BERLIN — Town officials are trying to get the best of both worlds by upgrading government offices to be more energy efficient, while maintaining their status as historical landmarks.
Berlin will be repairing and replacing several windows in town hall along with the door to the planning and zoning offices.
“The project is part of an overall energy efficiency grant,” Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen told the Historic District Commission (HDC) on Wednesday.
Bohlen explained that the town has recently qualified for a grant to deal with energy issues, such as windows and doors that have issues sealing. The town would also be doing extensive interior changes, but since those wouldn’t affect the aesthetics of the building, they didn’t require HDC approval.
While the upgrades are more or less conventional, Director of Planning and Zoning Chuck Ward told the HDC that special consideration had to be paid due to the historic significance of town hall and the adjacent planning and zoning office.
“We are a historic district,” he said.
Ward remarked that, while the grant wasn’t large enough to do so, he one day hoped to secure enough funding to overhaul the planning and zoning building completely.
“It would be nice to restore it,” he said.
But for the time being, he asked only that the HDC look at what was on the table.
“It’s correcting energy issues there now,” said Ward.
The HDC agreed that Berlin would be able to keep within historic guidelines with the energy upgrades and unanimously approved the project.
The commission approved two additional petitions from local restaurants for signage and exterior modifications.
The Baked Desert Café submitted a petition to be allowed changes to signage and for scrollwork on their display windows listing what kinds of products they offered. None of the alterations were dramatic and easily achieved unanimous approval.
Cupcakes in Bloom, a new pastry shop planning to open on North Main St, requested more noticeable changes, including repainting the building and removing a fence. However, the HDC felt that the alterations were acceptable as well and quickly approved them.
“It’s just wonderful to see where Berlin is going with business,” saod HDC member Mary Moore.
Fellow commissioner Kit Mathews agreed and pointed out that even the backstreets of Berlin were being expanded.