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Minutes of Historic Review Committee, 06/05/2014

AGENDA: Historic Review Committee

RECEIVED 06/09/2014 11:05am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk


Present: Chairman Robert Dean, Alternate Sherry Karraker seated for Matt Lecher, Secretary Anda Cumings
Also present: Consultants Kathleen Von Jena and Charlie Couch, property owner Bruce Harmon and builder John Desmond
Chairman Rob Dean called the meeting to order at 7:30PM.
I. Discussion of 216 Poverty Hollow Road Demolition
Chairman Robert Dean opens the discussion concerning what options are available to the property owners to mitigate what appears to be the eventual demolition of the historic house. The owners are not predisposed at this stage to preserve the structure, and future plans for the rest of the property are well developed and under way. Rob brings everyone up to date on the particulars of this demolition application, and how the Committee came about determining the historic sensitivity of the house, and hence enforcing the 180 day delay ordinance.

On May 27th, an additional Committee Site Visit was conducted with Circuit Rider Wes Haynes of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. Mr. Haynes’ recommendations/observations from that visit are summarized as follows:
a. There is not a strong potential for State or National Register designation for the house on its own, but there may be such potential as a contributing element in a Historic District.
b. Mr. Haynes concurs strongly with a Mitigation Plan that would carry out research and documentation prior to, and possibly during, demolition of the house.
c. The idea of partial preservation focusing on the 1840s part of the house is problematic. The frame of the house is likely to be intact, but the absences of the original windows and finishes would constitute a speculative or hypothetical restoration. This conclusion might be subject to review as the demolition permits more of the original structure to be seen, but this may come too late to influence the outcome.

As the house is not to be preserved, the idea of dismantling it in a controlled, orderly fashion as to permit a more thorough documentation of its historic qualities is discussed in detail. Kathleen Von Jena and Robert Dean offer information from their past professional experience. There are contractors who are experts in this type of work, and they could be contacted to quote timing and price. Owner Bruce Harmon comments that he is in favor of any kind of documentary work the Committee would recommend, but he needs to know the cost and the timing of any project, and he must be assured that he would not be held liable for injury. The potential cost of a controlled demolition project is discussed. Kathleen Von Jena offers insights to the availability of grants; however, pursuing grants on the short time line faced by the Committee may not prove successful. The goal is to shorten the 180 delay period for the owner, not to extend it.

Consultant Charlie Couch officially proposes to do the work pro bono, using builder John Desmond’s team. Charlie indicates that he is not only a professional historian, but a licensed and insured contractor. The work could begin almost immediately. Robert Dean motions that that Charlie Couch, in consultation with Wes Haynes, be asked to establish a list of research goals that he would potentially meet in the conduct of a controlled demolition of the historic house at 216 Poverty Hollow Road. Charlie Couch is also to communicate to the owners Frank Doelger and Bruce Harmon of his Mitigation Plan which will encompass not only these goals, and but will also address specifically the issues of cost, liability coverage and timing of the Plan. Sherry Karraker seconds the motion, which passes unanimously.

II. Update on 163 Umpawaug Road Barn
Chairman Rob Dean motions that the Umpawaug Road Barn be placed on the Agenda for discussion. Sherry Karraker seconds the motion, which passes unanimously.

Kathleen Von Jena reports that property owner Ed Killian engaged Kristen Neitering of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation to document his historic barn. Ms. Neitering has created a photo documentary for the Connecticut Trust Barn Website.

III. Approval of Minutes of the Meeting of May 8, 2014
On a motion by Sherry Karraker and seconded by Robert Dean, all present vote to in favor of accepting the Minutes of the Meeting of May 8, 2014 as submitted to the Town.
Rob Dean motions to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Anda Cumings. The meeting is adjourned at 10PM.
Submitted by: Secretary Anda E. Cumings
Minutes of the Historic Review Committee June 5, 2014