in serving on the Board of Trustees and is a resident of the Historic District. Ms. Smith provided some background information to the Commission on her interest in serving on the Commission. She lives in the Historic District.

Conceptual/Informal Review

509-511 Race Street-conceptual plans for roof repairs. Jay Corvan, architect for Cambridge Historic Inc., provided some background information on their efforts to obtain ownership of this building. It is a very unique and historically significant structure that has been very seriously neglected. The roof has partially collapsed and they would be seeking to repair this roof by essentially replacing it with another flat membrane roof. It is not visible from the street. Maryland Historic Tax Credits have been granted for this work and they must move forward with this work soon.

HPC members had no objections to this work proceeding.

Administratively Approved/Routine Maintenance:

HPC members had no comments on four applications administratively approved by staff. These included:

HPC_Admin#13_Fy14-15, 209 Choptank Ave. Elissa and Thomas Crouch,. Repair of porch with in-kind material or re-use of existing materials. Administratively approved, Sept. 19th, 2014.

HPC_Admin#14_Fy14-15, 603 William St., Marian Thomas, installation of one replacement wrought iron railing on front porch. Administratively approved. Sept. 22nd, 2014.

HPC_Admin#15_Fy14-15, 312 Mill St., Andrew and Linda Pasden, replacement of brick sidewalks with replacement bricks to match in style, pattern and material. Administratively approved. October 1st, 2014.

HPC_ Admin#16_Fy14-15, 117 Vue De Leau St., George Vojtech, removal of small metal stove pipe off back addition (not visible from the street) and repair retaining wall. Administratively approved. Oct. 8th, 2014.

HPC_Admin#17_Fy14-15, 213 Willis St., installation of satellite dish in rear of dwelling.
Other Business

Mr. Berman requested some time to discuss the upcoming format of the public meetings for review of the Draft Design Guidelines. He is requesting that a format be decided upon to limit the time allowed to present concerns to the Commission. This format should be announced ahead of time to the public, possibly on the City's website; that members of the public provide their comments also in writing and that a summary of the differences between the new and old guidelines be developed prior to the next meeting. HPC members concurred with these recommendations.

Mr. Frank Cooke asked if there could be any additional research conducted on the tax breaks or tax credits from other communities for rehabilitation of historic structures. Mr. Brandewie stated several communities in Maryland offer tax incentives for rehabilitation and that he will pull together more information for City Commission members on this topic.


Enforcement Update

Mr. Brandewie provided an update on enforcement issues. There were no questions.

Meeting adjourned at approximately 9:30PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Daniel L. Brandewie, City Planner II

Signature: Patricia Weichmann, Chair_____________________________________ Date: _____________2014.


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