CHESTERTOWN — The Historic District Commission, meeting Wednesday, Aug. 3, approved designs for three townhouses to be built on Water Street adjacent to Wilmer Park.
The project by Ramunno Construction has been in the works since 2007, when it was first floated, Zoning Administrator Kees de Mooy said. But the recession forced the builder to table his plans, and it was 2014 before the economic climate made the project viable once more.
Paula Beall of QA13 Architects gave the presentation for the builders. She said the current plans are for three private townhouses, a change from the original plan to build four condominium townhouses on the property. There would be parking at the back of each house.
De Mooy said the town plans to make a one-way connection of Water Street to the former Railroad Avenue, giving access to Queen Street.
Each of the three houses will have a third-floor deck at the rear, Beall said. All three will be 21 feet wide and 25 feet deep.
Commissioner Barbara Jorgenson said she was unhappy with the window designs chosen. She said the two-over-one design of the main windows and the casement windows in the kitchen were unacceptable. She also objected to the sliding glass doors giving access to the decks.
Beall said the two-over-one is typical of the neighborhood and common all over town. She described it as “very classic.”
Jorgenson said the location of the houses made all sides visible from the street and therefore they are all subject to historic district guidelines.
Beall said she put casement windows in the kitchen so residents wouldn’t have to climb onto the counter to open and close them.
De Mooy said the historic district guidelines are less strict for new construction. He said there are casement kitchen windows all over town.
“It’s my opinion and my vote,” Jorgenson said. She said her objections would be satisfied if dividers were put in the casement windows and sliders to give them a two-over-two appearance.
Beall said she would make the changes if it would get the project final approval.
The commission praised most of the other design features of the project. Jorgenson said the overall design “should be applauded.”
The commission voted unanimously to approve the design subject to the requested changes in the windows.
In Other Business:
• The commission approved designs for two single-family homes to be built at 515 Cannon St. by Alden Yetman. The two houses are to be similar in design but not identical, Yetman said, with cement board siding and asphalt shingles. A shared driveway will provide off-street parking for both. The heights of the two will be similar to others in the neighborhood.
Yetman said he would like to use vinyl windows on the houses because one is being built to fit a limited budget. He showed samples of the windows he proposed using. After some discussion, the commission approved their use.
The commission asked for some minor touches to dress up the porch on one house and the roofline on the other. As with the Water Street buildings, Jorgenson asked for two-over-two dividers in the windows on the sides of the houses visible from the street.
Yetman agreed to make the changes. “Your ideas will make it better,” he said. “I’m meeting a budget, but I want to make it a nice house.”
• The commission approved sign designs for Creative Shutters and Blinds at 329 High St. and Figg’s Ordinary, a gluten-free bakery at 207 S. Cross St.
• The commission approved exterior renovations to an outbuilding at 402 N. Kent St. The owners, David and Lorraine Slama, said they plan to convert the building to an “age-in-place” retirement dwelling for themselves.