The Block Island Times

HDC approves slate of projects

By Lars Trodson | Oct 30, 2013

The Historic District Commission (HDC) had a hodgepodge of applications before it this week, including a new fence for the National Hotel, a new arbor and fence for Aldo’s Bakery and Restaurant and an application for a new canopy at the Spring House Hotel that may have already been approved.

The commissioners approved almost all the applications before them:

New lattice that will surround a deck on the property owned by Terri Chmiel (plat 7, lot 75) was approved. Commissioners added the stipulations that the wood should be pressure-treated and painted gray. The application was unanimously approved.

The status of an application by Frank DiBiase Jr. of Island Enterprises Inc. was deferred until the group could find out whether a previous HDC approval of this project, which proposed to install a canopy over the east patio at the Spring House Hotel, was also approved by the R.I. Historic District Preservation and Heritage Commission. If the project has been approved by that group, “then they don’t have to reapply,” said HDC Board Chair Bill Penn. The commissioners unanimously voted to wait until they learn the status of the project from the Preservation and Heritage Commission.

A new planter, arbor and fencing was approved for Andiamo Zeke LLC, which does business as Aldo’s Bakery and Restaurant on Weldon’s Way (plat 6, lot 89). There were two concerns by members of the commission about this project. Commissioner Claire McQueeny asked if the survey the town has requested for Weldon’s Way to determine what land the town actually owns there should be factored into their consideration of this item. “I would like the survey the town is going to do,” said McQueeny. The survey has not yet been completed.

The board decided that the proposed project was within the current footprint of the business and the survey results would not impact it.

Commissioner Dennis Riordan expressed concern that the owners would make later additions to this new project.

“We’ve been told quite clearly that we need to look at each application as a standalone rather than looking back or forward,” said Penn.

In the end, the commission approved two new arches, planters, a white trellis, a brick ramp that will replace a step between the bakery and restaurant, resetting bricks on the terrace, and a new 20- by 14-foot fabric awning over the restaurant’s seating. The application was approved 6-1, with Riordan opposed.

An application to construct a new fence at the National Hotel to impede unwanted foot traffic was also considered. Any decision on the proposal, submitted by Julie Fuller for Coastal Resorts Holdings (plat 6, lot 117-1), was postponed until the Nov. 4 meeting so that Fuller could submit additional design options.

Given that the proposed fence was six feet high, Ball asked if “there is a fence that high [located] in the historic district?”

Penn said there were no guidelines for fences in the historic district, but added there “was a very real reason for a fence along this property.” The fence separates the National Hotel and the Island Free Library.

In other business, the HDC approved a new 8-foot door at the Block Island Grocery that would create a separate exit for customers. The application by Helterline and Balser LLC (plat 5, lot 12) was approved 7-0.

An application by Sven Risom of North Light Fibers (on property owned by Rita Draper) for the installation of solar arrays on plat 7, lot 33, was approved 7-0.

An application by John Spier to replace an existing two-story porch/deck on property owned by James Brouillard (plat 6, lot 31) was approved by a vote of 6-0 (member Mark Vaillancourt recused himself) with the stipulation that Spier return to the board with more details about the project.

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