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HLC recommends overhaul approval

By Staff | Aug 12, 2011

This home on East High Street was approved for major repairs and renovations. The applicants, Donald and Patricia Burgess, wish to eventually rent the space out to individuals. (Chronicle photo by Tricia Fulks)

At Monday’s Shepherdstown Historic Landmarks Commission meeting, members recommended approval of an overhaul of a historic East High Street home as well as a 40-panel solar array on a West New Street property. Commissioners also formally recommended to the town’s planning commission changes made to Title 9 related to preservation, which will be heard in a public hearing Monday, Aug. 15.

Harpers Ferry residents Donald and Patricia Burgess recently purchased the mid-19th century home on High Street, which the applicants believed used to house mill workers. Originally a duplex, the Burgesses believe it was used as such until about 15 years ago when it was converted into a single-family home.

The Burgesses plan on using the home for renters, and their applications included a list of repairs, replacements and renovations including a new front, kitchen and rear doors; repairs to the vinyl windows which they believe the previous owner installed without acquiring a permit; repairing front porch railing; roof repairs and replacements; and building or adding fences or gates around the lot.

According to both applications submitted by the couple, total cost of renovations on the interior and exterior of the home is estimated at just over $30,000.

Commissioners asked the Burgesses to verbally modify their application to include materials they found more suitable for the home. The Burgesses wanted to replace the front door with a stain grade exterior door with six window lites; however, Commissioner John Shank said a home built during the mid-1800s would most likely have a solid wooden door. The application was verbally modified to include a six-panel solid door.

“We’re interested in putting up something you find acceptable,” Patricia Burgess said.

The HLC unanimously voted to recommend to planning commission approval of the Burgesses’ applications.

Commissioners also recommended approval of the installation of a 40-panel array of photovoltaics on an existing garage on David Hammer’s property along New Street. The roof, which is low-sloping and metal, faces the alley behind Hammer’s home, so solar panels will not be visible from the main road as laid out in HLC guidelines.

Commissioners discussed how neighbors could possibly react to a large solar array. They said it could possibly be seen from adjacent homes; however, they came to the consensus that because their guidelines do not address that concern, it should not play a part in recommending or denying approval.

Present HLC members also voted to formally recommend the changes made to the town ordinance regarding preservation. Commissioner Alice Chakmakian, who was not present at Monday’s meeting, worked on the revisions to streamline sections 9-301 and 9-902-IV. Changes Chakmakian suggested included adding Section 9-309.

Zoning Officer Harvey Heyser said while revisions will be made to Section 9-902-V, it is tabled for now.

Planning commissioners will take up these proposed revisions at a public hearing Monday, Aug. 15, which will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall

The next HLC meeting will be Monday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.