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Town of Lenox, MA

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Historical Commission Meeting Minutes 08/09/2010
Minutes of August 9, 2010 Meeting at the Academy
Commissioners present:  Suzanne Pelton (SP), James Jurney (JJ).
Volunteers present: Jim Biancolo (JB).  Guests present:  None.
Meeting called to order at 4:15 PM. Next meeting is scheduled for September 13, 2010 at 4 PM.
Minutes of the July 12, 2010 meeting were approved.
Old Business
Historic House Plaque Program
JB obtained approval for distributing plaque applications from the Post Office, the reference section of the Lenox Library, Town Hall and the Chamber of Commerce.  It was decided that it would not be necessary to keep brochures at the Chamber of Commerce.  JB to obtain permission from the Historical Society prior to the next HC meeting.  Plan is to place a modified brochure on the bulletin board at each of these locations, indicating where plaque applications may be obtained.
Current Status:  JB has met with Bill Thornton and Mary Albertson.  Bill confirmed that the he does not have to issue permits for the plaques.  Mary confirmed that the HDC should review plaques to be mounted within the HD (preferably in batches) and that the BOS should review plaques planned to be mounted on town buildings.  It seems we are ready to proceed with placing plaque applications in our planned locations.  When reviews are conducted with the HDC, JB suggests providing them with the procedure previously developed by the HC (attached).
Village Street Signs
SP will generate examples of preferred directional signs within the HD and present to the Village Improvement Committee (VIC) at their next meeting.  
A decision still needs to be made on the nature of written guidelines needed to help the VIC ensure that historical aspects are adequately considered by the VIC.
West Street Project
The HC continues to monitor this project’s planning to assure decision-making project meetings are announced and open for public comment.  As previously recorded, particular concern is the material used for and the width of the project’s sidewalks.
OW will measure the width of sidewalks in town to help assess the risk of edge damage if a five foot sidewalk is constructed instead of the present plan for a six foot width.
Updates to Form B’s
JB generated and provided a task list (attached) identifying the steps necessary to process the 122 Form B’s planned to be updated using the $7800 CPA funding SP to draft an RFQ and to contact Cornelia Brook Gilder (Nini) for potential recommendations on a consultant for the update project.  JJ stressed the importance of pulling together all the existing information on the 122 buildings and creating a “starter kit” prior to meeting with our consultant that is still to be selected.
Affirmative Maintenance Ordinance
JB summarized that the Planning Board (PB) is hesitant to impose mandatory maintenance requirements on property owners at this time.  They seem to prefer taking small steps that eventually would lead to owners better appreciating the value of maintenance investments.
Current Status:  JB met with the PB and discussed the Stockbridge Demolition Delay Bylaw.  The PB was more amenable to demolition delay than to minimum maintenance.  They suggested a three month delay as some felt other towns’ delays were excessive.  They suggested creating a list of “significant” buildings as they felt some HD buildings were not significant and they wanted to know what buildings outside the HD were considered significant by the HC.  JB thinks the PB does not think “Pre-1923” is an adequate designation of what constitutes significant buildings.  Within the HD, the PB seemed to be leaning toward being involved in reviewing proposed demolitions along with the HDC.  Outside the HD, the HC and the PB are the potential demolition reviewing authorities.
Update Board of Selectmen
It was reiterated that the HC provide the Board of Selectmen with periodic HC status updates since the BOS is interested in getting more informed on the activities of Lenox’s boards, committees and commissions.
Current Status:  JB suggests the following topics be considered for updating the BOS; Westinghouse Street Lights, Kiosk, Village Directional Signs, Village Historic Street Signs, Historic House Plaque Program, West Street Project, Form B Updates, Affirmative Maintenance Ordinance, Demolition Delay Bylaw.

New Business
None identified at this time.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 PM
Respectfully submitted.
Jim Biancolo, HC Volunteer

Historic House Plaque Program Procedure*
  • Receive application for historic house plaque.
  • Record application in Plaque Program log file.
  • Review application for completeness and accuracy.
  • Is data consistent with Form B (if Form B exists)?
  • Is applicant’s desired plaque content appropriate?
  • Is reference material substantiating plaque content adequate?
  • Does application include a check for $85 made out to the Town of Lenox?
  • If necessary, request additional data from applicant.
  • Inform applicant of approval or rejection of application.  Include rationale and refund for rejections.
  • If approved, deposit payment in Plaque Program account and update status in Program log file.
  • Generate drawing of applicant’s plaque.
  • Confirm drawing is consistent with application.
  • Work with applicant until HC and applicant are satisfied with drawing.
  • Order plaque from supplier (include plaque drawing with order).
  • Supplier sends picture of finished plaque to HC.
  • Approve plaque or request supplier to make changes.
  • Once plaque approved, supplier:
  • Mails plaque to applicant.
  • Makes out invoice to HC and mails invoice to HC.
  • Review and sign off on invoice and forward to town accountant.
  • Confirm Town accountant has paid supplier.
  • Contact applicant.
  • Is applicant satisfied with plaque?
  • Does applicant have any suggestions for improving plaque and/or application procedure?
  • Record final status in Plaque Program log file.

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