SELDC Forms Subcommittee for Roof Deck Re-Do on Appleton St.

The South End Landmark District Commission (SELDC) on September 7 discussed a proposal at 106 Appleton St. to remove and rebuild the existing roof deck with a slightly different footprint, as well as repair the roof membrane. After a somewhat lengthy discussion, the Commission voted to have a subcommittee look at the deck in person before making any decisions to approve or deny.

Shane Gibbons of NOMAD Design Collaborative said that an interior renovation is currently underway at the property, and part of the proposal includes replacing the rubber roofing membrane that has “been leaking for quite some time,” as well as rebuilding the existing deck.

He said that the footprint of the deck has remained the same, except for a “little bump-out” on the both side of the deck above the roof hatch.

He said that he “just shortened that slightly and made a more rectilinear floor plan” in the proposal.

The existing black metal railing is “very visible” on the south side of the deck that faces Dartmouth Place, and there is no way to alter the placement of the deck, he said. He also said that the proposal for the new deck also includes the same painted rail.

On the north side, Gibbons proposed a “slat wood privacy but also windbreak wall” of the same height as the railing. He said it would “be a nice textural piece for the people using the roof deck.”

The proposed railing on this side is wood slats that make up the back of a proposed storage bench and would be “barely visible from the street,” he said, as the “existing railing is very, very minimally visible from my vantage point.”

He said that another option would be to lower the wood to 36 inches and have the 42 inch required rail height be made of the metal railing instead.

“These weatherproof storage elements cannot be visible from the street,” said SELDC Chair John Amodeo. “We’ll just say it now. There’s no way we can permit that.”

The applicant said that “ideally,” the slat woof would be used as a railing on the north side, but Commissioner Catherine Hunt said “it’s not an option.”

Amodeo also commented on the proposed ornamental design for the pickets, “which would not be approvable,” he said.

The Commission stressed that its preference is for the railing to not be visible at all. “Seeing minimal visibility is a concession we are making to an applicant,” Amodeo said. He also said that planters, benches, and the like should also not be able to be seen from a public way, as per the Commission’s guidelines.

“Ww would want to see a mockup and would have to send a subcommittee out there,” he said, to view the rail locations as well as “the proposed permanent structure. If any of those planter or benches or storage units are visible, then we would not be able to approve them,” he aid. Amodeo added that a lot of what was proposed would not be visible, but the concerns about the railing remained.

“I think to do our due diligence, we need to go out there and see it ourselves,” he said. “It’s important enough.”

The proposal was remanded to a subcommittee of John Amodeo and Catherine Hunt, who will find a time to go and look at the deck in person before any vote is made. Once a date for the subcommittee meeting is chosen, the public will be made aware via the City of Boston’s website.

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