Block Island Times

Nature Conservancy addition approved

The Nature Conservancy will be upgrading its facilities on High Street; plans include building a new addition to the main building, and a storage shed, while removing a dilapidated cottage.
The Historic District Commission granted unanimous (6-0) final approval for TNC’s project at its June 25 meeting with the stipulation that Building Official Marc Tillson review the application to determine whether the plans are in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. Board member Dennis Riordan made the motion, seconded by Claire McQueeny.
The $500,000 project calls for construction of a 19-foot by 26-foot addition with a porch at the west-facing, street-side of the office building, and an ADA compliant ramp and pathway installed at the south-facing entrance. The plans also include demolition of an existing, dilapidated cottage near the parking area, and the construction of a 16-foot by 26-foot storage shed. 
Scott Comings, Associate State Director of The Nature Conservancy, and architect/designer Geoffrey Rigby-Leather detailed their plans to install ADA access at the south-facing, front side of the building, and not on the west, street-facing side, which was being misconstrued by HDC members as the front of the building.
HDC member Arlene Tunney asked the applicants if there was any way that ADA access could be installed at the street-facing side of the building. “It would be nice if it could go in the front door.”
“It would. It’s a possibility. We may be able to do that,” said Leather, who noted that Tillson gave verbal approval for the project. 
Seeking clarity, HDC Vice Chair Martha Ball said, “The addition is on the west side of the existing office building. And the (ADA) ramp is on the south side (or front) of the existing building.”
“We designed it the way that was the most economical,” said Comings, before confirming that people enter from the south-facing side of the building. 
In other news, the HDC granted unanimous approval to Island Enterprises to construct an ADA-compliant bathroom, and a hand railing on the ramp at the entrance to The Barn Restaurant at the Spring House.
The next HDC meeting is Monday, July 23 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.


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