At its monthly public hearing, which was held virtually on Thursday, Aug. 18, the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission unanimously approved as submitted an application for new outdoor signage for a shop specializing in roasted nuts proposed for the former location of Peet’s Coffee on Charles Street.
Nuts Factory intends to occupy the long-vacant retail space at the corner of Charles and Beacon streets in the single-story building at 62-66 Charles St., built circa 1951, which is also home to Persona Jewelry, said Bill Beckeman, the building’s owner.
Nuts Factory, which sells freshly-roasted nuts, granola, dried fruits, flavored and candied nuts, gummies, legumes, spices, and olives, already has other stores in Manhattan and Queens, N.Y., as well as in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania.
Dennis Cook, the project architect, said the proposed signage comprises a 24-by-24-inch blade sign on Charles Street and a band sign, which would wrap around Charles to Mt. Vernon Street.
The blade sign would have brass lettering with a brushed finish and display the company’s leaf logo below the business name, said Cook, while the band sign would have the same brass lettering affixed to a black wood backer, with the company’s slogan – “Eat Good, Feel Good” – emblazoned beneath the business name.
Likewise, the commission unanimously approved as submitted an application to install a new mini-split unit at 68 Beacon St.
The applicant, Robert Mulcahy, said the Friends of the Public Garden is part of a co-op at this location, and that a compressor would be installed in the garden level of the basement area between River and Charles streets to provide heat and air conditioning for four workspaces in the Friends’ offices.
The sandstone-colored compressor, measuring 37-by-31 inches and 16 inches deep, would be mounted about 1 foot off the ground against an existing staircase, said Mulcahy, and it would only be minimally visible through the stairs from River Street.
The commission also unanimously approved as submitted an application from Verizon to install a black, sheet-metal box, measuring 16-by-20 inches and 8 inches deep, at 44 Chestnut St., as part of the utility provider’s replacement of its old copper-wire system with fiber optics. The box would be flush-mounted to the wall at the height of the horizontal run of existing cables.
Gene Butterfield, a Verizon engineer, said the company had installed some of these new terminals before realizing they were in violation, and that in all, 12 to 15 terminals would be installed on Beacon Hill, most of which would be out of the line of sight.
This determination came with provisos that “any and all cable connections, terminals, and conduits be removed and rendered obsolete”; and that any fixtures or fasteners be affixed through the mortar joint as opposed to through the brick; and that the Verizon decal be adhered to the box in a minimally visible location (i.e. the side or back of the unit), among other stipulations.
Moreover, Chair Mark Kiefer said he wants Verizon to return to the commission to make a formal presentation for each proposed box going forward.
On an application for 18 Grove St., which was previously denied without prejudice at the June 16 public hearing, the commission unanimously approved as submitted the proposed restoration of an existing storefront, with provisos including that shop drawings of the metal lintel to be replaced in kind are submitted to staff; that the molding beneath the storefront be replicated exactly, with shop drawings submitted to staff; and that the door knob and set details be submitted in another application, among other stipulations.
The commission unanimously approved as submitted an application for 60 Temple St. to replace the head-house, door, and siding; this came with provisos that the recladding of the head-house and its roof be done in kind, with everything rendered in wood expect for the roof; that the metal on the roof structure be rendered in copper; and that the final design be submitted to staff, among other stipulations.
Also, the commission unanimously approved as submitted an application for 66 Chestnut St. to replace the rear deck, which is visible from Branch Street, using the same footprint, as well as to replace the existing railing with a wrought-iron railing.
On an application for 46 Beacon St. to restore the existing solarium, the commission unanimously approved the proposed work; this determination came with provisos that the dimensions of the new windows match the existing ones as closely as possible; that decorative copper items be left to weather, rather than be repainted, so the commission can determine if they should be repainted later; and that black or door-colored spacers be used between the double window-panes, among other stipulations.
For 83 Mt. Vernon St., the commission unanimously approved as submitted the replacement of the rear public-alley door in kind, with provisos that the door be made of wood unless code requirements state otherwise, and that the door be painted black, among other stipulations.
At the same address, the commission unanimously denied without prejudice an application to replace the guard rail around the “viewing platform,” while instructing the applicant to install a mock-up of the proposed cable railing for inspection.
On an application for 71 Mt. Vernon St., the commission unanimously approved the proposed repainting of the front door, bay, and entry; window trim; and rear deck doors. But this came with a proviso specifying that the existing shade of Benjamin Moore Guilford Green be reused, which, Kiefer said, reflects the building’s “successful Victorian renovation” and its unique status as a “rare example of a building that has retained its historic paint scheme.”
Using a different shade of green paint suggested by the applicant would likely result in an “historical anachronism,” added Chair Kiefer.
Nick Armata, BHAC staff and senior preservation planner for the Boston Landmarks Commission, similarly cited a Historic New England article that “directly correlated this color to this style of architecture.”
The commission also unanimously approved as submitted an application to install a new light fixture at the same address, with provisos including that it have similar style and use similar materials as one of four options presented.
Regarding the unpermitted repainting of masonry surfaces at 141 Revere St., the commission voted unanimously to dismiss the violation, and to accept the application for the finished work, with the proviso that the applicant submit paint samples to staff.
Likewise, the commission also voted unanimously to dismiss a violation for an unauthorized globe-like fixture containing three or four cameras within the door vestibule, and to approve an application to replace the fixture with three smaller cameras.
This determination came with proviso that the new cameras be painted black or rendered in a black finish; that the cameras be made as minimally visible from the street as possible; that the cameras be mounted to the underside of the canopy; and that the cameras be significantly hidden within the canopy, with final approval deferred to staff.
In addition to Chair Kiefer, Commissioners Arian Allen, Annette Given, and Ralph Jackson were also on hand for the hearing.
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