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April 16, 2015

HPC Meeting Minutes

The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street, Cambridge, Maryland.

Commissioners Attending: Patricia Weichmann, Chairperson; Ron Berman, Gaver Nichols, Mike Russo and Sharon Smith.

Other representatives or staff attending: LaSara Kinser, City Planner Assistant

Ms. Weichmann began the meeting and took a roll call of members in attendance.  She spoke to all those whom needed to be sworn in.  Introduction of LaSara Kinser.

Previous minutes to be approved:

January 22, 2015 motion made by Ms. Smith and seconded by Mr. Russo.  Approved 2 abstained

March 12, 2015 motion made by Mr. Russo and seconded by Ms. Smith.  Approved 1 abstained

March 26, 2015 motion made by Ms. Smith and seconded by Mr. Russo.  Approved

Consent Agenda:

312 Glenburn Avenue, to approved by staff a roof with in-kind roof.

Mr. Nichols wanted to ask questions and so this has been moved to the Case.

810 Locust Street, satellite installation.

Motion to approve the Consent Agenda items was made by Mr. Russo and seconded by Ms. Smith.  Motion approved by all.

Regular Agenda Items:

Case HPC#41 FY 2014-2015 for 310 Belvedere Avenue for a request to construct an 8x10 greenhouse on the property.

Ms. Kinser spoke that the owners of the property, Mr. Butcher and Mr. Kengan, would like to construct an 8’x10’ greenhouse with a cement foundation.  The greenhouse would be made of an aircraft grade white aluminum with twin wall poly-carbonate panes.  The owners plan to add Victorian decorations and the home was built in 1916.  This property has no violations or history of any at this time.

Mr. Steve Butcher from 310 Belvedere Avenue, wants to build a greenhouse.  The size was incorrect on the application and should be 10’x12’ and not 8’x10’.  He is showing pictures of a sample greenhouse and the Victorian details.

Some points brought up by the Board members:

  • Height of the structure. To the peak is to be eight feet.
  • Victorian features. This is a kit added onto the structure.
  • Distance from property line. Ten feet from property lines.
  • Estimated life of the structure. Life time guarantee and has UV protection bearer.

Ms. Weichmann asked for a motion to close the public meeting and it was made by Mr. Russo and second by Mr. Nichols. Approved

Mr. Berman asked the members of the Board if they had any information on greenhouses.  Members expressed that none of them have had to deal with greenhouses since they have been on this Board.  The set back is 10 feet and not 3 feet and the structure is only eight feet high.  Each case will be different to the homes.

Mr. Nichols stated that he is reading that what is allowed for a new structure in the historic district.  Ms. Weichmann commented that this is not a permanent structure it is an accessory or temporary.  He would make a request that in the future that the applicants should have complete site plan with details including every new building that is proposed for that site.    A concrete slab or foundation makes a building permanent.

Mr. Nichols made the motion to approve the Case HPC#41 FY 2014-2015 for 310 Belvedere Avenue, which is a 10’x12’ greenhouse which is 10 feet from the property line, on a cement slab that is two feet deep to meet the frost line.  To accept all photos and details as they appear in the pictures for this structure.  Motion seconded by Mr. Russo.  All approve motion passed.

Case HPC#42 FY 2014-2015 for 105 Willis Street, for a request to replace a fence.

Ms. Kinser spoke that Mr. & Mrs. Wood would like to replace their fence.  The front and rear portions were removed years ago and now none of the original fencing is left, do to rot.  The owners would like to replace the sections with other portions from around the property.  The fence would be four feet height and made of pressure treated pine.  This home was built in 1915 and there is no history of any violations.

Mr. Robert Wood of 105 Willis Street wants to put in a back yard fence.  He spoke of having a three foot setback from the alley way.  It would not go completely along the back side and will but will but with the shed and the height will be four feet.  The fence will be a gothic picket style with two inch gaps, colored with pigment.

Ms. Kinser showed pictures of the fencing and yard area.  Members spoke about the neighbors fencing.

Ms. Nichols spoke about the height of fence being four feet.  Mr. Wood spoke that the height is for the dog.

Ms. Weichmann asked for a motion to close the public session and that was made by Mr. Berman and seconded by Mr. Nichols and carried.

A motion to approve the Case HPC#42 FY 2014-2015 for 105 Willis Street as is by Mr. Berman and seconded by Mr. Nichols.  All approve and passed.

Case HPC#43 FY 2014-2015 for 312 Glenburn Avenue, Ms. Holly Worthington applicant wants to replace the roof with in-kind materials and also replace some windows.

Ms. Kinser spoke that the applicant would like to replace 11 metal jalousie windows on the sun porch with new crank out lower windows and stationary picture windows above.  She would also like to replace the remaining wood windows (six over one) with vinyl clad windows.  The home was built in 1918 and there is a roof violation from January 1, 2015, which asked the homeowner to repair or replace the rear roof and replace all rotted wood and cover with approved materials as required within 60 days.

Ms. Worthington owner of 312 Glenburn Avenue just settled on this property today.  She is hoping to replace the whole roof with architectural black shingles.

Mr. Nichols commented about the trim of the home and that it is rotting on the alley side of the home.  Ms. Worthington stated that the whole house will be remodeled.  He asked what the material will be used on the trim after the roof is repaired.

Mr. Tim Foley from Tri-Can Remodelers (contractor) commented in regards to the trim issue, the roof will be 30 yr. architectural black shingles and all the sheathing that is there will be removed because of rot and be replaced with new plywood and paper.  The moldings in question will be replaced with wood.

Ms. Weichmann spoke to Ms. Worthington that each month this Board will give her feedback before she spends the money on repairs.

A motion to approve the roof project by Mr. Russo and seconded by Mr. Nichols.  All approved and motion carried.

Mr. Berman asked that the applications were submitted separately, the roof and the windows.  Can it be submitted as all one project?  She will be given a refund for the second application.    Ms. Kinser stated that the roof project was staff approved by Ms. Roane and so there was no fee for that one.

This Board addressed the application for the sun porch windows and more:

  • The metal jalousie windows now on the sun porch are not original to the home and the rest of the windows on the home are six over one wooden frame windows and they are painted shut.
  • The State of Maryland, under the Maryland EPA Lead Grants, request that all the windows be replaced with wood with vinyl clad on the exterior.
  • There was no detail sketches brought to the meeting for the Board to review.  There was an example of a window.  (unknown what it looked like)
  • Discrepancy on the application from what was written and what was implied by the owner.
  • City staff (Ms. Roane) supposable to have told Ms. Worthington, just to bring pictures of the windows and identify the materials to be used in the windows.
  • The windows for the whole house need to be special ordered and that cannot be done until the State of Maryland MDE approves her contractors proposal,  and then gives the okay to even start any repairs on the home.
  • Anderson 200 series that comes paintable or stainable

Ms. Smith spoke that this application is to replace the sun porch metal jalousie windows and on the last page it states “and picture windows stationary above”.  Mr. Foley commented that the porch windows as they are now, none of them operate at this time.  He would replace with efficiency windows, it would be like a picture unit with a crank out awning window that open at the bottom.  The porch windows will look just like they do now, but just cleaner.  Mr. Berman asked how the new porch windows will look.  Mr. Russo asked where Mr. Foley got the idea to have a window in that configuration with one stationary window and open at the bottom only.

Mr. Nichols asked that we start from the top of the home and work our way down.  Let’s start with six over ones on the roof dormers. Mr. Foley could not give a straight answer and neither could Ms. Worthington.

Ms. Smith stated that if they have not submitted an application, which they have not.  This one is for the jalousie windows on the sun porch.  Really it is not in our purview to talk about the other windows, because it is not legally before us.  We are trying to be helpful, but it is not before us in the applications.  We can only rule on what is in the application.

Mr. Berman stated that the application can be amended and it has happened before.  We need to be clear on what she plans to do.  He asked Ms. Worthington if she plans to replace all of the windows and why did you just apply for sun porch.  Ms. Worthington said that she wrote on the application on house and made a note about the porch.  It says wood with vinyl cad on house is what she meant for the main structure.   She spoke to Ms. Roane and got just a little info.  The house is leaking through some of the windows and the repairs need to be started.

Ms. Weichmann addressed the room and stated that if this Board disapproves this application, it will be one year before the applicant can come back to us for this window project.  If we defer this application for four weeks, at least we have time to get this right for the applicant and for the house.

Ms. Weichmann swore in an attendant in the room whom wanted to speak.  Mr. Donald Gray.

Mr. Donald Gray from 310 Glenburn Ave is the neighbor of this applicant.  He went through torment about getting his own home repaired through the City staff and committees.  The value of the homes in Cambridge has gone way down.  This lady bought a home he wants to make sure that she repairs it.  He has been inside the applicants home and he could not believe the state of the home.  HPC told him what kind of roof he could put on his own home and it was approved, but his windows, he bought them from Easton at Easton Wholesale.  His kitchen window is just like what she wants to put on her porch.  HPC approved the window.  We are having problems in the historic district and he see some of these homes and the way they are falling down and this lady wants to do a big task.

Ms. Weichmann appreciated his comments and with this Board we have heard 10 cases and we have given 100 percent approval.  Now some people choose to come before us and talk before they put any money into it and get feedback.  So when they do come back there are no surprises.   The past, the miss communication, the staff and the applicants, now we are talking to this applicant directly, which just got the roof approved in a couple of minutes.  We are not trying to disapprove the applicant we are trying to help her.  If it is going to be four weeks, the process……..Ms. Worthington spoke in and asked what the turnaround time is for the approval.  After the approval what is my time frame to get the work done?  Ms. Smith stated that after the approval, then you have to get a building permit and that can take a few days.  Ms. Weichmann stated that the approval is good for one year and then you can come back.  Ms. Smith stated again that the building permits are good for six months, but then you can get an extension on them.  Ms. Worthington interjected that this is a big turn off for her with this home.

Mr. Nichols spoke to the room that he has completed over 300 homes and that a contractor can get a demo permit, he can get the roofing permit, and there is a lot of things he can do to speed up this process.  Ms. Worthington commented that there is a lead abatement and her contractor cannot work with lead.  Mr. Foley, 13 years ago moved here from north Jersey and he bought 70 Glasgow Street and came before this Board four times and got disapproved and the next day he sold the house.  He left and swore never to come back.  Two weeks later after selling the home, the new owner put in new windows that this Board never approved for him and they are still in the house as we speak.  The home is again for sale.

Mr. Foley has been in business for 35 years and is licensed and insured in three states, he holds lead and mold certified and nothing can be done on this house.  You cannot do the roof until you get approval from the State, because everything in the house has lead inside and out.

Mr. Gray spoke again, that the City got on the previous owner last year to fix this home.  She scraped the paint on the outside of the home and just let it fall on the ground.  When he had to get his home repainted, he had to get his contractor to scape everything from his porch into the bags to be disposed of properly.  He had to pay dearly for that service.

Mr. Nichols brought up again to those attending tonight that our purview is the Historic District decisions.  It seems that there is a conflict with the Historic District decision process, which we are going down the right road to ask you to defer it.  The conflict is with the building code folks, and perhaps we need to have a discussion with the building code folks and City staff, to see where this lead paint and the EPA regulations are coming into play and how we can help you.  In 30 days and with proper documentation for the windows, then we can approve this.

Mr. Bob Wood and he appreciate this Boards new process.  In the past when he ran into a problem with our home, where we needed to address it quickly, there was an opportunity to have an emergency meeting, so we did not have to wait too long.  It might be worth having such a meeting.

Motion to close the public session by Ms. Smith and seconded by Mr. Russo.  Motion Carried.

Mr. Nichols spoke that any sales rep for the windows can print off a spec sheet for each window or type of window if that would be a help.

Ms. Weichmann spoke to the owner that if we defer this application, we could make the motion such that we could at the request of the applicant schedule a meeting sooner than the next meeting to talk about this application.  She asked if the owner will accept.  Ms. Worthington answered yes she would.

A motion to defer this application until the next scheduled meeting, with the addition that we as a Board may have a meeting to review this application again, by Mr. Nichols and seconded Ms. Smith.  Motion carried.

Administrative Follow-ups:

Mr. Berman spoke that we need to schedule a time to select new officers the terms of the members had expired in January.  Ms. Weichmann commented that some members left last fall and we need to selected officers at the next meeting.  Mr. Berman also wanted to address the City Website on the terms.

Ms. Weichmann wanted to give an update on the Wallace Building to everyone.  The applicant WECA and they have an agreement with the Library not to put a bathroom in at all, so they do not have to deal with the ADA.  They will use the ADA bathroom in the library.

Mr. Nichols knows that tonight was a stress and the goal of this Board is to stream line and make the system efficient and the applications have been lacking in terms of detail.  We are heading in the right direction for the details, so we need clarity to the applications.  Mr. Berman also commented that the process and the HPC process have shown lack of consistency.  We need to do some changing and the need to have some meetings together.  Ms. Smith agreed that we need to be consistent with applications and with the process, so we know where we stand.

A motion to close the meeting by Mr. Russo and seconded by Ms. Smith.  All in favor and motion carried.  Hearing no further comments, Patricia Weichmann, Chair thanked everyone for attending and for their participation.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted, Michal Dixon, Secretary 1, DPW

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Patricia Weichmann, Chairperson                                          Date