Cape May HPC Debates Historic Hotel Wing Demolition

In a recent Cape May Historic Preservation Commission meeting, developments unfolded as members deliberated on the demolition and reconstruction of a hotel wing and rear event wing at the Lamir Beach Front Resort. The application, presented by Adis Inc., spurred extensive discussion focusing on the impact of the demolition on the historic district. The commission scrutinized the application against nine criteria outlined in the demolition standards, emphasizing the historical, architectural, and cultural significance of the structures. Despite the applicant’s argument that the buildings were non-contributing and their removal would not be detrimental, concerns were raised about the transition effects between districts and the neighborhood’s character.

The debate highlighted differing viewpoints between the commission and the applicant’s attorney. The commission was steadfast in its approach, insisting on a bifurcated consideration of demolition and reconstruction applications and urging the attorney to concentrate solely on the demolition’s impact. On the other hand, the attorney attempted to integrate details of the proposed construction into the demolition discussion. The commission eventually approved the demolition of the beach house, with stipulations regarding the historical context, and requested a conceptual review of the proposed reconstruction.

Further discussions ensued over a craftsman style home alteration application, where careful attention was paid to railing specifications and materials. The commission members evaluated the presentation by Dave Schultz, who assured that the proposed windows would be all wood and factory painted. After debate about the baluster’s spacing and thickness, the application was conditionally approved, with requirements on privacy lattice and railing system details.

Another agenda item included the demolition of a portion of the La Mer structure. Architect Margaret Westfield, with a specialization in historic buildings, identified the building as non-contributory and from the early 2000s. The commission and Westfield debated the building’s visual significance and its role within the historical fabric of the community. Despite reservations about the removal of a transitional element, the commission voted to approve the demolition, acknowledging the proposed replacement structure’s role in maintaining the visual transition in the historic district.

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The commission also considered an application involving the renovation of a property on New York Avenue. Owner Tom Lord, aiming to align the house more closely with HPC standards, discussed changes including an elevator and deck addition. A debate on siding materials ensued, with the commission eventually recommending wood clapboard siding for the house and garage, and allowing for cedar shingles as an alternative, provided consistency was maintained for both.

Solar panels on a Corgy Street property also made the agenda, with the applicant presenting a careful design to minimize street visibility. After addressing concerns about tree shading and the visibility of electrical wiring, the commission approved the installation with a condition to cover the electrical connection.

Procedural aspects were addressed as the commission discussed the replacement of a roof on a contributing property. The commission requested additional documentation, including a detailed roof plan and cut sheets, and highlighted the importance of adhering to historical preservation guidelines.

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A rear addition and side porch on a property on Congress Street also received conditional final approval, requiring a landscaping plan and window cut sheets for review. Additionally, a new two-story residence on Bank Street prompted deliberation on its compatibility with the neighborhood, leading to discussions on scale, height, and overall design.

The meeting concluded with conceptual approval for architectural changes to a building, with the understanding that final approval would be required later. The commission also acknowledged the receipt of an award from the New Jersey Historic Commission and celebrated the relocation of the Historic Preservation Commission office to a new location within the city.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Zachary Mullock
Historic Preservation Commission Officials:
Warren Coupland, Tom Carroll, Corbin Cogswell, Philippa Campbell, James Testa, Beatrice Gauvry Pessagno, Janice Wilson Stridick, Joseph Stevenson, John Boecker, Lorraine Baldwin, Judy Decker (Secretary), Paul Dietrich (City Engineer, Director of Land Use), Bruce Britton (Compliance Officer), Robert Fineberg, Esp. (Solicitor)

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