BHAC Denies Proposed Pinckney Street Penthouse Addition

The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission voted to deny an application to build an addition to the existing penthouse at the rear of 85 Pinckney St. during its Feb. 20 public hearing at City Hall.

Adam Gilmore, the architect for the project, described the proposed 58 square-foot addition as a “modest infill to a non-historic penthouse” that would replace two air-conditioner condensers sitting atop a rubber roof and replicate the rest of the existing structure by incorporating brick elements, two windows and a copper gutter.

The addition, which Gilmore said wouldn’t obstruct any views from public ways on the Hill, would provide space for an additional restroom.

The application was denied, however, because architectural modifications to penthouses aren’t permitted per Beacon Hill Historic District guidelines.

“Our stance on this has been very firm for a long period of time, and I don’t think we should waver on it,” said Joel Pierce, the Beacon Hill Civic Association’s appointee to the commission.

In response to an application for 42 Phillips St., the commission voted to approve replacing an existing roof-hatch in kind and building a screen wall, with the proviso that the wall’s height not exceed that of the existing 42-inch railing surrounding an existing deck.

But the commission denied the applicant’s request to install a fire pit on the existing roof deck.

The commission also voted to deny an application to install a tall sliding glass access-hatch with copper-clad end walls at 52 Beacon St., which would’ve been visible from the entrance to the Boston Common parking garage; instead, the commission recommended the use a low profile access-hatch. 

In another matter, the commission voted to approve a request to build a pea stone path and plantings at the front yard of 73 Mt. Vernon St., with the proviso that the applicant use granite edges instead of metal as was proposed.

The commission voted to deny the applicant’s requests to add a stone garden bench and a seasonal planter, as well as exterior lighting, however, since they weren’t deemed compatible with the architectural style of the Historic District.

Meanwhile, regarding a violation for 29 West Cedar St., the commission unanimously approved an application to ratify painting the recessed entryway an unapproved color. (The door was painted gloss black and rest of the entry Coventry grey, as opposed to the original shade of the green that coated both the door and entry.)

            The commission also voted unanimously to approve the installation of a hanging Kensington light fixture in the entryway, replacing a modern type fixture that wasn’t approved. The new lantern, which would be dark bronze in color and measure 23 inches tall and 10¾ wide, would be similar to other entry lanterns found in the neighborhood.

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