BVHDC Approves Security Gate at 49 Winchester St.

The Bay Village Historic District Commission (BVHDC) on Feb. 8 approved a request for a security gate for the basement door at 49 Winchester St.

“The owners of this property asked me to manage this building and some construction going on there right now,” said Eric Hersum of Back Bay Properties, who presented the proposal.

He said the owners would like to install a gate—similar to others on the street—for both security and to keep trash out of the doorway.

He said that the owners want to have the hinge on the outside so the door can be swung fully open in order to get construction materials into the building.

“They really want to make it historically correct if they can,” Hersum said.

Joe Cornish, Director of Design Review for the Boston Landmarks Commission, showed a photo of an existing gate down the street that was more decorative than the one being proposed here.

“The guidelines state that they should be mounted inside,” Cornish said of the gate. However, he said that he understands that it needs to be opened “as wide as possible” for construction purposes and “there is a precedent for front-mounted fates on the street, I think as long as it’s mounted in mortar joints so it doesn’t damage the face of the brick and it’s reversible and they get as narrow a plate as possible,” he said it would be approvable.

“The building to the left is the last building before you get to Arlington St.,” Cornish said. “This is kind of a vulnerable location for trash and things to blow down into that opening.”

Commissioner Anne Kilguss said she would “recommend” some sort of mesh in between the bars to really keep trash out.

Tom Perkins of the Bay Village Neighborhood Association asked if there is a joint easement with the neighbor where the door is, because oftentimes in Bay Village buildings, property lines can go “down the middle” of these doors.

Hersum said that “all of the windows they had in the back are barred up and closed up,” and he does not know whether or not there is an easement. He said that once construction is complete, he will be managing the property and is willing to work with the abutter and let them use the door if necessary.

The Commission voted to approve the gate with the proviso that the applicant consult with staff on installing the gate in the mortar joints and to select the “smallest front-mounted metal plate as possible.” Additionally, this approval hinges on approval by the abutter as well.

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