The Historic District Commission of the Town of Harrisville held a public meeting on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at the Harrisville Town Offices, 705 Chesham Road. The public meeting was preceded by a site visit at 6:30 pm at 26 Kadakit Street, the property of applicant Seth Kallman.
Members present: Doug Walker, Scott Oliver, Kathy Scott, Noel Greiner
Members absent: Tom Weller
Members of the public: David Wright of Millwork Masters, Seth Kallman, Tracey Kallman
Members met at the property of Mr. Kallman to view the existing windows, which Mr. Kallman had restored when he purchased the property. He explained and demonstrated where the windows no longer fit or function properly, causing inefficient and more costly heating to his tenants. The applicant pointed out to board members, or cited, examples of other replacement windows on the street and in the historic district, proposing that the window style he would use was an appropriate design for the existing architecture and streetscape. Following the walkaround, all attending moved to the town offices for the public hearing.
At 7:00 pm, Doug Walker opened the public hearing portion of the application.
Members present: Doug Walker, Kathy Scott, Scott Oliver, Noel Greiner
Members absent: Tom Weller
Members of the public: David Wright, Seth Kallman, Tracey Kallman, Anne Howe, Erin Hammerstedt
Noel Greiner moved to approve the agenda as presented. All voted in favor.
Minutes of HDC Meeting of January 23, 2019
Noel Greiner moved to approve the minutes as written. Kathy Scott seconded. All voted in favor.
HDC 2019-1 – Seth Kallman, 26 Kadakit Street
Members heard the presentation of David Wright, who described the proposed windows in detail using the sample he brought with him. The windows are constructed of all wood on the interior with a fiberglass exterior. They include screens, but no storm windows, which the applicant and members believe gives the window a more authentic look, as storm windows were not available until the 1940s or 50s and storms hide much of the window detail. Diagrams and photos were also viewed. Mr. Wright further explained that the existing frames and casings and trim detail all would remain, as the proposed windows are inserts. In total, there will be 26 windows replaced.
Mentioning the prospect of other abutters attending, the board confirmed it had received letters from Seth Farmer and Kathy Bollerud and that they would not be attending. Doug Walker confirmed that the January meeting discussion was solely to confirm the hearing date, and that the application was filed in December and included the applicant’s approval to extend the date of the public hearing given his travel schedule.
Mr. Kallman explained that when they purchased the house, they did everything they could not to change the exterior of the house and, as requested then, to preserve the historic fabric. At that time, the existing windows were puttied, glazed and rebuilt. But, over time, Mr. Kallman added, problems with fitting and heat loss recurred. Mr. Kallman explained that the existing aluminum storms do not function well and much heat is lost. He hopes to ease the cost burden to tenants and replace the windows with a design that is appropriate for the district. Tracey Kallman noted that the design proposed was approved by the Cheshire County Historical Society and, she believed, the Keene Historical Society. The glass, Mr. Wright confirmed, would not be tinted.
Erin Hammerstedt spoke to reaffirm that the standard preservation practice, which relies on the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, generally requires that the case be made that repair isn’t feasible before replacement is considered as a last resort. She hoped the HDC was taking this into account and had evaluated the windows’ condition. She added that, if replacement was necessary, it should be replacement in-kind, with similar materials.
Mr. Kallman responded that much time and money had been spent attempting to preserve the existing windows but that the solutions remain unsatisfactory and that any in-kind replacement would continue to be unsatisfactory.
All board members, except Doug Walker, stated their opinion that they believed replacement was necessary given the condition of the windows and that they preferred the applicant’s and Mr. Wright’s model window, believing it to offer a more authentic and appropriate look, while providing the homeowner the solution he sought. In addition to heat loss, it was noted that the existing windows are very difficult to open and close. All members, including Mr. Walker, agreed the storm windows in Mr. Kallman’s house and other houses in the district detract from the historic character. Mention of how, or if, other properties in the neighborhood ever received HDC approval for their window replacements was also made.
Mr. Walker spoke of his belief that the existing windows can be refurbished and explained his experience in doing so. He described and showed the materials he has used, including his process for historic window restoration. Mr. Walker also read aloud Standards #2 and #6 of the guidelines, stating he believed them to be the key standards the HDC should follow in this case. These standards read as follows:
#2 – The historic character of a property will be retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces and spatial relationships that characterize a property will be avoided.
#6 – Deteriorated historic features will be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture, and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features will be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence.
Other board members reaffirmed that the storm windows throughout the district are not original. Mr. Walker agreed. Members also questioned the energy efficiency of Mr. Walker’s solution, but he was firmly convinced that on the jobs he had done, the windows passed the blow test. Mr. Walker also believed the materials in the applicant’s proposed replacements were not authentic.
The applicant questioned if it was appropriate for Mr. Walker to sell his wares and expertise, but Mr. Walker denied doing so. Mr. Kallman also stated that, from his research with other contractors about different ideas for replacements, he believes given that his is a rental property with different tenants moving in and out, this is the most appropriate solution for the historic district.
Mr. Walker explained the window specifications adopted by Historic Harrisville and Mr. Kallman noted there were no historic covenants attached to this property. He added that all the houses on the street have, in his opinion, lower quality replacements as do other houses in the district. Mr. Wright then noted he believes the proposed replacements will blend in well and wouldn’t be noticed as replacements to passersby. Don Scott offered he believes the structure would look closer to its original appearance if the storm windows were removed. Board member Scott Oliver believed the historic district needs to be livable and evolve with the cost of living while maintaining its historic look. Kathy Scott added that the original appearance of the house would remain should, down the road, any additional changes be proposed or should someone want to recreate the original windows.
As a final comment, Mr. Kallman noted to board members that he spent a lot of time and money to preserve the existing windows and that he believed the proposed project is in keeping with this approach, while remaining affordable.
Subsequently, Noel Greiner moved that the HDC approve Mr. Kallman’s application to replace the windows at 26 Kakakit Street in keeping with the proposed model and configuration in the plans submitted, including the removal of the storm windows. Kathy Scott seconded. The vote was 3-1 in favor, with Doug Walker opposed for the reasons stated above.
Information from Anne Howe
Anne Howe presented information to the board regarding training for research and inventory of historic properties. She also asked if the HDC currently is a member of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance and, if not, recommended the board consider joining for access to technical expertise and helpful resources, workshops and other events. The membership fee is $50 for an organization. The board agreed to review the material and discuss at its March meeting and also moved and unanimously voted in favor to consider attending the upcoming NHPA conference on May 31 in Littleton. Ms. Howe added that the NHPA is currently working with the Brick Church.
The meeting adjourned at 8:23 pm.