So Tuesday night I went before the Historic Preservation Commission to ask permission to demolish the existing front porch on my house and build a new one that looks more like the original porch.
Actually, I went to the Planning & Zoning meeting and sat there for five minutes wondering why I didn't recognize anyone and why a lawyerly-looking dude was there with manila folders and a sheaf of papers. Oops. Wrong room.
After I ran up a flight of steps and burst through the door of a room that was waaay smaller than I expected, I went before the HPC. They asked me first where I live--which in my small town means not what your street address is, but who you live next door to. Once we had that figured out, they asked me what I planned to do. I told them pretty much what I'd written on my application:
My house is a contributing structure to the Old Neighborhoods National Register Historic District and is a Queen Anne cottage constructed about 1887. What I'm asking permission to do is to remove the existing porch, which is not original to the house, and build a new porch which would be nearly identical to the original porch. The current porch has a flat roof and the porch extends past the front and side walls of the house. No part of this porch is original to the house. I'm requesting permission to demolish only the porch structure and roof, not the concrete slab.
The original porch had a hipped (mansard) roof and was somewhat smaller than the present one. I would like to build the new porch to look as much like this one as is possible, in particular the slightly smaller dimensions and the hipped roof. In the photo [the 1947 photo of the porch] there doesn't appear to be a porch post in the middle of the span, but I would put one there for added support. There are three porch posts at the corner of the porch and balusters and railing only on the east side. I would like to duplicate all this. There are ghost marks on the house which show the location of the original half-posts and I expect that when I remove the existing porch, there will also be ghost marks of the original roof line of the porch so that I can re-create the dimensions of the original porch. Thanks for your time and consideration.
Then one of the Commission members spoke up and said some stuff that I'm a little reluctant to tell you because it sounds kinda like bragging, but then I decided that he said it, not me, so it's okay. He said, "I live two houses down from her, and this house has undergone quite a transformation. It used to have brown shingles on it and she removed those and is painting it. She's quite industrious. My wife and I hear her scraping away at the old paint. This seems like a worthwhile venture to me. I move that we approve it."
And then someone seconded his motion, the commission president said all in favor say aye, and my porch project was unanimously approved. Bing, bam, boom!