New Ocean View entryway approved
Under the direction of Kim Gaffett, and designed by landscape architect Derek van Lent, the Ocean View Foundation will be getting an improved, refurbished entryway leading up to the pavilion off of Water Street. Gaffett and van Lent had their plans for the project approved unanimously by the Historic District Commission at its most recent meeting.
In explaining the project, Gaffett said, “What we’re trying to do is improve the entry up to the pavilion.” Gaffett leads the Ocean View Foundation’s non-profit operation and efforts of educating people about nature-related subjects and the history of Block Island. She said that the purpose of the renovated entry is to attract people to the foundation’s pavilion where they can acquire information.
In order to garner attention, and drive traffic to the pavilion, the revamped entryway will be complete with pavers that resemble a wooden walkway, stonewalls, rope fencing and two eight-to-ten foot tall posts. The posts will be located where the kiosk on the property is situated.
“They’re meant to be seen from far away,” said van Lent. “They’re approximately the height of the kiosk, which is already there.”
Gaffett explained that the Ocean View Foundation already has two posts “at all of the entry points” on the property. “So it mimics what is already on the upper part of the property.”
In voicing her displeasure with the posts, HDC member Arlene Tunney asked, “Couldn’t the posts be 6-feet high?”
“I think they would be puny, and ineffective,” said van Lent, who noted that the landscape plan incorporates elements from the Old Harbor ferry dock, and around the island. Van Lent said when people visit the property they’ll see that the design is representative of the island’s landscape.
“I have a problem with the posts,” said Tunney.
“Does anyone else have a problem with the posts?” asked HDC Chair Bill Penn. After no other board member voiced opposition, Penn said, “Arlene, it seems that you are the only one concerned about the posts.”
HDC member Dennis Riordan expressed concerns about cluttering that island locale. “I’m not against the project, but it’s more stuff in that area. I think it’s a consideration to think about. There’s a lot of stuff down there. Do we want more stuff, or less stuff, there?”
“My take on it is — it cleans up the entrance,” said HDC member Mike Ballard. Penn agreed with Ballard.
Despite the comments by Tunney and Riordan, Ballard made a motion to approve the application, which HDC member Claire McQueeny seconded, and it was approved unanimously. Van Lent said the project should be completed by Columbus Day weekend, or sooner.
Eagle Scout project
With HDC member Martha Ball recused, Block Island Boy Scout André Miller received unanimous HDC approval to construct a retaining wall for a contemplation garden on the grounds of the Harbor Baptist Church. The project, which will be funded by the church and from donations, is for Miller’s Eagle Scout project. The project will include plantings, benches, a pergola, and a water feature.
“It’s pretty simple,” said Miller, who noted that the church has sponsored his “troop for a long time. We hope that it will be a nice place where people can come and relax. My Eagle Scout project was supposed to be a project that serves the community. And I thought that the Harbor Church has done a lot for me, so I can give back by doing this.” Miller said he hopes to complete phase one, including the walls, grading, lawn, and plantings, by Sept. 1.
“Are you going to do all of the work, or get some help?” asked Penn.
“I hope to get some help,” said Miller, who will get assistance from van Lent on the project.
After some deliberations, the HDC voted five-to-two to approve the application of Brenna and Ross Audino for installation of a stainless steel mechanical hood vent on the exterior of the building they’re occupying on Corn Neck Road that will house the couple’s new restaurant called Tigerfish.
Some members of the HDC were concerned that the stainless steel would stand out, and not blend with the historic district’s character. Others, like Ball, said, “It will not be that visible. It won’t be located on the front of the building.” McQueeny and Tunney opposed the application.
In other news, John Spier, serving as the architect for Jane and Lowell Rosman, was granted unanimous approval to install a new roof, windows, siding, and to add a cupola to a small house located in the historic district. The HDC also voted six-to-one to grant approval to the Block Island Maritime Institute to install signs colored cadmium orange, for the business called Pond and Beyond Kayak Rentals at its New Harbor property.
The next HDC meeting is June 19.