Historic Board approves rehab on two Gilchrist properties

October 23, 2015
By Susan Erwin

■ BY SUSAN ERWIN360 Gichrist web
The Boca Grande Historic Preservation Board held a meeting Wed
nesday to discuss three items on the current agenda. All current board members were in attendance.
Regarding the first item, a request to rehabilitate 1110 11th Street – also known as the Sherman residence ­– has received a continuance until the next meeting.
Lee County Principal Planner Gloria Sajgo introduced the second item, a project calling for a request to add a family room on the west side of the house and an elevator at the south side of the courtyard at 351 Gilchrist Avenue. Sajgo said the proposal called for removing the (non-original) trellis and pergola supported by cypress columns.
It is accessed from the main house by way of three pairs of narrow French doors. Both the trellis and French doors were approved by the BGHPB on March 12, 2008 and are not original to the house. The proposal called for removing the doors and installing a roughly 20-ft by 25-ft addition with a family room on the ground floor and an open balcony on the second floor. The house would be accessible by new sliding glass doors that would replace the French doors. The second part of the proposal called for a new elevator. Currently there are exterior stairs within an 8-ft by 8-ft tower. To minimize the visual impact of the new elevator tower, the tower will be broken into two wings and each wing will have its own roof style. “
We think it’s a well thought out project since the applicant wants to keep it compatible with the current character and style of the building. It minimizes any changes or alterations to the historic architecture of the building.” Sajgo said. Board member Rebecca Patterson said she thought the elevator was a great improvement. “The only access to the master bedroom now is the exterior stairs so I think this is a necessary improvement,” Patterson said. A motion was made to accept the proposal and it was unanimously approved.
The third item on the agenda called for a request to construct a four-foot tall privacy wall with a gate along the front property line at 350 Gilchrist Boulevard. The property currently has an open front yard with vegetation. The fence would be made from stucco. They will also install a pedestrian gate with access to the property. The applicant wants to partially wrap the wall fence around the north and south side of the home. The fence would block vehicular access from Gilchrist Avenue. There is currently access from the alley near the back east area of the house. Sajgo said the design of the fence is very similar to the one that is currently installed at the house next door. It generally will maintain the character of the fences along Gilchrist Avenue.
Alexis Crespo, Director of Planning for Waldrop Engineering, was there to represent the applicant. Board Member Paul Eddy inquired about the large ficus tree at the front of the property. “If you are going to construct a masonry fence along that area, how are you going to protect the roots of that tree? It’s a beautiful tree and I think it certainly adds character to the property and it would be a shame to destroy it,” Eddy said. Crespo replied that the architects would ensure the fence would be installed around it or even moved back to protect the root system. “We have landscape architects available who are helping us with the project. They are committed to preserving that tree,” Crespo said. A motion was made to pass the request with a caveat of protecting the tree. It was unanimously approved.
The next board meeting is planned to take place in December. There is still one vacancy on the board. Interested applicants should call (239) 533-8585.