KENT—Elissa and George Potts were given permission to create a low earthen berm between their home on North Main Street and Route 7 during a meeting of the Architectural Review Board this week.
The Potts want to create the berm and to establish native plantings on it to lessen the impact of car lights that shine through their windows after dark.
They submitted elevations and a plot plan for the berm, which would only be a few feet high with a gradual slope and irregular shape.
“We want a little bit of privacy, so we are not living in a fishbowl,” said Elissa Potts.
Her husband added that they are “not looking to build up a wall or put up a fence.” The berm would be topped with hemlock, holly, dogwood and the like.
Board members were cautious, however, worrying about setting a precedent for other homes along Main Street. Acting Chairman Joanne Wasti said her concern “would be keeping it really natural, especially the slope—not like a fortification. What if every house in town had this?”
“What if every house in town had a fence?” responded George Potts.
Member Peter Hanby noted that not every property would be alike, and said some would not be able to accommodate a berm that, at its narrowest point, will be 15 feet wide.
“We don’t want it to be the Great Mound of North Main Street,” observed Potts. “It would be easy to stipulate that it should be no higher than 36 inches.”
Jessica Pleasants joined Wasti in her concern about appearance, saying it “should be as natural as possible,” and adding that variations in height would help achieve this. She also worried about precedence.
“I don’t think there will be a rush of people putting up berms,” Elissa Potts responded. She said the berm would have “texture” and slight changes in elevation.
The board eventually agreed to installation of a berm with a maximum height of 3.5 feet, gradual slopes, and variations in the shape of the perimeter.