This morning, Jason O'Toole appeared before the Historic Preservation Commission seeking a certificate of appropriateness for an awning to be installed on the front facade of 260 Warren Street. O'Toole provided photographic evidence that the building once had such an awning, but that was hardly necessary. Before the age of air conditioning, most buildings on the north side of Warren Street had awnings to shade their interiors from the strong afternoon sun.
The HPC granted a certificate of appropriateness for the awning, but before the commisssion even considered the new application, HPC chair Phil Forman spoke about what he called the "white coating" that had been applied to the marble. Gossips reported about this back in June: "What Fresh Hell Is This?"
Forman began by saying that the post and lintel system of white marble on this building was unique in Hudson and meant to be an homage to classical architecture. He recalled that when the certificate of appropriateness application for this building was discussed by the commission in early 2018, what was proposed for the marble was that it be "cleaned, protected, and sealed." At that time, Kate Johns, the architect member of the HPC, asked that the marble not be sealed because of the damaging effect such action can have on marble. O'Toole agreed not to seal it, but nonetheless a white substance was applied to the marble. It is of some interest that Mountainview Masonry and Landscape Supply, the company that "disassembled" 900 Columbia Street, was the company that, according to Forman, undertook the cleaning and treatment of the marble at 260 Warren Street.
Forman reported that he had consulted city attorney Andy Howard and code enforcement officer Craig Haigh, and it was the opinion of both that, "despite back and forth [discussion recorded] in the minutes and what most believe to be best practice," there was no legal recourse to force the undoing of the action because the agreement not to seal the marble "never made it into the certificate of appropriateness." It was concluded that the only way to fix the situation--to get the "white gunk" removed and the marble restored to its natural state--would be to make a request. O'Toole said he was "willing to take the commission's request to the owner"--the owner being the same person who more than ten years ago reportedly wanted to replace the marble because "he doesn't like old things."
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