Historic Board approves Palm Avenue rehab, continue talks on Sherman home

PalmAveBY SUSAN ERWIN —

The Boca Grande Historic Preservation Board held a meeting Tuesday at the Boca Grande Community Center. The board unanimously approved the first item on the agenda, which was a request to rehabilitate the existing commercial building (non-historic) located at 411 Palm Avenue.

The proposal called for consolidating the building and making better use of the space inside. It is a contemporary wood frame building with a large front porch under one roof and a wraparound porch with handicap access. As a result of the upgrades, there would be better parking with marked and paved spaces. It would also allow vehicles to back in and out of the adjacent alley way.

The second property discussed was the Sherman residence at 1110 11 St. W. Gilchrest Avenue. The subject building is located on a large tract of land (roughly 2.25 acres) fronting the Gulf of Mexico and abutting both 11th Street and 10th Street. The structure was built in 1926 and is a single story building with a second story added on the north wing. It is a “Pueblo style” home. The request was to rehabilitate the existing building (historic) along with the addition of a family room and elevator. Proposed exterior changes included a Spanish barrel cap and pan clay tile roof.

Konstant Architecture Planning group based out of Illinois is overseeing the project.

Board Chair Tim Seibert interjected and said he had a problem with the proposed request.

“Why can’t the roof be replaced with another flat roof to maintain the character of the building?” he asked. “This is a historically significant building and as chair of the historical society it is my duty to try to retain the historical integrity of the house.”

The architects responded that they intend to preserve the home as much as possible.

They said numerous solutions were tried to resolve this problem including the building of a new upper flat roof system flush with the original parapet walls. This created a double roof system that allowed water to run down the walls and into the windows and doors. And all of the other architectural features are not affected.

Seibert said he would like to see a licensed engineer give a detailed report of alternative options.

“I want to be assured by someone that it cannot be restored with a new flat roof,” he said. “I would not be inclined to approve this at this time.”

A motion was made to continue until the next meeting to determine if an existing roof style can be created and restored.

More than 24 people attended the meeting on Wednesday, September 23. A meeting will be scheduled in October to address whether the roof can be redesigned and replicated.

It was announced that one board member has recently resigned. The board is in the process of appointing a new member. Anyone is welcome to apply. For more information, call (239) 533-8585.