Wiscasset Historic Preservation Commission

Historic Preservation Commission grants certificates, plans talking points on downtown project

Panel tables Fort Hill Street fence item again
Posted:  Monday, March 20, 2017 - 3:15pm

The Wiscasset Historic Preservation Commission granted two requests for certificates of appropriateness March 16. In addition, a review of Celeste Edwards’ request for a certificate, for a fence she erected at her 4 Fort Hill Street property last fall, was tabled for the fourth time. Each time, Edwards has not appeared for the review. Town Planner Ben Averill said Edwards could not attend this time due to a family emergency.

Christopher Doherty, builder for a project at 4 Union Street, discussed the planned small, heated addition to replace a mudroom where pipes often freeze in the winter. Helen and Dennis Davis own the property. Doherty asked about the possibility of using fly ash or hardy board, a plastic product that looks like real wood and would match the building, but commission members said they would prefer wood siding.

Doherty returned a few minutes after the approval of his application to point out that the addition will have vinyl windows.  “I guess we didn’t read the application clearly enough,” Chairman John Reinhardt said. The two vinyl windows are small casement windows and aren’t visible from the roadway; one would be visible to an abutter.

The other approved certificate went to Richard Litz of 88 Federal Street. He plans to replace a fence at the back of his property and build a studio at the back of his garage. The exterior would be finished to match the existing garage, with a minor change to the trim overhang to assist with ventilation, because the building will be insulated. The addition will have a pleated metal roof like the house and garage with a skylight on the north side. The fence is a post and cedar log fence.

They also discussed talking points to bring up at the March 27 Public Advisory Committee meeting, to which the commission was invited. The commission especially wanted to make sure the granite curbstones would be replaced, and that the visual effect of any changes to the downtown would be minimized. They were also concerned about the proposed demolition of Haggett’s Garage on Water Street for off-street parking, and wanted to discuss the potential for problems if heavy traffic is re-routed onto side streets. “I’ve seen what happens to foundations when heavy traffic is allowed around historic properties,” Reinhardt said. “Even fieldstone foundations can crumble.”

The commission reviewed some of the items that they wished to include in proposed changes to the historic preservation ordinance, but did not vote on any new items. Members will meet again on April 6.