Lewes approves demolition of Franklin Avenue structures

Applicant must present new door and window plans
August 2, 2022

Michael Finkle, owner of Timeless Finds LLC, is the owner of both 126 and 130 Franklin Ave. in Lewes. The former is the site of a home under renovation to be his personal residence, while the latter comprises a caved-in shed and a magenta/purple one-story house. Franklin Avenue features Victorian- and Federal-style homes, as well as a few bungalows – the one-story house at 130 Franklin Ave. is none of these styles. Neither the home nor the shed is considered a contributing structure; they have gained approval to be demolished following the July 14 meeting of the historic preservation architectural review commission.

Finkle, hoping to build a new home on the site, must now go back to the drawing board before new construction can begin. Commissioner Michael Weider said he believes blueprints for the new home were too much of a hybrid between the Victorian- and Federal-style homes lining Franklin Avenue. Weider reasoned that the current structure does not fit the current landscape and contended that mixed styles in the plan created a similar predicament. Commissioner Phillip Franz echoed Weider’s sentiments and could not identify the style of the home. Franz appreciated the different elements the house presented, but wanted Finkle to adhere to a specific style.

Chair Barbara Warnell took issue with the door, which is important to the streetscape, and the roofing of the proposed new home. Finkle explained that he respected HPARC’s goal of approving plans that showed the additions to structures over time. The construction of the new structure would take place all at once, so designs were drawn to demonstrate what the construction could have looked like. Warnell said she believes purposely creating angles to mimic phased construction does not accurately reflect how the home would be properly built. Warnell said she approves aesthetic differences because they are true to the history of the property, not just because it is a style she likes.

HPARC has authority over the approval of the design elements because the property is within the Lewes Historic District. Commissioner George Thomasson made a motion to approve plans, contingent on Finkle designing a more historically significant door and appropriate window style. Commissioners Randy Burton, Bill Landon and Melanie Moser agreed with Thomasson and the plans were approved 4-3. Before breaking ground, Finkle will have a chair and staff meeting to discuss designs that satisfy HPARC’s requests. The contractor says he plans to impress members with his door.


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