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Historical Commission Meeting Minutes 01/11/2010
Minutes of January 11, 2010 Meeting at Town Hall
Commissioners present:  James Jurney (JJ), Sharon Hughes (SH), Suzanne Pelton (SP), Olga Weiss (OW).
Volunteers present: Jim Biancolo (JB).  Guests present:  None.
Meeting called to order at 4:06 p.m. Next meeting is scheduled for February 8, 2010 at 4 PM.
Minutes of December 14, 2009 meeting approved.
Old Business
Brochure for Plaque Project
An application for a plaque for the Stonover Gate House has been submitted by Harvey and Carole Green.  OW agreed to administer the Plaque Project and SH will check with town hall and provide OW with instructions for establishing a town account for holding plaque funds.  JJ stressed that it was important to establish and adhere to a procedure for processing plaque applications consistently and in accordance with town requirements.
A meeting was scheduled for 1/14/2009 (3:30 PM at JJ’s home) for reviewing and updating the project brochure.
SP and JB indicated they planned to order plaques for their homes soon.  The current charge for a plaque is $85 with most of the cost being for the plaque and a portion being reserved for providing plaques on Lenox’s public buildings.  It was decided that a prioritized list of public buildings should be generated.
SP agreed to provide the list.
Village Street Signs
We have heard that the Board of Selectmen (BOS) has made the Village Improvement Committee (VIC) an official committee.  JJ to verify this with Mary Albertson and will also try to identify what the process is for getting on the VIC’s agenda.
JB recently heard from Mark Forant and has provided Mark with the latest details of the HD street signs for which we would like Mark to provide cost estimates.  It was agreed we would wait for estimates from Mark before scheduling a street sign review meeting with the VIC.
Village Kiosk
The kiosk order is on hold until the BOS obtain and review more public input.  It was agreed that the HC will send a letter to the BOS supporting some village retailers’ desire to not have a kiosk.  If a kiosk is deemed to be necessary, then the HC strongly disagrees with the currently planned location on the corner of Church and Walker streets.
JJ agreed to draft the letter and JB offered to provide some previously generated relevant data.
Current status:  JB forwarded his potentially relevant kiosk data to JJ on 1/16/2010.
Ralph Petillo (Chamber director) still needs to be contacted by JB to get his input regarding expanding the number of businesses on the village map.
Web Site
It was agreed to table LHC Web Site discussions until other more urgent actions are completed.
West Street
OW explained that an arborist has confirmed that an asphalt sidewalk is less harmful to surrounding trees than concrete.  It appears as though the BOS will choose asphalt over concrete.  Sidewalk width is still an issue in that the Lenox DPW and the BOS prefer six feet and the LHC prefers five feet.  The town’s sidewalk snow plow has a four foot track width and the LHC thinks a five foot wide sidewalk should be adequate for the plow.
JJ agreed to email Greg to reinforce the sentiment expressed in George Jordan’s letter of November 11/24/2009 in which George has expressed many concerns similar to the HC’s and was adamant about having another public hearing on the West Street Project.  His letter was addressed to Chief Engineer Tramontozzi of the Mass Highway Department.  Copies were sent to the HC, HDC, PB, BOS, Mass Highway, Foresight Engineering, Kimberly Sloan of the Mass Highway Department and Greg Federspiel.
Current Status:  JB read a few articles covering asphalt vs concrete life cycle costs and found it’s hard to find consistent data.  One estimate is that asphalt can cost 1-5 dollars per square foot and concrete can cost 3-10 dollars per square foot.  Some think that concrete lasts about twice as long as asphalt so if asphalt were half the cost of concrete (possible from the above cost ranges) cost and longevity would balance out.  Concrete tends to crack and proper repairs are more expensive than asphalt repairs.  Asphalt is less prone to ice buildup as it better facilitates melting.  Many say that asphalt must be sealed every few years but JB’s experience is that after the first sealing, further applications don’t seem to prevent cracking and weed grow-through.  SP has observed a town snowplow with a three foot track working on the west side of Main Street north of the Church on the Hill and suggests we ask for a four foot wide sidewalk which would be a better fit for the West Street sidewalk near Tanglewood.
Westinghouse Replica Street Lights:  Not discussed at meeting.
Current status:  The day after the LHC meeting, JJ alerted us to a problem with the installed Westinghouse lights.  The scrolls were not all parallel to the ground and some of the luminaires did not point straight down to the ground.  SP and Bob Brown did some follow up and informed Jeff Vincent.  Jeff has assured us that they will be fixed in the spring and that the contractor will be held responsible.~ The crook arms were not formed to a consistent dimension which means in many cases the scroll can't be horizontal or the luminaire cannot be pointed straight down toward the ground.
Funding Opportunities
Community Preservation (CP) administrative funds are being pursued to potentially support updating historic property surveys (Form B’s).  In addition, Mass Preservation Project Funding (MPFF) is being pursued for conducting a survey of restoration needs at the Church on the Hill cemetery.
JJ issued a letter to the BOS requesting $7800 CP funds to update 122 Form B’s.  No feedback has been received as of 1/11/2010.
SP had previously spoken with Paul Holtz at Mass Historic Preservation regarding MPFF and as of 1/11/2010 they are still awaiting word from the Governor’s office that Round 16 (about $800,000 in preservation funds) will be announced soon.
Current Status:  JJ has confirmed that the CPC will review our $7800 funding request in their February meeting.
Demolition of 100 Church Street
No new actions to prevent the demolition were identified.  JB summarized the 12/14/2009 email from Greg Federspiel.  Greg had indicated that he heard that a private effort to seek a court order stay on the removal has been filed and that he would try to get more information.  No feedback from Greg as of our 1/11/2010 meeting.
Current Status:  The building was demolished during the week of our 1/11/2010 meeting.
Zoning Bylaw Changes
JJ said he had a good meeting with the PB regarding a potential Great Estates bylaw change that would allow for use of Great Estate Category 2 buildings by Special Permit.  The PB indicated that the current bylaw might already allow this based on fact that mixed uses (like condominiums and B & B’s) are allowed by special permit and don’t require a variance.
There was general agreement that a Minimum Maintenance Ordinance (MMO) and a Demolition Delay Bylaw (DDB) were needed.  JJ felt the Demolition Delay Bylaw would be of limited value.  SP recommended that the MMO be applied in the HD and that the DDB be applied throughout Lenox (including the HD).
SP will provide an example of a DDB and JJ will meet with Mary Albertson to get advice on how to proceed to establish an MMO.
Current Status:  JJ has exchanged emails with Mary and she thinks meeting with the PB is a good place to start.  Mary provided some food for thought. ~~Is it appropriate under Zoning? ~Should it be added to the HD Bylaw? ~Should it be a Town Bylaw? ~What are the goals? ~Should it be limited to historic properties?  JJ thinks we should get on a PB agenda soon.~ But we need to gather our thoughts and also see the draft of the DDB first.  JJ has provided examples of MMO’s from Lowell and Somerville Mass.
New Business
National Register Applications:  Not discussed at meeting.
Current Status:  SP has indicated the LHC is responsible for supporting the processing of National Register Applications and that St Ann’s inquired about a listing over a year ago.  OW has agreed to obtain the form to begin the designation process.  Additional candidates for designation include Belvoir Terrace, New Lenox Road Cemetery, Frelinghuysen, and the Great Estates.  This needs to be discussed at the next LHC meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 PM
Respectfully submitted.
Jim Biancolo, LHC Volunteer

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