Cape Charles Mirror Report – by Wayne Creed
The Historic District Review Board met this Tuesday to review applications for homes on Randolph and Jefferson that the applicants plan to completely restore. The wonderful part of these applications is that, due to their dilapidated conditions, these homes were scheduled for demolition by the Town. Instead, the applicants plan to restore and renovate rather than tear down and build new. Not only does this enhance and maintain our Town’s historical character, it also accounts for hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovation costs. For our local workforce, these are real dollars and real economic development.
Paul Beckwirth of Leesburg has applied for a Certificate of Appropriateness for the property at 534 Jefferson Avenue. The building is a single family home, classic ‘shotgun’ style cottage, and it is a considered a contributing structure. The main goal of Mr. Beckwirth’s application is to return the structure to its historical appearance; there will, however be new additions to the building.
Currently, the property is uninhabitable with no water, electrical or mechanical (heating /air conditioning) service to the house. According to the staff report, “the wood framed and clad building is sagging in two areas. Several foundation pedestals are tilted and the current or some prior owner has added several mid‐span (half way across short dimension of house) supplemental pedestals. The frame appears to be in otherwise sound condition. All the windows are in very poor condition with many sashes missing or damaged.”
According to the applicant, “We desire to perform a complete repair/renovation of the existing structure and add two small additions that will blend with the architectural character of the “Front Gable” style. The repair/renovation portion will level the house and restore the structural integrity, install all new electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems to code, install windows, install kitchen and bathrooms and upgrade the exterior. The proposed additions include one 8’ by 21’ two‐story bump out on the West side and a roughly 14’x12’ single story addition at the rear. The overall design has not been finalized but both additions are illustrative of our intent anticipated size. The proposed addition provides necessary space for essential functions, such as laundry, mechanical, functional stairs and bathrooms make the house more livable. Both additions fit within the required setbacks.”
It should be noted that Mr. Beckwirth is technically not the owner of 234 Jefferson, but was still allowed to apply for a certificate of appropriateness as the ‘owner’. The Mirror asked planner Larry DiRe how this was possible, “As I recall the Board’s discussion was along the lines of allowing prospective owners to bring applications forward, as long as the application was complete enough to be the basis for rendering a decision, in the interest of providing as much information as possible. The language in Article VIII is interesting. The words “owner” and “applicant” are used throughout, but under no definition are they identified as one and the same. Procedurally the Board has a great deal of discretion as stated in Article VIII Section 8.13 which reads as follows:
Section 8.13 Historic District Review Board; Procedures the Board shall establish procedures for all matters coming before it for review and all meetings shall be open to the public.
From an overall procedural standpoint, the Certificate here is just the first step in a process, and applicants still need to go through Planning and Zoning as well as Building and Code Enforcement.
The Board approved the Certificate of Appropriateness.
An application has been received for a Certificate of Appropriateness from the owners of the property at 536 Randolph Avenue, Alyce and Andrew McCoy. This is a single-family home and a contributing structure on a nonconforming size lot. The proposed work on the building includes siding, roofing, windows, eaves, and non-working flu removal. The applicants do not intend to alter the footprint of the building, nor add any accessory structures.
According to the applicant, the goal of this restoration “is to protect the rich architectural integrity of the the (historic) district.” The applicant’s research indicates that the home is a “gable-end narrow, blue collar family home, dating back to the 1920’s.” The home is currently in a state of disrepair, and was near failure before it was purchased back in 2015. The exterior is covered with a faux brick asphalt shingles; below the shingles is clapboard. The applicant wishes to replace the shingles with Hardie plank (color Evening Blue). The applicant’s plan to paint the final color periwinkle blue. The roof and all windows will need to be replaced. Will Brown of Eastern Shore Handyman Services will be performing the renovation.
Although 204 Madison is hardly derelict, the owner wants to restore this home to its historical glory. Applicant Leon Parham (for owner Steve Sloan) applied for a Certificate of Appropriateness for the classic American Four Square at 204 Madison Avenue. This is a single-family home and a contributing structure on a conforming size lot. The staff report indicates that the “proposed work on the building includes a new second floor addition and a back yard deck. An additional 158 square feet will be added to the building’s footprint in the form of a 10’ x 15’ 6” back deck. All setback requirements are met. The building is currently configured with a first floor back extension laundry room and bath room. That extension is proposed to be re-configured into a sunroom, lavatory, and smaller laundry room. The second floor extension is to allow for a reconfigured master bedroom and bath suite.”
Sean Ingram of Quality Structures will be performing the renovation. Mr. Ingram has restored several historic homes in Cape Charles, and has brought them back into compliance with the historic district. He stated that since the applicant will be using historic tax credits as part of the project, the work on the home at 204 Madison will need to meet the code and standards required by the Department of Historic Resources in Richmond.