HPC Meeting Minutes
June 21, 2012
Commissioners Attending: Farrell McCoy; Brian Roche, Vice Chair; Katie Clendaniel; Dormaim Bromwell Green
Absent: Kathy Manicke, Chair; Jay Corvan
Other Representatives Attending: Dan Brandewie, City Planner II
At the beginning of the meeting, Brian Roche recused himself from participation on matters before the Commission due to the fact that he had an item on the agenda. In the absence of both the Chair, and Vice-Chair, Katie Clendaniel served in the capacity as Chairperson.
Ms. Clendaniel said it takes a majority of the Commission to act on a motion, so tonight the Chair will be voting. Normally, the Chair elects not to vote. Ms. Clendaniel presented the opening statement.
Oath Administered-Persons Wishing to Testify: Ms. Clendaniel administered the oath to all persons wishing to testify.
Mr. Brandewie noted there were no items placed on the consent agenda. He stated there is a request to move an agenda item, HPC#39-12, scheduled to be heard as a continuation case, ahead of the regular agenda items.
Farrell McCoy moved to allow this case to be heard ahead of the regular agenda items; seconded by Dormaim Bromwell Green. Motion carried.
Inactive Docket/Continuation Cases
HPC#39-12, Long Wharf Park, Heart of Chesapeake Heritage Area, requests to install Harriet Tubman historical byway marker (revised location).
Mr. Brandewie said two weeks ago at the Council Meeting the City Council took under advisement the recommendation of the HPC regarding the location of the byway marker. They recommended that it be re-located to the corner of the right hand lawn area as one is approaching Long Wharf Park. This case is before us tonight with Council's recommendation. The Farmers Market organization was approved for a Farmers Market sign in that general location, so we would suggest to them to consider shifting it up slightly to accommodate this design. Staff has no objections to the revised location per the Council's recommendation.
Ceres Bainbridge is representing Dorchester County Tourism. She said they accept the decision whichever way it goes.
Lynda Brooks, Market Manager for Cambridge Main Street Farmers Market, said they are against having the Long Wharf sign in that location since the Farmers Market sign has already been approved for the same location. They think the Long Wharf sign location detracts from the Farmers Market sign. They were told to limit their sign to 5 feet high, but the Long Wharf sign is more than 5 feet high. She thinks having more than one sign in that location is going to compete for people's attention. Their executive director is a landscape designer and she suggested it could go along the side where the sailboats are because there is nothing near the grassy area; the linear appearance would go with the masts of the sailboats.
Mr. Brandewie suggested that the final location be put back in the hands of City Council since they have the final authority. He thinks putting it on the other side of the street loop dissociates the idea of the marker being connected to the wharf, the landing and to the Choptank River.
Ms. Brooks said she that until the City decides to do a main sign for Long Wharf Park with the Farmers Market, the Light House, the Skipjack and Harriet Tubman, they need to be careful where they place the signs because it is going to look too busy.
Ms. McCoy suggested that Anne Roane go to the City Council meeting and talk to them about this problem. Mr. Brandewie said there is a general consensus they need a master plan for Long Wharf Park as well as other parks in the City. We don't want to move along piecemeal with items as they come up. A plan would provide a comprehensive viewpoint. He reminded the HPC that at the previous meeting, they voted on the appropriateness of it, the context of it; they could simply endorse the idea of it moving forward and let Council have the final decision again on its location.
Ms. Clendaniel asks the public if they wish to speak. No one else spoke on the subject.
Mr. Brandewie stated that it was his understanding that the Council did not direct the marker to that specific location. There is some flexibility with Council. As a reminder, Ms. Clendaniel's earlier recommendations were for it to go on the other side where the sailboats are located.
Ms. Green moves to close the discussion; seconded by Ms. McCoy. Motion carried unanimously.
Ms. McCoy moves that they defer the decision to City Council; that we remind them that this body has approved the Farmers Market sign for that spot and that they consider moving the sign to the other side; and they seek the advice of Anne Roane who is the City Planner; seconded by Ms. Green. Motion carried unanimously.
Regular Agenda Items
HPC#47-12, 527 Poplar St., Jimmie and Sook's, represented by Tim Wright requests installation of synthetic vinyl fence in rear patio area of restaurant and around dumpster (after the fact installation); new sign to be installed at storefront for ice cream shop (specifications needed).
Tim Wright, 802 Glasgow Street, Cambridge, Maryland, said the fencing behind the building surrounds the dumpster, cardboard recycling and also an oil recycling container. The other fence surrounds the patio in the rear; it is white vinyl. In regards to the sign, it will be 5' x 3' x 3'.
Mr. Brandewie said the sign is consistent with what he and Mr. Wright had discussed earlier. He thinks it would be a good idea to get dimensions with specifications before HPC approves it or submit it back to Staff for further review. Staff would further encourage the lettering on the sign to be professional, not handwritten and that it be an appropriate font style.
Staff pointed out the applicant was advised not to put the fence up until they came back to HPC; this requirement was reflected in the Certificate of Occupancy (COA) that was previously issued for work done on the building. Ms. Clendaniel asked why the fence went up without an application.
Mr. Wright said he and Amanda were very busy with the restaurant and it was a time issue, the weather and the help he had. There was only a small window where his help could do the fence.
Ms. Clendaniel said the HPC is obligated to look at the application as if the materials have not gone up yet. They are not obligated to consider economic hardship.
Ms. Clendaniel asked if anyone from the public wished to make a comment.
Jay Fashner, 1007 Locust Street, Cambridge, Maryland, said he does not have any invested interest in what Jimmie and Sook's are doing, but he wants to comment about vinyl siding not being appropriate for historic district. There are plenty of homes in the historic district that have vinyl fencing around their yards. He does not know why Mr. Wright should be denied based on that reason.
Ms. Clendaniel asked if anyone else wished to make a comment. There were no comments.
Ms. Green moved to close the discussion; seconded by Ms. McCoy. Motion carried unanimously.
The HPC discussed various options such attaching wood to the vinyl fencing to make it more consistent with the guidelines or allowing the fence to remain for a short period of time. Ms. Clendaniel said these recommendations would have to be accepted by Mr. Wright; otherwise the Commission needs to vote.
Ms. McCoy moves to approve the sign with the caveat that the specs need to be reviewed by staff; seconded by Ms. Green. Motion carried unanimously.
Ms. McCoy moves that the Commission allow the fence to stay temporarily and request the applicant come back to the Commission by the end of April of 2013 with a proposal that will meet the City's guidelines. In the interim, Mr. Wright is to consult with the Planning and Zoning Staff on options; seconded by Ms. Green.
HPC#48-12, 104 Willis St., installation of AZEC Porch Flooring to replace existing wood porch flooring; replacement of porch railing (specs to be provided), additional routine maintenance items proposed.
Jeff Dayton, 1301 Glasgow Street, Cambridge Maryland, a licensed contractor, spoke on behalf of the owner. Mr. Dayton offered samples of materials they propose to use. One HPC member commented that the proposed material looked like vinyl and feels like plastic. The balusters are vinyl. He has installed wooden materials before, but he said it just does not last; he can't get 5, 6 or 7 years out of it.
Ms. Clendaniel asked if the public wished to speak for or against the application.
Elaine Pritchard, 120 Willis Street, lives on the same street this house is on. She re-did her porch several years ago and she came before this HPC and had everything approved. She did it in wood and it is beautiful, it looks old and it looks like it belongs to the house. However, there are a lot of houses on the street that have plastic porches and it looks terrible. Mr. Brandewie read the guidelines.
Jim Linthicum, 6 Oakley Street, said it is the high gloss that is the problem. The decking is a matte finish, it is horizontal, it is serviceable, but the high gloss is glaring.
Mr. Brandewie said there is another request item for using asbestos type siding. They will be replacing any damaged areas with siding to match. It is a routine maintenance situation. They are going to repair the original windows.
Ms. Clendaniel asked Mr. Dayton if the homeowner would be prepared to table the railing issue and discuss other options with Staff. Mr. Dayton said yes.
Ms. Green moved to close the discussion; seconded by Ms. McCoy. Motion carried unanimously.
Ms. McCoy moved to approve the flooring and postpone consideration of the railing until the applicant has time to come back and discuss more appropriate alternatives with Staff. Ms. Green seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
HPC#49-12, 317 Oakley St., Michelle Kerns, owner, Tim Kerns, applicant; (1) installation of vinyl siding (double 4" lap- rye color) and related trim material; (2) installation of PVC hexagonal siding to replace decorative fish scale type siding (3) rebuild porch steps and risers using synthetic material (PVC type or AZEC materials); additional routine maintenance items.
Tim Kerns, 8751 Roundhouse Circle, Easton, Maryland, stated he is representing his sister, Michelle Kerns. They are proposing a 4 inch double lap siding. The existing siding is l/2 inch smaller. Mr. Kerns asked the HPC to look into the economics of it because the 3 inch restoration siding is double the cost. For lead abatement, painting the entire house-it would have to be bagged.
Michelle Kerns, 317 Oakley Street, said she is living here as a second home.
Mr. Brandewie said he referred to Easton's guidelines which is a fairly recent amendment in preparing his staff report. They have some common sense guidelines like how to stagger the vinyl siding so the runs are not done inappropriately across a small area. These are some of the things he talked to Mr. Kerns about. It is the owner or landlord's obligation to abate lead paint (if one were to paint). If you have to put tarps down to catch the lead chips that is what you have to do. He does not know what that cost would be.
Mr. Kerns said it is expensive. He does not think painting is an option on the siding; there is too much to repair and some areas are rotten. Ms. McCoy said they are recommending he repair it. Mr. Kerns said that is not feasible. His letter from the City noting certain violations is in front of the Commission. Everything noted in the letter as a violation has been addressed in order to move forward and start repairing this house. The violation cost is $100 per day per offense; it is $1000 a day if it is not fixed in a certain period of time.
Mr. Brandewie said the HPC has no authority over the property code to over-rule or over-turn any fining authority; they cannot negotiate. The City is willing to work with the applicant; they have indicated as long as progress is being made, they will not issue fines and citations.
Ms. Clendaniel asked if there were any comments from the public.
David Thatcher, 1007 Locust Street, Cambridge, Maryland, said he has watched the Commission hear three cases now and they have not been able to reach a decision on any of them. All they have been able to do is to frustrate the applicant and delay the whole process of fixing up these properties. He has lived here for 12 years; he passes this house every day. He has watched it go down in its quality; it is falling apart. Now, somebody wants to fix it up and the Commission is telling him he can't do it. The guidelines mentioned are not absolutes; they are recommendations and it opens the door for alternatives. The Commission does not want to allow these people to explore the alternatives which are state of the art materials, no maintenance materials. They want them to restore this to historical accuracy; it is not going to happen. Half of the historic district is falling down because people do not want to mess with the Commission. The Commission makes it too difficult to fix up these homes. He thinks as long as the Commission maintains this attitude, the historic district is going to get worse looking. He thinks the Mayor should sit in on some of these courts and see what it is causing this town not to get fixed up.
Ms. Clendaniel asked if there were any comments from the public. There were none.
Ms. McCoy moves to close the discussion; seconded by Ms. Green. Motion carried unanimously.
Ms. Clendaniel opened discussion for the Commission members.
Mr. Brandewie reminded the HPC they are voting on three things: the vinyl siding, the use of substitute material for fish scale siding and the use of the substitute material for the porch steps.
Ms. McCoy strongly advised the applicant not to cover the house with plastic; he should use authentic materials. If he has to do it over a period of time, he will have a more valuable house.
Ms. Green moved to close the discussion; seconded by Ms. McCoy. Motion carried unanimously.
Ms. Green moved to approve the porch, steps and risers using the AZEC materials as submitted. Ms. McCoy seconded the motion. Ms. Green and Ms. Clendaniel were if favor of the motion. Ms. McCoy opposed. Motion carried 2:1.
Ms. McCoy moved to approve the hexagonal siding as submitted; seconded by Ms. Green. Ms. Green-no, Ms. Clendaniel-no, Ms. McCoy-no. Motion does not carry.
Ms. McCoy moved to approve the application for replacing the existing vinyl siding with a double 4 inch lap vinyl material; seconded by Ms. Green. Ms. Green-no, Ms. Clendaniel-no, Ms. McCoy-no. Motion does not carry.
It was noted that the routine maintenance will be okay with Staff.
Mr. Kerns wants to move on the porch replacement tonight. Mr. Brandewie said that Mr. Kerns' noted in his letter that in his opinion the side roof and deck are in such advanced stages of decay that for safety reasons it should be removed and rebuilt to the original size and style. If it is going to be rebuilt using existing matching materials, it is not an issue for the HPC to act on. In terms of all of the other items that he discussed in his letter, it is all routine maintenance other than the three items they have acted on.
HPC#50-12, 120 Willis St., Elaine Pritchard, installation of 8' x 14' shed in rear yard area.
Mr. Brandewie said there is an existing shed as indicated by the site plan. This shed would be a second shed. There would be no sheds torn down or removed. This is simply an additional shed for small storage items. It would meet the zoning requirements and it is in the rear part of the house not visible from the street. Staff has no objections to it.
Elaine Pritchard, 120 Willis Street, said she does not have any more information to add.
Ms. Clendaniel asked if anyone from the public wishes to speak. No one did.
Ms. McCoy moves to close the public discussion; seconded by Ms. Green. Motion carries unanimously.
Ms. McCoy moves to approve the application as submitted; seconded by Ms. Green. Motion carried unanimously.
HPC#51-12, 903 Locust Street, Brian Roche (owner): preliminary review of a proposed rear porch enclosure. This has not been advertised or posted. This is for preliminary presentation only.
Brian Roche, 903 Locust Street, homeowner, stated that he wants to make sure the proposed enclosure of a rear side porch meets the spirit and nature of the guidelines with the preliminary review by the HPC. Mr. Roche gave his presentation on the proposed rear side porch.
Mr. Brandewie asked for the record if the HPC has any objections to these plans moving forward and being brought back next month. HPC members said they did not. Mr. Roche is going to re-use the existing brick from the sidewalk. He has bricks on the property that he wants to use.
Ms. Clendaniel said she thinks the change in the roof line is significant, but it seems to be more in line with what is happening with the side porch, which is more significant than the back roof that comes off. Since it is so much lower, it is not appropriate. What he is making is a correction. It is a benefit to change the roof line as long as it works with accepted construction practices. Mr. Roche asked her about using an AZEC base band board instead of wood. Ms. Clendaniel said AZEC will hold up better and it will be more similar to a wood material. AZEC accepts paint and that is why it is approved by this Commission.
Ms. Clendaniel asked for any public comment on this application. There were none. She asked if there were any comments from the Commission. There were none.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Brandewie stated the minutes from the meetings conducted on April 19th, May 10th, (Special Called Meeting) and May 17th, 2012 are ready for Commission review and action.
Ms. Clendaniel asked if there were any comments about all of the minutes; there were none.
Ms. McCoy moved to approve the minutes of April 19, May 10 and May 17; seconded by Ms. Green. Motion carried unanimously.
Administratively Approved/Routine Maintenance:
111 Belvedere Ave., Judy Scott owner, installation of above ground pool in rear yard behind house, not visible from street- temporary structure, no historic or contributing features affected. Mr. Brandewie said he has approved this administratively. They felt it was a temporary type structure, no materials of a historic nature being affected on the house so they felt it appropriate to approve it administratively. It was not visible from the street. No action is necessary by HPC.
Mr. Brandewie noted little progress has been made on an annual report due to other obligations. He hopes to have it done at the next meeting. He has been asked to help prepare a Sustainable Cities grant certification document which has occupied his time for the past two weeks.
Regarding the draft letter on School Street, an item requested by the HPC, in talking with the applicant it is not ready to move forward to the Planning Commission, so he did not prepare a draft letter for that. We will bring that back at the next meeting when needed.
Mr. Brandewie noted there are several outstanding violations in the Historic District; there were discussions ongoing with property owner. The owners removed the satellite dish on 201 Willis Street; they still have a pole to take down, but satellite dish has been relocated to the back of the house.
There are group home issues that are a zoning matter in the historic district as well as the entire city. There is research being done, but they have complaints about group home type issues.
Mr. Brandewie noted revised by-laws and procedure rules were submitted to Council for action.
Ms. Clendaniel asked members if they have issues to bring to Mr. Brandewie's attention about enforcement. There were no comments.
It is noted that a report of subcommittee for review and property code issues is on hold. The subcommittee needs to set up a meeting for inventory of homes with repair problems. There is a volunteer in the community offering assistance. Mr. Brandewie asked Ms. Clendaniel to put that off until July.
Ms. McCoy moved to adjourn the meeting at approximately 9:00 PM; seconded by Ms. Brown. Motion carried unanimously.
Trudi R. Jones Daniel L. Brandewie
Secretary I City Planner II