Historic District Commission
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
The Historic District Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting and public hearing on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at town offices and by zoom.
HDC members present: Doug Walker, Rex Baker, Kathy Scott, Scott Oliver, Anne Howe, Noel Greiner
Members of the public: Erin Hammerstedt, Jack Calhoun, Andrea Hodson and Les LaMois
Agenda and minutes
Anne Howe requested to amend the December meeting minutes to add the names of attendees from the public, including Erin Hammerstedt, Chick Colony, and Patricia Colony. HDC members voted in favor to approve the minutes with this amendment.
The board then proceeded with the following matter:
Erin Hammerstedt, 15 Main Street (Map 61 – Lot 3)
Ms. Hammerstedt, following a request from the board, presented a new application for two changes which were made following approval of her initial application by the board. The changes include the installation of two stainless steel chimney flue pipes, one for the wood stove and one for the boiler. In addition, there were changes to the barn windows. She confirmed that this was an “after the fact” request for approval.
Referring to photographs, the applicant showed before and after conditions. The home previously had a metal chimney box surrounding the flues; the new installation consists of the two stainless steel pipes. She explained that she hoped to keep the chimney pipes as close to the original location as she could rather than having more exposed.
Photos were then shown of the windows prior to the start of the rehabilitation project, as well as the current windows as installed. Ms. Hammerstedt admitted to misunderstanding the original approval of the HDC, believing the board was not concerned specifically with the windows facing the lake; however she apologized for not returning to the board to request approval prior to their being installed.
Referring back to the chimney, the applicant offered to paint the chimney pipes a dark color if the board preferred; however, she expressed concerned about damaging the slate. The board discussed that a brick chimney would provide a more authentic look but also appreciates the modern technology. The struggle is settling on what is appropriate for the historic district.
In further discussion of the chimney, Ms. Hammerstedt noted that neither of the two existing chimneys was viewable and that, if the house had had a masonry chimney, she would have kept it. She added that the current design is the closest together the flues could be to satisfy building code and to allow the flash to be installed in between.
Anne Howe commented she believes this particular building was rich in chimneys as recently as 1986 and feels they are a defining characteristic of this property. She spoke to additional history of the chimneys as of 1992 at this property which is in the national historic landmark district. s of 1992 Referring to the Standards of Rehabilitation, she believes standards #2 and #6 could be relevant, though she recognizes that this wasn’t a working chimney recently. She then read the two standards aloud as follows: #2 The distinguishing original qualities or character of a building, structure, or site and its environment shall not be destroyed. The removal or alteration of any historic material or distinctive architectural features should be avoided when possible. And #6 … replacement of missing architectural features should be based on accurate duplications of features, substantiated by historic, physical, or pictorial evidence… Ms. Howe requested to submit these standards and historic considerations to the HDC.
Scott Oliver applauded the saving of the slate roof, and had no concerns with the applicant’s proposal. He spoke against replacing the metal box around the pipes. Noel Greiner also spoke in favor, as did Chairman Walker, though the chair regretted the break in communication between the board and applicant.
Kathy Scott noted she would agree with Anne Howe except for the fact, unfortunately, that the chimneys had already been taken down by a previous owner. She disagreed with the idea of painting the pipes.
Jack Calhoun and abutters, including Andrea Hodson and Neil Cilley (the latter in writing), also applauded the work done by Ms. Hammerstedt and had no objections to the design changes given the changes are not viewable from Main Street. Mr. Calhoun noted that the prior decay of the building and previous alterations were never addressed by previous boards and that similar chimneys in the district were not prohibited in the regulations. Abutters noted they are thrilled to see the rehabilitation of this important structure.
Subsequently, Kathy Scott moved to accept the change in chimney design as installed. Scott Oliver seconded. The board voted 4-1 in favor with Rex Baker opposing. Mr. Baker noted the properties with metal chimneys in the district all except one have at least one major masonry chimney. He also cited Standard #6 from the Standards of Rehabilitation.
The board then moved onto the second part of the application, the windows.
The board reviewed discussions from the original application approval. Mr. Oliver had no issue with the windows as proposed given their location in the back of the house. Mr. Greiner believed that in the original hearing, the applicant agreed not to change anything visible from Main Street. He believes the changed windows are acceptable and repeated accolades for all the rehabilitation work. He then moved to approve the windows as proposed. The Chair asked to hear from other members.
Mr. Baker expressed disappointment concerned that upper are 8 over 8 and the lower are 6 over six. He also expressed specific concern about the patio doors, stating they have no historic value. Ms. Hammerstedt explained how the decisions came about for the windows and doors, apologizing again for not returning to the board with the revised plans.
Mr. Walker stated he believed the board was liberal in its review at the original hearing, staying concerned with the view from Main Street versus the back. But he noted the need to monitor projects more closely.
Kathy Scott didn’t believe the board should or could take responsibility to monitor given its lack of staffing, but is more a function of the building inspector or passersby who notice. The applicant understood how, for big rehabilitations such as this, monitoring is a good idea.
Andrea Hodson spoke in favor of the work and application, further suggesting monitoring should be a collaborative effort and that perhaps more detail should be part of the application package and approval to keep communication clear.
Kathy Scott thanked the applicant for clarifying the reasons for the changes.
Mr. Calhoun warned against enforcing non-public views or views to backs of houses, as numerous violations would be found. Doing so now would be an uneven application of the regulations. HDC members noted that the regulations state the more general “public view” and that this is defined in the regulations and the cemetery. The definition is Any area visible from a public roadway, sidewalk, or grounds from a point up to six feet above the public surface that can be seen from normally, unaided, public vision. Members noted they can’t speak for previous boards but are authorized to apply this perspective.
Subsequently Noel Greiner moved to accept the windows and north-facing gable door as installed. Scott Oliver seconded. The vote was 4-1 in favor with Rex Baker opposed, bringing the board’s attention to the October and December minutes of 2021. These minutes discuss the approved plans, with specific plans to use two small double hung windows to be removed, replaced with two larger windows, wider but at the same height. Mr. Baker still doesn’t understand why the middle window design was changed. She has indicated unsure further design for four windows “will bring any additional proposed work to the HDC for approval.” Any additional proposed work was to be brought before the board. Both the applicant and board agreed. Mr. Baker doesn’t believe enforcement is needed. Just that those parties who agree on something to follow through. Mr. Baker did applaud the work overall, specifically the roof.
The board and the applicant then discussed the west-facing window, which also was a different design and was intended to include the small gable windows. The board agreed to one double hung, six over six window rather than two. This wall is otherwise done. The stairs that will go in on the exterior were previously approved by the board. The applicant has no intention to change the approved the exterior stair and handrail designs.
Modifying the motion above, the board moved to accept the window as installed and the plans for the door and entrance/egress off the door on the west wall, with the same design specifications as the east side. Noel Greiner seconded. By roll call, Noel Greiner voted in favor, Doug Walker in favor, Scott Oliver in favor, Rex Baker in favor and Kathy Scott in favor. The motion passed 5-0.
The board expressed appreciation to the property owner for the monumental undertaking.
The board reviewed the draft regulations, as modified based on feedback from the public hearings. Doug Walker shared the highlighted edits. The board noted the regulations remain posted on the website and also available at town hall.
Following further discussion and agreement on edits, the board moved to accept the HDC Regulations as drafted. The board voted unanimously in favor. The new Regulations were adopted and signed by the members of the board.
CLG Application update
The application for CLG status was submitted to the state CLG coordinator on January 3. The board anticipates completed review in the next week. If found complete it will be forwarded to National Park Service.
Anne Howe noted that she and Nancy Nickerson finished the site photos project. On the inventory project and documentation, Anne Howe recommends hiring a professional.
With several members stepping down, Kathy Scott asked all to consider staying on until new members are named. The board discussed membership and HDC needs; Anne Howe believes they should partner with HHI. Kathy Scott will talk to HHI board of trustees. Doug Walker will help identify and recruit.
The meeting adjourned at 9:17 pm.