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Walton Apartment to install handrails after HPC approval

By Liz Moomey

liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The only application to the Historic Preservation Commission was approved on Thursday night to allow for handrails at Walton Apartments on Thomas Street.

Applicant Cynthia Russell, with Russell Properties, LLC., said her insurance company is requiring that she put up handrails at the apartments she owns at 129 W. Thomas St., which is in the West Square Local Historic District. The apartments were built in 1940.

The proposed handrails would be wooden and painted, which will tie into the existing column on the porch. The railing will have squared pickets.

Russell said she believes code requires a handrail for more than three steps. Member Elizabeth Trick nodded in agreement.

The commission guidelines state under accessibility and safety that it must “meet health and safety code and accessibility requirements in ways that do not diminish the historic character, features, materials and details of the building.”

Member Sue McHugh asked if the insurance company required handrails on the porch.

“I asked them about that and they said no just on the steps,” McHugh said. “I inquired about that also. They just wanted it on the steps.”

Member Jon Planovsky said the handrails meets all the requirements, since it is made of wood, painted and unfinished.

The Secretary of the Interior’s standards state new additions, exterior alternations or related new construction will not destroy historic materials, features and spatial relationships that characterize the property. It also states the new work should be differentiated from the old and will be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, massing to protect the integrity of the property and the environment.

Member Steve Coob said the handrails can be differentiated and be removed without damaging the structure.

The standards also state if the new construction was removed, “the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.”

McHugh said the application was fairly straight forward.

No one spoke in favor of or in opposition of the application.

The commission unanimously approved Russel’s application.

The second item on the agenda was a historic landmark designation application for 124 S. Ellis St. The owner and applicant is Planovsky and Bob Lambrecht. The application was rescheduled for the next Historic Preservation Commission meeting Feb. 13.

The commission approved a minor works report and minutes before adjourning with Chair Andrew Walker commenting that they had gone from having four-hour meetings to a 14 minute meeting.

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