Champney Place Gate Denied by BHAC

By Beth Treffeisen

During the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission (BHAC) meeting held on Thursday, August 18, a proposed plan to install a wrought iron gate on the entrance of Champney Place in Beacon Hill was denied without prejudice.

Due to lack of specific dimensions, the commissioners agreed to visit the site before the submission that will be brought back for decision at next month’s meeting, at which time they hope to see more specific plans laid out for them.

The design was also previously brought up at July’s meeting.

“I’m concerned about the height,” said Commissioner Paul Donnelly. “Normally we get a specific proposal with dimensions and this is a little vague.”

Kenneth Taylor another commissioner said that the design brought to them for the proposal was originally for something different and suggested the applicant go back and re-do it.

The gate runs 10 feet wide and four feet tall. It has two wings that can fully open up and holds a center ornate arch.

During the meeting, questions on how high the gate will actually go left the commissioners questioning on whether they can approve something without specific measurements.

“It isn’t our role to design this gate for you,” said the commissioners in agreement on when talk over how high they wanted the gate to be differed between them.

In the end, Shane Sebastian who was proposing the gate said, “If you want us to put more detail in we would be happy to.”

A representative from the Beacon Hill Civic Association architecture committee said the only concern that they had was with the style of the gate and would like to see something with a more simple design.

In terms of differing ideas on detail, Commissioner Taylor said, “One of the things I love about Beacon Hill is that is an expression of the people who live there.”

An abutting neighbor of 33 years from Anderson Street said, “A lot of these things are subjective. At some point we have to get people to agree.”

She added that Sebastian had done a lot of work in getting all of the neighbors on the same page about the design and she hopes they can come to a conclusion soon.

“It’s not just a back alley, it’s a main entrance to the people who live there,” said Sebastian.

Beforehand he said there was just a picket fence that allowed for people to dump trash and let their dogs run through it. He hopes that by adding this gate soon it will improve the environment for the residents who live there.

At the meeting there was also approval for removing security grills at two basement window openings at 109 Chestnut Street.

The windows are located within the entry of the courtyard and they will remove the non-historic infill at one window opening and install new single-light wood casement windows with a black painted finish.

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