Bethlehem HCC--Martin Furniture now approved to relocate sign by HCC
Bethlehem Historic Conservation Commission re-elected Philip Roeder to serve as chair at their first meeting for 2017 held Jan. 23 at the Banana Factory. Gary Lader was elected to serve as vice chair. Christine Ussler handles secretarial duties as historic officer.
Keith Martin’s proposal to relocate a circa 1960s vintage letter and blade sign for Martin Furniture, from a previous showroom to the present showroom at 119-123 E. Third St., was granted a certificate of appropriateness. Although it is lit internally, which is considered inappropriate for a historic district, the sign was grandfathered in since it had already been hanging in the historic district. Roeder suggested that spotlights could be installed to illuminate it at the owner’s discretion.
Additional black lettering for over the double doors spelling out “Martin’s Southside” and “Furniture Since 1928” over the adjacent showroom window were also approved. The proposal had been tabled at the December hearing because there had been no one present to represent store owner Keith Martin or building owner East Allen Ventures, LLC.
Appearing before BHCC again, Mustafa Okumus, owner of NYC Village Pizza, was granted a certificate of appropriateness to install an awning with a sign on the façade of 129 W. Fourth St. The three-story building is owned by Joe Hanna and was the former home of Play It Again Records. With previously approved renovations nearly complete, Okumus proposed adding a forest green canvas awning measuring 26 feet wide, 40 inches high, and 24 inches deep, supported by 1x1x1/8 inch steel tubing. A valance drop was increased to 8 inches to accommodate 6-inch off-white lettering. After looking over blueprints and canvas samples, the board gave their approval with the stipulation that special brackets be used for attachment to the building so that molding would not be damaged and that each end of the awning would be left open. Okumus asked the board if he was still required to replace decorative metal grates that been previously removed without permission. Roeder asked fellow board members to check out the new construction before ruling on Okumus’ request at the next hearing.
The Bethlehem HCC is charged with the task of determining if new signs or other alterations to a building’s exterior would be an appropriate fit for the neighborhood in one of three designated historic districts. Hearings are regularly scheduled on the third Monday of the month. The meeting was moved to Jan. 23, because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. With President’s Day falling on the third Monday in February, the next BHCC hearing is scheduled for Feb. 27.
Obtaining a certificate of appropriateness is only a first step for business owners and residents in a designated historic district who wish to make alterations to a building’s exterior. The BHCC’s recommendations are later reviewed, then voted on by city council before any project is allowed to proceed.