HDC seeks more plans for Manisses addition

Thu, 10/29/2020 - 5:45pm
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The members of the Historic District Commission have asked the owners of the Hotel Manisses, who are proposing a three-story addition onto an existing basement at the hotel, to come back before the panel with additional perspective plans that will show elevations of the existing and proposed structures.

Chair Bill Penn referenced a discussion from last month’s meeting, when board members said they felt the proposed addition was larger than the existing hotel. Co-owner of the Hotel Manisses Blake Filippi was present during the virtual meeting on Monday, Oct. 26 to hear the commission’s feedback.

“Last month, we talked about asking the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission to weigh in on your project and we have received an email from [Principal Historical Architect] Virginia Hesse, who has reviewed your package,” said Penn. He said the HPHC requested additional plans of the proposed construction to show the elevations of the two buildings.

“Whatever you all need,” said Filippi.

“I apologize, Blake, but this is a significant addition to the Historic District, and we want to cover all our bases,” said Penn.

Solar arrays in the Historic District

The commission also continued a discussion started last month about the installation of solar arrays in the Historic District.

Penn felt strongly that ground-mounted systems should not be allowed in the Historic District. “There are plenty of buildings to accommodate all the solar systems that are needed,” said Penn.

“Most of the historic district is so tight,” said member Kay McManus. “It is better served on the roof.”

“I don’t like them on the roof… I think it would be a big change or a lot more money to remove them, then replace and hook them up. That’s a cost that has to be contended with. In some places it can only go on the roof, and some places it can be placed on or near the building – made part of the architecture,” said member Arlene Tunney.

Member Mark Vaillancourt said perhaps the solar installations could be reviewed on a “case by case” basis depending on the land and building configuration for each parcel.

In the end, the HDC approved the following language that will be sent to the Town Council for final approval for HDC guidelines regarding the installation of solar arrays: “The preferred location of solar panel installation in the Historic District is the roof, and facing away from the street view, but will consider ground installation as an exception on a case by case basis.”

The National Hotel Plat 6,

Lot 117-2

General Manager Julie Fuller submitted two preliminary applications for projects at the National Hotel: for window and door replacement on the rear porch, and an application to install and extend existing pavers to the parking lot and build four paved pads for fire pits. 

Fuller noted it was a busy summer at the hotel, and the outside fire pits “gave people a place to be outside and to dine. We had a great summer out there. We want to enhance it and make it better.”

Although they were submitted as preliminary applications, the HDC granted them both final approval.