DRB cool to variance for a/c at hall
by Jack Deming
Aug 22, 2013 | 2611 views | 0 0 comments | 80 80 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WILMINGTON- The town of Wilmington applied for a waiver from the Development Review Board Monday night in order to construct sorely needed upgrades to Memorial Hall, including a new handicap ramp, an elevated deck for HVAC equipment, and new insulation.

Joseph Cincotta of LineSync Architecture, the architect for phase one of the town’s Memorial Hall upgrade project, presented the town’s request and answered questions from the board. Cincotta’s plan for the HVAC equipment deck calls for a 10-foot-by-30-foot steel deck attached to the back of Memorial Hall which would house the two units that provide air conditioning and heating. The deck would sit 15 feet off the ground, its metal supports grounded in frost- and flood-proof cement.

Development Review Board chair Nicki Steel explained to Cincotta that the DRB was only allowed to grant a waiver if the construction of the unit didn’t increase the building’s footprint by 200 square feet. The town is requesting a waiver because the deck plan exceeds the requirement by 100 square feet.

“It’s iffy, you have it on posts,” said Steel. “I’m up in the air as to whether I think what you’re proposing increases the footprint.”

“I think that’s an excellent choice of words, it is up in the air,” said Cincotta. “As technology changes, it can be removed with no effect to the historic building. These are mechanical accoutrements to the building structure that are not considered part of the building per se, no more than sticking an air conditioner out of a window could be considered part of the building.”

The need for new units for hot and cold air came about after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene destroyed the old units located in the basement. Town manager Scott Murphy said that the town may only be able to afford installing a heating unit in the fall, and an air conditioning unit in the future.

Board member Andy Schindel said that upon viewing the plans, he wondered if the amount of walking room on the deck could be condensed to make the structure comply with the 200-foot ordinance.

“You’re welcome to challenge the information,” said Cincotta, “but this size, 10 by 30, was given to me as the requirement and I trust my engineer to give me accurate information. These generally are on rooftops, this is a rooftop unit.” Cincotta also said the measurements were the minimum clearance for servicing the units and not a centimeter more.

When questioned on the aesthetics of the unit, Cincotta told the board that the units would be no louder than those at the neighboring Crafts Inn and would not be required to run at all times, but would be used during performances.

Cincotta also told the board that while attached to the building, the deck was not an addition. “Not by any stretch of code is this an addition. If the air-conditioning unit was on the ground as they often are, it would not be considered an addition, so if you choose to be conservative and more restrictive that way it would be an unusual decision.”

The town is also applying for construction of a handicap ramp to be allowed in the existing footprint of a ramp that no longer meets safety requirements. The ramp would be made of wood with a metal handrail.

The DRB has 45 days to come up with a decision on granting the waiver.
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