1690 House Preservation Restriction
The members discussed the letters concerning the 1690 House written by a member of the
public, the Preservation Trust and the Building Department. Lisa Mead agreed the developer had
not provided an itemized list of elements being removed from the structure, but said emails were
sent to the Preservation Trust indicating certain items would be available. This requirement was
a part of the special permit and is an issue to be considered by the Planning Board. The only
issue within the purview of the Historical Commission is the preservation restriction.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission has stated it would consider holding
preservation restrictions on the interiors of structures, even when a structure is privately owned.
It is not yet known if the MHC would hold a restriction on the 1690 House given the degree to
which the historic features have been removed.
Attorney Mead said her client has offered $25,000 to be placed in a fund for historic
preservation projects in the city and has committed to installing interpretive signage at the Towle
property. She amended the draft preservation restriction to include the requirement the roof,
roofline, form, foundation, exposed beams and brick arches in basement shall not be changed.
This requirement would be in addition to the preservation of the windows and shutters that was
already a part of the document.
The Commission members described the changes they would like to be made to the
structure. The doors and window surrounds must be painted. The style of the door is not
accurate for the period of the house. Carriage lights should be added. The chimneystacks from
the basement to the top of the chimney, along with the fireboxes, should be added to the
restriction. The vents in roof should be wrapped to match the color of the roof shingles and the
vents from the house should be painted the color of the house. The surrounds on the new
windows are too wide. This is particularly noticeable on the façade that faces the Towle
building, where the new windows are adjacent to the two windows that were preserved. The
width of the surrounds on all of the new windows on this façade and the Merrimac Street facade
must be reduced. The style of the windows is not consistent throughout the structure; some are
four over four while others are two over two. The original windows were narrower than the
replacement windows. Attorney Mead said the applicant would replace the windows only if the
installed ones are not consistent with those specified on the plans approved in 2007.
It was revealed at the meeting that while the three sets of pocket shutters referenced in
the preservation restriction have been restored, they are not in place. The Commission members
wish these to be reinstalled as originally positioned.
The language of the restriction shall be changed to indicate the preservation of the
included interior features shall be required rather than recommended. A revised preservation
restriction will be submitted to the Commission for further review at its May 10 meeting.
Mark Bilodeau commented the developer made certain promises that were not kept.
He said when he suggested the sum of $25,000 be considered in the negotiated settlement he did
not realize the 1690 House was a part of a larger condominium complex. He now thinks the
amount should be higher.