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HPC Meeting Minutes

April 18, 2013

The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, April 18th, 2013 at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street.  Brian Roche chaired the meeting and called the meeting to order at approximately 7:05 p.m.  He began the meeting by taking roll call.

Commissioners Attending: Brian Roche, Vice-Chair; Dormaim Bromwell Green, Katie Clendaniel, Farrell McCoy (for the record arrived late at approximately 7:10PM). Absent: Will Dennehy.

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

There were no changes to the agenda.  Mr. Brandewie state that all new agenda items have been properly advertised and posted.  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:

November 15, 2012 (unfinished)

February 21st, 2013 (Regular meeting-unfinished)

March 7th, 2013, (Work Session-Citizens Advisory meeting-unfinished)

March 21st, 2013 (Regular Meeting-unfinished)

April 4th, 2013 (Citizens Advisory Meeting-workshop-unfinished).

Mr. Brandewie provided copies of minutes from three previous meetings but it was recommended to table action on those until the next meeting.


Consent Agenda:

HPC#34-13, 210 Belvedere Ave.: Scot Allen, James Long (owners): to construct a new 8' x 10' accessory building in rear yard area.

Brian Roche asked if there were any comments from Commission members or the public on this item for consideration under the Consent Agenda.  Hearing none, he requested a motion.

Katie Clendaniel moved to approve Case No. #34-13 as presented, seconded by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion Carried.



HPC#31-13, 705 Church St.: Jamie Richardson (applicant-purchaser): to replace existing one over one windows with one over one vinyl replacement windows.  The HPC acted to table action on this application at the last meeting with concurrence of property owner to explore ways to preserve or repair/replace front and other windows.  Mr. Brandewie stated that Mr. Richardson, has requested by email that this item be tabled again to allow more time for research on window repair and replacement options.  No action necessary.

Regular Agenda Items

HPC#32-13, 116 Vue De Leau: John Lewis, Annie Watts (owner) Wes Sampson, Tiger Roofing (applicant-contractor), replace 3 tab shingles on house with slate like asphalt shingles.

Mr. Brandewie provided background information to the application.  Based on this conversation with the contractor, this house originally had cedar shake shingles with multiple layers of asphalt shingles over them.  Because he is going from 3-tab to a dimensional shingle, the HPC is reviewing this application.  Mr. Gary Sampson with Tiger Roofing then spoke on behalf of the owner and showed a sample of the proposed shingle to the Commission. He confirmed that there multiple layers of shingles on the house. There would be no ridge vents or gutter work involved.  There were no additional comments from the public.  The Commission acted to close the discussion.  Commission members reviewed the guidelines as it related to replacement roofing material and noted that they flexibility in approving alternative asphalt shingles.  There were no objections from Commission members. Katie Clendaniel moved to approve the application as submitted; seconded by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion Carried.

HPC#33-13, 101 Choptank Avenue: Tom Allers (owner): request to construct accessory structure (Tiki Hut) in rear yard area (after the fact).  Mr. Brandewie stated that they became aware of this structure a couple of months ago but when a roof structure was placed on it, the Building Department placed a stop work order on it and the owner was contacted.  According to the applicant it will not be enclosed and will be used as a recreational structure.  To date, staff has not required recreational type structures (playground equipment, etc.) to be reviewed by HPC.  The structure does not meet a 3 ft. setback requirement if it is treated as an accessory structure.  While staff has some leeway in authorizing minor variances, the issue before the Commission is to determine if the structure is acceptable in accordance with HPC Guidelines.  Its visibility is somewhat limited due to the fence structure although it is a corner lot.

Mr. Tom Allers, owner, provided additional pictures to the members.  They were not aware they needed a permit for this type of structure.  It would remain unenclosed.  They gave a history of their ownership and work done on the property.  Three nearby residents spoke in favor of the application.  There were no objections heard from citizens in attendance.   HPC members acted to close the hearing.

It was noted by members that they weren't addressing the zoning or building code requirements but were making a determination about the structure's compatibility with the district.   HPC members reviewed the guidelines.  It was also noted that the structure has limited visibility from the street due to screening and its proposed height of approximately 10 feet.  Neighboring property owners have testified that they have no objections to it. Katie Clendaniel moved to approve the application as submitted; seconded by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion Carried.


HPC#35-13, 205 High St.: Larry Mills-Diane West (owners): request to replace 3 tab shingles on house with architectural/dimensional shingles.  Mr Brandewie noted that this application is similar to the previous one in that the application is to install an architectural-dimensional shingle to replace a 3 tab shingle on the house.  It is reported by the owner that the house originally has cedar shake shingles with additional asphalt shingle layers and that several properties along High Street have received approval for a similar shingle product.  Mr. Mills has submitted an email to staff that further explains the justification for architectural shingles.  This has been provided to HPC members.

Victor MacSorley, spoke on behalf of the owner.  He also explained the rational as to why the proposed shingle type was preferred.  Mr. David Thatcher and Jim Culver also spoke in favor of the application.  There was no one to speak in opposition of the application.  The HPC acted to close the discussion.

Commission members reviewed the Guidelines and cited other references with regard to replacement shingles that allows asphalt shingles. After further discussion, Farrell McCoy moved to approve the application as presented; seconded by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion Carried.


HPC#36-13, 106 Choptank Ave.: Bill Hofherr (owner): replacement material for porch roof, renewal of COA from 2011.  Mr. Brandewie explained that the applicant was before the HPC in 2010 and 2011 for approval to make several improvements to the property; however, replacement of the front porch roof was left undecided at that time.  The porch roof appeared to have a standing seam, tin material, which was in a deteriorated condition.  Mr. Hofherr has recently removed the original tin roof.  Staff requested that Mr. Hofherr have this matter reviewed by the HPC, in addition to renewing the expired COA's.  He is proposing to install asphalt dimensional shingles for the front porch roof to match the house's shingle pattern that was approved by the HPC in 2011.

Mr. Hofherr explained that due to the overall expenses faced with renovating the house and the need to get up on the porch roof to do further repairs and painting of the original siding, he finds it necessary to ask for asphalt shingles for the front porch.  He has a 3:12 slope and asphalt shingles will be work on this porch with an acceptable underlayment.  The deterioration of the metal roof was causing additional problems to other ornamental details of the porch.  It is his observation that the new modern metal roofing material approved by the HPC for other porch roofs in the Historic District are not a good match and that overall, asphalt shingles give a better appearance to the house.  Three residents of the Historic District also spoke in favor of the application.  There were no objections from citizens in attendance.  The HPC acted to close the discussion.  Again, citing guidelines that give some flexibility in the replacement of roofing materials, the members concluded that the proposed shingles would not be detrimental to the overall historic appearance of the house and that given the expense of rehabilitation, this deviation was a reasonable compromise.  Members expressed their appreciation for Mr. Hofherr's work as this is a significant contributing structure to the Historic District. Farrell McCoy moved to approve the application as submitted, seconded by Dormaim Bromwell Green. Motion carried.

Discussion-Courtesy Review

West End Citizen's Association, Presentation-Sunday, May 19th, 2-4:00PM.

Members discussed the invitation extended to the HPC and staff for a presentation to WECA at an upcoming.  Mr. Roche and other HPC members are invited to attend along with staff.  It is to be held at 101 Oakley Street at the time and date as noted.

Wallace Building Restoration Plans, Jane Devlin, West End Citizen's Association

Jane Devlin provided the HPC members an update on efforts to rehabilitate the Wallace office building, the historic structure next to the Library on Gay Street.  A grant has been received for this work but the project's scope of work has expanded to other site improvements in association with the library grounds.  A specific work schedule has not been finalized but she will report back to the HPC when the project is ready to proceed.  Members expressed appreciation for her work and it was noted that this may be the oldest office structure in Cambridge and is an example of a Greek Revival architectural style.


Administratively Approved/Routine Maintenance:

Brian Roche asked members of they had questions regarding any of the items listed under administrative approval.  There were no questions.

HPC-Adm #19-13, 6 Oakley St.: (COA#36-12--six month extension approved for replacement of windows and gutters.  Extension authorized to October 19th, 2013.

HPC-Adm #20-13, 533 Poplar St.: Jack Helgeson (Choptank Charlie's): replace awnings on existing brackets of commercial storefront. Administratively approved.  3-28-13.

HPC-Adm #21-13, 109 Belvedere: Alvin Moore (owner) replace existing 9' x 12' greenhouse (previously approved by HPC-2007) with 12' x 16' greenhouse in rear yard area, not visible from street.  Administratively approved. 3-28-13.

HPC #26-12, 119 Vue De Leu: (extension request), Jay Jones (out of town owner), front porch repairs, Permit expired on 12-20-12; building permit expired due to lack of activity.  Staff is re-authorizing for 6 months to June 20, 2013 at which point applicant will have to come back to HPC. Administratively approved - March 28th, 2013.

HPC-Adm #22-13, 518 Poplar St.: Felicia Lewis (tenant) re-install new projection sign on existing sign bracket for "Another Place-Another Time, Consignment Boutique". Administratively approved-April 2nd, 2013.

HPC-Adm #23-13, 413 Muir St.: Jamie Summer (owner), Stoked LLC, re-install new projection sign on existing sign brackets for new restaurant. Administratively approved. 04-09-13.

HPC-Adm #24-13, 304 High St.: National Bank of Cambridge, replace flat membrane roof, on small drive through portion of "H" connection; not visible from the street.  Administratively approved.  April 11th, 2013.

Discussion Items

Mr. Brandewie noted that the members received a copy of the proposed By-Laws with one amendment offered by Ms. Clendaniel.  There have been no other changes.  Ms. Clendaniel noted that her email also contained other material that may be relevant to the issue of Demolition by Neglect and that this should be evaluated for relevancy and inclusion.  Discussion followed.  Mr. Brandewie also provided a copy of the Draft Rules of Procedures which contained minor changes from Mr. Dennehy's previous draft discussed at the April workshop.  The final sections addressing Demolition and Economic Hardship have also been added since then based on language from Chestertown's Guidelines and Easton's Rules of Procedures.  The paragraph on Economic Hardship would be generally applicable to major issues and not minor items.  Discussion followed.  Mr. Brandewie also provided members with an excerpt from Washington D. C.'s Guidelines which contains some options for more flexibility in addressing window replacement as it may apply to major and minor contributing structures and on facades considered less important to the view of the house.  Discussion followed.

Mr. Steve Delsordo brought up the subject of Certified Local Government status and the qualifications necessary for its application.  He also urged caution on tying various ordinances to the Secretary of Interior Standards.  Mr. Brandewie noted that the ordinances are tied to language contained in Article 66B's for historic districts or commissions and deviating from this language could be an issue.  Discussion followed.

Members discussed the possibility of having HPC meeting material sent by email and in an electronic format instead of paper copies for ease of use.  Mr. Brandewie polled members and some expressed a desire to have paper copies.  Mr. Brandewie will follow-up with this.  It was recommended that the HPC subcommittees meet over the next couple of weeks to review draft guideline material. Katie Clendaniel moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Dormaim Bromwell Green, at approximately 8:50 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 June 20th, 2013.