BVHDC Approves Dormer at Fayette St.

At its December 14 hearing, the Bay Village Historic District Commission (BVHDC) approved a gabled dormer on the front facade of 32 Fayette St.

Architect Paul McNeely explained that the dormer would have four wooden double hung windows and a slate roof, and the existing slate roof will also be repaired. Additionally, minor repairs to the masonry will be made as needed, and the homeowners are also asking to replace the existing windows, which will be in a different application.

The dormer will be used as another bedroom, McNeely said.

Commissioner Steve Dunwell asked if there was a precedent for such a dormer, as he said it appears to be a “pretty big change.”

McNeely said that while this particular building has not been modified, other buildings in the neighborhood have similar dormers.

Joe Cornish, Director of Design Review for the Boston Landmarks Commission said that there are “dormers on almost all the rowhouses across the street,” and dormers are permitted per the BVHDC guidelines.

Commissioner Anne Kilguss lives across the street from this proposal, and said her dormer also has four windows.

“This is very much in keeping with what we have across the street,” she said. “Personally, I think they’re asking for what their neighbors such as me have, and I don’t have any trouble with this.”

McNeely said that the goal for this proposed former was to “emulate” the one that was directly across the street, and his team was able to pull up a photo of that dormer and those neighboring it.

Dunwell said that though his opinion at first was that this was a “big change,” he said that after seeing photos of the condition across the street from the proposal, “I feel more positive about this, so thank you.” 

Commissioner Tom Hotaling asked what the color of the dormer would be, and Cornish said that his “understanding” is that it would be an off-white color that matches the trim and window sash.

There was also some discussion over the proposed window size, and Hotaling asked if they needed to be as large as they are proposed to be.

McNeely said that for egress purposes, he would have to check to see if the windows can be made any smaller, but Cornish added that since the applicant has to come back with a different application for the windows, that can be addressed later.

“I think this is lovely,” Kilguss said of the proposal.

The Commission voted to approve the plan with the proviso that the owners and McNeely will work with Cornish on the minor details that still need to be worked out.

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