Historic Commission green lights five new projects

Mon, 09/26/2022 - 10:15am

It wasn’t quite a slam dunk for Keisha and Dwayne Brown at their first appearance before the Historic District Commission on Monday, Sept. 19, but by the end, they got what they needed.
The Browns wish to build an accessory structure in the back of their property behind the main house on Chapel Street where Ballard Hall Sales Group has its office. The building will sit on a 20 by 30-foot slab and will have two floors.
On the first floor will be a “garage” area, that HDC member Arlene Tunney pointed out wasn’t actually big enough for a vehicle. The plans also show space for an office behind the garage area and a small, one-bedroom apartment that’s meant to be an accessory 513 apartment, that can only be used, in that zone, for seasonal employee housing or by a year-round resident.
On the second floor will be another apartment. It too has one bedroom, one bathroom, and a combined kitchen, dining, living room area, although it’s much larger than the space downstairs.
Per the drawings, it is a simple structure with an exterior stairway leading to the second floor, but Arlene Tunney said that the first-floor window that’s meant to provide a second means of egress could not be located underneath a staircase legally.
She thought that window, and one on the second floor also meant to provide egress were not within code as they were too small.
“It looks like you have some code issues,” said HDC Vice-chair Martha Ball who was chairing the meeting. She had previously said that this was not in the HDC’s “purview” but didn’t want the applicant to get approval from the
HDC only to have to come back because something else needed to be changed in the design.
“Talk to the building official,” said Tunney, “because bedrooms require egress windows, and neither one has it. So that means you’ll have to change the size, and that will change what the building looks like.” Slightly later, she indicated that with the windows changed, “it may look better.”

There were also some questions about the slope of the roof, with some suspecting that the drawings of the building were not in line with the description of a “14 over 12” slope.
“Do you want to just go back and fine tune it?” asked Ball.
That was fine with Dwayne and a builder he had assisting him – the architect was not there – and the matter was tabled, until at the end of the meeting. Keisha Brown got up to review some of the problems brought up and to ask for some type of approval so they could get the slab poured and begin construction before the ground froze. She said she had reviewed the plans with Tom Risom, the building inspector, and he did not have a problem with it.
HDC member Bill Koch was a little skeptical, saying, “Well, Arlene’s usually right about these things.” But, after Keisha emphasized that they would like to get going on pouring the slab, Koch asked if they could go ahead and approve the overall size and massing, which the HDC did.
Susan Bush, who lives next door to the Browns in a home owned by her niece, Leslie Parsons, was next on the agenda. The Browns have gone ahead and cut down several trees where the building is to go, leaving Bush with a clear view. Her living room looks out right at the Browns’ back yard and she wished to get permission for a privacy fence along an existing stone wall between the two properties.
The fence that Bush proposed would be above the stone wall, to preserve the wall’s look and consist of panels of lattice. The height would be seven feet.
Bush added that she would be planting trumpet vine along the wall. It was a narrow space, she said and she didn’t want to take it up with a hedge.
“Yeah,” said Ball. “They have a way of getting out of control.”
“It also hides the wall,” said Tunney.
“I don’t think I’ll live long enough for the shrubs to get six feet high,” said Bush.
“Trust me. You will,” said Ball.
The application for the fence was approved with the only remaining question being what color the trumpet vine would be. “Orange,” said Bush. “I like the hummingbirds.”
Meaghan Barrett and John Cotter also got the go-ahead for their project of replacing windows and a French door with a sliding one, and the Hygeia House readily got approval for a stairway from the back porch down to the back yard.
Islanders should be seeing construction soon begin at Surfside, across from the Red Bird Liquor Store. The application has changed many times since it was first introduced and finally received almost 100 percent approval. All that’s missing is a “nice gate.”
“Look at the one between the Seaside and the Star [Department Store]” suggested Ball, who thought by the indicated height in the drawings, was really more of a door. “That’s all I have.”