Excerpt from MyEasternShoreMD:

Reversing a ruling at its December meeting, the Historic District Commission, meeting Wednesday, Jan. 6, voted to allow the owner of the former train station at 300 Cross St. to install asphalt shingles on its roof.

Owner Carla Johnson said the commission’s approval of a metal room at the Dec. 2 meeting was not what she applied for. She presented photographic evidence that the building had a shingle roof in 1977, when it was moved 44 feet to its present location.

Johnson, who uses the building as a business office, provided photos of other historic train stations on the Eastern Shore. She said that all had shingle roofs. She also said while other buildings near the Chestertown train station have metal roofs, they were built for different purposes.

Commissioner Nancy McGuire said she was uncomfortable with overturning the original decision. She said the application before the commission in December stated that the roof was to be metal. She said the only reason for not putting on metal was the added cost, which the commission is not supposed to considder in its decisions.

Johnson said the application as filed didn’t reflect her intent. She said she had asked for asphalt, which she said is historically accurate.

Town Clerk Jen Mulligan said the application was hastily filed, the day before the meeting, in response to a bad leak in the roof.

Zoning Administrator Kees de Mooy said it was unprecedented for the commission to require a type of roof that could not be documented as having been on the building, against the applicant’s wishes. He also said there were procedural errors in the December vote, making it appropriate to revisit the issue.

Chairwoman Alexa Silver, who was not present at the December meeting, said the commission should look on it as a new application and judge it on its merits. She said she thought Johnson provided satisfactory evidence that asphalt was a historically appropriate material for the roof.

Commissioner Veronica Golden said it would “create a quagmire” if the commission was unwilling to reconsider a decision when there was evidence it was made in error.

After further discussion, the commission voted to approve the replacement with asphalt.


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