BHAC Approves Several Signs, Denies Energy Panels on Lime St.

The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission met for its monthly meeting on Dec. 19, with a full agenda after cancelling its November meeting. Among the list of items heard were proposals for replacement windows, light fixtures, and signs. It was announced at the beginning of the hearing that there would be a hard cutoff at 8 p.m., but the Commission continued to hear some applications after that.

60 Chestnut Street

Attorney Marc LaCasse proposed three remediation items for approval by the Commission for a project at 60 Chestnut St.: the location for a condenser, a planter, and the height of the deck.

LaCasse said that the proposed condenser would not be visible behind the existing planter box that will remain, and the condensers are not visible from the public way. The new condenser is 27 inches tall, and the current ones are 33 inches tall.

LaCasse also proposed to remove the planter wall and replace it with a new railing. For the height of the deck, the proposal was to “deconstruct the area from the rear of the house to the edge of the garage and rebuilt it,” LaCasse said. He added that the deck will be lowered to the “exact same height as the previous deck from 2016.” A mockup of the deck was requested, he continued.

Abutter Linda Johnson said that “this has been a long-standing issue,” and that permits were not followed. She said there are concerns about the garage being illegal, and in this case, it’s “hard to trust that this will follow through as it wasn’t in the past.”

The Commission ultimately voted to remand to staff the details regarding the visibility of the HVAC units, and everything else was approved as submitted.

12 Lime St.

The proposal at 12 Lime St. was to install five new energy panels on the outside of the stained-glass windows at the front, facade main entry.

The project proponent proposed to install these panels between the security and stained glass panels “to help preserve them as they’re in rough shape,” he said. He said that the concern lies within the fragility of the panels, and without something to protect them, they will continue to deteriorate and “we may lose them altogether.”

Senior Preservation Planner Nick Armata said that the Commission guidelines do not allow these panels to be installed over the stained glass, and the installation of the panels will create a “microclimate” that would actually further deteriorate the stained glass. “It just wouldn’t be appropriate,” Armata said.

The applicant said that the glass would still be able to breathe with the panels installed, but Armata argued that “it just wouldn’t look right according to the guidelines.” Armata suggested that the panels could be installed on the inside as an alternative.

Martha McNamara, Director of the New England Arts and Architecture Program at Wellesley College, said that the guidelines don’t allow these types of panels because they are “necessarily highly reflective and detract from the aesthetic purpose and original intent. Even if you’re going to seal it up,” she told the applicant, “a microclimate will cause the glass to deteriorate at a more rapid rate.” She said it would not happen if storm windows were installed on the inside because it is a more climate-controlled space.

The Commission voted to deny this application without prejudice, which allows the applicant to come back with a different proposal.

104 Mount Vernon St. (11A West Cedar)

 A proposal to restore leaded glass on side lights and transom and restoring and repainting the existing door at 104 Mount Vernon St. has already been completed, as the applicant’s painter thought it was approved under administrative review, the applicant said.

Armata said the painter did contact him about this. “We have evidence of the historic color and wanted to point out that this color was approved by this Commission for another Beacon Hill home we owned, and is still the same color,” the applicant said. The applicant provided photos of the door prior to being painted Benjamin Moore Grand Entrance Red, as the photos showed evidence around the lock and on the hinge that the door was once painted this color.

“This is a color, which is present in the neighborhood,” the applicant said.

The Commission voted to approve the proposal as presented.

70 Charles St.

At 70 Charles St., the owner of Kodomo Boston, presented a proposal to install a wall sign, blade sign, and window decals for her new location in Beacon Hill.

The sign is an existing sign from her closed store in Chestnut Hill. The maker of the sign has since passed away, but he was known for making signs for Beacon Hill stores, the applicant said. The sign is blue with gold carved wood lettering

A member of the Beacon Hill Civic Association said that she would like to see the signs match the existing ones on the building, as they are all roughly the same dimensions and a square shape. Other signs on the building are for dressboston, Agostino Salon, and Cynthia Driscoll interiors. The proposed Kodomo sign is rectangular.

Armata disagreed, saying that “different variations in signs gives more character to Charles Street.”

The application was approved as submitted, with the provisos that there is no additional window signage and the applicant must take the sign with her if she moves locations.

137 Charles St.

At 137 Charles St., which is to become Luxor Hair Studio, the proponent proposed to install a wall sign, a blade sign, and window decals.

The proponent said the the blade sign would be replaced in-kind, and the proposed wall sign is 14 inches by 7 feet. On the windows, he proposed white vinyl lettering, and on the door, a logo as well as operating hours.

The signs were proposed to be made from metal. “We do prefer wood in the district, but there’s no guideline that says that,” Armata said. The applicant said he would explore a wood sign if he had to.

The Commission voted to approve the sign as presented except for the sign in the window.

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