Back Bay Architectural Commission Approves Four Projects

Four projects were approved at the Back Bay Architectural Commission public hearing on June 13.

First on the docket was applicant Lemar Osmanov’s proposal of the replacement of non-historic front entry doors at 160 Commonwealth Avenue. The proposal is to improve the front entry as well as add an additional level of security in the building. The door will have clear glass and mahogany wood. The Commission voted to approve the project as proposed.

Next was applicant Maria Tamvakologos from 127 Beacon Street. The proposed work included the re-landscaping of the garden in front of the property. The slate patio space would be removed and replaced with natural bluestone in a random pattern.

There are no planting beds against the building included in the proposal, and the plant selections were chosen based on the shadiness and small footprint of the area. The front hedge is to be replaced with a lower boxwood fence, making the iron fence more visible.

Sue Prindle of the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay was concerned that the sidewalk that surrounds the new bluestone would stand out too much because of the difference in color.

The Commission made a motion to approve the proposal with the condition that the Garden Club of the Back Bay be consulted and the concrete be stained to match the bluestone. The motion was approved.

Norman and Heewon Cerk from 191 Commonwealth Avenue proposed to “restore twelve sixth-story wood windows” at the front of the property, at east elevation, the restoration of “two former window openings and the enlargement of the existing opening to the original three window width,” in the rear “replace three sixth-story non-historic wood two-over-two windows with single pane wood two-over-two windows,” and to replace “two non-historic wood two-over-two windows with an eight-light wood window,” the notice of public hearing stated.

Sue Prindle had concerns about the window over the 183 Commonwealth Avenue roof, and the neighbor has concerns about access over their roof. A motion was made to approve the restoration of the existing wood windows and to keep the kitchen windows the way they are now with wood two-over-two, and defer the windows on the neighbor’s side to a meeting with the neighbor as well as subject to ISD approval. The motion was approved.

Applicant George Kouris at 346 Marlborough Street proposed to leave the garden as-is, restore the windows, replace the storm windows with black storm windows, and remove the shutters. On the top floor, the existing black metal cladding will be replaced with copper. A roof deck with the chimney space on top of the building is also being proposed, and it will be pulled back from both sides. The paint will be chemically stripped off the building, and the fire escapes will be removed. There is also a balcony being proposed three stories up. John Christiansen of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay said that he doesn’t think the balcony is a good idea.

Sue Prindle says she supports the proposal with some modifications. She said that she was happy to see the recladding, but she wants to see the garden enlarged a little bit. She said it “looks more like a trash area than a garden at this point.” Prindle said she does not support the deck because of the concern of noise for neighbors. She pointed out that the building behind it comes right up to the alley.

Christiansen made a motion to move approval to the restoration elimination of the fire escapes, with exception of eliminating shutters, the top deck be allowed, but with a hatchway and if no hatchway then the deck would not be approved. The window pattern is acceptable, but the balcony as drawn would not be approved. but another design would be considered, and the garden was approved. The Commission voted to approve the motion.

The 10 11 Arlington Street proposal has deferred their hearing until July, Prindle said.

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