HARVARD -- Given the historical relevance of a property on Massachusetts Avenue, the Historical Commission discussed a proposal to remove a window while retaining the home's historic feel.

Robin and Andy Hu, of 13 Massachusetts Ave., sought permission to close a window in their kitchen to make room for additional cabinet space. The property was a Methodist Church at one time, and in the best interest of preserving the structure, the commission discussed ways the window could be closed up.

Options included keeping the molding on the outside and filling it in, keeping the molding and placing shutters in the window to make it look as historically correct as possible, or closing off the window completely as if it had never existed.

Commission members discussed keeping the molding on the outside and either closing it in or placing closed shutters in the space.

"This is not a controversial issue in our mind, so which option are you proposing?" member Ron Ostberg asked the couple.

"We're fine with either one, whichever your preference would be," Robin Hu said. "We're just concerned with the interior and getting rid of the window, so whether the molding on the outside stays or not is up to you."

Ostberg made a motion for the couple to use shutters in the original molding to preserve the historic feel to the home. Alternate member Jon Martin agreed.

Member Sherry Graham proposed an amendment to Ostberg's motion by suggesting that the couple decide what to do based on cost.


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"I think, depending on the cost, they should have the option if they want to put the shutters in or not because it works both ways," Graham said. "Keep the trim, but allow them to get an estimate for how much the shutters would cost."

Chairman Ken Swanton agreed with Ostberg and Martin.

"This is the old Methodist Church, and churches are known for having a lot of light and windows, and I do kind of like the thought of retaining the historic feel," Swanton said.

In a 6-1 vote, Ostberg's motion was passed to require the Hus to place shutters in the original trim and molding of the window, while the inside will be closed in. Graham's amendment was voted down.

The commission also reviewed plans for the Town Hall renovation, but found that the prints they were given lacked some detail. The plans include an awning over the front door, but details regarding material and lighting were missing from the plans.

The commission will review the plans further once they receive more details from the Town Hall Building Committee.

The commission also reviewed a historic-plaque program and began editing application guidelines for those wishing to place a plaque on their homes.

Guidelines discussed include the structure being dated before 1900 and the architecture being historically relevant. Commission members also discussed whether they would allow homeowners to place their plaques wherever they like or not.

"I think we should have guidelines for the size and where it is placed," Vice Chairman Joe Theriault said. "We might end up with signs that are horrible."

The commission decided to establish a list of general guidelines and to adjust them as they see fit. A new draft of the application is to be made and edited.

The next meeting is set for Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m., at the Center on the Common.

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