At the Wednesday, October 5 meeting of the Historic District Commission, Washington College resubmitted its application for approval of the demolition of the Chestertown Armory.
The original application filed in December 2022 was withdrawn due to a procedural error. The new application reflects the original, including the College’s intent to raze all or part of the structure and build a boutique hotel.
Washington College President Michael Sosulski read the application text.
HDC Commissioners passed a motion acknowledging that the 1931 armory met the qualifications of a historic structure but that further demolition consideration should address structural and site remediation studies by professionals chosen by the HDC and independent of the College and the Town.
“…there were some elements in the application that I didn’t feel gave a complete enough or current enough Commission report that would be very interesting and informative for our use in the second hearing.” Commissioner Samantha Holloman stated.
Holloman said that the 2012 structural report included in the College’s application should be updated and that the whole structure should be evaluated in light of the site’s proximity to the river, and ongoing environmental degradation should be a key topic.
The Commission also requested further records of remediation applications to State or Federal funds.
“Since the building is on the historic registry, state and federal funds for remediation and rehabilitation could have been applied for and used in the years of the College’s ownership, any paperwork that any applications that demonstrate your attempts to rehabilitate the building would be really informative and useful. That will give us an understanding of how well certain bits of remediation work and don’t work. Of course, the proposed design for the hotel, if certain elements cannot be included, is going to be central to any discussion,” Holloman added.
The Commission also requested an economic evaluation of costs for preservation remediation, if possible, versus demolition of all or parts of the armory structure.
A 75-page report by the College’s environmental consultants was submitted on the Monday before the meeting. No costs were included.
Commissioner McDowell also requested a cost analysis for site mold and structural remediation.
Community members spoke in support of the armory preservations and demotion after the Commissioner’s information requests were made. All speakers are presented in the video.
A date for the second meeting is to be announced.
The meeting can be seen in its entirety here and is approximately fifty minutes in length.