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May 21, 2015

HPC Meeting Minutes

The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, May 21, 2015 starting at 7 pm at the Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street, Cambridge, Maryland.

Commissioners Attending: Patricia Weichmann, Chairperson; Mike Russo, Vice-Chair: Sharon Smith, Ron Berman, Gaver Nichols, and Janice Olshesky (1 ½ hr. late for meeting)

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.

Previous minutes to be approved:

Minutes of April 16, 2015, a motion was made to approve by Ms. Smith and seconded by Ms. Weichmann.  All approved and carried.

Consent Agenda:

The City requests an extension to a previous COA to demolish the structure at HPC#32-09. 303 Choptank Avenue.  There was no one who wanted to discuss this issue.

Ms. Weichmann stated that the City did not have time to act during the time frame that they were given.  If you decide to vote against the extension, that is fine to.

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

Regular Agenda Items:

Case HPC#44 FY 2014-15, 310 Mill Street: Mr. William Bishop requests the approval to install a commercial grade, black aluminum, Victorian-Style fence with arched gates and triad finials.  The fence would surround the entire property on all sides and include two gates.   The home is circa 1895 and there are no open violations.

  • He has a sample and pictures with his application.  He describes the look of the style of fencing.
  • He has taken some photos of fencing round the neighborhood.  The hedge that is along the road now will be staying and also the boxwood along the back of the yard.
  • The fence will go between the sidewalk and the hedges and be about four feet tall.
  • Posts are to be 2x2, with the tops having a ball cap that will be just a little taller than the picket.  The posts are six feet long and two of that will be in the ground in concrete.
  • Remote for the gate at the drive way.

Motion to close the public session by Ms. Smith and seconded by Mr. Berman.  All approved and carried.

Discussion of the height of the building to 48 inches to the top of the ball caps.

Is the manufacturer of the fence AlumiGuard?  Yes

A motion to approve the HPC#44 FY 2014-15, 310 Mill Street to install a commercial grade black aluminum Victorian-Style fence with arched gates and triad finials as seen in the documentation presented to the Board, with 2x2 posts with ball caps, to be erected taller than the finials.  The finials are to be the triad finials as indicated in the documentation.  The fence is manufactured by AlumiGuard.  Additional condition will be pending the survey being completed by the applicant and the approval by the Zoning officials in the City of Cambridge.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Russo.  All approved and carried.

Case HPC#45 FY 2014-15, 206 Glenburn Avenue: Mr. Thomas Knapp requests approval to repoint the existing brick, remove/replace existing front brick steps, remove concrete sidewalk, modify rear roof line, repair existing windows, replace aluminum storm windows, install exterior air conditioner unit, replace side door.  Also, replace aluminum storm door, replace rotting front door sill, remove and replace rotten lattice work and screens, replace broken front door light and replace landscaping shrubs.  A site visit was conducted on May 19, 2015 with DPW staff; the house was built in 1930 according to SDAT records.  There is one open violation at this property for water service and the house is condemned until water service is restored.

Discussion on the items to be replaced or repaired.  Main points were:

  • The main concern with the exterior is the roof and a leaking basement with mold.
  • He will be fixing the home and then selling it.
  • In the application the type and color of the shingles that he planned to use laminated architectural roof shingles.
  • The change to the rear of the second floor, which was initially never meant to be occupied when the home was built.  In the 1950’s or 60’s, the second floor was finished off with studs and paneling and upstairs bath and heat was extended up there.  He would like to change the dormer in the back to give it additional space. 
  • Remove the existing aluminum storm windows, replace with energy efficient storm windows and paint them to all white.  The windows themselves are actually in good shape on the first floor and he was just going to repair those.  Then add white storms windows.  He wants to keep the all white look to the house.
  • He wants to replace the existing brick steps with the same design.
  • He showed pictures of the rear of the house as it is now with dormer window.  Next was the front of the house with dormer and talked about the windows and are smaller and he plans to take the same dormer style and copy to the rear of the house.
  • He wants to take out the window A/C units and put in central air and the heating was an old boiler.
  • He will be replacing the front storm door and side main door, which is not original.  He shows a picture of the replacement door and screen door for the side of the house.

Ms. Weichmann explained that this Board focuses on the front on the homes and its primary facade, so that is where we are a stickler on the windows and want the highest quality in the front.  In the rear of the property we have more flexibility on materials.  We want you to fix as much as you can.

A motion to close the public session by Mr. Russo and seconded by Ms. Smith.  All approved and carried.

Mr. Nichols wants to see a full set of plans for the gable roof line for the second floor rear modifications(#3).  Mr. Knapp wanted to have a concept approval on which option he could do on the second floor. (#13) repair side dormers as required with white aluminum siding and repair the trim.  (#14) replace the rotting deck structure, which needs more information and drawings.

Ms. Smith made the motion to HPC#45 FY 2014-15, 206 Glenburn Avenue as per the application by Mr. Thomas Knapp, that we approve the proposed exterior with the exception of #3, #13 and #14.  We request that we get additional information and drawings as to the exact details of those to be constructed.  Mr. Russo asked are we going to specify on how we are going to need to see the rear elevation if we want brick or siding on the back of the house.  That will be when he comes back to us on #3.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Russo.  All voted and carried.

Case HPC#46 FY 2014-15, 119 Choptank Avenue: Mr. and Mrs. Starling request the approval to remove the existing porch columns/posts and front wall siding under porch and to restore porch features to original look.    This includes the installation of four brick piers across the front of the porch, the use of 2x8 salt treated wood framing on 16 inch centers, tongue and groove Wolf flooring, of which the applicants will provide a sample, the installation of four colonial  porch posts to match the originals as closely as possible.  Spandrels, cornice pieces and façade siding under the porch roof will be replaced in-kind or as close as possible.

This home was built in 1918 according to SDAT records.  Documentary photos submitted included an undated photo of 119 Choptank Avenue and a December 1963 photo of 117 Choptank Avenue for reference.  The original front porch was removed in the 1980’s or 1990’s.   There is no history of violations at this property.

Ms. Starling wants to replace the front porch to the original look.

  • Application has a spec sheet and she will be using wood, composite posts, composite decking for less maintenance, railings and spindles will be wood, brackets will be Polyurethane material that will need to be painted.
  • The brick stairs will be gone and that will bring the porch level to the front door.
  • She will try to match the original brick on the walls.
  • The brick patio will remain and the brick will be match to it.  We will be removing the brick and vinyl siding from the front of the porch and hope the original wood siding is in good shape.  She showed some pictures as to how it looked before in 1963.

Motion to close the public session was made by Ms. Olshesky and seconded by Mr. Russo.  All voted and carried.

A motion to approve HPC#46 FY 2014-15, 119 Choptank Avenue to allow the removal of the existing porch columns, posts and front wall under the porch and restore the new porch to features matching the original look as depicted in the photos in the application, specifically this rendering as a condition to the approval, with the brick piers to be a reddish color and the vinyl lattice to be trimmed with pvc trimming 1x4 wrapping it.  Motion seconded by Mr. Russo.  All voted and carried.

Case HPC#47 FY 2014-15, 120 Mill Street:  Mr.  & Mrs. Mark Masden first came to the HPC with a different contractor and the backdoor neighbor put up a fence and stated that contractor stole their wood.  Now we have a new contractor Mr. Eric Willey, and we are here to request to amend their earlier COA to include using high density urethane railings and replacing/repointing the porch foundation.  Now we would like to have a solid foundation.  On the original house had piers, but now we would like to have brick all around the porch.

Ms. Kinser stated that the Masden’s have a COA from November 21, 2013, to install replacement fiberglass columns, composite column bases, matching wood or composite tongue and groove flooring, to replace the porch floor and to use the existing porch rail components.    Mr. Eric Willey brought in a new application to amend that original, to change the railing to composite and to fill in the foundation and repoint it.  It sounds like they are not going to use the composite balustrade.

Ms. Kinser took the picture for reference on the materials for the decking of 602 William Street.

Motion to close the public session was made by Mr. Russo and seconded by Ms. Olshesky.  All approved and carried.

We want to approve what is needed right now.  Mr. Masden would like to have a whole brick foundation, composite or wood decking and the railing will be wooden.  Ms. Weichmann stated that we would approve the brick portion.

Preapproval of the column bases and tops flooring as well as the porch rails and posts.

A motion from Mr. Russo to approve HPC#47 FY 2014-15, 120 Mill Street for the Masden’s to include the foundation work and the concrete that is necessary for the foundation of the porch for the existing house.  Not to include the PVC railing in the presentation.  The Masden’s will come back for further information for the railing.  Seconded by Mr. Berman.  All voted and carried.

Case HPC#43 FY 2014-15, 312 Glenburn Avenue:  Mr. Tim Foley, Contractor for applicant Ms. Holly Worthington, is here to re-present the window replacement application from the last meeting.  The application has been amended to include the installation of the six-over-one solid vinyl windows with grills on the outside, in every window.  The applicant also intends to use vinyl coated aluminum trim on the windows.  The house was built in 1918 according to the SDAT records and has one open property maintenance complaint for the repair or replacement of the roof, which has already been completed.  A site visit was conducted with DPW staff on May 19, 2015.

Mr. Foley representing Ms. Worthington, he explained what the changes to the application are:

  • Window sample has changed to a window that has the grills on the outside of the windows for a more historical look, which are the same as the neighbors.
  • They are a ¾ inch with screens on the bottom and trim are a separate issue.
  • Approval for the windows and the sample of the vinyl coated aluminum required for the Lead Grant.
  • Drop in window, the stop molding is removed, the upper and lower sashes along with the chain and the weights are removed, then the window is made within a ¼ inch of the width and ¾ inch of the height the drops right in and the stock molding is reapplied.
  • The outside of the window  would be wrapped in the vinyl coated aluminum to mimic what is already there, if it is a 4 ¼ x ¾ return than that is what it will be to replace it.

Other discussion pertaining to the house:

v When he gets his approval here then his packet will go to the State of Maryland, they will come for a site visit and they will tell me what he can use.  He is looking for an approval on the windows and shelf the trim right now.

v The State of Maryland will allow LeadLock to be added to the paint.  He wants to install the new windows, leave the exterior the way it is and add the LeadLock to the paint.  But he must have the okay from the State.

Mr. Russo made the motion to close the public session, seconded by Ms. Olshesky.  All voted and carried.

Mr. Nichols made the motion to approve HPC#43 FY 2014-15, 312 Glenburn Avenue to approve the window as brought in a sample by the contractor, and to change all the windows to be six-over-one, double hung windows.  The lower level of the buildings trim, siding and appropriate other details, shall remain as existing, which will be wood.  The front dormer, which is brand new, six-over-one windows will remain as is showing vinyl siding and aluminum trim…… stop the confusion and take all the metal off all the windows, then he will put it back as wood just like the bottom.  The aluminum trim will all be removed.

Mr. Russo continued as to what was the suggestion about the wood trim.  Mr. Foley stated that this approval is more confusing, he will just remove all the aluminum trim off the upper windows so that they will all be wood.  Ms. Weichmann stated that we are just talking about the siding, just the trim that goes around the windows.  Mr. Foley continued that the detailing on the lower windows are different than on the upper windows, because of the storm windows.  When the storm windows are removed, you have a piece of 5 ¼ trim around the window, which will be added to the top, which will look off, if the aluminum on there, so he will remove the aluminum and if the wood behind it is rotten, he will repair it to look like the rest below.  He is also going to work with Ms. Worthington, and your approval, that if she decides, you are also going to approve that if she decides to remove all the vinyl, then you will allow the 4 ½ inch cedar siding painted to be installed to match the lower.

Mr. Nichols continued back to the motion will state that we will approve the six-over-one windows throughout the entire house, all four sides, to fit inside the openings that there existing.  The applicant further conditioned is to remove the aluminum trim on the front dormers three windows, replacing it with a composite material or leaving the wood exposed underneath.  Mr. Berman asked if he was replacing those windows on the dormers?  Ms. Weichmann stated yes he was anyways.  Second the motion by Mr. Russo.  All voted and carried.

Ms. Weichmann spoke about the informational reviews:

504 Poplar Street: RAR has an upcoming project, Tim Crosby.  The owners want to purchase the neighboring building to theirs. It was in the past a car dealership in the 1920’s.  He is showing pictures and the entrance to the building is actually on Gay Street.  They want to put in a canning operation.  There is a sketch of the interior of the building now (door and transoms), they could not find any pictures from that time.  They want to replace the glass with aluminum and with transoms on the top.  You will be able to see the canning through the windows.  Exposed brick walls and floor and press tin ceiling in that area.

Ms. Smith asked how long to do this improvement.  Mr. Crosby spoke that the sooner the better.

Mr. Nichols asked if there was any outdoor lighting for the project.  Mr. Crosby spoke that it in the plan.

Mr. Chris Brohawn (RAR) spoke about the machinery to be in the area.

They will come back with a completed application and more pictures and signage information.

116 Glenburn Avenue:  Ms. Farrell/Mr. Brooks intend to seek approval to replace their roof so that it would be more conducive to installing solar panels in the near future.

Ms. Farrell will be putting in an application and he hopes to put solar panels on the roof in the fall.  He showed pictures of the roof and the panels that his sales persons spoke of.  They suggested the best area to put them is the rear of the house and back porch.  The panels will be seen from the street because it is close to the corner of School Street.

They want to have a black roof so the black solar panels with black framework so this will not be very visible.

Ms. Weichmann stated that we as the Commission need to have more discussion on this issue and get a policy together on the solar issue.

Mr. Nichols asked for more details when the application is submitted.

Ms. Weichmann stated that we could approve the roof in June and discuss the solar panels at the next meeting.

Mr. Rick Lesser of Green Energy Systems, spoke about Solar Panels.  Talked about the Crystal panels compared to Thin Filled panels, the cost is different and the wattage is different.  He asked the Commission that if he has a client who wants to put in panels right now in the Historical District….. If the house is rectangle, the peak and ridge of the house run with the street, it is not on a corner and the panel face will be south facing /side roof.  You would not see them from the street, but you can walk down the street and look at the right angle and see them on the roof from there.  At what point do you consider visible and be approved.   Ms. Weichmann replied that this Commission has always looked at the primary façade and we try to minimize the visibility.

Mr. Nichols asked if there was a square footage requirement that would make the panels more cost effective for the home owner.  Mr. Lesser responded that the State and the Tax Credit benefits, the panels will pay-off in five or less years.  Mr. Nichols asked also if they could be on an assessor structure, like a shed or garage.  Mr. Lesser responded that as long as the area gets good sun exposure, than sure it can be done.

Solar access law through the State of Maryland?   A homeowner cannot be prohibited from putting up a solar system on their room, unless a house is designated a Historical Property and is on the register.

Ms. Smith suggested that if Mr. Lesser has any information on how he has dealt with other Cities and how he installed panels in other historic districts, this Commission would like to see them.

Administratively Approved / Routine Maintenance:

Elections:  Discussion of the time for the Elections.

  • Appointments are correct as listed online.
  • The advice for legal counsel (Rob Collison) is that there should be a text amendment to 2.1.4 (C.) 1 of the UDC to either:

v Clarify the UDC to say that elections must be held every calendar (as opposed to fiscal) year by January 31.

v Change the UDC to say that elections must be held in September in keeping with the appointment terms.

v Either way it would clarify what to do if an election is not held.

  • Staff recommendation (supported by Rob Collison) is that elections be held in September to coincide with appointment terms.
  • In order to accomplish either option there needs to be a motion by this Commission regarding the amendment language.

Ms. Weichmann made a motion that our elections of officers would be in September, so an amendment the UDC, so the election time period will end / begin in September.  Ms. Smith commented that if she was new in August, she would not want to vote for a Chairperson in September, because she would not know the Commission members yet.  Mr. Berman spoke that we need to know our members.   Mr. Nichols asked if we can vote today for new officers and then have a new election when the new ordinance is approved, this would be not for a one year term.

Mr. Berman stated that the members of the past always had an election in January of the year.

Mr. Russo wants to make a motion to follow the Attorney (Mr. Collison) suggested to have elections at the first meeting in January of the calendar year and to amend the UDC to state that change.  The current officers will serve for one year.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Berman.  All voted and carried.

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

Ms. Kinser also reminded everyone about the Harriet Tubman Underground Rail Road Conference on June 5th & 6th this year.  If anyone is interested, the information can be found at

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted, Michal Dixon, Secretary 1, DPW

____________________________                                        _________________________

Patricia Weichmann, Chairperson                                          Date