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HPC Work Session & Meeting Minutes

June 6, 2013

Staff conducted a combined Citizen's Input and HPC Work Session on Thursday, June 6th, starting at 6:20PM.

Commissioners Attending: Brian Roche, Chair; Farrel McCoy, Dormaim Bromwell Green

Members Absent: Will Dennehy, Katie Clendaniel

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

Dan Brandewie, City Planner II, reviewed an updated summary of Citizen Input comments received to date and reviewed some highlighted staff responses and recommendations.  Discussion followed.  No action taken.

The HPC convened an emergency pubic meeting at approximately 7:00PM on an agenda item from the May 16th HPC regularly scheduled meeting that was tabled at the request of the applicant.  This agenda item is as follows:


HPC#37-13, 300 Choptank Ave. Brian Ivers (owner): install handicapped access ramp on side of house extending to front yard area.


Mr. Ivers was in attendance and presented a revised application.  The handicapped ramp is being provided due to an existing tenant's medical situation.  The ramp would extend approximately 19 feet from a right side entrance toward Choptank Avenue and would end 3.5 to 4 feet from the existing sidewalk.  He is proposing to match the square balusters installed previously on a rear porch and consistent with the front porch. A beveled hand rail would be installed as well as trim or edge board at the bottom of the ramp to also provide stability.  He would cap the posts with a finial item and would stain the boards white.  He noted that it would be a temporary structure and is requested that he be allowed to construct it out of pressure treated lumber.  The ramp would have a 5' by 5' landing area near the side porch entrance to accommodate a scooter.

There was no-one in attendance to speak in opposition or in favor of the request.  HPC members acted to close the discussion.  HPC members concurred with the proposed design changes.

Farrell McCoy moved to approve the application as submitted with the additional material as described by the applicant with the further recommendation that the ramp be allowed to remain for a one year period with the applicant to come before the HPC at a meeting in June of 2014 to consider its continuance or removal.  Seconded by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion carried 3-0 in favor.

Staff reviewed a draft of the Rules of Procedures (ROP), Draft No. Five, dated May 25th.  This draft contains some minor revisions, partially in response to Mr. Steve Delsorda's comments from the previous month.  He has also received feedback from Mr. Will Dennehy and Mr. Roche on this draft.  Mr. Dennehy wishes to convey to the HPC that if sufficient detail is presented in the draft Guidelines, then the ROP may not be needed and it would avoid duplication.  Staff does support providing sufficient, summary information in the Guidelines to help citizens understand the process but supports having a detailed set of Rules of Procedures, independent of the Guidelines.  Mr. Dennehy has asked that the ROP not be formally adopted until the Guidelines are completed.  Mr. Brandewie proceeded to review the draft including recommended changes by the Chair, Mr. Roche.  Discussion followed with minor changes being suggested.  This will be distributed at the next HPC meeting.  Staff would ask that the HPC consider endorsing it as to final form in order to move on to the Guidelines.

Mr. Brandewie handed out draft material on a policy for vinyl siding as prepared by Mr. Dennehy.  One of the key features of the policy would be to consider the prevalence of the non-original siding in the vicinity of an application for substitute materials as one factor to consider.   Based on this proposal, staff conducted additional research on the number of properties in the Historic District that may contain substitute siding.  This information is from the State Department of Taxations assessment records.  A map was provided to HPC members showing these coded responses for all properties in the Historic District.  Based on this research, it is estimated that 332 of 812 properties in the HD (41%) are identified as having aluminum or vinyl siding.   Discussion followed.  It was suggested that a field check of the accuracy of this data be conducted by staff.

HPC members noted that a new application would also contain guidance on procedural issues for citizen.  Discussion followed on the fee structure.  Presently, commercial and non-residential properties are charged a flat $100 fee; whereas; residential property owners are charged a $50 fee.  Staff is recommending three changes to the fee structure:

1. A fee schedule based on the value of construction; with new construction, major rehabilitation or demolition request to have a higher application fee.

2. There would be no charge for applications reviewed and approved administratively.

3. There would be no charge if an applicant wished to submit a revised application within a one year period.


Discussion followed.  Ms. Farrell McCoy recommended eliminating the fee altogether.  Staff would further research this topic.

Staff also advised members to consider putting together a list of properties that are exhibiting demolition by neglect for increased enforcement efforts by DPW staff.

The concept of designating certain streets as having higher importance than others for the purpose of applying a higher or more lenient policy for substitute materials was discussed.  Staff and HPC members recommended not pursuing this.

Mr. Billy Mathews, a citizen in attendance, commented on the demolition by neglect problems in the Historic District.  He also expressed concern of the problems with owners painting their porches in three different colors.  He encouraged the HPC and staff to further identify foreclosure properties in order to make them available for purchase.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at approximately 8:45PM.


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.