Whiskey Row questions arise at Historical meeting

November 11, 2016
By Marcy Shortuse

■ BY SUE ERWIN     lee-county-planners-web
It was the first Boca Grande Historical Preservation Board meeting for Sharon Jenkins-Owen, the new Lee County planner assigned to take the place of Gloria Sajgo, when the board met on Wednesday, Nov. 9 to discuss three agenda items.
“After 30 years, Gloria has retired from her former position. I have big shoes to fill, and I hope I can do that for you,” Jenkins-Owen said.
The first item was a request to rehabilitate 271 Gilchrist Avenue. This is a renovation of an existing, nonconforming house in the historical district. The focus of the project is to give the home a classic Boca Grande island style. The architects are planning to replace the kitchen and aesthetically renovate the outside of the property, trying to restore the original wood. Lee County Planner Peter Blackwell said the applicant’s plans coincide with the integrity of the houses on the island and said that the staff has no issues with the request. The land, located at 271 Gilchrist Avenue, is on the east side of the property with Whiskey Row running along the back, or western side. To the north is a vacant residential lot. Abutting on the south side is a private residence. To the west, across Whiskey Row, is another single-family residence. The property has no driveway onto Gilchrist Avenue and is accessed by Whiskey Row, a narrow alley that does not permit through traffic.
Caldwell asked the audience if anyone was in support of or opposed to the project.
Peter Soderberg addressed the crowd. He lives across the street on Whiskey Row and expressed his concerns about safety and access to traffic on Whiskey Row, the narrow alleyway that residents maintain and use as a driveway.
Board Member Tim Siebert agreed and said he feels Whiskey Row would be overburdened with traffic. Board Member Paul Eddy made a motion to continue the matter until the next meeting, allowing the neighbors to meet with the architects and agree on potential ways to resolve the issue.
The second item was a request for a new residence at 291 Gilchrist Avenue. The applicant proposes to improve the eastern porch of the existing single-family residence by replacing the shed roof with a gable roof and the existing single side-facing stairway with separated, double side-facing stairways. The applicant also proposes to add a second-story balcony on the western elevation of the house that will be accessed through French doors that replace the existing windows. The existing vinyl siding will be stripped to use the original wood siding underneath. New trim will be installed for windows, doors and other decorative features. Jenkins-Owen said the staff agrees that these changes to the structure will bring the property into closer conformity with the character of the Boca Grande architectural style.
Soderberg addressed the Board on behalf of several neighbors who live on Whiskey Row. “While I compliment Tim Krebs’ design on the property, this proposal represents a traffic burden that has never been there before,” Soderberg said. The applicant stated he would be willing to discuss options regarding the entrance with the architects and neighbors. A motion was made to continue the matter until the next meeting.
The third item on the agenda was a request for a new residence on a vacant lot at 164 First Street East. The proposed two-story house is a contemporary Colonial Revival style. The roof material is crimped aluminum. The wall materials are a combination of composite horizontal siding and shake shingles. A motion to accept the project was made and passed.
The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at the Boca Grande Community Center.