BHAC Votes To Ratify Unapproved Charles River Square Video Doorbell

The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission voted by a majority of 5-2 to dismiss a violation for and ratify the installation of an unapproved video doorbell at 3 Charles River Square at the commission’s monthly public hearing, which took place virtually on Thursday, July 20. Jim Mooney, a property manager for Light Hill Property Management, presented two options – the first, with a white panel covering the unit, which would be flush mounted and blend in with the surround located on the side of the front door; and the second, with the same specifications but opting instead for a brass panel, which was the preference of the commission. Commission Chair Mark Kiefer, who made the motion on this application, asked for provisos, including that a brass panel be used in the installation “for consistency, if nothing else”: and that the contractor make their best effort to clean up the installation and make it as flush of possible. Chair Kiefer also pointed out that the video doorbell is only visible from a public way from a distance on Mugar Way. Commissioner Alice Richmond, who cast one of the two dissenting votes on this application, expressed her preference for the white panel, adding that she doesn’t think that “everything on Beacon Hill needs to be brass.” Commissioner Maurice Finegold, who cast the other dissenting vote on this application, asked what could be done to make the unit more recessed, and to clean up its appearance. “Basically, it’s a mess,” he said. “It looks like a dog chewed a hole in the wood.” On a pair of applications for 59 River St., the commission voted 6-1 to approve the proposed work, which includes changing the paint color of the window shutters from Essex Green to black, as well as painting both the gate and the front door (which is currently painted “shiny red,” according to the applicant) black. Chair Kiefer, who cast the only dissenting vote on this application, expressed a preference to see another paint color besides black in an effort to create more aesthetic variety in the neighborhood. In another matter, the commission voted unanimously to approve an application for Beacon House at 19 Myrtle St., with proposed work including the replacement of existing, non-historic aluminum windows and screens on floors three through eight, as well as painting the window surrounds Beacon Green. (The new windows will be located within existing masonry openings in the same location as the existing windows, according to the applicant.) On an application for 10 Walnut St., the commission voted unanimously to approve the installation of the three bollards, each measuring 38 inches high and 8 inches in diameter, into the existing bluestone sidewalk. (The bollards are intended to prevent delivery trucks from driving on and subsequently damaging the bluestone and the proposed granite curb, said the applicant.) This determination came with the proviso that the applicant get all necessary permits from city agencies, including the Public Improvement Commission, before commencing work on the project. The commission unanimously denied without prejudice an application for 103 Myrtle St. to replace eight, original, six-over-six windows on the front façade of 103 Myrtle St. Sean Cryts of Historic Window & Door Corp. said the mahogany windows would be “remade in kind,” with appropriate “period glass.” He added that only about 20-25 percent of the existing windows could likely be preserved, given their current state of deterioration. This determination was intended to allow BHAC staff (Nicholas Armata) enough time to verify the conditions and measurements of the existing windows, and to determine, in consultation with the applicant, to what extent the windows can be saved. The commission also unanimously approved an application to install a new lantern pendant-light at 83 Myrtle St., with the proviso that details of the fixture’s final finish be submitted to staff (Armata). In another matter, the commission approved as submitted an application for 7 Louisburg Square, with proposed work at the front face including the installation of a new fire alert system, new door hardware, a mail slot, and a house number – all rendered in burnished brass – as well as new chimney pots. (A proposed security camera was moved to a location not visible from a public way.) This determination came with provisos that two historical, conical chimneys be retained in their current location, or if deemed inoperative, be moved to another location on the chimney stack; that the design of the new chimney pots be revised to better align with the existing tall chimney pots; and that an existing door knocker be retained if its finish can be matched. On an application for a classic Greek Revival townhouse, circa 1845, located at 12 Derne St., the commission voted 6-1 (with Commissioner Richmond casting the only dissenting vote) to deny without prejudice the proposed work, which entailed painting all the window trim with exterior-grade, semi-gloss black paint. The applicant was asked to return to the commission with alternate paint schemes, which are appropriate to the building but also have a “distinct expression” compared with other nearby building, including the one next door at 14-16 Derne St. An application for 14-16 Derne St., which was presented by Jillian Sargent (the design consultant who also represented the applicant for 12 Detne St.) entailed painting all the exterior door and window trims, bay windows, and dormers black. (Unlike 12 Derne St., Chair Kiefer noted that this building has more modern Victorian elements, including two-over-two windows [as opposed to six-over-six] and a mansard roof at the top story.) This application was also denied without prejudice, and the applicant was again asked to return to the commission with alternate paint schemes. Chair Kiefer, along with Vice Chair Arian Allen and Commissioners Annette Given, Ed Fleck, and Ralph Jackson, as well as Commissioners Finegold and Richmond, were all on hand for the hearing

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