Historic District Commission
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Meeting Minutes

The Historic District Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at the town offices.

Members present: Noel Greiner, Chair; Sarah Tibbetts, Vice Chair; Doug Walker; Michael Price, Kathy Scott Select Board Representative. Members absent: Rex Baker

Attendees: Erin Hammerstedt

Noel Greiner opened the meeting at 7:00 pm. 

Agenda – Michael Price moved to approve the agenda. Kathy Scott seconded.  All voted in favor.

Minutes of September 27 – Kathy Scott moved to approve the minutes of the previous meeting. Michael Price seconded. All in favor.

Conceptual discussion, Historic Harrisville, St. Denis Church, 23 Church Street (Map 32 – Lot 21) – Erin Hammerstedt presented design ideas under consideration by Historic Harrisville to rehabilitate St. Denis Church as a community and cultural center, and to preserve the structure in its existing form to the extent possible. Part of the plan at this point includes moving the rear entrance to the side of the building and adding a deck and entrance/egress ramp. She shared plans drawn for conceptual purposes.

The goal of the project is to render the structure available for public use, as it is being held in the public trust. The church currently has no plumbing and is not handicap accessible.  The front entrance is steep, making for difficult access and egress.  The plan would be to keep the front of the church as is, but to rebuild the stairs. In the side/rear, HHI is considering moving one of the stain glass windows closest to the rear of the building and making this opening a side entrance/exit. This would require removing a portion of the existing interior “stage” to allow for rear entrance at grade level. Also considered are restrooms in the old selectmen’s office building, currently used as storage for the General Store. A deck constructed between the buildings could serve as a ramp as well as gathering area in good weather.

Board members discussed potential drainage and septic needs, the potential issue of excess impervious cover, and the planned work by the town to rebuild Church and School Streets, including drainage in areas abutting the church.  The board encouraged Ms. Hammerstedt to talk to the Highway Department as well as the Zoning Board Chair.

Members also further discussed options for deck designs and material and options for making the structure ADA compliant.

Other business
Welcome packet – Doug Walker noted that the concept for the Welcome Packet for new homeowners in the historic district has been scaled back to a brief welcome to Harrisville, welcome to the Historic District, with an introduction to Historical Harrisville, and contact information. Homeowners would be referred to the HHI archives for historical information about their properties. Mr. Walker plans to complete this before leaving.

Inventory of Historic Properties – Members discussed the best use of the recently completed Inventory of Historic Properties, which includes a hard copy of the report and thumb drives prepared by Anne Howe and Nancy Nickerson. The material is on file at town offices.

HDC Regulations, adopted January 2022 – Mr. Walker asked that the signed copy of the updated regulations be posted on the website. The Recording Secretary will take care of this.

The meeting adjourned at 8:10 pm.