• City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland

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HPC Meeting Minutes

March 17, 2011

The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street.  Chair Kathy Manicke called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  Ms. Manicke began the meeting by taking roll call and swearing in the persons to testify.

Commissioners Attending: Kathy Manicke, Chair; Brian Roche; Jay Corvan

Absent:  Katie Clendaniel; Farrell McCoy; Gary Young, Vice Chair

Other Representatives Attending: Daniel L. Brandewie, City Planner II

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:    November 18, 2010; January 20, 2011; February 17, 2011

Mr. Roche moved to approve the minutes of November 18, 2010.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Roche moved to approve the minutes of January 20, 2011.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Roche moved to approve the minutes of February 17, 2011.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.  

 

NEW CASES

HPC #33-11, "9 West End"- Lois Kampinsky, property owner,  requests to install a 4 ft high vinyl lattice fence along the south property line  with a 6 ft. grate at rear juncture of neighboring fence and one 4 ft. lattice gate in middle of run; install two 44' vinyl lattice gates near rear corners of house; to cover existing wood siding with Hardi-plank siding on east, south and 2nd floor of west sides of house; replace six 2 over 2 windows on 2nd floor with Marvin-wood vinyl clad replacement windows.

Mr. Corvan said he looked at the paint problem Ms. Kampinsky had with the house.  He picked up a piece of paint on the ground and it looked like it had failed from the old paint that was still on there when they painted over it.  It was pretty thick, so he guesses they primed and painted it.  Ms. Kampinsky said they scraped it, primed and painted it.  Mr. Corvan said what happened was they did not take the paint all the way down to the wood; so, that is probably why she is getting the failure.  He believes it is a paint failure as opposed to an endemic problem that one cannot solve.  He said it can be done; she is going to a great expense to remedy it, and she may want to look into that first.  He said this is his own observation; she may want to see if the painter will come back and make good on a bad paint job. 

Mr. Corvan said there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the approach Ms. Kampinsky is taking by putting Hardi-plank on top of the wood, other than the fact it is expensive and he doesn't think it is as good as the wood look because Hardi-plank is thinner than wood siding and one can tell the difference; he can.

Mr. Corvan said Ms. Kampinsky may want to consider CertainTeed beaded vinyl siding which is a vented siding and it looks like historic bead board and it looks better than what she has.  

Mr. Corvan said in regard to the fencing, he would prefer Ms. Kampinsky to go with a picket style fence.  Mr. Corvan said he did his homework on Cambridge and the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) uses Cambridge as a precedent in historic homes.  Mr. Roche said there is a lot of the square lattice on the homes, particularly the larger homes in the districts.  He thinks she did well by not going with typically what is the more modern lattice.  Maybe the fences weren't made out of lattice, but it does mimic the look of what people used along their foundations.

Ms. Manicke asked if anyone wished to speak for or against this project. 

Frank Stout, 302 Gay Street, Cambridge, Maryland, said as he reviewed the work that has been done on this house, he wants to complement Ms. Kampinsky. He wants to echo the sediments of Mr. Roche that he has great confidence in Mr. Huntington's recommendations as well sitting as the liaison to Council.  There is nothing he has done that has been substandard in any way and any one he is associated, affiliated or recommends, he would have the utmost faith and confidence in their capacity to continue to do a great job with this house.  He applauds their efforts in putting together this project.

Ms. Manicke asked if anyone wished to speak for or against this project.  There was no one.

Mr. Roche moved to close the discussion.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Corvan moved to approve the windows as described by the applicant and is included in the application.  Mr. Roche seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Corvan moved to approve the siding provided that it matches the existing building details of corner boards, casings and friezes and that one person of Historic Preservation Commission be nominated as a designee of evaluating the application of the siding.  Ms. Manicke said she will do that.  Mr. Roche seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Roche moved to approve the fence as submitted.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Mr. Corvan said no.  The vote was 2:1 in favor.  Motion carried.

HPC #34-11, "410 Race Street"- Joy Staniforth, property owner, requests to install an 18" by 10' banner sign on the front commercial face of her store, Joie De Vivre"Chris Gillis with Crystal Signs is the applicant. 

Mr. Gillis said Ms. Staniforth is putting in four studio galleries upstairs and she would like to be able to show people there is an art gallery upstairs when people come from both sides of the street walking up towards her business. The 10 foot scale fits that building façade proportionately.  They went with a vinyl banner because it is light weight and economical.  It will match the same colors, blue and gold, that she has as trim on the first floor of the building at street level.  The brackets that hold the poles that hold the banner will be clear-through bolted, not just bolted to the plaster in front but all the way through the wall. 

Mr. Corvan said he personally does not have any problem with the kind of generic approach that this takes; it is not a strong design feature that it could match practically any kind of architecture.  He does not find it offensive.  He said if the banner is bigger than actually shown, could Mr. Gillis split the difference between the windows; in other words put the center of the sign at the meeting rail of the window - meeting rail being the horizontal piece between the two pieces.    

Ms. Manicke asked if any one has any comments for or against the project.  No one spoke. 

Mr. Roche moved to close the discussion.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Corvan moved to approve the sign as submitted.  Mr. Roche seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 

HPC #35-11, 310 High Street, Dorchester County is the property owner.  The Dorchester Center of the Arts is the operative lease holder and the applicant.  Timothy Crosby is Principal with Crosby & Associates Architects, 507 Court Lane in Cambridge Maryland.  He is representing the Dorchester Center of the Arts.  George Fox is here and is President of the Board of Directors for Dorchester Center of the Arts.   Mr. Crosby is requesting construction of second floor addition over existing one story rear portion of building to provide handicap accessible entrance and break-out area for proposed interior banquet facility.  Mr. Crosby gave a power-point presentation.

According to Mr. Crosby: there are three primary goals the Center had for doing this expansion:  1) It is a wonderful organization in serving the community for 40 years.  They want to expand what they can offer to the community so they need a large multi-purpose space.  The 1930's two story addition has a very large open space on the second floor that has not been renovated and that is the primary area that is being renovated as part of the overall program.  They want to use that as a multi-purpose space.  2) One of the other prime objectives is to expand the accessibility of the building.  There was an elevator put into the building on a former renovation, but it has never been put into use because it goes up into the air.  3) The last is to increase their sources of income.  The facility would be rented and also for additional programs.    

Mr. Crosby said the rear addition has its place in all of those goals and objectives.  The universal accessibility, have multiple programs occurring because this would be used as an entrance.  Right now if one goes into the Center, one would go through one of their primary spaces on the first floor to get to the second floor so the Center could never have programs going on at the same time.  This rear addition would allow that to happen.  They wanted to have a design that is compatible with the existing building.

They spent from June until December working with the Maryland Historic Trust and the Maryland Historic Trust has an exterior and interior easement so everything they did on the building both inside and out had to meet with their approval.  Included in the packet is a letter from the Maryland Historic Trust who approved the interior and exterior design.  They have the bids from the contractors; they have the building permits that have been issued thanks to the Department of Public Works (DPW). The interior contractor has been selected, Harper & Sons. 

The Dorchester Center of the Arts has the right in their agreement with Dorchester County to make improvements to the building on their own.  Mr. Corvan asked Mr. Crosby if the County Council had approved of Mr. Corvan's improvements.  Mr. Corvan said they have not reviewed the improvements.  They know about the expansion, but they do not have the interest or the desire to review the plans.  That is the preview of the Dorchester Center of the Arts.  Mr. Corvan asked him: "was he is saying the Center is giving Mr. Crosby the freedom to do whatever he wants?"  Mr. Crosby said yes, for the record.  Mr. Corvan said that is unusual, he thinks it is fine, but usually they don't talk to the tenant, they talk to the owners.  Ms. Manicke said this case is different.

Ms. Manicke asked if any one wished to speak for or against this application.  No one spoke.

Mr. Roche moved to close the discussion.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Corvan said the entry bothers him even though that is an existing piece.  He thinks they could ask that the entry be improved somehow.  That would be his sincerest wish to see some way that the store front entrance is addressed somehow. 

Since the discussion has been re-opened, Mr. Crosby said he wants to comment.  He does not believe the store front entrance can be improved. 

Mr. Corvan moved to re-open the discussion.  Mr. Roche seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Roche said that Mr. Corvan's point is well taken, but this is a "gray area" and it makes sense as a Commission to say they would like to see it addressed if it is reasonable.  He thinks they should just make a recommendation.

Discussion continued on whether the Center could take action on correcting the problem with the storefront entrance that both sides may agree on as a condition of approval.  Mr. Crosby objects to where the HPC can condition the approval on the Center expansion with the HPC taking action on something that is not even part of the expansion project.

George Fox, Chairman and President of the Board of Directors, said in the future the Center would like to do something with the entrance, but they have a severely finite amount of money and adding to the scope and making something contingent upon it is not proper at this time.  They have heard the comments and agree with them.  It took a lot of money to get the design as they have it. 

Mr. Corvan said the HPC is in a situation where they have not had a consultant before.  They are seeing this for the first time.  He said he knows Mr. Fox is saying it is out of the scope, but he knows there are other aspects of the project that the Center has changed and can change.  He will leave it as a recommendation, although he is uncomfortable with that because he is guessing that Mr. Fox will not do anything with the HPC's recommendation and he feels it is a real stumbling block for the building.  He would rather see the project move forward than hit the distress button now, so he said he will back off.

Mr. Roche moved to close the discussion.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 

Mr. Roche moved to approve the project as submitted with the condition the roof sample is provided showing the width and the way it is seamed so it demonstrates the architectural detail that was described.  In the future, the HPC would like to see something done with the rear entrance.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. 

HPC #36-11, 111 West End Avenue, Michael and Kay Jones are the property owners.  Kevin Hill is with Brooks Creek Construction and is the contractor for the owners.  They requests construction of a garden shed 12' x 12' addition on existing garage in rear of lot.

Mr. Corvan looked around the neighborhood to see what kind of accessory buildings were in the area and he noticed there was a variety.  They were small and there were not many of them.  The roofs were simply shaped except for this roof.  Mr. Hill said the existing garage roof is hip and they wanted to match it.  Mr. Corvan suggested a gable roof and to go with a higher profile that would match more of the accessory buildings and the house.  Rather than taking the building as the precedent, go back and look at the accessory buildings and what they are shaped like with more space and storage under it.  He told Mr. Hill he has an opportunity to do something better than just match the existing roof because in his opinion even if he matches the existing roof and tie it in at the same angle, the building does not match the existing house and it doesn't match anything around it.  That is why he would recommend using a gable instead of hip. 

Mr. Brandewie said there is a 15 feet height limitation for accessory buildings.  He does not know if the gable roof would stay under that.  There has been a lot of discussion about changing that because they feel it is too low with the pitch of the roofs on accessory buildings that are traditionally found in the historic district. 

Ms. Manicke said she understands, but she thinks the original hip roof was put there because some one wanted that to be different.  It is unique.  Mr. Corvan thinks they built it because it was inexpensive and that is why they put it up.  The style is a very low slope roof, so the style would not be historic.  If it were historic, it would have at least a 6 and 12 pitch roof, generally speaking.

Ms. Manicke asked if any one wished to speak for or against the project.  No one spoke.

Mr. Roche moved to close the discussion.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Corvan moved to approve the 12 x 12 addition with a hip roof as shown on the drawing with a few exceptions: the three openings shown on the side facing the existing building is reduced to two openings, two French doors with 2 over 2 lites and the windows that are on the side elevation are pulled apart to a distance that is the same as the other side facing the house.  In other words, the distance between the two would be the same and they can be windows with a 2 over 2 design and the Hardi-plank is also approved as long as it matches the existing reveal, corner boards and friezes.  Mr. Roche seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Manicke stated she would like to change the agenda now to take the application #37-11 for 116 High Street and put it at the very end of the day after the continued cases. 

 

CONTINUATION OF CASES

HPC #21-11, 702 Church Street, Michael and Beverly Robinson, property owners/applicants, request replacement of porch columns, general repairs to porch (review of porch columns).  HPC acted to deny installation of round porch columns until more information is submitted on alternatives.  Applicant will submit turned column specs for review at meeting.

Mr. Brandewie spoke on behalf of the applicants.  This application has been before us at least for three meetings starting back in December 2010.  The only unresolved issue was the type of porch column to be installed.  The ones on the porch were not original and did not receive HPC approval.  Mr. Robinson reported back to him that they agreed to go with the turned columns and he has submitted the spec sheet on that.   Mr. Corvan said it is a perfect column for the house; he thinks it is a big improvement.

Ms. Manicke asked if any one wished to speak for or against the new columns.  No one spoke.

Mr. Corvan moved to close the discussion.  Mr. Roche seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Corvan moved to approve the columns as per the cut sheets that have been submitted, dated 3-8-11, colonial cut for wood porch posts to replace the existing posts that are on 702 Church Street.  Mr. Roche seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Discussion followed about whether porch railings were required on this porch as it appeared to be over 30 inches in height.  Mr. Brandewie said he would e-mail or write to a building official to make a final determination on that because it could be a safety issue. 

HPC #31-11, 206 Choptank Avenue, Dorchester County Council, property owner, requests to demolish residential structure.

Mr. Brandewie received a call from Lindy Bramble, a Building Inspection Official from the County, on Monday, March 14th informing him of that they were going to issue a contract to go ahead and board up the house and seal the roof.  They estimated the cost at $1600.  Mr. Brandewie also heard from a West End citizen that the County was moving forward with possibly putting it up for auction, although he did not get a final confirmation on that.  He spoke with Tom Merryweather who called him March 10th or 11th and essentially confirmed they were going to board it up; he did not say when they were moving it toward auction, but that is the indication he got. 

Mr. Brandewie said the question for the HPC is should they deny the demolition permit or table it in order to get more correspondence back from the County regarding their plans for the property.  He had a concern about whether the HPC should act on this request now or wait until further direction from the County; or wait until someone else buys the property and the HPC is presented with a similar request to demolish.

Discussion followed.  Mr. Brandewie said the attorney representing the County could not make it to this meeting and was waiting until May before he could get back to the HPC on some other alternative.  There were ideas tossed around about the HPC or other non-profits that may be interested in buying it or gifting it to them and seeing what alternatives. 

Mr. Corvan said Mr. Merryweather made a presentation last month.  The HPC requested him to come forward and explain what the County was doing with the property.  He said the County and the City were working together, the County taking the lead on this because they did not want to have two agencies involved in this; one would work.  He also mentioned there could be four or five more of these properties coming back for demolition; whether they were in the historic district he does not know.  They had a discussion with Mr. Merryweather saying the HPC would like to go to County Council to talk to them about this problem because if a number of them are coming across their desks it would be better to solve them on a general basis than would be trying to act each one separately.  He would still like to talk to the County Council about that and talk to them about options to get a nonprofit involved and to sell the building for very little to a person that is agreeable to fixing up the building.  He can't see how denying a demolition permit would exacerbate their position; they (the HPC) still don't want the building taken down.  He is in favor of acting on the demolition permit by denying it and then asking the County if they can come and talk to them about it.

Ms. Manicke said the actual way to do that is for her to call for a motion to approve the demolition and then vote no. 

Mr. Roche said his main concern is that the house, in its current condition, is stabilized and secure. The City has a Board-Up ordinance and the City is making sure the home is secure from water damage. 

Ms. Manicke asked if any one wished to speak for or against the demolition at 206 Choptank Avenue.  No one spoke.

Mr. Roche moved to close the discussion.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Corvan moved to demolish the house at 206 Choptank Avenue.  Mr. Roche seconded the motion.  All in favor say yes; there was 0 in favor.  All opposed to demolishing the house say no; there were three (no) votes.  The motion to approve the demolition request does not carry. 

HPC #32-11, 428-432 Race Street, Tony Calabro, property owner, requests installation of projection sign to replace existing projection sign on front of commercial building.  The sign company is Crystal Signs.

Mr. Brandewie said Chris Gillis was here last month who presented a projection sign for this building with dimensions of approximately 10 feet x 6 l/2 feet in an art deco style.  The HPC tabled action on the sign with the understanding that alternatives be brought back to the HPC for further review.  There was a zoning issue that was discussed; a sign that is over 10 feet in height that can't extend out more than 4 feet 6 inches.  That is an applicable situation here.  He talked to the owner and Mr. Gillis about that.  That could be a design issue they need to keep in mind with these dimensions.  Mr. Gillis did present an alternative to Staff which is included in the HPC's package.  On the original presentation the alternatives did not have dimensions.

Mr. Gillis said in the last few weeks, since he first presented the sign project, he did some research and found out that the building was built in 1920, not in the 1800's as was speculated.  It was not the site of the historical 1960's sit down restaurant; that happened at Doris Mae's.  He talked with other business owners in Cambridge and business owners specifically on Race Street and he showed them the picture and people liked it.  They liked it simply because the sign enhances the street and therefore enhances their business neighborhood.

Mr. Corvan said the last time Mr. Gillis came in and made a presentation, the HPC reminded him the only guideline they have in their historic part is the signage guideline that says signage can enhance the historic significance of the commercial area.  The City has zoning standards of their own.  The HPC standards states that signs should be compatible with the architectural detail of the building on which they are to be placed.  The building dictates the sign. The HPC's direction last time was they felt this building isn't necessarily neoclassical or art deco; it is a Victorian store front which is prior to neoclassical. The question is why they are going with a deco sign on a Victorian store front. 

Ms. Manicke suggested stopping the discussion and allowing other people to speak.

Tony Calabro, property owner, said he does not know the terminology or the language; he does not know neoclassic from traditional to colonial; he practices dentistry.  He can talk about colors, shapes, angles and beauty.

Dr. Calabro said they have paid very specific attention to detail of the façade of the building.  They have paid attention to their surroundings.  He asked the HPC to tell him, because it is their decision; is it right for their decision to be based upon subjective opinion or is it right to be based upon objective facts. 

Mr. Corvan said there is certain objectivity; he is sorry that Dr. Calabro just became aware of the Design Guidelines.  The HPC did quote this last time; he does not know the hours that were put into this.  It is in the historic district; the HPC saw it for the first time last month and they thought it was in the wrong direction because of Article V.  Discussion continued.  Mr. Corvan said signage on the basis of architectural detail can be objective and sometime aesthetic. 

Dr. Calabro discussed Article V which says signage can enhance; it does not say it must enhance the historic significance of the commercial area.  Sign designs should be compatible with the architectural detailing of the building.  It says the designs should be, not must be.  He made his presentation in how he thinks his signage is compatible with the building.  The HPC reviewed the other pictures in their package showing other examples of an Art Deco style on other buildings in the downtown historic district.

Mr. Corvan said the HPC's problem is they have the guidelines which basically rule their decisions such as they are.  Mr. Corvan said he wants to talk to the HPC members for a moment. 

Mr. Corvan said Dr. Calabro's sign is an art deco sign where the building is not an art deco building.  HPC members take that guideline seriously; so they will decide whether it should or shouldn't be and whether it is compatible or not.  Their charge is to basically make sure that these are historically appropriate decisions.  The HPC will evaluate what Dr. Calabro has presented; the HPC will make a decision based on what they think is more important. 

Dr. Calabro said they looked at other sign designs and that is why they went back to the original design; which is why they are here again tonight.

Ms. Manicke asked if any one wished to speak for or against the proposal.

Next speaker's name was Steve (inaudible-his name was not on the sign in sheet).  He is Dr. Calabro's tenant at 432 Race Street.  He is in full favor of what Dr. Calabro is trying to do with his building.  In addition to that he would like to say it is refreshing to him who lives out of town, to have somebody in this town who is willing to make such a commitment and such an investment in this building.  He thanks Dr. Calabro for that.

Natalie Chabot, City of Cambridge Economic and Development Director, pointed out that the applicants may have invested a great deal of time and money attempting to come up with alternative designs and sign copies; the absence of clear guidelines can create additional expense to the business owner on preparing these draft design concepts.  We are working on business friendly approach to government.  

Rick Simmons spoke in favor of the request.  He may be a tenant as well and is in the real estate business.  He supports one sign as opposed to three signs. 

Discussion followed.  Mr. Corvan spoke about the period of significance for this structure and the problems with the current standards in not giving much guidance.  He suggested not voting on it now and putting together a task force to study the guidelines.  Ms. Manicke spoke about concerns over the delays to the business if a task force were formed.  Mr. Corvan expressed concern that the other two members weren't here and would not weigh in.  He did not believe this sign, as an Art Deco style sign is not compatible with the building.  Mr. Roche expressed concern also about the delays and the somewhat arbitrariness of the guidelines.  He thought the sign was not totally out of character with the district although it may less compatible with this building.  Ms. Manicke spoke on why she originally requested tabling action for the need to conduct additional historical research and she is satisfied that the existing sign on the building has no real significant history.   She thought the sign also mimics other signs in the district and signs are removable and less permanent in nature.  Mr. Corvan believed that the time put into this was not spent wisely on this sign and it is still incompatible.  Mr. Roche noted we have to make a decision on what we have in front of us.  Mr. Roche noted also that the applicant also has presented some evidence that the sign does have architectural elements that match the building.  More discussion followed.  Mr. Corvan requested a vote as it was a frustrating discussion.

Mr. Roche moved to close the discussion.  Mr. Corvan seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Roche moved to approve the application as submitted because the guidelines aren't clear enough to provide guidance; it is important to business owners to have better standards; they have presented sufficient justification for there application; there are other examples of this art deco style in the district; as we move forward it is clear we need better standards but under the circumstances the sign should be approved as submitted.  Karen Manicke seconded.  Motion carried 2-1 in favor with Mr. Roche and Ms. Manicke voting in favor of the application with Mr. Corvan voting against the application. 

Mr. Corvan explained his vote in that he felt that this sign did not meet the one standard in front of us. 

HPC#37-11, 116 High Street, Brian D. and Kathleen Manicke; remove storm door, permanently remove window on side of house and replace siding with in-kind material.

Ms. Manicke noted that the application that is next is one where she is a party to and that she would excuse herself from the deliberations and vote as it is a conflict of interest.  If that occurs, there would no longer be a quorum to conduct business. 

Mr. Brandewie suggested that we have a special called meeting to handle this case due to the lack of attendance and the lack of a quorum with Ms. Manicke having to recuse herself.  This has been done in the past.  Mr. Roche recommended we look at our schedules and arrange a meeting to accommodate this application. 

 

Other Business

Mr. Brandewie noted that the by-laws and procedures have been worked on and a draft will be available soon.  He noted there is a self assessment guide made available to HPC members and provided material on this subject. 

Mr. Corvan noted that the poster sign next to the building at the Dorchester Arts Center has been up for a long time and it should not be considered a permanent sign. 

Discussion followed about forming a sign subcommittee to follow up with tonight's topic.  No action formally taken.  It was suggested that Commissioner Stout bring up the subject to the Main Street Board.  Discussion followed about the status of the by-laws and rules of procedures. 

Meeting adjourned at approximately 9:45PM. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Daniel L. Brandewie
City Planner II