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Town of Lenox, MA

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Historic District Commission Meeting Minutes 01/05/2016
Lenox Historic District Commission
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Members in attendance: Ken Fowler (KF); Mark Smith (MS); Jason Berger (JB); Pat Jaouen (PJ) (Alternate)
Staff in attendance: Gwen Miller, Town Planner/Land Use Director
Others/Guests: John Tansey (JT); Stephen Oakes (SO); Tim Harrigan (TH)
On January 5, 2016, the Lenox Historic District Commission reviewed an application for a certificate of applicability for new awnings on the rear of the building located at 27 Housatonic St (Map 43, Parcel 176). Representing the application was Tim Harrigan of the Awning Shop in Pittsfield and Stephen Oakes, owner of the property at 27 Housatonic Street.
TH indicated that the awnings would be installed to protect the back steps and walkway area from inclement weather. JB confirmed that the awnings would only be placed in the rear of the building. MS asked for clarification as to the location of the awnings. KF asked if there had been problems with ice falling on top of the awning. TH stated he has had no such problems in the past and has installed hundreds of such awnings.
MS moved to accept application as presented. JB seconded. There was no discussion. The board voted unanimously to approve the installation of awnings on the rear side of the 27 Housatonic Street building.
SO gave an update to the committee regarding his his cupola project. He stated that since receiving CPA funds, he discovered that a cupola could not be supported by the current frame on top of the building. He will return before the HDC to obtain approval for installing instead railings similar to a widow’s walk.
The public hearing was adjourned.
KF opened the meeting to discussion.
JT asked what becoming a member of the HDC would entail, and explained his interest in promoting and beautifying the downtown center, noting concern regarding the long term vacancies along Church Street and Franklin Street. He thought there could be other regulations or policies that could help improve the quality of the downtown area.
KF said they would be happy to have JT write a letter to the Board of Selectmen indicating his interest in serving as an alternate on the HDC. MS thought perhaps JT would be interested in serving on the Planning Board, since the PB works on land use policies such as zoning, and is currently working on zoning bylaw amendments. JB confirmed that HDC dealt less with broad zoning or design policy and dealt more with individual applications and reviewing their historic appropriateness.
JT said he would talk to GM to learn more about the different land use boards and their respective roles and responsibilities.
JB stated he would like to take time in the near future to review both the HDC Bylaw and the HDC Guidelines to make documents more relevant to 2016. He noted both documents have not been revisited for many years, and it would be good to do so. GM encouraged the effort as it would coincide with zoning bylaw amendments. KF stated he would like to make sure that they can get all the HDC members involved and regularly at meetings to participate in such a large effort. He suggested that JB bring the matter up at the next meeting, January 19th 2016.  
PJ noted there has been discussion within the community regarding the relevance or need of a historic district, and discussed some of the ways the District could be revised or regulations made more clear. JB also suggested a Demolition Delay bylaw or a Minimal Maintenance bylaw.
The meeting adjourned at 6:15 pm.  
Respectfully submitted,
Gwen M. Miller

Lenox Town Hall  6 Walker Street, Lenox, MA 01240   PH: (413) 637-5500