Architectural Commission Approves Window Signage for Joy Street Record Store

The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission unanimously approved an application for already installed window signage at a new Joy Street record store during the commission’s monthly public hearing on Thursday, April 20.

Vas Kochura, co-owner of the Music Research Library, located at the corner of Joy and Myrtle streets at 42 Joy St., was on hand to present the application for the existing signage comprising four, removable vinyl decals on four plate glass windows, each measuring 30-by-32 inches, with three decals on Myrtle Street and one on Joy Street, as well as another decal on the door listing the business’s hours and its phone number. (Kochura designed the store’s unique geometric logo featured on the window decals himself.)

Kochura, who, along with his business partner, Zachary Warf, relocated the Music Research Library from its home of the past six and half years in Providence, R.I., to 24 Joy St. on Beacon Hill on March 1 of this year, told the commission he wasn’t aware that he was expected to file an application for signage in the Beacon Hill Historic District with the Architectural Commission prior to its installation. He apologized for the oversight.

Commission Chair Mark Kiefer said while one belt sign above the window and one projecting sign are generally permitted in the Beacon Hill Historic District, this was an unusual situation, since not only does the business have an uncommon corner location, but the applicant was also asking for neither a belt sign, nor a projecting sign.

Commissioner Alice Richmond said she supported the application because she believes the business is a welcome addition to the neighborhood and since the signage isn’t permanent.

Likewise, Commissioner Curtis Kemeny, who was on hand for his first public hearing of the commission, also voiced his support for the application, while Maurice Finegold, another newcomer to the commission, called the signage “quite calming and welcoming.”

In another matter, the commission voted 6-1 (with Commissioner Richmond casting the only vote in opposition) to approve as submitted an application to install a cell antenna to serve T-Mobile users on a replacement lightpole located adjacent to 161 Mt. Vernon St.

Per the application, an existing 25-foot metal pole supporting a streetlight would be replaced with a 28-foot metal pole that would support antenna and radio equipment, along with a new brighter LED streetlight in accordance with the city’s specifications. (Both the existing and the replacement poles would be painted green, the applicant said.)

The small parcel where the metal pole is located falls under the jurisdiction of the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

“This is clear to me this is not the city making the decision, it’s DCR,” said Commissioner Richmond, who asked that the pole instead be installed on the other side of Storrow Drive, outside of the Beacon Hill Historic District.

In another matter, the commission unanimously approved an application for 58 Beacon St. to install a new intercom system in place of an existing system.

Timothy Burke, the project architect, said the new surface-mounted system would be about half the size of the existing one and have a brass cover.

Moreover, the commission voted unanimously to dismiss a violation for the installation of an unapproved Grasshopper intercom system at 101 Chestnut St., and to approve as submitted an application to enclose the unit in a brass box.

This determination came with a proviso that the applicant look at a key FOB panel located to the left of the intercom system and remove it, if it’s determined to be redundant.

Similarly, the commission unanimously voted to dismiss a violation for the installation of an unapproved Ring doorbell system at 38 Lime St., as well as to approve the application for the system as submitted.

Megan Morgan of Payne/Bouchier Fine Builders said the application would remedy the violation by placing a brass plate over the unit, as well as setting the unit back into the millwork.

The commission also reviewed a violation for 1 Pinckney St., which included unapproved first-floor window replacements, unapproved door hardware, an unapproved Ring doorbell system, and an unapproved light fixture to right of  the second entrance.

“We need the windows to be reconfigured so they’re consistent with our guidelines,” Chair Kiefer instructed the applicant. “Unfortunately, that means they’ll have to be reconstructed or even replaced.”

Chair Kiefer said a “remedial action order” would be filed against the applicant, which would require them to file formal applications to remedy each violation within 60 days.

On an application for 5 Louisburg Square, the commission unanimously approved the proposed work, which included replacing all the windows (which are replacements, according to BHAC staff, Nick Armata) with true divided light windows using double-pane clear glass and a dark spacer bar; to remove the storm windows; to change the window trim from white to black; and to replace the brick mould in kind.

Likewise, the commission unanimously approved as submitted an application to new street numbers just below the rail on the left-hand side of pair of front doors at 44 Phillips St.; this approval came with provisos that the street numbers each measuring 4 inches tall, be rendered in a more traditional font and have a polished brass finish.

On an application for 103 Myrtle St., the commission unanimously voted to approve the replacement of a guardrail while asking the applicant to explore a new design for the vertical cedar boards that serve as a privacy screen below it.

A proviso for this determination mandates that the decorative ornamental circles be removed from the top of the railing.

Meanwhile, the commission also heard an advisory review from representatives of The Vilna Shul at 18 Phillips St. on their tentative plans to modify and restore the plaza, including the installation of a proposed drainage system below it.

On hand for the entire hearing were Chair Kiefer, Vice Chair Arian Allen, and Commissioners Finegold, Ed Fleck, Kemeny, Ralph Jackson, and Richmond. Commissioner Wen Wen was also on hand for most of the meeting but had to leave before its conclusion.

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