Monday, May 26, 2014

Applications Revisited

Two weeks ago, the Historic Preservation Commission decided that two applications before them were incomplete: one for a fence at 241 Allen Street; the other for a portico at 113 Union Street. On Friday, these two projects came back before the HPC, with positive results.

On May 9, the application for a certificate of appropriateness to replace the stockade fence at 241 Allen Street with a five foot high picket fence was deemed incomplete because no rendering was included showing what the proposed fence would look like in place. HPC member Peggy Polenberg raised the question of whether or not a rendering was required, which  ultimately provoked fellow HPC member Phil Forman to observe, "What makes us look perverse and not very clever is not being able to visualize a white picket fence."

On May 23, the project was back before the HPC, this time with quite amateurish renderings of what a four foot picket fence and a five foot picket fence would look like. The proposed fence was approved, but not unanimously. HPC member Tony Thompson declared himself "partial to a fence matching [in height] the existing fence on the side" and voted against granting a certificate of appropriateness. A site visit might have simplified things. A new white picket fence of the proposed height has already been constructed along the side of the property.

Another project returning to the HPC last Friday was 113 Union Street. On May 9, a proposal identical to a proposal made almost a year ago was presented to the HPC. Nothing had changed except the depth of the portico, which had been reduced from 5 feet 9 inches to just 5 feet to conform with code requirements.

As before, the HPC objected to the configuration of the windows and the metal railings on the portico and expressed concern about rainwater runoff from the roof of the portico. Last Friday, Charles Vieni, representing Galvan, returned with a new proposal that addressed all the concerns.

The windows will now be (appropriately for the period of the house) two over two instead of the originally proposed four over four; the portico railings will be constructed of wood; the portico roof will have a slight pitch to accommodate rainwater runoff.

Another issue worthy of note before the HPC on Friday was 234-238 Warren Street. Many preservation watchers were somewhat alarmed to see a rather elaborate door surround being constructed at the entrance to the building. This design for the doorway had not been given a certificate of appropriateness; indeed no proposal for this doorway had ever come before the HPC.

It turns out that the owner of the building had not been present when the work was done--work that exceeded the scope of both the certificate of appropriateness and the building permit. The added ornamentation is coming off, and the entrance is going back to what was originally presented.

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