Mending their trellises

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:31

    MILFORD - A long-running conflict, literally of historic proportions, came to an end Monday when the Fauchere Hotel’s kitchen vent won approval. The vent, which exits the renovated, historic hotel in a sideyard, trails about 15 feet of duct work to a six-foot high housing for the fan. As installed, it is visible from Broad Street and was labeled an eyesore and worse by the borough’s architectural review board in February. Chastising co-owner Richard Snyder and consultant Tom Brannon for installing the vent without bringing it for board review, Board Chair Beth Kelley then called the installation “a tumor.” Since then, the Fauchere’s managers, engineers, and attorneys have made repeated appearances before borough officials seeking some compromise that would allow the multmillion dollar renovation to open without further extensive and expensive alterations. Earlier this month, the architectural review board voted down the developer’s last proposal, in what was said to be only the fourth application rejection in the board’s history. With this background, co-owner Sean Strub came before the review board Monday, to correct what he believed were misunderstandings and miscommunications between the Fauchere and the board. Primary in the miscommunication, he said, was the status of the duct work. As built, a one-foot high portion of the duct would have been visible, but Strub said replacing square duct with flatter rectangular duct would hide it behind the graded earth, leaving only the fan housing visible, three and half feet above grade. Strub produced an architectural rendering showing the completed grading work, which he said had been produced earlier. “It was a huge misunderstanding,” he said. Kelley agreed, saying she had never seen the drawing and noting that its implication “wasn’t understood (by the board) at all.” A combination of a gated trellis and screening plants had been proposed to hide the vent. With the change in what would be visible, Kelley suggested landscaping alone might work, but Strub said he and Snyder had grown comfortable with the trellis plans. “Now you want the trellis,” she replied in mock frustration, demonstrating the overall mood change the meeting had taken. The board went on to unanimously vote conditional approval of the vent planning, based on approval of more detailed plans of the updated landscaping and trellis work. The board’s approval of a vent plan had been one of the last roadblocks to the planned hotel openning.