BHAC Green-Lights Previously Approved Park Street School Infill Addition

The Beacon Hill Architectural unanimously green-lit the Park Street School’s previously approved application to build a three-story infill addition in its courtyard on Brimmer Street during the commission’s monthly public hearing on Thursday, June 15, which took place virtually.

Don Mills, the project architect, said the new addition would sit atop the second-floor roof of the building at 67 Brimmer St., with each now floor spanning about 325 square feet. The first story of the new addition would be home to the admissions department, he said, while the two floors above would accommodate “break-out space” for language labs and other classroom activities. Only the upper story of the addition would be partially visible from Beaver Place.

A sloping roof that was removed during the 2004 rehabilitation of the building to create room for an elevator and mechanicals and subsequently replaced with a parapet will be restored, said Mills. An original window bay now covered by the elevator shaft will “essentially” become a window again, complemented by a new double-hung window with true divided-light, which would be replicated to match another window original to the building, he added.

Mills said the commission previously approved the school’s application for the infill in 2018, but the project couldn’t move forward then and the approval subsequently lapsed due to a lawsuit filed by an abutter. (The lawsuit was ultimately settled in late November or early December of last year, he said.)

In another matter, the commission voted unanimously to dismiss a violation for the installation of an unapproved Electric Vehicle (EV) charger port cover at 6 Louisburg Square.

The cover will measure12-by-12 inches and have a hinged top, allowing it to be closed during charging to reduce tripping hazards, said Sandra Jahnes of Ruhl/Jahnes Architects.

It will be fabricated out of bronze and “pre-patinaed,” added Jahnes, as well as emblazoned with the letters ‘EV’ in similar font as gas and water meter plates found in the Beacon Hill Historic District; the letters would be separated by a lightning-bolt icon to alert passersby of the electric nature of the charger port.

The commission’s determination on this application came with a proviso that the applicant must also garner the approval of Proprietors of Louisburg Square before the project commences.

In another matter, the commission denied without prejudice an application for a blade sign for Vico Style, a vintage women’s clothing boutique at 125 Charles St., as it would have violated district guidelines that mandate only one blade sign per address. (KM Hudson, a lingerie store located at 125 Charles St., just above Vico Style, already has an existing blade sign at this address.)

Cecilia Hermawan, the business proprietor, had previously submitted an application for a blade sign, which was denied without prejudice at the commission’s May 18 public hearing. But rather than returning to the commission with an application for wall board sign directly above the windows of her basement-level storefront as she indicated she would at last month’s hearing, Hermawan instead came back this month with another application for a blade sign, albeit in a different location on the same building. She cited several examples of buildings on Charles Street with more than one blade sign as the precedent for her application, but as Chair Mark Kiefer pointed out, many of these signs were grandfathered in, or had unique circumstances surrounding them, as was the case with the Charles Street Meeting House – a large building that is home to a number of retail and office tenants.

Commissioner Alice Richmond cast the sole vote against denying the application while expressing support for Commissioner Ed Fleck’s suggestion that the applicant should explore the possibility of hanging a new blade sign directly below KM Hudson’s existing blade sign, without creating a new bracket. (Hermawan said she had yet talked to the owner of KM Hudson about this possibility.)

On an application for 19 Brimmer St., which was previously approved at last September’s public hearing, the commission unanimously approved the installation of a new sliding glass door on the existing headhouse. The applicant said the installation of the sliding door was the “last element” that needed approval as part of a thorough renovation of the headhouse, which Commissioner Maurice Finegold described as an “elegant improvement.”

In another matter, the commission voted 6-1 (with Commissioner Finegold casting the only dissenting vote) to approve as submitted an application for 34.5 Beacon St., which would allow for the installation of three bollards along the Joy Street sidewalk.

Jennifer Campbell, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the proposed bollards are intended to discourage Amazon trucks and Uber drivers from driving on a concrete section of that sidewalk. Cones had been set up there as a deterrent to drivers, she said, since ‘No Parking’ signs previously posted on the sidewalk had failed to remedy the ongoing problem.

Damage to this portion of the sidewalk, which the applicant has repeatedly repaired to no avail, said Campbell, has also led to leaking in a boiler room for 34.5 Beacon St., since that building’s basement extends beneath the sidewalk. Cars could also potentially fall through the concrete as a result of the damage, she said.

This determination came with a proviso that the applicant would also need to secure necessary approvals from the Public Improvement Commission and any other applicable city agencies. Campbell also said that the applicant has already agreed to maintain the bollards after their installation.

On an application for 86 Chestnut St., the commission unanimously approved the proposed installation of new, solid-brass address numbers; this determination came with a proviso that the number be reduced in size to fit in the center of the upper portion of the door, rather than to the left of the mail slot, as was originally proposed.

Likewise, the commission unanimously approved as submitted an application for 77 Myrtle St. to repaint the front door to change its color from Hunter Green to Sherman Williams Royal Blue; the motion for this application was amended to include the in-kind painting of the oriel and any other proposed in-kind painting at this address.

Meanwhile, an application to ratify the installation of an unapproved video doorbell at 3 Charles River Square was scheduled for the hearing but withdrawn by the applicant; it will instead be heard by the commission at the July 20 hearing.

Commission Chair Kiefer, Vice Chair Arian Allen and Commissioners Finegold, Fleck, and Annette Given were on hand for the entire hearing, while Commissioners Curtis Kemeny and Richmond were also both on hand for most of the meeting.

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