HPC Meeting Minutes
October 20, 2011
The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, October 20th, 2011 at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street. Vice-Chair Brian Roche called the meeting to order at approximately 7:00 PM. Mr. Roche began the meeting by taking roll call and swearing in the persons to testify.
Commissioners Attending: Brian Roche, Vice Chair; Jay Corvan, Alternate; Katie Clendaniel, Dormaim Bromwell Green. Farrell McCoy (came in approximately 15 minutes late).
Absent; Kathy Manicke, Chair.
Other Representatives Attending: Anne Roane, City Planner.
Mr. Roche presented the opening statement.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Roche asked if there were any changes to the agenda. Ms. Roane reported that there is one addition to the agenda. An applicant representing the owner of 112 Vue De Leau is requesting a previously approved COA be amended for a change in siding. The Board acted to approve the change to the agenda and add this case. It was noted that there were no items on the consent agenda.
Oath Administered-Persons Wishing to Testify: Mr. Roche administered the oath to all persons wishing to testify.
Approval of Minutes: Board members stated there were no recommended changes to the minutes of Sept. 15th, 2011. Jay Corvan motioned to a approve the minutes, seconded by Katie Clendaniel. Motion carried.
Regular Agenda Items
HPC#14-12, 5 Choptank Ave., Debbie and Gordon Hill, remove rear chimney, replace 3-tab shingles with architectural shingles, install two louver vents in front gable attic area; install one louver vent is side gable attic area; install louver vent with power ventilation in rear gable area of attic; replace window on first floor in rear with (one over one vinyl replacement); restore enclosed front porch to open porch, replace flooring, replace columns with fiberglass replacements; remove portion of rear shed; install 6' vinyl fence in rear w/ 4 ft. gate.
Mr. Hill began by reviewing the request to remove the rear chimney, stating it was in poor condition and the interior rear space is being remodeled. He proceeded to review each item, listed as one through seven.
Jay Corvan indicated he had no problems with the proposed roofing material but asked questions about the louvers in the attic dormer areas. Ms. McCoy asked about the possibility of installing an exterior shutter to fit the opening. Mr. Corvan noted that guidance from Maryland Historical Trust staff discourages putting openings in the roof or gables with the logic that these roof structures have survived for years without additional ventilation. He doesn't necessarily buy into that totally. Mr. Hill commented that the purpose behind additional ventilation is to lower the temperature in the attic area to prevent it from filtering down in the living space with air conditioning. Ms. McCoy offered to bring in her shutter catalog. Mr. Hill noted one area would be power vented.
Mr. Roche noted that he had an energy audit done on his attic and a recommendation was to add additional blown-foam insulation along the ridgeline down to the balloon framing to prevent air from coming up through the framing; where it effectively becomes conditioned space. Have you considered putting windows in the frame and just opening the windows? Mr. Hill noted it has been covered over already and would have to be reframed. Mr. Roche noted that that the State of Maryland also has a Be-Smart program which offers low interest loans and a free audit; they don't recommend what you are attempting to do.
Additional discussion followed on the chimney relative to its location, the proposed vent location, impact on the interior space, visibility, past decisions on similar cases, use of the chimney and the application of the guidelines to this situation.
Ms. Clendaniel raised questions on the use of the vinyl for the fencing and railing. Have estimates been obtained on replacing it with wood substitutes? Mr. Hill indicated he did not but it was his preference to go with vinyl due to maintenance reasons.
Mr. Roche noted that it would be his recommendation to vote on these items individually and asked for a motion to close the discussion to the public. Motion made by Ms. McCoy to close the discussion; seconded by Mr. Corvan; motion carried.
Mr. Corvan motioned to review each item independently, seconded by Ms. McCoy. Motion carried.
Mr. Roche asked for a motion (in the affirmative) on each item:
Item 1: the removal of the chimney. Jay Corvan motioned to approve the removal of the chimney; Ms. McCoy seconded. Roll call vote as follows: Mr. Corvan voted against the motion on the basis that this is a character defining feature; Ms. Clendaniel voted no on the basis that this action would be contrary to the guidelines; Ms. Green voted no on the basis of the guidelines; Ms. Coy voted no and also made reference to the guidelines. Motion failed.
Item 2: the replacement of the roofing material. Mr. Corvan motioned to approve the replacement of the 3 tab shingle with shingles as proposed by the applicant: seconded by Ms. McCoy. Roll call vote: Mr. Corvan-yes on the basis that the proposed roofing material is a suitable alternative; Ms. Clendaniel-yes, Ms. Green-yes, Ms. McCoy-yes. Motion carried.
Item 3: installation of attic ventilation with louvers. After some discussion, the applicant agreed to table this item to allow Mr. Hill to do more research and resubmit.
Item 4: installation of rear kitchen window. Mr. Corvan motioned to approve the installation of the rear window (one over one) as specified; Ms. McCoy seconded. All members voted to approve with the Chair not voting. Motion carried 4-0 in favor.
Item 5: restoration of front porch. Mr. Corvan motioned to approve the front porch restoration as presented: seconded by Ms. McCoy. Mr. Corvan voted in favor of plan as presented; Ms. Clendaniel voted no on this principally because of the use of the vinyl on a major character defining feature, the porch; she is in favor of the restoration but would like to see more historically appropriate material. Ms. Green voted yes on the plan as presented; Ms. McCoy voted no and suggested the applicant consider some alternatives for some of the items that would be more appropriate, she was in favor of the porch restoration though; Mr. Roche voted in favor of the plan as presented because he felt we had the lee way to approve substitute materials. Motion carried 3-2 in favor.
Item 6: removal of rear shed. Ms. Clendaniel motioned to approve removal of the rear shed as submitted, seconded by Ms. McCoy. Jay Corvan-yes; Ms. Clendaniel-yes; Ms. Green-yes; Ms. McCoy-yes. Motion carried 4-0 in favor.
Item 7: installation of fence and gates in rear yard as submitted. Mr. Corvan motioned to approve the installation of the rear fence as submitted; seconded by Ms. McCoy. Mr. Corvan-yes, Ms. Clendaniel-yes, but noted that she has problems with the use of vinyl (not a historical material) but since the fence is in the rear she is OK with it but would prefer the use of the wood. Ms. Green-yes; Ms. McCoy-yes. Motion carried 3-1 in favor. It was noted by members that Mr. Hill will returning with alternative proposals for Items 1 and 3 regarding the chimney and attic ventilation/louvers.
HPC#15-12, 7 Choptank Ave., Cheryl and Tom Hannon, replace eight (8) existing windows with vinyl replacements, remove chimney, patch roof with matching shingles.
Cheryl Hannon reported that the chimney is severely deteriorated. The windows would have two over two vinyl replacements. There is a mix of 6 over 6 and 2 over 1 window styles on the house and this would make them more consistent. The chimney is not functional and is not used. Discussion followed about masonry applications for brick repair. Questions were asked about the style of the grid patterns, whether the grids are imbedded in the glass or on the outside. HPC members noted that with the vinyl replacement windows they are seeing grid patterns are losing their distinction when imbedded in the glass. Members also suggested looking into the Be-Smart program and to provide alternatives to the windows with more defined grid patterns. Members voted to close the discussion.
Mr. Roche asked for motions on each item separately and requested a motion regarding the window replacements. Discussion followed on the guidelines. Mr. Corvan motioned to approve the windows as submitted. Farrell McCoy seconded. Roll call vote: Mr. Corvan-yes; Ms. Clendaniel-no, she would prefer to see an alternative window; Ms. Green-yes; Ms. McCoy-no; Mr. Roche voted to approve the application for this item as submitted. Motion carried 3-2 in favor.
Jay Corvan motioned to approve the application for the removal of the chimney and patching the roof; seconded by Ms. McCoy. Roll call vote: Mr. Corvan-is voting no; do not approve the removal of the chimney, this is a character defining feature; Ms. Clendaniel-no, this is contrary to the guidelines; Ms. Green- no, it is contrary to the guidelines; Ms. McCoy -no, based on the guidelines. Motion to remove the chimney is denied on a 4-0 vote.
HPC#16-12, 213 Oakley St., Mary Beth Adams, (Robert W. Powell, applicant) demolish garage, replace with small shed, install new fencing to match existing.
Robert Powell noted the condition of the shed is in a very deteriorated condition and reviewed the damage portions of the building. It is ready to come down. He reviewed the proposed shed and the proposal for the new fence that would match the existing vinyl fencing. It is 10' by 12' cottage shed and would set inside the fence. Mr. Corvan noted that the City should have taken enforcement action on this earlier due its condition. He noted all the sheds we are seeing are in very poor condition; very little care is given to them. Ms. Clendaniel and Ms. McCoy noted this is unique building and is a character defining feature. Mr. Powell noted the repairs would be significant, with studs, roof and rafters rotten due to the lack of a foundation, footer and sill plates. It is not salvageable. Ms. McCoy noted that one thing that makes Cambridge's Historic District special is the outbuildings. Ms. Clendaniel stated that in her opinion, the replacement shed is not really a suitable alternative. Mr. Powell noted that the owner does not really need a shed but would like something small. Demolition by neglect was discussed as an issue. It was noted that this building has been in decline for over 15 years.
Members asked if there was any sense of urgency with some members expressing a desire to view the shed in more detail. Mr. Powell noted the replacement shed is approximately $2,000. Repair options were discussed. Mr. Roche noted that there appears to be sufficient evidence on its condition and are we better off having it down versus having a dilapidated building remain there, especially with the new investment occurring in the area. Mr. Corvan asked if any part of the building could be salvaged and could there be a better replacement. Design details of the new shed were reviewed by Mr. Powell and noted that the shed with the fence would be somewhat sheltered from the street. Discussion followed about the design of new shed and problems with the 15 ft. height limitation for new sheds. It was noted that this building is approximately 12 ft. in height.
Mr. Corvan motioned to table this application to next month with the concurrence of the applicant. Ms. McCoy seconded. The next meeting would be on the 17th. Motion carried.
HPC#17-12, 106 Choptank Ave., William and Laura Hofherr, repair and replacement of porch components, partial replacement of siding, installation of replacement windows and trim.
William Hofherr, 7 Willis Street, owner, provided a synopsis of the project. The back end of the house needs rebuilt. He would like to start on the porch work. The existing metal tin roof on the porch is deteriorated. There is no railing on the porch. Step One would be to dismantle portions of the porch and repair it. They would have to remove the columns, repair them and re-install; repair and re-install the gingerbread molding and scroll work. The porch roof rafters may have to be replaced. The porch flooring: he is looking at an AZEC composite material, possibly going back to a metal roof. The steps would be possibly wood. Jay Corvan noted this is the Levy Phillips house and is an important house to the Historic District. Mr. Hofherr provided a brief history on the house; it is associated with the late 1870's Victorian vernacular era. Members asked if he had looked into tax credits and encouraged him to apply. Additional items were discussed as reflected on the application. His intention would be replace some of the siding with Hardi-plank replacement siding, as the back siding is deteriorated. He indicated he would be looking at vinyl clad wood windows. There were no additional comments from the audience. Members voted to close discussion. Motion carried.
Mr. Roche asked for a motion to move forward on the repairs to the porch but table action on the windows and siding. Discussion followed about the replacement materials as proposed by the applicant for the porch. Mr. Corvan motioned to approve the proposal for the porch repair to reflect the in-kind work and to include replacement of porch flooring using the AZEC tongue and groove porch flooring based on the sample presented by the applicant; and the use of the brick for the front porch steps and to continue the case for the windows and siding. Seconded by Ms. McCoy. Members voted unanimously in favor of this motion with Mr. Roche not voting. Motion carried 4-0 in favor.
Amendment to Agenda
112 Vue De Leau Street. Gary James, 1044 Hudson Rd., contractor, is representing the property owner. He is requesting an amendment to a previously approved COA for the siding on the new rear addition at this house. He is asking to substitute the approved asbestos fiber cement board siding for pressed cedar shingles which costs about 40% less. Hearing no addition comments, members voted to close the discussion.
Ms. Clendaniel motioned to amend the original COA to allow the use of the red cedar shingle from the fiber cement siding. Motion carried 4-0 in favor with Mr. Roche not voting.
HPC#10-12, 205 Oakley St., Stephen Fitzgerald (Bob Wright-applicant's representative) to install 16" o.c. metal roof (Fabral) on residential dwelling. (Tabled with concurrence of applicant's representative).
Members noted that it is their understanding that they are voting to continue tabling this application another month. Mr. Corvan motioned to continue this case for another month, seconded by Ms. Clendaniel. Motion carried.
Ms. Clendaniel brought up the case from last month with the house on Vue De Leau and the fact that upon removing the existing vinyl siding and the asbestos siding, the original siding is a wide wood clapboard plank siding. The new vinyl siding is a different profile. The contractor even admitted that it was a different profile later to a Board member. This was very disrespectful on the part of the contractor to ignore this. And we need to be more diligent in looking at the existing siding in these situations. Members agreed.
Mr. Roche noted that City Council members passed a motion to replace bricks with bricks on High Street instead of using back top.
Members acknowledged the items noted for Routine Maintenance and administratively approved items.
Administratively Approved/Routine Maintenance:
101 Belvedere Avenue, Maurice & Carol Daffin; replace architectural-dimensional shingles with in-kind replacement on 1 story ranch (non-contributing structure) ; Approved as Routine Maintenance-9/12/11.
109 Choptank Ave., James Culver, replace 3 tab composite shingles like in-kind replacement on damaged portions of house and front porch. Approved as Routine Maintenance-9/22/2011.
1110 Glasgow St., Frank Cooke, replace architectural/dimensional shingles on rear porch with in-kind replacement. Approved as Routine Maintenance-9/19/11.
415-417 Race St., Lutheran Ministries of Maryland, -replace 2nd story flat roof with membrane roof, not visible from street, emergency repair needed due to damage from recent hurricane event. Approved as Administrative Approval. 10-03-11
127 Vue De Leau, Ken Hine, partial removal of damaged porch section. Approved as Administrative Approval. Applicant to present plans for replacement at a future date. 10-04-11
Renewal/Extension Requests -
Mr. Corvan moved to adjourn the meeting at approximately 9:07 PM. Ms. Clendaniel seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Daniel L. Brandewie
City Planner II