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HPC Minutes

April 24, 2014

The Historic Preservation Commission met on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street. Brian Roche, Chair, began the meeting at approximately 7:00PM and took a roll call of members attending.

Commissioners Attending: Brian Roche, Will Dennehy, Ron Berman, Patricia Weichmann, Mike Russo.

Commissioners Absent: Dormaim Bromwell Green.

Other representatives or staff attending: Dan Brandewie, City Planner II. Commissioner Jackie Vickers.

Brian Roche asked if there any changes to the agenda. Mr. Brandewie noted that was one additional administratively approved item on the agenda. Staff confirmed that all agenda items have been properly advertised. Mr. Roche provided the opening statement and swore in persons wishing to testify.

Consent Agenda:

HPC#41-FY 13-14, 119 Willis St.: Doug Worrall (owner) to construct a 4 ft. wood picket fence in rear of property.

Mr. Brandewie stated that there was a question raised about the style of fencing proposed for this site and is advising the HPC to remove it from the consent agenda a place it on the regular agenda. Hearing no objections, Mr. Roche acted to remove this from the consent agenda and asked if Mr. Worrall could present his case.

Extension/Continuation Cases

HPC#35-FY 13-14, 104 Choptank Ave.: Pete Doyle (owner)-replace 21 existing windows (2 over 2) and exterior aluminum storm windows with vinyl replacement windows (2 over 2) with interior grids. At the Feb. 20th and March 20th meetings, HPC acted to table action on this application. Mr. Brandewie stated that he has received email correspondence from Mr. Doyle today and that he wishes to withdraw the application.

HPC#36-FY 13-14, 201 High St.: Anne and Terence Tiernan (owners), request to permanently remove or demolish 2nd story porch and stairs at rear of house. At the February 20th and March 20th meeting; HPC acted to table this application. Mr. Brandewie provided a staff report on this case. To his knowledge, the Tiernans were not coming to tonight's meeting and believed they have submitted all the necessary information. He reviewed his recommendations on the application as follows:

1. The owners have been informed that the reuse of the structure as a two unit apartment is not permitted. Further appeals or application to the Board of Zoning Appeals on this topic may be an option for the applicants.

2. The owners intend to remove the stairs and two story covered porch due to plans to lift the house and because the stairs and porch is in an unsafe condition.

3. Information from the 1918 Sanborn Maps indicates that the rear porch at this location was likely a 1 story porch with a metal roof. (The 1918 Sanborn Maps show that the 2 story porch and stairs are not original to the house).

4. In staff's opinion, the present porch and stairs contribute marginally to the historic character of the property. This structure is minimally visible from the street. It is likely unsafe and may not meet code requirements.

5. The applicant has requested to enclose an upper exterior door on the 2nd floor, possibly with shutters or other materials. Staff recommends that this be coordinated with staff. The door is not visible from the street and is not a historically significant feature. If a permanent enclosure is anticipated, materials should match the exterior.

6. Staff recommends the HPC approve the request to remove the stairs and two story covered porch with the condition that the reconstruction of a porch or stairway or both will require new plans to be submitted to the HPC for review.

After hearing no additional comments from the public, HPC members moved to close the discussion. HPC members discussed the staff recommendations and asked to review the 1918 Sanborn Maps. After further review, HPC members concluded that there was not enough historical evidence to require that a porch be rebuilt at this location. They concurred that any new plans for a porch and stair structure will have to be brought back to HPC for further review.

Will Dennehy moved to approve the application with the recommendation that staff comments 1-6 be incorporated into the motion for approval. Second by Mike Russo. Motion carried unanimously.

HPC#39-FY 13-14, 504 Poplar St.: Real Ale Revival Brewery, James T. Merryweather (owner)-to expand the existing 3 ft. door opening in rear of building to accommodate a new 3 ft. metal door and a 5 ft. roll up garage door. HPC requested a screening plan be presented regarding HVAC system in rear. Mr. Brandewie noted that the applicant has requested additional time to present plans back to the HPC.

Regular Agenda Items

HPC#41-FY 13-14, 119 Willis St.: Doug Worrall (owner) to construct a 4 ft. wood picket fence in rear of property.

Mr. Brandewie stated that there was a question raised about the style of fencing proposed for this site and is advising the HPC to remove it from the consent agenda a place it on the regular agenda. Hearing no objections, Mr. Roche acted to remove this from the consent agenda and asked if Mr. Worrall could present his case.

Mr. Worrall discussed the reason for the 4 ft. solid panel picket style fence. He noted that it would be a foot above the ground. HPC members expressed concern about this. After further discussion with the applicant, it was recommended that a 4 ft. wood picket style fence be installed with gaps, as opposed to a solid style fence. There were no additional comments from the public and the HPC acted to close the discussion. After confirming that the applicant was willing to make a change in fence materials, Will Dennehy moved to approve the application to install a 3 ½ ft. spruce gothic picket style panel fence with 2 gates in the location as shown on the site plan. Mike Russo seconded the motion. Motion approved unanimously.

HPC#42-FY13-14, 104 Glenburn Ave.: Doug and Grace Reed (owners)-replace and rebuild existing deck in rear of house; replacing decking, steps, rails, and balusters, fascia boards with composite materials. John Hodges, with Lowes, provided an overview of the project and presented sample materials of the proposed porch railing which would be a vinyl or composite material. The deck flooring would also be of a composite material. The existing deck is located in the rear of the house and is minimally visible from the street. Staff noted that the existing deck is a non-contributing feature. Two neighboring property owners, Rich and Karen Bearman, spoke in favor of the request. Hearing no further public comment, the HPC members acted to close the discussion.

HPC members noted that the proposed replacement deck is minimally visible from the street; that the existing deck is non-historic and likely non-compliant with building code requirements.

After further discussion, Mike Russo moved to approve the application as submitted based on the flexibility shown in the guidelines for use of substitute materials in situations like this; second by Will Dennehy. Motion carried unanimously.

HPC#43-FY13-14, 101 High St.: Wayne and Gloria Warner (owners)-replace front porch wood flooring with like-kind, composite flooring; replace skirt boards with composite boards. Daniel Price, contractor made a presentation on behalf of the owners who were also present. He provided information on the deterioration of the porch flooring. They are requesting that a composite flooring be used that matches the profile and dimensions of the existing porch flooring. Repairs will be made to any other structural components to address deterioration, such as with the wood columns, and balusters. Screening would be replaced where deteriorated. Hearing no additional comments, the HPC acted to close the discussion.

HPC members asked the applicant why the use of composites is proposed. The owners responded that given the proximity to the water, wood products just do not hold up. After further discussion, Will Dennehy moved to approve the application as submitted with the further recommendation that major trim be repaired in place using a two part system that stabilizes the existing wood and uses polyester or epoxy based filler. Replacing trim that is damaged beyond repair requires the use of "in-kind" material or approved pvc trim and administrative or HPC approval. Motion carried.

HPC#44-FY13-14, 203 High St.: Matthew Smyth (owner)-replace 3 tab shingles on main front body of roof with architectural/dimensional shingles, replace wood siding on upper dormers composite siding, replace 5 windows on side of house. Mr. Smyth presented his application. He noted that there is substantial deterioration on the existing 6 over 6 windows. The Anderson windows, as proposed would match the existing windows to the extent possible. It was noted that the wood siding on both sides of the two front upper dormers are deteriorated. He is requesting that he be allowed to replace the wood siding with a composite board with the same 4" exposure. Discussion followed about the windows. Commissioner Vickers and HPC members expressed their appreciation for the owner's work on restoring this property.

After further discussion by HPC members, Will Dennehy moved to approve the application as submitted with the following conditions:

1. The replacement windows will contain true divided lights on the exterior with a ¾ in muntin width.
2. That the windows are replacement windows that will sit within the existing window frames. Only existing stops and sashes will be removed.
3. That any exterior trim remain in place and is not covered.
4. That this action is not to be considered a precedent for future window replacements, not only for this property but neighboring properties as well.
5. Staff is consulted to review the window product prior to installation to confirm that it will have minimal impact on the exterior features of the window.

Second by Mike Russo. Motion carried unanimously.

HPC#45-FY13-14, Downtown Bike Racks: Choptank Heritage Trails, Inc., (Brian Roche-Chair)-install 4-5 bike racks in downtown locations. Mr. Roche recused himself from the Board. Will Dennehy proceeded to chair the meeting. Mr. Roche presented his application and brought a bike rack. He is requesting approval of four additional locations for the same metal bike rack that has been previously approved by the HPC; with the exception that logo's may be incorporated into the design instead of a sunburst. The four new locations would be:

1. 504 Poplar St. (Real Ale Revival Brewery).
2. 513 Court Lane, near the offices an architect and lawyer.
3. 413 Muir Street, near a restaurant (Stoked).
4. 305 Gay Street (City Council Chambers).

Mr. Roche noted that he has obtained permission from all the property owners with the exception of the City, and that he is working on that. These racks are being funded from his personal finances because he believes in supporting a bike friendly community; although property owners that have logo's in the racks are donating funds. Mr. Brandewie noted that the generic designs are attractive but recommends not using the name of the business's in the bike racks. Hearing no further discussion, the HPC moved to close the public hearing. HPC members noted that they have previously approved this style of back rack for at least five other locations. Mr. Brandewie advised not leaving anything over a 4" gap in the bike rack logo design.

Patricia Weichmann moved to approve the application as submitted for the designs and four locations as presented. Second by Mike Russo. Motion approved unanimously.


Jane Devlin, West End Civic Association informed the Commission that they would like to move forward with preparing an information brochure on the use of state tax credits. The tax credits would be available for work on structures not only in the Historic District but also for use on other properties that may be located in the Sustainable City's boundary. They are coordinating this information brochure with MHT. The State has recently adopted a new 3 year program for tax credits but it is uncertain what the status of the federal tax credit is at the moment. HPC members expressed support of this project with some members pledging additional personal financial contributions.

Approval of Minutes:

Mr. Roche asked members for a motion on the minutes for the March 20th, 2014 Regular Meeting.

Patricia Weichmann moved to approve the minutes from this meeting as submitted, second by Mike Russo. Motion carried.

Administratively Approved/Routine Maintenance:

There was no discussion on items approved administratively.

Enforcement Update

There was no discussion on enforcement cases.

Other Business

Mr. Brandewie reminded HPC members that there will be a workshop on May 1st and again on June 5th for a training session sponsored by MAHDC.

1. Emergency Meeting Request.

Brian Roche stated that there is a request by DPW staff to have an emergency meeting related to the fire at 203 Mill Street that occurred on April 16th. The owners may be faced with demolition of the structure due to the extent of the fire and to comply with the City's policy on demolition and condemnation. HPC members concurred with this request, pending the filing of an application. Efforts should be made to advertise as quickly as possible and give notice to the public. HPC members recommended that testimony be provided by DPW staff or the Fire Chief or Fire Marshal as to the extent of the damage and its cost of repair.

2. Conference Registration. Mr. Brandewie reminded members to get back in touch with staff this week if there is interest in attending the NAPC Historic Preservation Conference in July.


Respectfully submitted,

Daniel L. Brandewie, City Planner II

Signature: ____________________________________ Date: _______________________


Note: These minutes were approved at the meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on May 15th, 2014.




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