County seeks permission to change appearance of downtown buildings

Published 5:22 pm Monday, April 2, 2018

During its meeting today, Washington’s Historic Preservation Commission is scheduled to revisit a request by Beaufort County to change the exterior appearances of two buildings the county owns in downtown Washington.

Earlier this year, commission members said they wanted more information before making a decision on the request.

The county is seeking a certificate of appropriateness to remove three chimney stacks and the terracotta parapet flashing from the building at 132 N. Market St. That building once housed the county jail, and later it housed the Beaufort County Board of Elections. Currently, it houses a unit of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s office.

The county also wants to remove the remaining terracotta parapet flashing on the building at 111 W. Second St., which currently houses offices of the district attorney for the 2nd Judicial District. It formerly housed agricultural offices and some county offices. It is know as the courthouse annex.

The county wants to make improvements to the two buildings, including removing any roofing materials that contain asbestos and installing a new roof on the old jail and courthouse annex. The county plans to install a watertight system for both buildings, according to the COA request submitted by the county to the commission.

The county’s request could be denied.

“Based on findings of fact, the request is not congruous with the Design Guidelines,” reads a staff report submitted to the commission. However, the commission has final say on the request.

The commission’s design guidelines as they pertain to roofing include the following:

  • Retain and preserve historic roofs and roofing materials including its overall design, shape, pitch and line;
  • Character-defining elements of historic roofs should be retained and preserved including dormer windows, chimneys, turrets, cupolas and parapet walls. Eave overhangs; moldings and trim and soffit boards also should be retained and preserved;
  • Roofs on historic structures are often characterized by their historic material including clay tiles, slate or wood shingles and metal. These materials should be retained and preserved, whenever economically feasible.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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