The April 18th meeting of our Historic Zone Advisory Board was a busy one with five formal reviews on the agenda.
Two were regarding violations of the HPZ regulations because they were done without historic review and approval. Since the work on both was done in conformance with guidelines and were later inspected, the board recommended closure of the violations. There was also a discussion regarding when historic review is required. As an example, replacement of a broken window glass does not require review but replacement of an entire window does.
The formal review of 140 E 18th Street was the last in a series of discussions regarding the development of a lot there with four houses. The subject was the approval of a “model” home which could be replicated on more than one lot. The model itself may or may not ever be constructed but it is a template for future use. The final point of discussion has been making the size of the front windows appropriate to the rhythm of the surrounding houses. Being satisfied with the changed windows, the board recommended approval of the project with the stipulation that any changes from the model would be brought back to the board for further review. I have watched the process over several meetings and am impressed with the collaboration between the developer and the board over many issues of height, setback and appearance. All involved should be appreciated for the effort expended.
A carport and storage at 502 S 4th Avenue was next on the agenda. Discussion centered on the proposed 7′ carport setback. An iron fence was also added to the project to replace an existing chain link fence. This will be a significant aesthetic improvement to the area. The board recommended approval as presented.
The formal review of the project at 719 S 4th Avenue was the follow-on to an informal review last month. The board recommended approval of the project as presented including a 7′ fence desired by the property owner and the neighbor adjacent to the fence. This project is a huge effort to renovate one of the most disreputable properties in Armory Park. It had been a vacant eyesore for many years and those of us who live nearby thank Jeff Dodd for taking on this challenging project.
Following the reviews, there was discussion of several interesting subjects. The lot at the northeast corner of Five Points is likely to be developed as an Historic Planned Area Development (HPAD) which would be outside the Armory Park HPZ but would have historic restrictions and a public approval process. There is ongoing consideration of modifying HPZ rules so that height variances could be approved within the historic review process. Coordination of such a change through the many stakeholders involved will take time so a change is unlikely to happen soon. If that change was in place now, it might have been useful for the Five Points project.
There is discussion among federal and local historic authorities of allowing modern materials with a traditional appearance to be used as an alternative to wood windows. That would allow some useful flexibility. Since the APHZAB must base its recommendations on the established city code, a change here will not happen until the code changes.
Jack McLain has resigned from the APHZAB to pursue work with the city and arts community of which he is an active part. Jack has played an important role on the board and as its chair. He emphasized the importance of closely following the city code so the board can take a fair position with the competing interests involved in the historic review process. Thanks, Jack, for your contribution to our community.
In spite of the number of cases reviewed and subjects for discussion, the board adjourned at 7:50. There was a lot of business done in less than an hour.