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New Build Proposal for 137 Chapin Parkway

A demolition request for a house located at 137 Chapin Parkway will be reviewed by the Preservation Board on September 3, 2015. According to architect John W. Wingfelder, the house is not deemed historic and does not fall in a historic district. The house also suffers from a number of structural deficiencies that would make it extremely difficult to remedy.

Therefore, the owner is opting to demolish the house in order to build new. The new design will be presented to the Planning Board on September 8. Wingfelder states that the buyer, Cindy Bennes, is looking to build a house that reflects the architectural balance of the street and the neighborhood.



Following is a letter to the BPB:

August 24, 2015 


To The Buffalo Preservation Board:

Cindy Bennes recently purchased the property at 137 Chapin Parkway. She intends to create her new permanent residence on this property. As a current resident/owner of a condominium in the nearby Park Lane, Cindy is very familiar with this beautiful neighborhood and is eager to make a lasting contribution at this property that is worthy of its surroundings.

Many of the significant houses along Chapin Parkway were built in the 1920s. The existing house at 137 Chapin was built later, in 1950 and is a relatively undistinguished modest house. The structure has not been well maintained or significantly updated. Inherent problems with the building construction have also been discovered. The original floor framing for the living room was undersized and improperly attached to the foundation (notched joists rest directly on concrete foundation wall) even for 1950 standards. The entire house is set significantly too low in the ground so that grade slopes dramatically down toward the house, directing runoff to the foundation and causing chronic basement moisture problems.

The technical deficiencies of the building coupled with the owner’s design requirements for her new residence have led to the conclusion that a newly built house will be the best way to achieve the desired end product. We have determined that the existing foundation is sound and can be utilized by installing new foundation drainage, extending the height of foundation walls and regrading to slope away from the house as required by building code. Existing asbestos containing materials have already been removed from the structure.

The new structure will be well built to exceed current code standards and to endure. It will sit on the existing foundation and maintain the same building footprint for the most part. Total area of living space is 2,700sf plus a 2-car garage. The new house will have a somewhat taller stature since the first floor is being elevated 20-inches. The design of the front façade along Chapin Parkway includes a series of projecting and receding elements. Two symmetrical 2-story bay windows project 2’-4” from the façade. One of these bays is placed over the foundation for the existing bay window but both are structurally cantilevered without new foundation needed. A 1-story open front porch projects 5’-0” from the façade and also contains a recess into the front façade. These elements serve to break up the front of the house providing architectural interest. The exterior walls will be clad with red brick at the ground floor and painted composite (fiber-cement or poly-ash) horizontal lap siding & trim at the upper floor level. The hip roof will have architectural asphalt shingles.

The existing covered back porch will not be repeated, but a 2nd floor balcony with black metal railing is designed in its place. The existing rear stone patio will also be replaced with a new masonry terrace with a different geometry that is more responsive to Potomac and the shape of the lot. The existing driveway curb cut and basic configuration is maintained with an 8-foot extension of the paved areas inside the lot line. The existing wooden picket fence is to be replaced with a more carefully placed similar fence. The existing subtle but beautiful historic wrought iron fence at the corner of Chapin and Potomac will be preserved. All plantings immediately adjacent to the house and patio will be removed and replaced with new plantings. All existing trees around the perimeter of the lot are to remain and the planted areas are to be refurbished.

The general contractor is S&S Construction. They have done many significant additions on prominent houses in the city and are very well qualified. Construction is to begin this fall and be completed by early summer 2016.

Cindy Bennes is contacting neighboring property owners and is hosting a community meeting on September 1st at The Park Lane building. The design drawings will be presented and neighbors will have the opportunity to discuss the project with the owner, the architect, and the contractor. We look forward to meeting with the Preservation Board to review the design together and we appreciate your careful consideration of this very important project.

– John W. Wingfelder, Architect


Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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