Devil's in the birdhouse

| 29 Sep 2011 | 10:48

    MILFORD - When you set out to evaluate historic architecture, you have to look at everything, right down to the birdhouse on the gatepost. And birdhouses, two of them, were on the agenda Wednesday evening when the borough’s architectural review board reconsidered Chris Hobbs’ Milford Alley Shops project. Hobbs came looking last month for an amendment to his permit for exterior alterations, to include a sign for the entryway to the Broad Street project. He learned the entryway was not part of his original application and that it and two birdhouses mounted atop the entryway posts were in violation. Review board chair, Beth Kelley said the board was ready to amend the application for the entryway, but not the birdhouses. “I thought they were quite lovely, cedar, in a natural finish. They’re artistic post-toppers,” she said. But members Don Quick and Jim McLain saw them as “not in keeping with the fabric of the streetscape,” and were adamant in their opposition, Kelley said. The birdhouse argument became pivotal to the amendment for the larger issues, the entryway and sign. Kelley argued that Milford’s streetscape is and always was eclectic; “It’s only Victorian in our PR material... I don’t want to see the borough turned into a cookie-cutter Victorian village,” she said. The amendment, with birdhouses, won by a 4-2 vote, Quick and McLain opposed.