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HPC Meeting Minutes

June 20, 2013

The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, June 20th, 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, Chair; Dormaim Bromwell Green, Katie Clendaniel, Farrell McCoy,

Members Absent: Will Dennehy.

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

Brian Roche presented the opening statement and noted there were no changes to the agenda.

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

Brian Roche asked if there were no objections to delaying action the minutes. There were none.


Consent Agenda:

HPC#40-13, 101 Willis St., Frank and Sherill Herbert (owner): request to install metal handrails on front porch.

HPC#42-13, 211 Choptank Ave., William Wroten (owner): install 150' of replacement wood picket fence, four feet in height.

HPC#46-13, 104 Belvedere Ave., Chris Amorose (owner): B.A.S. Construction (contractors), replace 3 tab shingles with arch./dimensional shingles on house.

Brian Roche asked if there were anyone in attendance or if any Commission members had any comments or had any objections to approving the three cases listed on the Consent Agenda.  Hearing none, Mr. Roche asked for a motion.

Farrell McCoy moved to approve the cases listed on the Consent Agenda; second 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 noted that Mr. Richardson has provided new information on cost estimates for repairing windows at 705 Church Street.  This information along with the original application has been provided to HPC members.  However, he has again requested that this item be tabled.  No action necessary.


Regular Agenda Items

HPC#43-13, 607 Church St., Christ Episcopal Church: install bollard lighting in rear, new cemetery area.  Skip Rideout and Doug Robbins reviewed their application and site plan for the installation of four to eight bollard lights in and around the circular, pedestrian layout toward the center of the new cemetery addition.  Tieder Electric who would be doing the installation work for the lights.  The bollard lighting is primarily for security and aesthetic reasons.  They will have low levels of illumination.  Discussion followed about the color and hue of the lighting.  There were no objections from members of the public.  The HPC acted to close the discussion.  HPC members reviewed Section E: Guidelines for Exterior Lighting.  Attention was directed to item 3. E where the Guidelines discourage certain types of lighting, including: low pressure sodium, mercury vapor, neon, and fluorescent.

After further discussion, Farrell McCoy moved that the application be approved as submitted with the further recommendation that the color or hue of the lighting consist of a soft yellow hue more in tune with traditional lighting and not bright white light; second by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion carried by unanimous voice vote.

HPC#44-13, 513 Court Lane, Court Lane Properties LLC/Tim Crosby (owner) presented his request to install new awnings on first floor office windows. He noted that the primary reason driving this is to cut down on sunlight and the heat due to the summer sun.  The reason they are choosing the open awning style was to preserve some of the view from the windows.  The material would be similar to the type on the awnings recently installed at Real Ale Revival.  A question was asked by staff if the installation of the awnings would prevent the installation of shutters which was an item requested and approved by the HPC in the past.  Mr. Crosby indicated that there likely would be no shutters installed.  Commission members reviewed Section F. 4 of the Guidelines.  Discussion followed.  There was consensus that the awnings were appropriate and that the open ended awning would not be detrimental to the historic character of the building.

Hearing no comments from the public and Commission members, Mr. Roche requested a motion. Farrell McCoy moved to approve the application as submitted; second by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion carried by unanimous voice vote.


HPC#45-13, 107 West End Ave., Annette Mitchell (owner), B.A.S. Construction (contractor): installation of composite 3" porch flooring, install round columns.

Mr. Roche asked if staff had any comments.  Mr. Brandewie noted that the contractor had provided a sample of the 3.5 inch Tongue and Groove flooring of a composite AZEK material that does match the porch flooring.  It is a material HPC has approved before as a substitute porch flooring material.  Specs have been provided on the fiberglass porch columns. The applicant has proposed to re-use existing railing on the porch.

Ms. Annette Mitchell, the owner spoke next.  Aesthetically, we are not changing anything. Porch flooring is plywood and is fibroid with rot; and proposed flooring is a composite and will be the same color.  The posts that are there now are the round posts and have rot at the bottom to be replaced composite posts. The exact handrails would be reused.  The brick piers under the porch are starting to crumble and would be repaired.   Some area of the brick steps would be repaired.  She noted that similar items for porch flooring and porch columns were approved by the HPC across the street.

Mr. Roche asked if the porch flooring was plywood and you are putting the composite t/groove flooring in its place.  Ms. Mitchell said that is correct; it looks better and this material has been approved in a couple of houses across the street.  Ms. Clendaniel asked about the condition of the existing porch columns.  Ms. Mitchell stated that they have been repaired several times and they are rotted, repaired with filler.  She described the extent of the rot as being in the pedestal post; they have cracks in them, having been filled with wood putty. She just doesn't want to keep repairing them. The proposed posts would look exactly the same.

Staff commented on the railing height and recommended keeping the height of the railing at a lower height consistent with the bottom part of the window.  Ms. Mitchel acknowledged that the railings are not wood but vinyl.  Mr. Roche commented that it is critical point and appreciated her willingness to keep it at this height. She concurred.

Katie Clendaniel read from the guidelines regarding preserving porches for the benefit of the public and for the record.  Porches are one of most significant architectural features of the district.  Surviving porches should retain their original detail and material.  Columns, posts, flooring, railings, steps: deteriorated porches supports should be replaced with wood posts.  Railings and flooring of a suitable paint grade material should be painted or stained.  Alternative materials may be considered upon presentation to the Commission. Steps should be wood, brick or poured concrete.

Richard Parks, who lives across the street, testified next.  He has seen several people live in the house.  He commented that the posts have been repaired many times.  The bases are rotten...the pedestals they sit on.  The posts themselves have had putty and caulk, all kinds of material put in there to stop the rot.  They have had a lot of problems with the posts.  Ms. Clendaniel noted they probably weren't appropriate repairs. He concurred.

There were no additional comments from the public and the Commission acted to close the discussion.

Ms. McCoy stated she was disturbed about replacing the posts rather than repairing them. Ms. McCoy urged her to look into repairing this properly and not replacing them because you always want to preserve the original fabric if one can.  Ms. Mitchell said she understood that but there have been so many repairs to them, she didn't think she can save them.  It would save her money if she could.  She is trying to preserve the quality of the building without changing the look at all.

Discussion followed about allowing alternative materials.  Ms. Clendaniel also commented that poor repairs often help deteriorate wood faster.  She suggested that tabling it to explore alternative repairs may be appropriate; it may be the base of the column is rotten.  Ms. Mitchell stated that we tried those repairs already; it was not working. And we are not changing the look at all.  Ms. Clendaniel stated that in these cases it is beneficial to hear testimony from an expert carpenter experienced in working with these types of structures who can provide expert testimony.

Mr. Roche pointed we out that we often get cases where we have people who just want to replace the columns and we have heard testimony that she has attempted to repair them. Railings have already been turned into composite.  While this alone may not justify going to composite columns; but they may be more compatible in terms of the look of the porch.  We have the ability to approve columns if they accept paint. The columns are a very close match.

Mr. Brandewie recommended that instead of denying it, the HPC can table this aspect of the application for further evaluation.

Mr. Roche stated that our guidelines can permit alternative materials.  Mr. Roche requested a motion to either approve the application as submitted; approve the application without approval of the columns; or approve the application but a committee would visually inspect the columns to determine if they are beyond reasonable repair, if they are, we can go ahead with approval of replacements.

Ms. McCoy offered a motion: to approve the application as submitted with the exception of the posts until they have been inspected by the Commission or an expert with a recommendation as to whether they can be repaired successfully.

Mr. Brandewie noted that a motion is made but a second is needed.  Discussion followed about procedural issues. Ms. McCoy stated that she would like the issue to come back before the Commission.  Mr. Roche again reiterated that we have heard multiple testimonies that the columns have been attempted to be repaired multiple times and alternate materials can be approved by the Commission.  Mr. Roche asked to clarify who the expert would be and whether a committee would go out and look at the columns.

Ms. McCoy revised her motion: to approve the application as submitted, with the exception of the columns and the Commission will form a committee and examine the columns in the company of a master carpenter who will advise us; and that the recommendation of the master carpenter will come back to the Commission. Mr. Brandewie asked who will pay for the services of a master carpenter.  Ms. McCoy and Ms. Clendaniel said no-one. Brian Roche asked for a 2nd. Katie Clendaniel seconded the motion.  Farrell McCoy-Aye.  Katie Clendaniel-Aye.  Brian Roche-Nay.  Dormaim Bromwell Green-Nay.  Motion Failed to pass.

Mr. Roche called for another motion and discussed three options.

Dormaim Bromwell Green moved to approve as submitted; second by Brian Roche.  Brian Roach-Aye; Dormaim Bromwell Green-Aye; Katie Clendaniel-Opposed.  Farrell McCoy-Opposed.  Motion Failed.

Katie Clendaniel moved to approve the application as submitted with the exception of the porch columns; a subcommittee and a material expert will accompany the subcommittee and staff for a site visit to evaluate the condition of the columns; and make a recommendation; then staff will move based on the recommendation of the expert.

Second by Dormaim Bromwell Green. Motion carried unanimously.


HPC#41-13, 903 Locust St., Brian Roche (owner): replace fencing in side and rear yard areas.

Prior to the start of this case, Brian Roche recused himself from the Commission.  Katie Clendaniel chaired this portion of the meeting.  He then proceeded to present his application to the Commission.  The application would be to install portions of a 4 ft. would picket fence and a decorative metal low level fence in certain areas of the side and rear yards.  There were no additional public comments.  The HPC acted to disclose the discussion.

HPC members had no objections to the request noting that the materials are consistent with the historic character of the house and existing fence pattern in the area and on the property.


Farrell McCoy moved to approve the application as submitted; second by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion Carried.


Conceptual-Informal Review

507 Race St., Cambridge Historic Inc., (Jay Corvan): presentation of conceptual plan to replace roof structure on fire damaged building.  Prior to the start of this case, Ms. Farrell McCoy recused herself and left the room as she is acting president of Cambridge Historic Inc.  Brian Roche returned to the position of Chair.

Mr. Corvan provided an update on the conceptual repair plans.  The plans reflected putting on a metal style roof consistent with what was there previously.  Efforts are being made to acquire the property from the owner; secure grant funding and to clean up the property.  Discussion followed.  There were no questions from the public.  HPC members and staff commended Mr. Corvan for their efforts.

Ms. Farrell McCoy then rejoined the hearing process.


Administratively Approved/Routine Maintenance

Mr. Brandewie offered to review the following items approved administratively.  Ms. Katie Clendaniel expressed concerns about item No. 29-13 at 308 West End.  She believed this situation should have come to HPC for review.  Mr. Brandewie explained the background to the issue as it involved removing existing panels of vinyl siding, drilling holes in the original wood siding that appeared already damage; blowing in insulation and then re-installing the vinyl siding back in place.  The applicant was asked to stop work after the siding had been removed. Any damage had already occurred at this point to the original siding. Discussion followed.  The Chair was contacted about this but staff elected to approve this administratively.  There were no additional comments on the applications from the HPC members.

HPC-Adm #27-13, 204 Willis St. Gordan Boltz (owner): install replacement siding with like- kind shingles to replace damaged asbestos siding on a spot basis.  Administratively approved, May 22, 2013.

HPC-Adm #28-13, 218 West End Ave. John C. Mills (owner): replace shingles on rear portion of house and side roof addition (less than 2.5 squares) due to leaks, not visible from street. Proposed shingles to match existing to the extent possible. Administratively approved, June 3rd, 2013.

HPC-Adm #29-13, 308 West End Ave., Timothy and Laura James (owner): install insulation in interior walls, temporarily remove existing vinyl siding; cut and patch holes in original siding. Administratively approved, June 6th, 2013.

HPC-Adm #30-13, 114 Oakley St., Chris Markin (owner): replace arch-dimensional shingles with in-kind replacements (Timberline HD).  Administratively approved, June 7th, 2013.

HPC-Adm #31-13, 507 Race St., Cambridge, Historic Inc., (applicant): remove false vinyl façade, install temporary plywood on façade to cover damage, paint black per City Code requirements. Administratively approved, June 5th, 2013.


Approval of Minutes:

Brian Roche asked for Commission approval regarding the minutes as noted on the agenda.  Discussion followed.  It was recommended that Commission members not vote on minutes if they were not in attendance at the meeting.

November 15, 2012 (Regular Meeting). Farrell McCoy moved to approve the minutes; second by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion carried.

February 21st, 2013 (Regular Meeting). These minutes were unfinished. No action taken.

March 7th, 2013 (Citizens Advisory Meeting-HPC Workshop). Tabled. No action taken.

March 21st, 2013 (Regular Meeting). These minutes were unfinished.  No action taken.

April 4th, 2013 (Citizens Advisory Meeting-HPC Workshop). Tabled.  No action taken.

April 18th, 2013 (Regular Meeting).  Farrell McCoy moved to approve the minutes; second by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion carried.

May 2nd, 2013 (Citizens Advisory Meeting-HPC Workshop). Farrell McCoy moved to approve the minutes; second by Katie Clendaniel.  Motion carried.

May 16th, 2013 (Regular Meeting).   Farrell McCoy moved to approve the minutes; second by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion carried.

June 6th, 2013 (Citizens Advisory Mtg.-HPC Workshop). Farrell McCoy moved to approve the minutes; second by Dormaim Bromwell Green.  Motion carried.

There was no further discussion on any agenda items due to the length of the meeting.  Members did agree to continue to meet by-monthly to review changes to the Guidelines.  The next meeting will be conducted on July 11th due to the holiday.

HPC members acted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 9:30PM.


Respectfully submitted,

Daniel L. Brandewie,  City Planner II


Note:  These minutes were approved at the meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on August 15th, 2013.