Sunday, March 9, 2008

Historic Construction

Capital Punishment posts about a Sun article detailing the fight that Bryan and Valerie Miller are having with the Historic people because they used fiberglass instead of wood to build a column in front of their house. Concerned with alienating his friends, CP politely suggests that sticking with wood might have been the right way to go.

I too am friendly with the Millers; I used to cater parties at their house, but I sense that such business opportunities will be rare in the future because they don't quite enjoy my position on the 2 AM issue. Or maybe they found a better cook than me!

Anyway, the Millers are right. Who cares what material you use if it looks the same? Answer: people without real jobs care. Would you stick with asbestos ceiling tile and lead paint just to stay historic? Of course not. I can't believe there is even an argument on this. What a pain it must be to live downtown.


Anonymous said...

According to the Baltimore Sun:

"I don't think it's a matter of taste; it's a matter of what the law says," Moyer said. "He was approved for wooden columns, so really, what gives him the right to not use what he was approved for? National historic trust laws and the state and city laws don't leave any wiggle room."

I absolutely hate to agree with the mayor on anything, but she has a point. Whether or not you think that the commission's ruling is stupid, it IS legally binding. If you don't like a law, lobby to have it changed. I think bars in Annapolis should be open until 2am. The city council disagrees with me. Since they have the law on their side, my desires are fairly irrelevant. The Millers are in the same boat. Yeah, it may not make a lot of sense, but that IS the trip they signed up for.


Brian Gill said...

Let me then amend my position to state "I don't know why this law ever existed in the first place".

Also, it's amusing to see which laws in the city are enforced and which ones aren't.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the Mayor is very selective about how planning and zoning is enforced. I laughed out loud, when she said we need to follow the "laws". Time and time again, I've seen the zoning laws thrown in the dumpster, when it's something the Mayor wants.

Nevertheless, this is a topic that the Historic folks should take under consideration. Even up close, a fiberglass column is virtually indistinguishable from a wood column. They should take a look at Newport, where the preservation requirements recognize the need for safe, superior and energy efficient materials in the renovation of historic buildings.

I bet if Bryan wanted to stick a rain barrel on his house, they Mayor wouldn't be so worried about the "law".

Bob McWilliams

Tom Geoghegan ( said...

Has anyone had experience with the City of Annapolis Historical Preservation Commission? I am rehabing my house (gutted it to the framing) and I would like to replace the windows with the same style wooden windows.

The HPC is telling me that they want me to repair rather then replace. The cost is about the same for both, but a replacement window will be much more efficeint then the 100 year old existing windows. I would think the city would want the homeowner to install more efficient windows. The city is making me install insulation, sprinklers and a firewall on the party wall, so wouldn't new efficient windows be good as well?

I was wondering if anyone has done this in the Historic district and can give me some advice. I hate to do all the work to prep for a Commission meeting if they are just going to say no.