It was 2012 when the Hudson Arcade, the Galvan Initiatives Foundation's expansion of the little building that started life as a convenience store, received site plan approval from the Planning Board (then still the Planning Commission) and a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission.
With a tenant lined up for the building, Galvan representatives were back before the Historic Preservation Commission on Friday seeking a certificate of appropriateness for a "modification to three specific areas"of the building.
The first area to be modified is to the east side of the building. Three windows are to be inserted on the ground floor of the new brick section of the building; another three windows will be inserted in the cinder block extension to the building behind; and the cinder block wall is to be covered with Hardiplank clapboard.
HPC member Peggy Polenberg fussed about the windows proposed for the cinder block building not being evenly spaced out, but it was explained that a structural element in the building was dictating the placement of the windows.
The second area of modification was the front facade, where a configuration of windows and doors different from what now exists was proposed. The four sets of double doors that were originally installed will be replaced by a double door on either end of the facade and a single door in the middle. Presumably the promised marble Doric pilasters will also be installed at this point.
The request for a certificate of appropriateness hit a snag with the third area of modification: an enclosed stairway to access the second floor of the building to be constructed on the west side of the building, between 449 and 445-447 Warren Street.
The snag was significant. While Rick Rector, HPC chair, and Gini Casaco asked for photographs of the existing buildings and an elevation drawing that showed how the proposed staircase fit into the streetscape, code enforcement officer Craig Haigh realized that the staircase was not preexisting. The staircase he had ascended to inspect the second floor during construction was only a temporary staircase built to allow workers to access the second floor. Because the staircase is new construction, it is subject to state fire code, which, according to Haigh, requires that there be 5 feet between it and the next building. Since there appears to be less than 5 feet of open space between the two buildings, a state fire code variance will be required to build an enclosed staircase there. Securing the variance is necessary before the HPC can grant a certificate of appropriateness.
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