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Historical Commission Meeting Minutes 09/13/2010
Minutes of September 13, 2010 Meeting at The Academy
Commissioners present:  Suzanne Pelton (SP), Lynn Sutton (LS), Olga Weiss (OW), Gundula Brattke (GB).
Volunteers present: Jim Biancolo (JB).  Guests present:  None.
Meeting called to order at 4:10 PM. Next meeting is scheduled for October 11, 2010 at 4 PM.
Minutes of the August 9, 2010 meeting were approved.
Old Business
Historic House Plaque Program
JB summarized the requirements for reviewing plaques before they can be mounted.  The HC must approve all plaque applications and the Building Commissioner is not involved in the review process.  Besides the HC, the BOS must review plaques to be mounted on public property and the HDC should review plaques to be mounted within the HD.  JB will review his plaque with the HDC since his home is within the HD.  Other plaques already approved by the HC can be mounted since they are not within the HD and not on public property.
Plaque program brochures are almost ready to be distributed as JB has now received approval for all four planned locations (Post Office, Town Hall, Library and The Academy).  OW has agreed to get five brochures laminated (one for HC files and one for each of the four planned locations).  Laminated brochures will be placed in high-traffic areas to announce the plaque program and the locations where brochures that include applications for a plaque can be obtained.  OW will distribute brochures to Town Hall and The Academy.  JB will distribute brochures to the Post Office and the Library.
Vickie Salvatore of the Lenox Historical Society will place a small article in their newsletter describing the plaque program.
Current Status:  OW has overlaid the names of the four planned brochure locations onto five brochures and has gotten them laminated.  As of this writing, 50 brochures have been distributed to each of the four planned locations.
Village Directional Signs
SP reviewed her example of the preferred directional sign that she is planning to review with the Village Improvement Committee (VIC) at their next meeting which is scheduled for Monday, September 20th.  Sign will be similar in size and design to the sign in front of The Academy.
Current Status:  SP attended the September 20th VIC meeting and reported the current VIC status via email to the HC.  The directional sign “Historic Village Shops & Restaurants” was not reviewed as it was not on the agenda.  Kim reported that Linda Messana, Pam Mackie and Franki Mahoney have resigned from the VIC which is being reorganized.  The VIC will continue presumably with LS as chair, as she is the elected Vice Chair.  SP, Kim Flynn and Jim Terry remain as members and SP volunteered to become Secretary.  The BOS will reappoint Ken Fowler to the VIC and Frank Newton has indicated he is interested in joining the VIC.  The new VIC organization will rewrite the VIC mission and goals statement and seek additional members.  The next VIC meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 18th at 7 pm.
SP also reported that the HC will take over responsibility for directional signs.  JB assumes that within the HD, the HDC also must review new or modified directional signs.  The HC action item to provide written guidelines needed to help the VIC ensure that historical aspects of signs are adequately considered by the VIC has been overcome by the transfer of directional sign responsibility to the HC.
West Street Project
OW 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.  JB had measured the widths of numerous sidewalks in the village and reported that Main, Kemble, Walker, West and Cliffwood streets have five foot wide sidewalks.  JB also felt that as asphalt ages it is safer for walking since unlike concrete, asphalt doesn’t tend to shift and crack in ways that leave edges that are tripping hazards.  He also found reports indicating walking surfaces of concrete should be avoided at all costs because they are the worst surface for feet and joints.
Current Status:  OW measured the width of sidewalks in town and confirmed JB’s measurements.  OW and the Greens (OW’s West Street neighbors) met with Greg Federspiel to ensure their concerns regarding possible damage to their property and the capacity of a new culvert were being considered.  Greg was supportive and more follow-up will be done to ensure concerns are adequately addressed.
Updates to Form B’s
SP generated a draft RFQ and emailed it to JB prior to the meeting.  JB to review and update.
Current Status:  JB updated draft RFQ which was reviewed by the HC and issued by SP on September 20, 2010.  RFQ is posted on the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s listserv and was emailed to Cornelia “Nini” Gilder, Kim Flynn, Greg Federspiel, Ken Fowler, Mary Albertson, Peggy Ammendola and HC members.
Current Status:  SP spoke with Nini and she is interested in supporting the project and may submit a quote.  Nini also gave permission for text on the 34 “cottages” extant in Lenox, from her book Houses of the Berkshires (co-written with Richard Jackson), to be included on Form B’s.
Affirmative Maintenance Ordinance
No significant discussion.  JB summarized that the Planning Board (PB) is hesitant to impose mandatory maintenance requirements on property owners at this time.  They are more accepting of a demolition delay bylaw.
Current Status:  HC should decide whether or not to pursue this action further since previously the HC preferred minimum maintenance over demolition delay.
Update Board of Selectmen
The HC was in favor of providing the BOS with a status update summarizing the HC’s progress to date.  By capturing progress in a letter, it was felt this progress could be provided clearly and concisely.  HC would summarize and present this letter at a BOS meeting
Current Status:  Following topics are candidates 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
AT&T Antenna in Church on the Hill Steeple
Not discussed at meeting.
Current Status:  AT&T documents describing the antenna project have been reviewed and the HC is satisfied with the project plan.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:10 PM
Respectfully submitted.
Jim Biancolo, HC Volunteer

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