Spy Habitat Price Points: What $100,000 to $400,000 Buys You in Chestertown

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This week’s feature is a property listed for $340,000 at 208 Queen Street in Chestertown.

When I first moved to the Eastern Shore, I noticed a distinctive detail on many farmhouses-the front roof eave was broken by a steeply pitched center gable that contained a decorative attic window.

This house has the same detail that greatly contributes to its curb appeal. I also liked the high crawl space with its openings in the brick exposed foundation wall for venting, the front porch’s “bird’s eye” view of the street from the enticing rocking chairs, the blue siding, contrasting crisp white trim, and the side entry stairs that maximized the seating area on the porch.

The house interior has a single run stair along the side wall so the rest of the interior space is an open plan from the front sitting room through to the large kitchen at the rear of the house. Craftsman cabinets and granite countertops await the next cook. The stair landing is enlarged to create space for homework or home accounting. I loved how the bedroom ceilings were pitched so the attic dormer window became part of the bedroom. The bathroom with its vintage fixtures completed the historic look of this charming urban house.

 

 

For more information about this property contact Sarah Dean with Cross Street Realtors at 410-778-3779 (v), 410-708-2528 (c) or sarah@csrealtors.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee. Her passion for Italian food, wine and culture led her to Piazza Italian Market where she is the Director of Special Events, including weekly wine tastings and quarterly wine dinners.

Habitat: Waterfront Living Through the Eyes of Critical Areas by Robert Rauch

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The Chesapeake Bay and all of its tributaries have over 11,000 miles of waterfront. The highly coveted waterfront has been sought after by residential developers for years. Residential lots with waterfront views and access to the Bay command high premiums and attractive profits for developers and land owners. Subdividing farms with extensive waterfronts into one and two acre lots was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Many farmers quickly recognized that their waterfront could be subdivided into lots and they could still retain much of the property to continue farming. There were other incentives to waterfront property land owners to subdivide the waterfront. Large waterfront properties, with unprotected shorelines, can lose acres of valuable real estate every year. Revenue from waterfront subdivision was often the only financially feasible way for a family, that had owned their farms for many years, to protect the shoreline. The high-priced waterfront with the potential for subdivision also became many farm owner’s valuable retirement plans.

Waterfront lot purchasers would typically clear the shorelines of brush and trees for a clear view and access to the water. Stone or timber shoreline protection and a pier with boat slips generally followed.  Many owners would construct their house as close to the water as possible to maximize the waterfront living experience. In 1984 all of that changed for Maryland waterfront property owners. The Maryland Critical Areas law was adopted and statewide development standards were enforced to limit the impact of new waterfront development activities on the quality of the Chesapeake Bay. Concerns over water quality and increasing nutrient loads from runoff inspired rigid standards for the development and use of tidal waterfront property. Regulated use of activities within 1,000 feet of the shoreline was determined to be critical for protection of the Bay. Special attention and more ridged control of a 100-foot buffer further limited a property owner’s right to improve the shoreline. The State of Maryland developed a set of standard rules and regulations for towns and counties to adopt and enforce. The local jurisdictions also had the right to adopt stricter standards for development in the Critical Area.

With the adoption of the Maryland Critical Areas Law, current and future owners of undeveloped Maryland waterfront property must now consider the development of their property with consideration given to State and local Critical Areas regulations. Restrictive buffer standards, increased setbacks, limitations on the amount of rooftop area and other non-porous surfaces and designed stormwater management improvements must n

ow be addressed in every Critical Areas development plan. Site design and approvals are also more complicated, expensive and time consuming. Development standards are slightly less restrictive for lots that were developed prior to the adoption of the Critical Areas program.

Maintenance of an undisturbed buffer is expected to filter and reduce the runoff of damaging pollutants. Heavy undergrowth and a continuous tree line are expected to provide valuable habitat for a variety of wildlife. Unfortunately, these environmental and wildlife considerations are not necessarily compatible with the enjoyable use of a residential waterfront property. Tree lines and unmaintained grasses and shrubs can obstruct views and access. Homeowners are however, allowed limited access to docks and other permitted water dependent uses. View lines may also be created, but any related disturbance to the buffer must be permitted as part of an approved buffer management plan. Shoreline protection is allowed with State and local permits. Passive or living shorelines are preferred to structural improvements. Limited dredging may be allowed in association with the permitting of a dock or pier. Lot coverage and landscaping outside of the buffer must take into account the incorporation of stormwater management improvements that conform to recently adopted enhanced nutrient removal standards that incorporate treatment measures suitable for residential lots.

Every lot and every development project will have unique conditions that a homeowner must address. Depending on the date that a lot was recorded, the buffer will range from 100’ to 200’. If you want to remove a dead tree in the buffer you must plant a new tree. Disturbance of the buffer to construct a walk or trail to gain access to a dock will require mitigation of the disturbance at a rate of 2:1. Buffer disturbance for erosion control requires mitigation of the disturbance at a rate of 1:1. Lawns may not be extended into the buffer as a form of mitigation. In certain circumstances, natural reestablishment of the buffer may be permitted. If the shoreline buffer on an existing lot is not fully established with approved vegetation, a homeowner is required to fully establish the buffer as part of the site development requirements for the project. Essentially, unobstructed views and non-restricted access to the rivers and Bay are no longer possible for waterfront property owners; that is not to say that a well-designed Critical Areas compliant buffer cannot be an aesthetically pleasing landscape feature. A healthy and vibrant shoreline brings diverse wildlife and unique wetland vegetation to your backyard, beautiful in their own right.

 

The design, approval and permitting associated with the development of a waterfront home, in Maryland’s Critical Area, will require the assistance of an engineering firm familiar with local development standards and process, Critical Areas design standards, and current stormwater management design requirements. An environmental scientist should be employed to assist in the verification of tidal and non-tidal wetlands and design and approval of a septic system and well. A landscape architect is an important member of the design team. Stormwater management practices should be designed into the overall landscape design for the property. An Architect familiar with restrictions imposed on waterfront property will provide valuable assistance in the design of a home that meets the owners needs and preferences and reduces Critical Areas impacts. Finally, a qualified real estate attorney will be required if any variances are desired to the standard Critical Areas development standards. Permitting will include approval of a site plan, buffer management plan, stormwater management plan, building plans, pier design, and septic and well plans. Sufficient time should be given to a development schedule to complete design and obtain all permits and approvals. With the right development team and an understanding of the applicable waterfront development standards, beautiful, functional and enjoyable waterfront lots can be designed and developed for your dream home.

 

Robert Rauch, P.E. is the President of RAUCH inc., a civil engineering, survey, architectural and construction management firm based in Easton, Md.  Bob is a Registered Professional Engineer in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.  He serves on the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland, the Board of Directors for the University of Maryland Medical System, and The Board of Visitors of University of Maryland, A. J. Clark School of Engineering, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering.  In 2016 RAUCH inc. was recognized as Talbot County’s Small Business of the Year. Bob was also recognized in 2017 as Talbot County’s Businessman of the Year.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources has made available the following resources to assist property owners to understand the many complicated rules and regulations that apply to planning, designing and construction on a lot or parcel located in Maryland’s Critical Area:

Building in the Critical Area

The Green Book for the Buffer – An Illustrated Guidebook for Planting at the Shoreline

Critical Area Buffer Resources Guide

http://dnr.maryland

 

Spy House of the Week: The Nicholson Hunt House in Chestertown

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The Nicholson Hunt House, ca. 1788, anchors one corner of a quiet tree-lined street in Chestertown’s Historic District and is close to all town amenities.
The driveway on the side street leads to a four-car garage. On the lower floor, one garage bay is a room with HVAC that could be used for storage. The spacious second floor is unfinished and ready to become guest quarters, exercise room or home office.

My favorite room is the lovely wood framed sunroom at the rear of the house which is a graceful counterpoint to the brick massing of the house. Its large windows with transoms offer expansive views to the walled rear garden. The house has been meticulously restored and lovingly maintained. The high ceilings, window and door trim, chair rail and baseboard, dentil and crown molding, period light fixtures, beautiful original wood floors and 12/12 windows contribute to the house’s distinctive architectural character. I was especially impressed how closets were seamlessly inserted into the bedrooms with little impact to the layout of the rooms.

 

For more information about this property, contact Nancy McGuire with Maryland Heritage Properties at 410-778-9319 (o) 443-480-7342 (c) or nmcguire@MDHeritage.properties, “Equal Housing Opportunity”

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee. Her passion for Italian food, wine and culture led her to Piazza Italian Market where she is the Director of Special Events, including weekly wine tastings and quarterly wine dinners.

Chestertown Futures: What If Something Amazing Happened on Morgnec Road?

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While the Town of Chestertown and Washington College have been rightly focused on the future of the Chester River waterfront, which includes plans to enhance the downtown experience, add more residents, and improve its retail sector, there is another part of town that might provide another excellent opportunity for improvement; the use of the land along Morgnec Road, between Upper High Street and Washington Avenue.

Morgnec Road may not instinctively be seen as another critical part of Chestertown’s long-range plans, but it should be. The axis that runs approximately one mile is currently shared by the College and a few commercial buildings, is not only an ideal gateway into town, particularly with its rail-to-trail access, but shows excellent promise for affordable living within a sustainable, mixed-use community.

This might sound ambitious, particularly given the number of private parties that have interests along Morgnec, but that hasn’t stopped other communities from forming creative alliances to maximize land use and preserve local quality of life.

One reason we know comes with our familiarity with the consulting work of PLACE, a Minneapolis-based firm that has been providing assistance to the Easton Economic Development Corporation and their long-term plans (think twenty years or more) to create an integrated strategy to unite Easton’s downtown along Port Street with its waterfront on the Tred Avon River.

PLACE is a nonprofit project that assists towns like Easton to design and build vibrant places for people to live and work. Their projects across the United States have created extraordinarily successful models for this across the income spectrum, using efficient environmental design, and the empowerment of the community to participate in every aspect of the development process.

Through these experiences, the PLACE team has developed some significant opinions about the future of community development not only about the make up those projects but the financing of them.  They’ve worked with Native American tribes and colleges, art centers and community gardeners, all in search with models that allow residents to live and work in the same place.

The Spy sat down with PLACE co-founders Chris Velasco and Elizabeth Bowling to talk about what they’ve learned about big projects in small communities. Both Chris and Elizabeth share their collective experience about what works and how new strategies are being deployed to create a more holistic structure for housing and employment.

While their comments can only be seen as broad and generalized, with no significant knowledge of Chestertown, we felt our readers would appreciate the optimism they bring to the concept of 21st Century living even in small towns like ours.

This video is approximately nine minutes in length. For more information about PLACE  and their projects please go here

 

 

Spy House of the Week: The House of Seven Gables

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This house caught my eye with its numerous gables of many sizes that gives the house its distinctive architectural character. Unlike its New England counterpart, the dark walls and white trim of this house contrast with each other for a pleasing effect.

The front porch with its rockers for relaxing and the rear screened porch are great outdoor rooms. The front door opens into a spacious entrance hall and the last two treads that wrap around the stairwell is a graceful detail. The main sitting room’s interior architecture is enhanced by the full height chimney, the dormer windows and windows on three sides of the room that fill the space with light.

The large kitchen island is a different color than the surrounding cabinetry in the room and the bay window wall surrounding the dining area is painted an accent color for additional interest. The screened porch with its pitched ceiling is a great space for warm weather dining. The master bedroom also has a pitched ceiling and the master bath with its large soaking tub next to a window with views to the woods beyond is a serene spot.

For more information about this property, contact Stacy Kendall with Cross Street Realtors at 410-778-3779 or stacy@csrealtors.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

 

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee. Her passion for Italian food, wine and culture led her to Piazza Italian Market where she is the Director of Special Events, including weekly wine tastings and quarterly wine dinners.

Spy Habitat Price Points: What $700,000 to $1,000,000 Buys You in Chestertown

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This week’s feature is a property listed for $715,000 at 228 River Road in Chestertown.

First built in the 1920’s, the rancher’s style with its long, close to the ground elevations combined modernist ideas with a casual and informal lifestyle. I grew up in a basement rancher and I liked how this rancher was also nestled in a wooded setting. The angled garage adds architectural interest by breaking up the front façade. The contemporary touch of two gable roofs at each end of the rear elevation are infilled with glass for maximum views to the Chester River.  

The interior architecture is enlivened by pitched ceilings and skylights in many rooms. When you open the front door you have a direct view through the house to the river beyond.  I liked the open floor plan and how the minimal overhead cabinets in the kitchen resulted in wall space for an accent wall color instead. My favorite room was the serene minimalist bath with its free standing soaking tub by the window and the glass wall shower with an accent tile wall beyond.

For more information about this property contact Doug Ashley with Doug Ashley REALTORS LLC at 410-810-0010 or doug@dougashleyrealtors.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee. Her passion for Italian food, wine and culture led her to Piazza Italian Market where she is the Director of Special Events, including weekly wine tastings and quarterly wine dinners.

Spy House of the Week: An American Four-Square on Washington Avenue

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My last house in Tennessee was a four square and I loved its simple geometry. This majestic house embodies all of the hallmarks of this style with its square, boxy design, two-and-one-half stories, hipped roof with center dormer and a large wrap-around front porch with wide stairs.

This three-story residence in Chestertown’s National Register Historic District was constructed in 1908 by master-builder Walter Pippin. The exterior red brick walls, tall windows with contrasting off-white cement lintels, sills and the water table transition at the foundation, wrap-around porch, restrained trim, and graceful dormer windows are a welcome relief from its more exuberant Victorian neighbors.

The house has been meticulously restored from the Widow’s Walk down to the matching rails around the porch roof, widow’s walk and side entry; the gable window details; the original stained oak woodwork of the three story stairwell, wood interior pocket doors in the parlor and the wood interior five paneled doors throughout the house.
The brick two-bay garage with its pyramidal pressed tin roof, carriage house type garage doors and trimwork blends seamlessly with the older house.

 

 

 

 

For more information about this property, contact Nancy McGuire with Maryland Heritage Properties at 443-480-7342 or nmguire@MDHeritage.properties.

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee. Her passion for Italian food, wine and culture led her to Piazza Italian Market where she is the Director of Special Events, including weekly wine tastings and quarterly wine dinners.

Mid-Shore Gardens: The Chesapeake Bay Herb Society’s Remedy at Pickering

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“Gardeners, I think, dream bigger than emperors.”
— Mary Cantwell  New York Times journalist

Mary Cantwell might have been thinking of herb gardeners when she talked about dreaming “bigger,” and could well include members of the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society when looking at the results of their thirteen years of hard work at the Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

Formed in 2002 by a small group of enthusiastic herb gardeners who placed a small ad in the Star-Democrat asking for volunteers, the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society’s membership now stands at fifty, with once a month gatherings to discuss the region’s remarkable herbs and their care.

But, as our Spy interview with some of the Herb Society’s founders (Denis Gasper, Spencer Garrett, and Dana McGrath) indicate,  it has always been their beloved herb garden at Pickering that has been the central focus of the organization’s mission and labor of love.

Drawn by the culinary or medicinal purposes that herbs can be used for, the Society has collected an extremely robust variety for the general public to observe and also take home with them. It also welcomes new volunteers to help with the weekly management of the site.

The benefits of both activities can be keenly felt by those that participate, but perhaps the greatest attribute for the CBHS’s garden is that of being a sort of remedy; a place to see, smell and taste some of the world’s wonders in a sanctuary setting that allows all those that enter a chance to “dream bigger.”

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society please go here

Spy Habitat Price Points: What $400,000 to $700,000 Buys You in Chestertown

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This week’s feature is a property listed for $537,000 at 109 Queen Street in Chestertown.

The “Banning House”, circa 1760, sits on a corner lot with its distinctive double porches facing Queen Street. The other outdoor space is a rear fenced brick terrace softened with planting beds with access to the detached garage.

The house has been renovated with careful attention to original decorative features such as the corner built-in cabinets in both the living and dining rooms and the Delft tile fireplace surround in the living room.

The large dining room could accommodate family holiday dinners with ease and the kitchen has been completely updated with stainless steel appliances and traditionally styled white cabinets that complement the historic house. A sunroom was added at the rear of the house with skylights so the original rear rooms still have daylight.

 

 

For more information about this property contact Lisa Raffetto with Coldwell Banker Chesapeake Real Estate Company at 410-708-0174 or lisar@cbchesapeake.com.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee. Her passion for Italian food, wine and culture led her to Piazza Italian Market where she is the Director of Special Events, including weekly wine tastings and quarterly wine dinners.