Bethlehem Press

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Brethren’s House proposals OK’d

Monday, January 2, 2017 by Ed Courrier Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

Moravian College project manager Ade Adenekan, accompanied by Tracy Strickland of Derck & Edson, were granted a certificate of appropriateness by Bethlehem’s Historical and Architectural Review Board to add a new portion of public walkway constructed of modular paving bricks to the Brethren’s House at 89-91 W. Church St.

Marsha Fritz recommended pachysandra for the shallow planting beds adjacent to the historic stone building. A new sign with black lettering and new lighting also met with approval after HARB reviewed the plans and elevations at the Dec. 7 hearing. Board chairman Fred Bosnall complimented them, saying, “Very nicely presented.”

Timothy Shannon was quickly given unanimous approval for replacing an existing electric exterior light with a gas lantern at the house he and Paige VanWirt own at 42 W. Market St. The proposed replacement copper lantern, much larger than the original, was considered by all present as historically appropriate for the time period of the structure.

After much discussion, the board granted Bruce Campbell a certificate of appropriateness to install two 9-foot by 8-foot garage doors at 129 E. Market St. on a building he co-owns with Kim Campbell. The tan overhead doors, with clear glass windows at the top, are designed to resemble carriage house doors. Since they would be a foot shorter than the garage opening, Campbell proposed to fill the gap with a wood beam. Although Marsha Fritz discouraged the addition of “fake hinges” to make the doors appear to swing out, the hardware decision was left up to the homeowners.

Barbara Pearson and Victor Willems, accompanied by Bruce Fritzinger from Plantique, appeared before the board as walk-ins. They provided plans for extensive renovations for the back and side yards of the house at 405 Center St. A new deck constructed of composite materials, six inches from the ground, to replace a rotted wood deck that had been one foot high, was proposed. Since it would be lower than the previous deck, no railings were required. Beth Starbuck suggested a smooth finish for the flooring, but was advised by others on the board that a raised wood finish would be less slippery.

HARB members looked over plans for replacing a stockade fence with a cedar fence and the addition of a new cedar arbor. Since the purview of the board only involved the deck, because it came in contact with the building, they granted their unanimous approval, leaving it to the owner’s discretion whether to go with a smooth or textured finish.

Before adjourning the hearing, Fred Bosnall introduced Derrick Clark to the rest of the board. Clark, co-founder of Domachi, an online home décor retailer on 523 Main St., has expressed an interest in joining HARB.

HARB meets the first Wednesday of every month to review all exterior changes proposed to buildings in the Bethlehem Historic District north of the Lehigh River. When a proposed project receives a certificate of appropriateness from the board, applicants must wait for city council to vote on it before proceeding.