BHCA Approves Security Cameras, But Not Without Several Caveats

June 28, 2018
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The number and placement of exterior security cameras at 34 Beacon Street became a topic for debate at the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission’s monthly meeting on June 21.

In a continuation from a hearing in February, Applicant Mona Bonnott is proposing a total of four exterior cameras at the front, side, and rear, one intercom with camera, and the replacement of a door at the side entrance.

The applicant is no longer proposing to change the front door, as was proposed in February. The intercom with camera would match the existing hardware, and the second camera in the front is now smaller than previously proposed.

Commissioner Miguel Rosales said that it “seems excessive” to have more than one camera in the front.

The applicant responded by saying that the intercom camera only works when the button is pressed, while the other one is on all the time.

On the side, the applicant is proposing to have a solid mahogany door with a new metal frame, weatherstripping, and brass hardware, as well as a camera fastened into the stone in the corner of the door. It was suggested by Rosales that the door frame be wooden as well, and the commission recommended that the solid wood door have panels.

Commissioner Rosales did not like the idea of the granite being perforated, and recommended that the camera be placed on the face of the wooden door frame.

In the alley, the applicant is proposing to install a smaller white camera in the ceiling, and in the back, a black camera at the garage mounted on wood trim.

“You have too many cameras,” Commissioner Rosales said.

But Chair Kenneth Taylor had a different opinion, saying that “these are relatively unobtrusive cameras,” and that “the homeowner should have the feeling that they’re able to secure the property.”

“I think you have a legitimate request to have two cameras in the front,” he said.

Taylor did, however, take issue with the width of the intercom at the front of the property. The currently proposed intercom does not fit onto the door frame without spilling over the side.

Commissioner Rosales made a motion to continue all items on the front of the house, and to approve the other items with the condition that the rest of the cameras be black and mounted to the wood door frames, not into any granite. The side door also has to be a four panel door with brass hardware. The camera related to the intercom in the front must fit the trim.

All commissioners voted to approve this motion, and the applicant must come back with a new proposal for the front.

Other items heard included a sign at 84 Chestnut Street that was approved under the condition that the sign be mounted to the recessed panel and slightly smaller than the recessed panel, four screws should be the only attachments, and the applicant must submit to the staff for review before proceeding. The applicant is also subject to comments made from the commission about mounting and detailing.

A proposal at 14 Beacon Street to replace all hollow sheet metal windows on the addition with two over two wood windows was heard and approved as presented.

At 11 Chestnut Street, the replacement of historic six over six window sashes with insulated glass. The application was not approved, and the applicant must come back with a detailed documentation of each existing window.

Lastly, At 87 Pinckney St, the applicant wants to replace her front entrance light with a recessed one. She would also like to add a custom brass speaker plate above the existing buzzers. The speaker plate was approved so long as it fits perfectly in the wood surround at the front entrance, but the light fixture was not approved and the applicant must come back with more information.

The application for 40 Beacon Street was withdrawn.

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