Berlin Continues To Work Toward Architecture Guide

BERLIN – Small progress was made this week toward an architectural pattern book for developers in Berlin with the Berlin Planning Commission instructing staff to look into consultants to do the work.

Planning Commission Chair Newt Chandler first suggested buying examples of architectural pattern books as a guideline toward creating the town’s own during the planning meeting held Wednesday night.

Commission member Pete Cosby said he would rather see that money go toward expertise that could get the pattern book done.

“I’d rather have somebody look at the town, do a survey,” Cosby said.

Joe Hill, a member of the Planning Commission, said he would rather ask for formal bids from consultants on creating an architectural pattern book, rather than attempting to do it in house and finally settling on an available consultant, as Berlin did with the new town Comprehensive Plan.

Attracting several bidders through a competitive bidding process would be better for the town, Hill felt.

“It’s more to know what’s available and pick the best package for the best value,” Hill said Wednesday night.

There was no word on the possible cost of the project.

A consultant would do a thorough survey of Berlin’s varied architectural styles.

“It’s impossible to say it’s a Victorian town,” planning superintendent Chuck Ward said at the meeting.

Towns on the East Coast like Berlin that have developed over decades and centuries show a mix of styles.

A consultant could also recognize architectural elements that are not seen as historic, but will be in 40 years.

“It may not seem historic to any of us right now,” Ward said.

Architectural patterns cannot be delineated by neighborhood either, Cosby said. Some areas, such as Burley St., are transition neighborhoods that show a mix of architectural styles and periods.

An architectural pattern book would help define each street’s architectural properties, Hill said, going beyond the neighborhood.

Chandler suggested asking consultants to do a presentation to the Planning Commission.

“If they could come and talk to us, that’ll be great,” Chandler said.

“I’ll do my best,” said Ward.

The final decision on hiring a consultant would come from the Berlin Mayor and Council.