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HPC Workshop

October 3, 2013

The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, Oct. 3rd, 2013 at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street. The purpose of the meeting was to conduct a workshop on the draft HPC Guidelines. 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 noting that this is a workshop to discuss Guideline revisions.

Commissioners Attending: Brian Roche, Chair, Will Dennehy

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

Mr. Dennehy brought up the subject of the appointment of new HPC members and its schedule with the City Commission. Commissioner Vickers provided an update on the process. It may be on the next Commission agenda at the end of the meeting.

Discussion followed about problems opening up Word documents with the material being sent out by email.

Mr. Brandewie provided an overview of Chapter 3 in terms of the historic context of the district with the longer narrative prepared by Paula Reed. This could be reduced in length and does not include the Pine Street neighborhood. It should include a section on architectural styles of Cambridge. This chapter can be pared down and doesn't have to be that long. It was suggested that a reference to be made to the study that identified the list of contributing structures. And a decision has to be made whether to include a paragraph on the Pine Street neighbor historic district. Mr. Roche suggested not putting it in at this point.

Mr. Brandewie reviewed Chapter 4; a new chapter on archeological concerns has been added. This again was borrowed from the Frederick format.

Mr. Dennehy suggested that Chapter 3 and 4 are should be at the bottom of our attention and that Chapter 5 and 6 are where we need to focus on. Chapter 5, Treatments and Methods, was discussed. Mr. Brandewie noted that changes shown in red warrant HPC attention. Side bars could be used to incorporate material such on vinyl siding and windows as prepared by Mr. Dennehy and Mr. Roche. It was suggested that a checklist be considered. It was mentioned that the application could have this checklist. Mr. Brandewie noted that he has processed the grant application for assistance in further preparation of the guidelines and to put the guidelines on the website. Specific topics such as parging and stucco were discussed. It was recommended to leave it in.

Mr. Dennehy asked about siding and the idea having separate districts where some standards would be more strict and less in some others. The idea of having two tier or levels of standards and their potential adoption was discussed. Specific properties were discussed as to how draft regulations would apply. Mr. Dennehy encouraged clarity in the Guidelines so that people reading the new material will know how to proceed. Discussion followed about vinyl siding policies and replacement columns. It was suggested that perhaps a contractor's opinion be provided that addresses the concern over the condition of siding. What we want to avoid is to allow people that simply want to cover up an existing problem (such as wetness, damage, or lack of insulation). Jackie Vickers noted that a number of people desire to have more maintenance free homes. Discussion followed about windows. Mr. Roche recommended having stricter standards for front standards, but we may need higher standards for replacement windows for non-primary facades. Only windows that need to be replaced will be allowed to replace but composite windows may be allowed on non-primary facades. Ms. Vickers encouraged flexibility as some windows, as in the case with her upper windows warrant and need replacement. Mr. Brandewie reviewed the section on window repairs and replacements. Mr. Dennehy suggested calling it "windows" and not glass. Stucco and plaster materials. It was recommended to take out J and K? Discussion on terra cotta materials was discussed. Roofing materials was reviewed; for example, wood shingles are not allowed unless there was historic evidence. Discussion followed on shingles and class ratings. Language on slate roofs and metal roofing were reviewed. Mr. Dennehy suggested language should read that metal roofing should match existing. A concern of over the thickness was mentioned. Eighteen gauge was a minimum standard. Mr. Brandewie reviewed the language on asphalt shingles. The issue of replacing asphalt 3-tab with architectural shingles was discussed. It was recommended that flexibility be allowed to have staff approve asphalt with asphalt shingles. It was recommended that members review Chapters 3-9 be reviewed. Mr. Dennehy recommended more specificity be put in the document and not have loose language. It was recommended that it be made clear. The topic related to number 9 and substitute materials were discussed. The topics of paving materials, pattern concrete; edging sidewalks and pathways, asphalt paving, were reviewed. The final section that specified that certain materials will not be permitted was reviewed. It was suggested to clarify that simulated materials should not be used. It was requested that additional comments be sent back on Chapter Five. Draft language on sign was reviewed. Topics discussed included neon, the amount of sign coverage of a window. Mr. Brandewie suggested reviewing 5, 6, 7, and 8 at the October meeting. It was suggested that a review be limited to one chapter.

The condition of housing in the Historic District was discussed. Mr. Brandewie mentioned a "receiver" program in Frederick and Baltimore that was interesting. It allows the appointment of a person to take ownership of the house that is in some aspect of foreclosure.

Mr. Dennehy asked a question regarding the process for the review of the WWI monument at Long Wharf project. He noted that he had asked staff to write a letter to Mr. Simmons notifying them that the monument would have to be brought back to the HPC because the Long Wharf Committee and the conditions of the HPC were not met. This was not done. Discussion followed. Jackie Vickers noted that the information she had stated earlier about the monument being exempt from review was inaccurate in relationship to the completion of a Master Plan. Mr. Dennehy discussed his concerns with the Planning and Zoning Commission's hearing on the monument and consistency with the Open Meeting act requirements with regard to notice and lack of agenda. Discussion followed about the design process and concerns over the design of the monument. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:00PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Daniel L. Brandewie, City Planner II


Signature: ____________________________________ Date: _______________________
Chairmen

Note: These minutes were approved at the meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on December 19th, 2013.