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Historic Pres Comm Minutes 2008-03-13
City of Gardiner
Historic Preservation Commission

6 Church Street                                                         Phone:  207 582-6892
Gardiner, Maine 04345                                                   Fax:      207 582-6895

March 13, 2008

Present:                Clarence McKay, Chair   Kirk Mohney     Geri Robbins-Doyle                      Gail Ham                
Absent:         Paula Murphy            Jean Parkin-Clunie              

Also Present:   David Cichowski, Code Enforcement Officer
                        Dorothy Morang – Recording Secretary
Matt Murphy,  Downtown Building/Business Owner
Douglas Richmond, Architect working with the City of Gardiner Maine
1.)     Call Meeting to Order
Clarence McKay called the meeting to order at 8:05 AM

2.)     Roll Call
Roll call was taken.
3.)     Douglas Richmond of Douglas Richmond Architects, has requested a workshop meeting with the Historic Preservation Commission for the purpose of reviewing the 2003 Schematic Designs for access/egress serving existing buildings on Water Street.  The buildings are grouped into four groups.  Each group shares an entrance lobby, elevator, egress stairs, open corridors and a common water entrance for sprinklers.  The grouped buildings are as follows:

        Site A: #s 247, 251, 259, 261, 263, 269, 273 and 275 Water St

        Site B: #s 283, 287, 289, 293, 295 and 297 Water St

        Site C: #s 319, 327, 335, 339, 347 Water St & #3 Bridge St

        Site D: #s 6, 8 Main Av & #203, 207, 211, 213, 215, 219 & 225 Water St
        Douglas Richmond reviewed the plans for access/egress for buildings on Water Street as detailed in the 2003 Schematic Design plan document.  He said that the buildings would be organized into groups and each group will be serviced by a lobby with door that will lead to an elevator and stairs, which will service the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors and skyway.  The Arcade stairs will be gone.  The skyway will be made of concrete and steel.  Parking for these entryways will be in the parking lot behind the buildings. Foot access to the Arcade parking lot will be closed at night.  The business/building owners will have access keys.

        The Commission members discussed sprinkler systems for this project.  Douglas said that sprinklers will be part of the egress system and part of the cost estimates. There was some concern that this plan might be compatible with the backs of  some of the buildings.
        Geri noted that Auta Main’s door accesses directly into the Arcade and she is planning to open a wine bar soon. This will have to be taken into consideration.  In addition, she has just paid to install a new fire escape.

        Douglas said that there will be arches that go from the steel beam posts and have metal roofs.  This should still allow views from the windows.  Kirk asked if the steel would be factory coated.  Douglas said that would be good, but costly.

        It was asked what would happen if an owner does not want to participate.  Douglas said they would have to have buy-in from all owners.  David noted that most of the property owners own about 20 feet behind their buildings and the City owns the rest.   Some of the buildings, though, are either on the City line or over it.  Douglas noted that Jason has been working with the owners to see if we can get their cooperation.  They also expect to get some grants.

Douglas estimated that it would cost about $600,000. per group and the grants might cover up to 50%.  Group owners would pay for maintenance, electricity for the elevator, etc.  The building owners might need new back entry doors and vestibules.  

David asked how someone would get out if there was no power.  A disabled person wouldn’t be able to use the stairs.  Douglas said he didn’t know, but the egress would be code conforming.

Kirk suggested that they might simplify the scheme by eliminating the roof panels and use open railings that would fit a more traditional structure that you might see in a historic district.  He also suggested that the Arcade building, designed to be finished with stucco, be metal panels instead.

Gail asked about the possibility of access at the mini park area similar to one at Bowdoin College. The skyways would extend east and west and provide service to more buildings. Douglas noted that Henny Penneys is a single story building and this would create a lot of long corridor that served no buildings.  It would raise the cost per building.  Gail said that she finds the arches distracting and busy.  She also shared concerns about snow and ice getting in through the open windows to the stairways.  Douglas said they could enclose them, although there should be an entity that takes care of the snow.

Matt Murphy asked if the change in access will cause the building owners to have to meet ADA door way entrance requirements.  Dave said that there are some exemptions, but he would have to look at each building.

Douglas said that he will note all of the comments and discuss them with Jason.  If they do not get enough participation from the building owners, they might have to modify the plan or come up with a new plan or scheme.

Douglas said that this has not been done in any other town in Maine.  It would be ground-breaking.  He said that some things that might be motivation for owner buy-in might be better insurance rates for individual building owners and it would provide better access to the upper floors for more business use or rentals.  David also noted that his office, along with the Fire Chief are planning to start a review process for buildings in the near future to ensure they meet current fire and safety code.

4.)     ADJOURN
Adjourned at 9:30 AM

Please notify the Code Enforcement Office, Dorothy at 582-6892 if you are not able to attend

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