Fauchere sponsors roasted over historic cooking vent

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:00

MILFORD - The heat generated by the Monday review board critique of the Fauchere kitchen’s cooking vent would have sauteed scampi. Co-owner Richard Snyder and planning consultant Ed Brannon also came to the Borough Architectural Review Board looking for acceptance for awnings, a flag pole, an exterior sign, but it was the vent that lit the fire. The vent, which now exits the building’s basement on the north side in heavy galvanized duct, goes vertical just off the enclosed porch and is topped by a hooded black stack. It stands about six feet tall. The last time review board members saw the project, the kitchen vent was supposed to exit underground and release to the air through a ground level grate in the rear parking lot. But Brannon said project engineers nixed the plan because the duct location would have required a downward slope, creating a poor draft. He said several alternatives were considered. An exit through the porch roof would have ruined the use of one of the hotel rooms, while going straight up would have passed through two of the hotel’s smallest rooms to provide for the vent’s large fan. Board Chair Beth Kelley asked why the alternative plans had not come to the review board, before going ahead with “this appalling abomination,” in one of the historic district’s primary buildings. Kelley wasn’t done. She said the vent between the Fauchere and Emmerson House was “a monster, clearly visible from the main (Broad) street of the borough.” “I understand. None of us like it,” Brannon responded. He said there would be extensive landscaping and the final result would be of concern only to dining room guests. Kelley was not mollified. “We have no concern for your dining room guests. Our concern is for it’s appropriateness in the district they’re living in. We have no say over plantings and shrubs and we’ve had no say over this...abortion,” she said. “Why didn’t you come to us eight months ago? I’ve had people calling me,” she continued, “and I’ve been reassuring them that this was going to be Milford’s crowning glory. Now it has a tumor,” she said. Snyder attempted to intervene and apologize. “We’ve agonized over this for months and it’s wrong, but it ended up as the only practical solution.” About not coming earlier, he admitted, “We just forgot and we’re sorry.” Brannon, a former director at Grey Towers, also once served on the review board. “I am insulted,” Kelley said, “that a former board member didn’t remember. This board is insulted.” Kelley demanded that the designer appear before the board to explain. “The town watches to see how we react. This is a demonstration that we’re doing our utmost to uphold the district’s integrity,” she concluded. Following the session, Brannon said he was not clear that the changes had to come back to the review board. “I’ve served four years and I am familiar with the process,” he said, “but this is one very small thing in a very large restoration.”