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HPC Meeting Minutes

January 17th, 2013
The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, January 17th, 2013 at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street. Brian Roche chaired the meeting and called the meeting to order at approximately 7:00 p.m. He began the meeting by taking roll call.

Commissioners Attending: Brian Roche, Vice-Chair; Dormaim Bromwell Green, Will Dennehy, Katie Clendaniel. Absent: Farrell McCoy.

Other Representatives or Staff Attending: Dan Brandewie, City Planner II.

Brian Roche asked if there were any changes to the agenda. Mr. Brandewie noted there is one additional case added to the agenda due to an emergency request involving the construction of a handicapped ramp at 107 High Street. Motion made by Will Dennehy to approve the change to the agenda; second by Dormaim Bromwell Green. Motion Carried.

Brian Roche presented the opening statement and conducted a roll call of those members present.

Oath Administered-Persons Wishing to Testify: Mr. Roche reviewed protocol for the meeting and administered the oath to all persons wishing to testify.

Approval of Minutes: Brian Roche asked for a motion to approve the minutes of December 20th meeting. Motion made by Will Dennehy to approve the minutes, second by Dormaim Bromwell Green. Motion Carried.

Brian Roche noted there were no items on the Consent Agenda.

Regular Agenda Items

HPC#24-13, 507 Race St. Easy Rentals LLC, Cleveland Rippons, (owner), emergency agenda request to demolish structure due to extensive fire damage. Mr. Brandewie read the letter of withdrawal as submitted by the owner, dated January 15th, for the record. City staff and the private building inspection company are taking his request to rescind the demolition permit under advisement. There was no additional testimony or comments heard on the case.

HPC#25-13, 1102 Locust St., George McBrien, (owner), replace existing metal railings on front porch and replace with turned wood columns, replace front windows (specs to be provided at this meeting or future meetings). Mr. Brandewie provided a review of the project. Mr. McBrien was present to explain his application. He would be using a 5 inch wood turned post to replace metal porch supports. He is requesting to replace three upper (2 over 2) wood windows on the front façade above the porch due to damage. He is proposing to use a vinyl replacement window similar to the one approved at 104 Willis Street. He has not provided specifications on the windows in advance of the meeting. Damage to the windows was caused by improperly installed storm windows that allowed water to seep into the sills and stud walls. Discussion followed as to the condition of the windows, the porch supports, and rear steps that were to be replaced. Questions were asked of the applicant about the existing and proposed grid patterns of the applicant. Hearing no further comments from the public, the HPC acted to close the discussions. HPC members discussed the guidelines as applied to the work and the need to have specifications on the proposed alternative windows; and the fact that no site visit has been conducted by members of the Committee to verify the condition of the windows.

After further deliberations, Katie Clendaniel moved to approve the application contingent upon the applicant furnishing specifications on the windows to staff; and upon review of the windows by HPC members. It was recommended that members visit the property tomorrow and provide feedback to staff if there are concerns with the proposal to replace windows. Second by Will Dennehy. Motion Carried.

HPC#26-13, 105 Choptank Ave., David Wham (owner), Jeff Dayton (contractor) replace 3 tab shingles with dimensional shingles, replace and extend front porch screen, replace metal columns with pre-fab columns and railing, replace aluminum front door full screen door, replace porch flooring with composite materials, install new shutters, remove side kitchen window. Mr. Dayton presented an overview of the application and provided additional pictures to HPC members. Due to the need to install kitchen cabinets across the wall in the rear, he is requesting to remove one window not visible from the street and encase from the inside one narrow side window also on the rear area of the house that is obscured from the street. The owner would like to install shutters at least on part of the façade but does not have specifications at the present time. There was no one else from the public to speak on this request. HPC members acted to close the discussion. Members concurred that since the window is outside of the main view of the property it has a minimal effect on the overall structure's appearance. Members did not object to other aspects of the work.

After further deliberation, Katie Clendaniel moved to approve the application as submitted with the stipulation that the applicant furnish specifications on any future shutters that are to be placed on the house for staff to review for consistency with the guidelines. Second by Will Dennehy. Motion carried.

HPC#27-13, 107 High Street, Christ Episcopal Church, Rectory; emergency request to construct handicapped access ramp in rear of house. Mr. Brandewie provided the staff report noting that due to a bicycle accident, the minister of the church was hospitalized and prior to his release, must have a handicapped access ramp constructed prior to his release from the hospital which is expected with the next 7-9 days. He noted that it appears to meet applicable zoning standards for setbacks to property lines and reviewed the Guidelines on this subject. He acknowledged that this request has not been advertised. Church Board member have requested this item be considered on an emergency basis as they would like to get started with the design and permit process this week. The ramp would be located to the rear of the house and not generally visible from the street. It appears that it could be constructed with no impact to contributing features of the house. Mr. David Thatcher, spoke in favor of the application noting that it appears to be consistent with the guidelines and commented on the recent ramp on Oakley Street that was allowed to be constructed in the front of the house. Mr. Tim Kerns commented on the construction details of the posts. There was no further comment from members of the audience. The HPC acted to close the discussion.

In their deliberations, HPC members stated that the design of the ramp, if it is to be permanent, should be further reviewed by the HPC as the final design and materials are not known at the present time. Katie Clendaniel noted that an archaeological evaluation may be appropriate if the ramp is intended to be permanent. In review of the guidelines, members noted it would be in the rear of the structure.

Will Dennehy moved to authorize approval of the handicapped ramp constructed as a temporary structure; if ramp is designed to be permanent, HPC members have requested additional review of the drawings and material. It is also recommended that a sign be posted on the property for 7 day notice in order to give notice to the public and allow for public input. Dormaim Bromwell Green seconded the motion. Motion carried.


HPC#49-12, 317 Oakley St., Michelle Kerns (owner), Tim Kerns (applicant)-(1) installation of vinyl siding and related trim material; Board of Zoning Appeals at a public hearing on September 25th, overturned decision of HPC to allow vinyl siding on house and dormer area; remanded case back to HPC to determine appropriate vinyl siding material on main body of house.

Mr. Brandewie provided an overview of the case. The HPC has tabled the application at request of applicant for the October, November and December meetings. The Commission declined to appeal the BZA decision at a Special Called meeting on Dec. 8th. The issue before the Commission is to decide on the appropriate vinyl siding for the main body of the house.

Mr. Tim Kerns, brother of the owner, handed out a letter to HPC members describing the economic hardship associated with the property. Their request is to approve the double 4in vinyl siding as originally presented to the HPC. Dave Thatcher, a resident of the area spoke in favor of the application. There were no additional comments from the audience. HPC members acted to close the discussion.

In discussing the application, members discussed the topic of economic hardship as applied to this case. Mr. Dennehy commented that the use of the "economic hardship" argument is very limited in historic preservation cases, as the owners have not been deprived of property rights in use of the property. He noted that the United States Supreme Court has confirmed this principle. The Historic Preservation Commission is obligated to follow the Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation. Members concurred that the BZA should not have considered "economic hardship" as a factor in this case. Discussion followed as to whether the BZA's determination limited the Commission to only the two vinyl siding options as originally presented which included a triple 3 inch vinyl siding alternative.

After further deliberation, Will Dennehy, noting the restrictions prescribed by the BZA, moved to approve the installation of triple 3 inch vinyl siding because it is was closer in size to the existing siding as opposed to the 4 inch alternative; that the existing siding will not be removed unless it is beyond repair and that an HPC member and staff shall inspect and approve the removal of any damaged siding. The owner shall make every effort to protect and secure the existing siding during installation of the vinyl siding. Katie Clendaniel seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Administratively Approved/Routine Maintenance:

Mr. Brandewie noted that there were no items that have been approved administratively over the past month.

Election of Officers

Brian Roche opened the floor for nomination of officers. Will Dennehy nominated Brian Roche as Chair, seconded by Dormaim Bromwell Green. There were no other nominations. Motion carried. Dormaim Bromwell Green moved to nominate Will Dennehy has Vice Chair, seconded by Katie Clendaniel. Motion Carried.

Other Business

Mr. Brandewie gave a status report on the Annual Report and Enforcement. While there are several enforcement issues outstanding in the district, he has been requested to divert enforcement to sign code problems along the US Route 50 corridor.

Mr. Brandewie reminded HPC members of the work session scheduled for February 7th at 6:30PM. He provided copies of the draft By-Laws and Administrative Procedures with suggested changes by two of the HPC members. He also provided a copy of the Town of Easton's Rules of Procedures and an excerpt of their Guidelines. He also provided members a copy of handout from Mr. Corvan on the subject of demolition protocol and procedures. He requested that members review this material in anticipation of the February 7th work session.

Mr. Dennehy noted that Steve Rideout, with the Ethics Commission has requested that he be allowed to make a brief presentation to the HPC at their next meeting. He also requested that minutes from past meetings be forwarded to the members ahead of the meeting. He commented on the Town of Snow Hill's Guidelines and suggested looking at select portions of this material for inclusion in our local guidelines.

Katie Clendaniel moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Dormaim Bromwell Green, at approximately 9:30 PM. Motion carried.


Respectfully submitted,

Daniel L. Brandewie, City Planner II


Note: These minutes were approved at the meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on February 26th, 2013.