As the City and private commercial interests promote a downtown hotel, we urge them to be mindful of its impact on the Downtown Historic District.  Considering state, county and local tax funds are being tapped to support it, albeit under the City’s insistence that no public funds are being used to support this project (http://www.cityoffrederick.com/DocumentCenter/View/4454) , we must ensure that any project fully reflects a model concurrent with the Historic District Guidelines.  The renderings they are presenting to the public have serious flaws with regard to the project’s placement in a historic district.

 

Below are a few of the Guidelines that direct additions, demolition, and new construction.  The residents of the downtown and business owners must not allow this project any deviations from the Guidelines that protect and preserve our amazing historic downtown that has served as a model for others in Maryland.

 

The City and hotel planners had every opportunity to place this outside the Historic District, but still within walking distance of the downtown center, but did not.  Following, please find the relevant Guidelines excerpts and the link to the entire Guidelines.

 

http://www.cityoffrederick.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/497

 

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Historic District Guidelines that impact new buildings such as the Downtown Hotel.

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DEMOLITION OF BIRELY TANNERY

A. Definition Demolition refers to the removal of an entire structure or landscape. Partial demolition refers to the removal of a portion of a building or landscape, such as a wing on a building, or a discrete feature, such as an entire porch. The removal of small-scale elements, such as a small portion of a wall to enable construction of an addition, will be considered in the context of the proposed rehabilitation.

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B. Demolition is Discouraged

The Historic Preservation Commission was formed to preserve the historic district and its contributing resources and approve appropriate rehabilitation and new construction. When a contributing historic resource is demolished, a vital and tangible link to the City’s past is lost. This loss disrupts the historic streetscape and decreases the historical and architectural integrity of the entire historic district. The guidelines are intended to discourage the demolition of contributing resources; therefore, they force the Commission to use a review process that is deliberate and thorough. Demolition will be considered only when all possible alternatives to preservation have been exhausted.

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E. Moving Historic Buildings -  The relocation of a historic structure to prevent its demolition will be considered after all other options have been exhausted. Relocating a historic structure can adversely impact its structural and historical integrity and its removal can impose a severe loss to the streetscape. For these reasons, it is preferable to preserve a structure in place and the Commission will carefully evaluate all applications for moving a building. P148

Adding an addition to the Trolley Building…

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C. Preserve Historical Integrity and Features Additions may not compromise the historical or architectural integrity of the existing building, the setting, the streetscape, or the neighborhood. Additions may not destroy, damage, or conceal historic fabric that is considered essential to the character-defining nature of the building or specific features. P134

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F. Additions that are not Permitted Additions to contributing and significant properties will not be approved on street-facing elevations if they would be visible from the public way. On non-contributing buildings, additions may be approved on street-facing elevations if they do not negatively impact the integrity of the historic streetscape. Stories cannot be added to the elevations of contributing or significant resources that are visible from the street. If the façade facing an alley is character-defining, the Commission may not permit an addition on the alley-facing façade.

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G. Design Additions to historic buildings must be compatible with the design and materials of the existing building. They should reflect the style, patterning and design motifs of the original building. Additions should be differentiated from historic structures by offsetting the new addition from the original structure, through an obvious or subtle change in materials, or by the insertion of a vertical joint or trim element. Additions must be appropriate to the historic building and neighborhood.

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H. Scale and Massing Additions shall be limited in size, scale and relationship to the historic building. Additions cannot be higher, longer, or wider than the existing building.

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L. Roof Forms - The roof forms of additions must be compatible with the existing roof. The roof of the addition does not have to be the same as the original roof, but it must not detract from it. On a case-by-case basis, the Commission may approve the removal of a roof on a character-defining rear elevation to allow construction of an additional story.

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NEW CONSTRUCTION

 

Will impact the new construction along the Creek of the proposed New Downtown Hotel

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B. Introduction - The individual character unique to each and every structure and site is the foundation for the diversity and authenticity of the Historic District. New construction should positively enhance this character through a design that is compatible with existing buildings and the streetscape while having its own design integrity. New construction should respect the massing, scale, materials, form, detailing, rhythm and setbacks of nearby historic buildings. A careful and thoughtful study of these elements should be the starting point for new construction in the Historic District from which certain design principles should be derived. The immediate context of the site should be the primary source of inspiration for new construction. New construction also includes landscaping which should enhance the overall design and respond to the existing context. The HPC strives to promote new construction that is compatible with the Historic District and is of a quality that will itself someday be worthy of preservation.

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1. Style. Buildings in the Historic District represent a range of architectural styles. Although Frederick is best known for its Federal and early brick vernacular architecture, many later styles are evident as infill construction or in areas that developed later. New construction should be designed to be sensitive to the built environment of the immediate vicinity, but should clearly be a product of its own time.

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2. Form. Building “form” refers to the scale, massing and general shape of new construction. The wall placement and roof shape of buildings define their form. At the initial review, form is carefully scrutinized, for assurance that the new construction is compatible with prevalent forms and massing p138

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3. Rhythm. Rhythm refers to a repetition of architectural patterns or motifs in a similar or modified form. The rhythm of a streetscape is created by the siting, spacing and proportions of buildings, the organization of building façades, and architectural details. The prevailing pattern or rhythm should be referenced in designs for new construction to enhance their compatibility with the existing streetscape. New construction should maintain the setback line that has been established on the street and should respond to the predominant pattern of spacing between buildings. Existing buildings will suggest an appropriate width for new construction, and existing buildings will provide a reference for dividing the façades and massing of large new buildings into a series of smaller visual units

 

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2. Massing. The mass of a building is the enclosed volume that constitutes a building’s exterior form. In the Frederick Town Historic District, the dominant mass of historic buildings generally fronts on the street, with subordinate forms of lesser massing to the rear of the main block. In new construction, this pattern may be reversed to permit the construction of buildings that are taller than typical historic buildings on the streetscape, but minimizing their impact by placing the larger mass on the rear. With few exceptions, the massing of a building should relate to the massing of buildings in the vicinity of the new construction. 3. Height. The height of a building is the vertical distance, measured in feet, from the elevation at the front street curb to the highest point of the main roof or wall, whichever is higher. Note that this definition differs from the City Code. In order to preserve the unique qualities of the historic district and streetscape, new construction should be designed so that it is visually compatible with neighboring structures and with the predominant pattern of that block. New buildings at corner lots may provide opportunities for greater variation in height than those lots located mid-block. In some cases, new buildings may achieve greater height by stepping back the upper floor(s). Where deemed appropriate, this approach typically requires a substantial setback, the extent of which depends on the height of the building, the height of adjacent buildings, the topography of the area, the width of…

 

Ensure the Proposed Downtown Hotel 

Improves and Protects our Frederick Historic District and Follows the Guidelines....