SELDC defers 85 West Newton application to March hearing

A Design Review hearing of 14 projects was whittled down to nine at the Feb. 4 South End Landmarks District Commission hearing. Boston Landmarks Commission Preservation Planner Mary Cirbus said that those items removed would be heard at the March hearing; one of those items was the project at 85 West Newton St. to demolish the existing Villa Victoria Center for the Arts.

198 West Springfield St.
An application for 198 West Springfield St. to modify a roof deck to comply with the standards and guidelines of the Commission that was continued from the December 2019 hearing. Architect Marcus Springer proposed to move the railing of the existing roof deck to be I line with the adjacent railing at 194 West Springfield St., and put up a fascia board on the front. The current deck has a white railing, and the owner said she was not aware that that would have to be approved by the Commission originally. The Commission voted to approve the railing system presented and to align the railing with 194 West Springfield St., and the applicant will investigate what kind of mediation can be done with the wood stove chimney, which the Commission had concerns about.

437 Shawmut Ave.
Homeowner Bob Greene proposed to construct a shed dormer at the rear facade roof level to add more space to his unit. Greene said his condo association and the abutters are “fine” with the proposal.
Greene’s architect said that the design is consistent with some of the other dormers on the block.
Commissioner Joh Amodeo said that he was concerned about precedent, as “adding dormers where there never were dormers is just changing the building,” he said. He said he wanted to see more research that might indicate that dormers were once present on the building and removed, or if there is ay demonstration that a dormer was originally planned for the building.
“While it may be good architecture, it’s not good preservation,” Amodeo said of the proposed dormer. “We have to go by our standards and criteria. It doesn’t always match an applicant’s objectives but we try to work with you to get as far as we can.”
Amodeo said in order for this dormer to be approved, the applicant would have to prove that a dormer was intended and never built or built and removed. The applicant said that he believes the installation of the dormer would make the building more historically compatible with the rest of the street.
Commissioners Peter Sanborn and John Freeman said that if the Commission does move forward with approving the dormer, they believe it should be in line with the front dormer.
The Commission voted to continue this application to another hearing so both parties could learn more information about the history of the building.

116 Chandler St.
Architect Mark Van Brocklin of Embarc Studio proposed a small addition on the ground level, a rear deck, and a rood deck, as well as to replace the window on the rear facade with doors to the deck that would be detailed in the same was as others on Chandler Street—it will appear as a double-hung window.
The window in question might be outside of the purview of the commission since it is below a rear fence that would block the view from a public way.
The roof deck has been mocked up, and Cirbus said she had gone to see it, but was unable to see the mockup. The rear deck is a 6 foot deep deck on a 3 foot, eight-inch rear addition.
Commissioner John Freema said he would like to see a drawing of how the fire escape next door would connect to the proposed rear deck.
The Commission voted to approve this application with the provisos that the applicants provide drawings or more information about bracket support for the deck, as proposed the door will be designed as windows with interior and exterior munitions, the side and rear feces are built high enough to make the cotton of the windows and new addition below them not visible, all drawings become updated, and the applicants provide more information for the connection to the dire escape and the deck.
A few other proposals for roof decks were remanded to a subcommittee for further discussion, and were neither approved nor denied at the hearing.

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