Historic Commission OKs Landscape Lighting Concept

BERLIN – New landscape lighting is expected to increase safety and bring attention to the shops on Artisans Way.

Last Wednesday, Dec. 7 the Berlin Historic District Commission (HDC) approved Garrett Neeb’s request to install landscape lighting around Sea La Vie and Go Organic. He said the lighting would make the area safer and would draw attention to the two out-of-the-way shops.

“Unfortunately when my grandfather built these buildings we overlooked some things,” Neeb said.

Neeb told the commission he wanted to install the small landscape lights around the buildings to make them more visible to shoppers in the evenings.

“What I’m trying to do is illuminate the buildings in an aesthetic way,” he said. “When it gets dark, they fade into the background.”

Safety is also one of his concerns. He said he’d had to reglaze two windows during the past month. Lights, he added, would make the area safer for the shops’ tenants as well.

HDC members praised the lighting.

“I’m really excited about this,” said Carol Rose, chair of the commission. “Safety is really important.”

HDC member Mary Moore agreed.

“In today’s world, it’s a good idea,” she said. “They’re both such charming buildings. I think putting the lights on them makes it really nice.”

This week the HDC also approved a sign request from Matthew Amey for his studio on Jefferson Street. Amey plans to install a sign on the front of his building, which includes his home as well as the Wooden Octopus studio. He told the HDC he hoped the sign would let people know the studio was there.

“I’ve watched people walk by and heard them say ‘is that a business or a house’” he said.

Amey said he was working on a sidewalk sign and wanted to install a similar sign on the building. He said he had to hang the sign, rather than install it in the yard, because the Worcester County Arts Council blocked his property from the view of those looking down Jefferson Street from Main Street.

After receiving approval for his sign, Amey asked commission members for feedback on a unique project he had planned. Amey said he wanted to add what would appear to be six-foot tall octopus sculpture to the side of the house. Though it would appear to be a piece of art, it would actually house a swing-arm that would be connected to a pulley system that would allow him to move things like groceries up and down from the second floor of the house. The pulley system’s rope, he explained, would be weaved throughout the octopus.

“During the day, it looks like a sculpture but it’s actually a functioning part of the house,” he said.

Dave Engelhart, the town’s planning director, said it would serve as advertising of a sort.

“It’s like a trellis system,” he said, “but it’s also going to serve as advertising for his business.”

Rose advised Amey that the commission would be willing to consider it with more information.

On Wednesday, the HDC also approved new awning and light fixtures at 4 S. Main St. and tabled a decision on new windows at 203 S. Main St. The commission will reconsider the windows when the applicant returns with samples.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.