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HPC Minutes

June 23, 2016


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The Historic Preservation Commission met on June 23, 2016 at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay St. Chairwoman Patricia Weichmann called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. Ms. Weichmann began the meeting by conducting roll call and issuing a welcome. Ms. Weichmann then conducted the swearing in of persons planning to testify and explained the order of business.

Commissioners Attending:

Patricia Weichmann—Chair, Mike Russo—Vice Chair, Ron Berman, Sharon Smith, Janice Olshesky—Alternate

Commissioners Absent:

Gaver Nichols, Jackie Vickers--Council Liaison


Other Representatives Attending:

LaSara Kinser—Planning and Zoning Assistant

Changes to the Agenda

Ms. Weichmann asked staff for any changes to the agenda. Staff indicated that there would be an addition to the agenda—a request from the City Council.


Mr. Russo made a motion to add the discussion to the top of the agenda. Ms. Smith seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


Request from Cambridge City Council

The request was represented by Ms. Sandra Tripp-Jones—City Manager, and Mr. Frank Cooke—Ward 3 Commissioner. Ms. Tripp-Jones presented a letter, signed by Acting Mayor Sydnor, asking the Commission to consider affirming in writing that the Commission will not require that properties owned by Dorchester County, which are acquired for the purpose of sale, be upgraded repaired or otherwise treated under section 4.5.6 Demolition by Neglect of the Unified Development Code, on the condition that the County offers them for sale within 60 days. She explained that the County Attorney has advised the County not to foreclose on tax delinquent properties in the historic district because of the risk of potentially having to expend funds on the rehabilitation of foreclosed properties. The unintended consequence of this advice is that properties sit vacant and continue to deteriorate indefinitely, because they cannot be sold until they are foreclosed on.


The Commission then asked questions of Ms. Tripp-Jones and Mr. Cooke. There was discussion regarding the foreclosure/tax sale process, the properties that the County has sold recently, what the exemption would cover, what would happen if a property was not sold, and a proposed time frame. After the discussion, the request was briefly put on hold for Ms. Tripp-Jones to clarify the proposed language.



May 19, 2016

Mr. Russo made a motion to approve the minutes. Mr. Berman suggested one change: to remove the phrase “emergency meeting”. Ms. Smith seconded the motion and it passed 4-0 with Ms. Weichmann abstaining because she was absent.


Consent Agenda

HPC #2016-029, 310 Gay St: Dan Thibeault requests approval to enlarge the door opening and replace the door on Muse Street side of building.

HPC #2016-034, 801 Locust St: Janice Olshesky requests approval to update and extend an existing CoA

HPC #2016-032, 315 Oakley St: Aaron and Christina Hammond request approval to replace three existing rear windows with a sliding door and install rear stairs.

Ms. Olshesky recused herself from the consent agenda and left the room, citing a conflict of interest. Mr. Russo made a motion to approve the consent agenda without discussion. Ms. Smith seconded the motion and it passed 4-0.

New Business:

HPC #2016-027, 8 West End Ave.: After a brief report by staff, Mr. Gregory Boss represented the application to seal and insulate the attic, install roof vents, replace windows on the front of the house, replace on the side of the house, replace existing replacement windows on the second floor of the house, remove non-functional through-wall air conditioner, install original and replacement shutters, remove door, portico and steps on street side at front of house, reframe door opening and replace with window, install/repair storm windows, and pour concrete to accommodate HVAC compressors.

There was further discussion regarding the age of the house, and the age of the stoop and portico relative to the house, potential mitigation techniques for the portico, the potential for the proposed additional window to cut the room up, and the lite pattern of the attic/gable windows. There was public comment by Mr. Frank Cooke.

Mr. Russo made a motion to approve the application with the conditions that the attic/gable windows will feature a one-over-one lite pattern, and to table the request to remove the portico, door and stoop until further research can be conducted on the age of the feature. Mr. Berman seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Request from Cambridge City Council, cont.

The Commission paused to return to the request from City Council. Ms. Weichmann made a motion that:

The HPC with authorize the chairperson to sign a letter to Dorchester County, agreeing not to enforce section 4.5.6 Demo by Neglect on properties owned by Dorchester Co which are acq for the purpose of sale, on condition that co offer such properties [for sale] within 60 days and condition that county highlight in contract of sale that the property is in the HD and subject to guidelines and that Ms. Weichmann would forward the proposed letter to the HPC for approval (via email) before signing it.


Mr. Russo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


HPC #2016-030, 304 Gay St.: Mr. Ed Howard (property owner) and Mr. David Marshall (contractor) represented the application to remove and replace the wooden porch floor, replace six wooden posts, replace the railing, and install vinyl soffit. Mr. Howard and Mr. Marshall explained their reasoning for replacing the porch materials, namely the deterioration of the existing original materials. There was a discussion on the level of deterioration particularly which elements need replacement, which elements are proposed to be replaced for aesthetic considerations, and the proposed materials. There was public comment by Audrey Howard, and Ashley Howard.

Mr. Russo made a motion to approve the request to replace the porch floor with composite materials, with the condition that additional information be provided to explain how the existing flooring will match any new flooring, and to table the other requests until the HPC can conduct further site visits accompanied by the project contractor. Ms. Olshesky seconded the motion and it passed 4-1 with Mr. Berman dissenting.

HPC #2016-031, 709 Church St: Ms. Katie Clendaniel represented the application for Delmarva Community Services requesting approval to replace the existing roof, replace an existing access ramp with an ADA standard ramp, repair the porch. Ms. Clendaniel explained the elements of the application. There was discussion and questions regarding the materials for the top rail of the proposed access ramp, whether or not the flooring should match, and the materials for the floor and column bases. There was public comment by Mr. Frank Cooke.

Ms. Smith made a motion to approve the application as submitted with the conditions that the top rail of the access ramp be constructed of composite and that there be landscaping installed to screen the ramp from the road. Mr. Russo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

HPC #2016-033, 302 West End Ave.: Ms. Nikki Zook, property owner, represented the application to demolish an existing rear extension and porch and rebuild it with a larger footprint, install a screened in porch in the lower part of the extension, and replace the front porch boards with tongue and groove composite. Ms. Zook presented the application for informal review at the June meeting. There were two elements of the presentation that were not included in the application and those elements will require advertisement and a later hearing. Ms. Olshesky indicated for the record that she and the applicant had previously exchanged professional correspondence, and that she did not believe it affected her ability to be impartial in the application. Ms. Olshesky also indicated for the record that she did not complete any work for the applicant, nor did she receive any compensation. There was discussion regarding the proposed windows in the addition and their size and proportion, the visibility of the alterations from the street, the guidelines regarding skylights.

Ms. Olshesky made a motion to approve the application, which is not to include the skylights and the resizing of one window, as submitted. Mr. Russo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

HPC #2016-028, 420 Race St.: Mr. Tony Thomas represented the application to construct a rear deck and privacy screen and install two signs. ***Note: at this point the recorder failed and the rest of the minutes are based on staff notes. *** Mr. Thomas explained to the commission that the proposed deck would support the use of the building as a restaurant, and that the deck would be 28’ x 32’ made of treated wood with a 3’ square railing and that the rear sign would match the size and location of an existing sign. The Commission reviewed the plans and elevations that were presented with the application. There was further discussion on the request to install an internally lit sign on the front of the building. Mr. Thomas presented two other sign renderings for consideration by the Commission.

There was public comment by Mr. Frank Cooke. Ms. Smith made a motion to approve the application as submitted, with the exception that the front façade sign will be the handing sign that was presented at the meeting, not the internally lit wall sign that was presented with the application, and that the applicant will submit further information on that sign to staff, before permitting. Mr. Russo seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Informal Review:

706 Church St: Ms. Clendaniel asked to table the informal review of the windows.

215 Glenburn Ave: Michael and Dale Schrader requested guidance regarding the windows at the property. The Commission heard their proposal to replace three broken wood windows on the property, and advised them to submit a formal application.


Admin approval language: The discussion was tabled until the next meeting.

Motion to adjourn: Motion by Mr. Russo, Ms. Smith seconded the motion and the Commission unanimously approved it. The meeting adjourned at 10:19 p.m.