HDC approves Surfside’s new design

Thu, 09/30/2021 - 2:45pm
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The Historic District Commission voted unanimously on Monday to approve siting and massing for the renovation project at the Surfside building. It has been a long process to get to this point, with the HDC sending the applicants packing at previous meetings.
“This is an extraordinary improvement over what was brought in before,” HDC member Martha Ball told Glenn Gardiner, the architect on the project. “It is respectful of the neighborhood,” she said.

During his presentation, Gardiner pointed out that the overall scheme had been downsized to 12 guest rooms. The original plan had called for 32 rooms.

Carolyn Collins, an abutter to the property, thanked the applicants for listening to the community and the concerns they raised at previous meetings. The original plans were for a much larger addition that would have interfered with viewsheds from virtually every direction. The new plans have a modest addition onto the back of the building and two new stand-alone cottages.

Architect Doug Gilpin, whose firm specializes in blending traditional historic forms with contemporary interpretation, spoke from the audience during the public comment portion of the meeting, and said the design was “a wonderful marriage of the little buildings connected with the
streetscape.”
Collins asked why the proposed cottage that will border Dodge Street is wider than the cottage that will be behind it.

Gardiner explained that the front cottage will be Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, and the larger size was to accommodate “interior room for the maneuverability of a wheelchair.” He told Collins they would look at it, and: “If there’s a way we can make it longer and
narrower, we will try to do that.”
HDC Member Mike Ballard thanked the applicants for looking at the HDC guidelines and listening to the suggestions and concerns of the commission. Chair Bill Penn also agreed that it was a “much better design, and fits with the streetscape.”
Having received the go-ahead from the HDC, attorney Joe Priestley told the HDC his client would move on to submitting applications to the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Review.
The applicant will end up before the HDC at least one more time, though, for final approval of windows, doors, roof, trim, landscaping, fencing, and the rest of the exterior details.

The only criticism the applicants received this go-around, besides a chastisement from the clerk over trying to submit new, full-color drawings the day of the hearing, was from Ball. She expressed her disappointment that “the dormer is still on the Dodge Street side” of the building.