BHAC Wants to See More Documentation for Proposals

Many applications at the August 16 Beacon Hill Architectural Commission hearing were continuations from previous hearings—some had required more information last time, and another was moved from administrative review to come before the full commission.

At 36 Joy Court, the applicant has proposed to replace an existing cedar stockade fence alongside the yard, attach five panels of treated lattice fencing for ivy wall, and install a single lattice panel at the wall and alley end for ivy wall. This proposal was on administrative review from the July hearing, but staff thought that it should be heard by the full commission.

The applicant said that he wants to add the trellis panels so that the ivy will grow on the trellis instead of up the fence, and would like to replace the fence in kind.

James Ewing from the Beacon Hill Civic Association said that he was not aware of the stockade fence ever having been a whole length; he said he remembers there always being gaps. Bt the applicant said that only one section is currently missing, and it’s a spot where the wood has completely rotted.

“Our committee does not believe that such a stockade fence is appropriate in our community,” and he said that another solution would be more appropriate.

The applicant expressed his concern for the privacy of the residents, and really wanted the fence to be there for that reason. Commission Chair Kenneth Taylor suggested that the applicant use plastic coated heavyweight wire in front of the entire fence.

“I think an unfinished stockade fence is very crude looking,” he said. He also was not a fan of the unfinished lattice, calling it “very inappropriate.” He said that ivy planted throughout the entire length of the fence on a wire grid would be an option, or the lattice should blend in with the fence if that route is taken.

Rosales said that painting a fence would be a maintenance issue, but the applicant said that’s not an issue for him. The applicant said that they would be using high quality wood, not “the cheap stuff.” But Commissioner Miguel Rosales said that “it’s not appropriate. It doesn’t go with the historic district.”

“I agree that the stockade fence is not appropriate,” said Vice-Chair Joel Pierce. Commissioner Paul Donnelly also agreed, and said that he thinks a privacy barrier could be created in other way using ivy or some other planting.

Taylor said that “this is not a small structure you’re asking us to approve” using a material that is not ideal for Beacon Hill.

“We can’t tell you what to do; we can tell you your application is not appropriate and we’ve offered you some suggestions that you should consider,” Taylor said.

He made a motion to continue this application so the applicant can come back with alternate solutions, and the motion was approved.

In a continuation from July, applicant Millicent Cutler proposed a blade sign for the store Ouimillie at 133 Charles St. Cutler said that the store does not have proper signage at the moment.

Using the existing bracket hardware, Cutler wants to create a 20 inch by 26 inch sign that resembles the Ouimillie bag, which is a navy bag with all lowercase letters at the bottom that spell out the store name. The sign would be a wood sign with high quality paint.

Rosales told Culter that the drawing of the sign is very rough and that she would need to have someone draw it to scale with dimensions.

“Signage on Charles Street is very important,” he said. Cutler said that she was thinking of using raised letters on the sign, but Rosales said the best method would be to carve the letters from wood.

Rosales said the proposal for the sign was okay, but it has to be documented correctly and he recommends that the letters be carved.

The application was approved with the provisos that shop drawings be provided to staff and the letters be carved from wood.

At 11 Chestnut Street, in a continuation from June and July, the applicant proposed sash replacement only for six over six windows with insulated glass sashes. At the last hearing, the project manager for Holland Construction who represented the proposal was asked to provide more clarification on the architectural details. At this hearing, he said that an architect went out and measured the existing windows, and the applicant is porpoising to match all of the dimensions and details in kind.

The only change will be thermal insulated glass instead of single pane. He said they plan to keep the existing window frames and masonry details, and the new windows will be replaced in the same thickness.

Rosales said that the new windows will be thicker if they’re being replaced with thermal glass, and the dimensions presented are not correct for the existing class. Taylor said that since these are going to be replacement windows, the Commission needs correct information about the existing windows.

He told the project manager that when he was here last time, he did not provide enough information and then he came back and showed them “something that’s not the existing condition.”


The project manager said that the only incorrect thing in the drawing was the thickness of the glass. He also said that they opted for replacement of the windows over repair due to the state of the windows and the insulating factor of the single pane glass.

James Ewing from the Beacon Hill Civic Association said that it is “not a necessity” to replace the windows. He said he’d like documentation that they’re beyond repair and that the existing windows are not acceptable, as well as more accurate drawings.

“There’s no justification or report of why you have to take them down,” agreed Rosales.

Pierce said that the windows could be replaced with the insulated glass as long as it replicates the existing windows. Hill said that he could even be on site when the windows are being measured to confirm that the measurements are correct.

The application was approved as submitted subject to a verification of the actual measures of the existing window and as long as the existing dimensions of the sash are replicated. If they are different, the applicant must come back to the Commission.

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