Comments on this blog intimated that the Historic Preservation Commission was discriminating against the Catholic church in its review of the fence proposed to surround a new garden beside the rectory of St. Mary's Church on East Allen Street. Several members of the HPC told Gossips they'd been accused by community members of being anti-Catholic. It seemed outraged parishioners might show up in force on Friday to argue their church's right not to be subject to the city's historic preservation ordinance, but that didn't happen.
On Friday morning, no one showed up for the site visit except the people one would expect to be there: the members of the HPC; Father Anthony Barratt and Charlie Vieni, representing the church; Mitch Khosrova, counsel to the HPC; Craig Haigh, code enforcement officer; and Gossips. At the site, it was clarified that the fence would go along the edge of the tilled area at the front of the garden (parallel to East Court Street), would set back two feet from the walk along the side, and would continue on to enclose a patio being constructed at the southern end of the garden. It was also revealed that a black metal fence was now being proposed, instead of the vinyl fence initially proposed or the wooden fence suggested next. The fence will be like the one installed in front of the Police & Courts Center at 701 Union Street.
Back at City Hall for the public hearing, there seemed to be no present to speak either for or against the fence. It was confirmed that a metal picket fence, between 5 and 6 feet high, would be used, and it was explained that the fence was needed not only to keep the deer out of the garden but also for privacy and security, since the garden was to be a prayer garden and there would be statues and a fountain in the garden. There were no comments from the public, only a question from someone who wanted to know what the fence would look like and was shown a picture of the proposed fence.
When the project came up for a vote, the members of the HPC voted unanimously to grant a certificate of appropriateness.
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