Historic District Commission
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Meeting Minutes

Members present:Doug Walker, Noel Greiner, Scott Oliver, Kathy Scott, Anne Howe

Members absent: Tom Weller

Members of the public: Don Scott, Erin Hammerstedt, Chick Colony

Doug Walker called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.

Members approved the agenda as amended to move up the hearing for Historic Harrisville’s application ahead of the board’s review of HDC application forms.

Meeting Minutes of July 24
Kathy Scott moved to accept as written. All voted in favor.

HDC 2019-5 – Historic Harrisville Inc – Mill Alley Ext – Pedestrian Bridge Railings
Upon ascertaining that all the information was provided and the application fee paid, the board moved and voted unanimously in favor to accept the application as complete.

Erin Hammerstedt explained that, under the regulations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Historic Harrisville is required to install handrails on both sides along the Mill Alley extension pedestrian bridge to alert passersby of the edges. She added that the road is closed to vehicles except for emergency use or snow removal and that HHI plans to keep it a pedestrian crossing. When it was pointed out that the application stated handrail in the singular, the application was amended accordingly. The two railings will be 24’ long x 42” high and constructed of metal.

Board members had no concerns regarding the proposal and discussed whether or not the proposal met the criteria for a waiver, as outlined on the HDC’s Waiver Form. As the public hearing was already properly noticed, including to all abutters, and in session, this question became moot. Chick Colony raised the concern, however, of the HDC’s waiver process and urged the board to be careful in its consideration of waiving any public hearing on any matter. He noted that all applications, and all proposed changes, in the historic district should be treated in the same vein as far as notification and hearings in order to allow for abutter questions and input.

Doug Walker explained the history behind the instituting of the waiver and reviewed aloud the three criteria, as outlined on the HDC Waiver Form, for allowing the bypassing of the public hearing and notification process. Members explained it was a means of streamlining the process when proposed changes were considered matters of maintenance and would not in any way alter the character of the historic district. The board agreed it would give further thought to Mr. Colony’s suggestion.

Subsequently, Noel Greiner moved to approve the HDC application as amended. Scott Oliver seconded. The board voted unanimously in favor.

Mr. Colony then raised two additional matters: 1) the issue of chimneys as significant architectural features, urging the Board to keep this in mind when reviewing proposals; and 2) he reminded the HDC that revision of its own regulations do not need to go to town meeting and that the board itself is authorized to amend and enact its own rules and guidelines.

Doug Walker updated attendees on the progress underway in the HDC subcommittee to, first, amend the application materials and, subsequently, to update the HDC guidelines.

Erin Hammerstedt noted HHI’s continued interest in working with the HDC, including offering subject specific training sessions on such character-defining features as windows and chimneys and relevant preservation standards for evaluating. She thought perhaps doing so could be timed when the HDC does not have an application before it.  Mr. Colony recommended the board continue to cast a big net rather than be too stringent on small matters.

Review of HDC Application form
Members reviewed proposed edits to the application materials, to be finalized by Mr. Walker. Following discussion, Kathy Scott moved to approve the HDC Application Form as amended. All voted in favor.

Meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm.