Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hubbard Mansion Conversion To Be Considered At Planning And Zoning

At the dawn of the 20th Century, three grand mansions were built in Middletown, the Wadsworth, the McCormick, and the Hubbard. Unlike the Wadsworth Mansion, which is publicly owned, and the McCormick Mansion, which has burned down, the Hubbard Mansion remains privately owned. It will be the subject of a Public Hearing at Wednesday's Planning and Zoning meeting.

The Hubbard Mansion is located on a steep hill above the Coginchaug River, in a strangely isolated oasis within hailing distance of the North End and Wesleyan. The only access is on a small, private road which leaves Newfield Street between Charton Apartments and the Godfrey Genealogy and History Library. There are about 5 other houses on this hill, including the converted Hubbard carriage house. The sounds of State Routes 9, 3 and 66 fill the air, but the houses on this hill are otherwise cut off from Middletown.

The Hubbard Mansion itself is a beautiful three-story house with Tudor influences. It faces south, with a sun room and other large windows looking out over the top of our City towards Wadsworth Mansion. The Mansion was purchased in 2009, and is in generally quite good repair; the chimneys have been re-pointed, a new roof and copper flashing installed, and the windows are in good condition.

The Mansion has 8,000 square feet of living space, and is currently subdivided into three units. The applicant, Francine McKiernan, is applying to convert it from a 3 family residence to a 5 family residence, and to add 10 parking spaces (the minimum required number).

According to the plans, the new parking spaces will be built on the front side of the mansion, and made of asphalt. A "level energy spreader" will be constructed downhill, to dissipate the run-off from the new asphalt parking lot.

Planning and Zoning meets Wednesday at 7PM in Council Chambers. There will be an open public hearing on this application.
The site plan and the staff comments are available on the Planning Department Website.

Comment: I think this is a good, practical proposal, leasing 5 units should provide the owner the means to maintain an enormous house with historical significance to the City, something which she has already done quite well.
However, I am concerned about the use of asphalt for residential parking, because this increases runoff. This is particularly a concern for this property, which is adjacent to the Charton Apartment property, site of last year's landslide into the Cogingchaug River. An asphalt lot abutting the front steps of the building also detracts from the appeal that a historic mansion holds for potential tenants. A parking lot somewhat removed from the house, perhaps using stone, would provide functionality to the residents, while allowing the mansion to maintain its grandeur. If the parking lot must be immediately adjacent to the house, I hope the owners will consider cobble-stone, as a sensible material which remains true to this beautiful home.


Anonymous said...

pavers or a porous paving material is much better. you try and plow cobble stone and get back to me.
also cost is outrageous.
while others point out what they want to see they aren't the ones paying.

Tree Fanatic said...

I had always heard the mansion off Westfield Street described as the Hubbard Mansion. I believe it was built by Elisha Dyer Hubbard. Did a McCormick marry into the Hubbard family? I could only find one brief mention of this building since it burned down -- I think Diana McCain wrote briefly about it in the Courant in 2003. Which Hubbard built a mansion on Newfield Street?

Mr. Fixit said...

"Muriel McCormick Hubbard (1903-March 18, 1959) was the fourth child of Harold Fowler McCormick and his wife Edith Rockefeller McCormick. Hubbard was a granddaughter of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the mechanical reaper, and Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller."

Dan Pelletier said...

Porous asphalt pavements are of great interest to site planners and public-works departments. With the proper design and installation, porous asphalt can provide cost-effective, attractive pavements with a life span of more than twenty years, and at the same time provide storm-water management systems that promote infiltration, improve water quality, and many times eliminate the need for a detention basin. The performance of porous asphalt pavements is similar to that of other asphalt pavements. And, like other asphalt pavements, they can be designed for many situations.

Anonymous said...

We had a wonderful time growing up here. I'm glad the old place is still standing. Hope to get back there soon. Harry, Jack, and Sis.