Historic District Commission
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Historic District Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting and public hearing on Tuesday, April 25, 2023.

Members present: Noel Greiner, Chair; Sarah Tibbetts, Vice Chair; Kully Mindemann; Rex Baker; Kathy Scott; Michael Price

Attendees: Dean Ogelby; Akhil Garland, Leslie Voiers, Erin Hammerstedt, Traceymay Kalvaitis

At 6:30 pm, the board met with the property owner at 8 Church Street for a site visit. They viewed the existing windows and doors proposed to be replaced. Following this, members met at 9 Island Street for a site visit with that property owner, to view the street-side area where landscaping changes were proposed.

At 7:00 pm, members, applicants and abutters convened at town hall. Chairman Noel Greiner called the meeting to order.

Dean & Kathy Ogelby,  8 Church Street (Map 32 – Lot 17 ) – The applicant and HDC members discussed the specifications for window and door replacements in the main house, including two over two panes to match the existing designs. The applicant confirmed the windows would not contain inserts and would have permanent muntins on the exterior and interior. The kitchen door will be wood, and the front door will be wood or metal. The only other question from the board concerned the bathroom window on the second story, which contains 3 over 3 divided lights and which the property owner stated would be difficult and costly to match with the same style. The property owner will attempt to replace it to match the existing design but requested approval to proceed if this was not possible.

Erin Hammerstedt shared Historic Harrisville’s information on the history of the house, called the McCarthy house, originally 2 houses, with 2 over 2 sash windows. She noted that the general rule with historic preservation is to repair rather than replace but HHI understands this is not always possible or feasible. Mr. Ogelby spoke to the considerable work and expense involved each year to re-glaze and re-caulk the existing windows; in addition the new windows offer considerable energy efficiency.   During discussion most members agreed that the annual repair of the windows posed an unreasonable burden on the property owner.

Ms. Hammerstedt asked the HDC to consider the Secretary of the Interior’s 10 Standards for Rehabilitation, which members proceeded to address as follows:

  1. A property shall be used for its historic purpose or be placed in a new use that requires minimal change to the defining characteristics of the building and its site and environment. The HDC agreed this was not relevant for this project as the use of the structure was not changing.
  1. The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize a property shall be avoided. Members acknowledged that original materials would be removed but the appearance of the home wouldn’t be altered.
  1. Each property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken. No such changes would be undertaken.
  1. Most properties change over time; those changes that have acquired historic significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved. Members agreed this was not relevant.
  1. Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property shall be preserved. Members agreed these would be maintained.
  1. Deteriorated historical features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary, physical, or pictorial evidence. While the windows and doors were being replaced, the HDC felt the new installations will match. To the question of whether or not the windows are original, Ms. Hammerstedt noted that, even if not, they are historic.
  1. Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used. The surface cleaning of structures, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. The HDC noted this does not apply.
  1. 8. Significant archeological resources affected by a project shall be protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken. The HDC noted this does not apply.
  1. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment. The HDC noted this does not apply.
  1. New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired. The HDC noted this does not apply.

With no further questions for the applicant, Kully Mindemann moved to approve the proposal by Dean & Kathy Ogelby to replace the existing windows and doors on their main house. Michael Price seconded. The board voted unanimously in favor.

Ms. Hammerstedt noted that, under such circumstances, HHI typically requests that property owners store the replaced windows on site in the event of an opportunity or desire in the future to reinstall them, but this isn’t something that is required and HHI doesn’t have a covenant on the property.

Akhil Garland, 9 Island Street (Map 32 – Lot 24) – Mr. Garland explained that, in light of the lower elevation than expected of the yard upon completion of the septic replacement, the property owners propose to replant grass and plant flowers along the house foundation but not to install a stone wall along the property line parallel to the road.  Members suggested curbing or some non-permanent buffer to protect the Garlands’ leach field.  Mar. Garland noted the pipe vent will be disguised with a garden feature of some kind and would rise only to the minimum required height.

Erin Hammerstedt noted the project did not require review by Historic Harrisville.

With no further discussion, Kathy Scott moved to approve the Garland’s landscaping proposal with breather tube, and protective curbing if desired, as discussed. All voted in favor. Members agreed that the Secretary of the Interior guidelines for rehabilitation did not apply.

Minutes of March meeting – Members voted in favor to approve.

New business – Jean Robins, member of the ReThink Plastics team, discussed with the HDC the possible placement of a bench made of recycled plastic by NexTrex in the historic district. Members discussed possible locations, including Veterans Park or the beach or cemetery, or possibly outside the store, if relevant officials approved and this was more preferable. They discussed that the other benches in this area of the historic district are stone. The office will work with Ms. Robins to get her the necessary contact information.

HDC Membership – Members confirmed that Rex Baker will continue as an alternate and that Kully Mindemann was appointed as a full member.

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.