HISTORIC DISTRICT GUIDELINES

Among the few complaints I have living in Armory Park is the obscure, complicated and uncertain process for obtaining historic review and approval of a project for repair or addition to my property. Information has not been readily available though in some cases helpful information does exist. A brochure published by our neighborhood association in 1990 is one such. While it can be very helpful for those unfamiliar with historic preservation, remember that these are guidelines while definitive direction can only come from city code or decisions by the appropriate city officials. Here is the information extracted from that brochure:

ARMORY PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT GUIDELINES FOR REMODELING, RENOVATION AND CONSTRUCTION

“ A fine old building is a special thing. It possesses qualities unmatched in new construction: qualities both tangible and intangible.

Such a building demonstrates that quality of design and craftsmanship knows no time limit. It brings a sense of comfort from awareness of the passage of time.

The house becomes a point of reference in . today’s rapidly changing society. Together with other buildings of other periods, it becomes a record of community development.

An old house, well maintained, is a source of pride not only for the owner but for the entire community.”

Quote courtesy of Tucson Preservation Primer, U of A College of Architecture, 1979.

HPZ Map
Historic Zone Map from Brochure

Consider these questions as you develop your proposed plans:

  1. Are exterior alterations and changes kept to a minimum?
  2. Do plans fit the structure’s original design?
  3. Do plans relate compatibly to the surroundings?
  4. Are changes visible from the street side(s) kept to a minimum?
  5. Are original building materials maintained and/or exposed?
  6. Are all materials appropriate to the building and to the neighborhood?
  7. Are the original sizes and shapes of window and door openings maintained?
  8. Are original and distinctive architectural details kept?
  9. Are traditional views unobstructed by proposed walls, fencing or landscaping?

Your participation in the design review process insures the preservation of the original architectural character for which Armory Park is known.

Cooperation and early dialog can frequently eliminate frustration stemming from the misinterpretation of the ordinance and review procedures.

The Armory Park Neighborhood was designated as Tucson’s first Historic District in 1976. A city zoning ordinance was written to preserve property values, provide for future development and to promote an awareness of the heritage of Tucson among both residents and visitors to the community.

The Armory Park Historic Zone Advisory Board was created by the ordinance to help preserve the historic character of the neighborhood by reviewing and encouraging good design. The Advisory Board consists of property owners, residents, and experts nominated by neighborhood residents and property owners and appointed by the Mayor and Council. The Board provides the resources, expertise, advice and guidance necessary to preserve the original appearance and intention of the homes and neighborhood setting of Armory Park.

All plans involving the construction of a new building or addition, or the modification, moving or demolition of existing structures within the Historic Zone must be reviewed by this board, and the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission, and be approved by the Planning Director. 

GUIDELINES FOR ADDITIONS

  • Keep additions simple and appropriate in size, shape, material, color and detail.
  • Do not disturb the street side(s) of existing buildings.Place additions to the rear. This includes new rooms, porch steps and stairs.

WINDOWS AND DOORS

  • All windows and doors should conform to the original size, style and materials.
  • Maintain the original doors and windows and the size, shape and placement of openings.
  • Flush doors and sliding glass doors are not appropriate; do not use aluminium windows, doors or screen frames.
  • Security bars should be simple and not dominate the building. Bars should follow the lines of the window; bars should be mounted inside the window opening, rather than on the surface of the building.

MASONRY

  • Use the same or similar materials to repair or replace brick, stucco or stone. Match as closely as possible the color, texture and composition of the original.
  • Do not tise exposed concrete block as a substitute for brick or adobe.
  • If used for new construction, concrete block must be stuccoed. Color may be added to the stucco or it may be painted.

NEW CONSTRUCTION

  • New construction need not copy existing structures but should be compatible with surrounding historic buildings and streetscapes.

CHIMNEYS

  • Maintain original chimneys, even if unused.
  • If repairs are necessary, match original material, color, shape and brick pattern as closely as possible.

ROOFING

  • Alteration of the roof line is discouraged.
  • White roofing shingles are inappropriate.
  • Rolled roofing is discouraged on surfaces visible from the street.

PORCHES

  • Maintain original porches.
  • Retain as much of the original material and ornamentation as possible if repair is necessary.
  • Front porches should not be enclosed as rooms. If possible, such rooms should be removed and porches restored.
  • Do not use wrought iron columns, steel pipe columns or horizontal railings.

ARCHITECTURAL DETAIL

  • Do not remove original architectural detail: even the simplest details contribute to the character of your building.
  • If replacement is necessary, select details used on similar houses, and duplicate size, placement and quantity.

DEMOLITION

  • Historic structures, including garages, sheds and outbuildings should not be removed.
  • Buildings should not be allowed to deteriorate.
  • Proposed demolition requires review and approval of the Planning Director.

MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT

  • Swamp coolers, air conditioners, water heaters, metal turbine and roof vents, furnaces, electrical equipment, solar panels, catwalks, satellite dishes, disks and antennas, as well as skylights, should not be visible from the street.

FENCES

  • Walls and fences should be appropriate to the style and age of the house.
  • The height of your fence should not obstruct the public view of buildings.
  • Do not use chain link, unpainted redwood, rough cedar, stockade, post & rail or concrete block fences for the street side(s) of a property.

LANDSCAPING

  • Landscaping should respect the historic period of the neighborhood as well as the architectural style of the structure, and not obstruct the public view of the building.

PARKING

  • Locate off-street parking to the side or rear of the building, not in front.
  • Parking lots and commercial parking areas should be screened.

SIGNS

  • A sign should be compatible with its historic, setting.
  • Monument signs are inappropriate. 

Thanks to Kathleen Koopman for the original design of the attractive original brochure.

As more useful information becomes available regarding the historic review process, it will be published on these pages.

Caution: The brochure and its contents were not approved by the Mayor and Council so do not have the force of city law as does the official city code. It is, however, still a useful guide to historic preservation in Armory Park and to the likely thinking of the APHZAB as that body considers your proposed project. The above content was extracted verbatim from the brochure but could still have editing errors. I hope the information is helpful but the decision to rely on any part of this article is entirely the responsibility of the person contemplating a project.

Historic Process Needs Improvements

At the June APHZAB meeting, the first item addressed was the roof replacement I commented on in a recent post here. The proposed re-roofing was recommended for approval and that there should be no fine levied. There was a lot of discussion regarding the reasoning for the requirement that re-roofing have a minor historic review. Roof coverings should resemble. where practical and visible from the street, the roofing materials used when the structure was constructed.

Later in the meeting there was considerable discussion about how the review of minor items might be simplified. It became evident that there is no clear understanding of which items of property repair might require a minor review.

I have been attending APHZAB meetings for the last several months and it seems that the board does a good job at reviewing proposed projects. What is missing is communications with community residents and with city officials in matters that would facilitate compliance with historic rules and ease the very challenging administrative process. For example, a flowchart or checklist of all required historic review steps could reduce the many trips now required to the building department. A reasonably definitive list of those projects (repairs?) requiring reviews could avoid another unintentional violation such as addressed earlier in the meeting.

My own major review of a carport project about a year ago was extremely frustrating and might be a good example of the current situation. I proposed to erect a pre-engineered carport at the rear of the house and invisible from any major street. It took five trips to the city offices to complete the stack of papers required. At each visit, I was told only of one requirement with another raised at each subsequent visit. Finally, my frustration overcame me and I asked Mr. Taku to be more helpful. He sorted through my stack of documents in five minutes and the package was complete. I then submitted the ten copies of the documents folded as I understood the complex city folding protocol.

Imagine my surprise when at my APHZAB major review the board had none of the ten copies I had submitted. Fortunately I brought along enough documentation for the board to understand and approve of my project. I was told that the absence of documents from the city is the norm.I found the APHZAB and the City/County review board to be very reasonable and easy to work with. I cannot say the same for the city staff which was very unhelpful and wasteful of my time and theirs. I have since done a minor review for some window awnings and saw no improvement on the part of city staff. I usually attend these community meetings to observe and report, not to comment. This time I could not contain myself and gave feedback from the perspective of a review applicant. Though the APHZAB does its primary task well, communication could be greatly improved. Here are some suggestions:

  • Meetings are only held when there is business to be conducted but notifications could be placed on the listserv as soon as it is known that there will be a meeting. This would remind interested residents to attend.
  • The board could demand that city staff provide some of the many copies of documents submitted by applicants for use by the board and those appearing before it to discuss the proposed project. If city staff is not up to this task, the applicant should be instructed to bring a copy of the package to the reviews.
  • Clearer guidelines of what items will require historic review could help avoid unintentional violations. These guidelines must be published in a visual medium such as a printed or electronically published document.
  • Similarly, a detailed checklist of the required steps, documents and other materials should be made available.
  • Regular explanatory articles of historic zone rules put on the APNA website could also help.

It is human nature for people not to like being required to ask permission to do something with their homes. It is even more unwelcome when they are told that something desired will not be approved. Both of these will sometimes be unavoidable to preserve the historic character of our neighborhood. I respect the people who are willing to take on this sometimes unpleasant task by serving on the APHZAB. I only ask that the process be improved so that it will be as palatable as possible.

If you have suggestions for ways the historic review process could be improved, please post a comment or send me an email at blog@kmtaylor.com.

Historic Review Controversy

Most of you have probably seen the conversation on our listserv regarding roof replacements and historic zone approval. The general subject of the conversation touches on something critically important to Armory Park. It also illustrates the difficulty of resolving differences of opinion, especially when individual freedom of choice is impacted. I feel that preservation of the AP historic character is vital to the future well being of our neighborhood. Without it, AP is just a group of old houses waiting to be demolished so that more profitable large buildings can be built. Nevertheless, reasonable compromise must be sought.

We should use this case to examine how the historic review process can be improved and how the inevitable conflict with individual preferences can be resolved with minimum angst. Here is the motivating comment (emails are in italics, my comments are not):

While walking this morning I ran into a neighbor on 3rd whose roof had just been stripped.

IMG_2477, resized
This is the house with underlayment installed but no shingles.

“I see you’re getting a new roof” I say. “No” she responds. “Well you better” I joke, “because your old one has been torn off.” Then she tells me that everything has been put on hold because she didn’t go through the historic board to have the color of the shingle approved. Someone wanted a darker color for the shingle! What?!?!?! Does the historic board have a say so in roofing color? What about material? Please say it ain’t so!
What do neighbors think?

# # #

Bill – please chime in. My personal experience is that color is not a factor. It most likely is the material choice and that does need to go through the historic board.

# # #

Paradoxical that they’d quibble over roof shingle colors but allow unattractive, unhistorical, new cyclone fencing to be installed at 3rd and 13th.

# # #

No, what she is saying is NOT accurate.  The work was started WITHOUT going thru the Armory Park Historic Zone Advisory Board for review, followed by the review of the Pima County Historical Commission Architecture Committee.  Any work to be done on the outside of property should be brought to the APHZAB before starting.  We’d recommend bringing the ideas (sketches are fine at this point) for plans to the board for an informal review prior to having formal plans drawn.  Some work may just need a minor review which is done on site, but it is necessary to check with the board first.  The chair is Bill Duffy – emailduffy@gmail.com .  

By doing an informal review before having plans drawn can save time and money.  For example, I had a call from a real estate agent a few years ago who had a client who wanted to build a house on stilts in the neighborhood.  The agent was sure it wouldn’t be acceptable, but checked to keep the client happy.  Ask first so plans don’t have to be redone and work doesn’t have to be torn out.

 In the last year, I have had two projects in the historic review process. I have found our APHZAB helpful and reasonable in preparing for the proposed work and in obtaining approval. City staff is another matter. Guidance is obscure and doled out in small doses so that many trips to the building department were required. Communications were poor and required constant pressure from my end. Timelines were never met so the major project (just a pre-engineered carport) approval took three months and the minor project approval took three weeks. A poor administrative process builds resistance to the entire historic review effort. The quality of the city’s historic review process is not the subject here but I will have much more to say about it in the near future. Anyone who would like to be involved in pressing for improvement can email me at ken@kmtaylor.com.

# # #

Just read about the roof color remark and approval by the Historic Board. I had my roof reshingled 2 years ago and went through all approval steps including permits and meeting with members of several “historic” interest groups at my house (I believe a Pima County person was there along with a city official and our neighborhood committee member .)  The shingle color was mentioned. Not wanting a dark color was mentioned, but since my choices were either a light gray or medium gray, the conversation did not go further. I did have to show the committee the shingle in some form. I either had the shingle itself or the company brochure with a small piece of the shingle plus pictures.

There was also a follow up visit to my house after the project was finished by one person. The necessity for this was described in the permit procedure. It took about 2 minutes. 

This example shows that the minor review process for a roof replacement can be a reasonable experience. Some will object to any requirement for approval but I can see no other way to preserve the historic character of our community.

Thank you for this timely reminder about living in the Armory Park Historic Preservation Zone. The Armory Park website has a page with background on our HPZ (https://armoryparktucson.org/historic-zone-advisory-board/). For those who really want to get into the weeds, there is a link at the bottom of that page to the City’s Unified Development Code, which covers HPZs in Section 5.8 of the UDC and Section 9-02.0.0 of the Technical Standards Manual. Section 9-02.0.7.2 is specific to Armory Park. 

On the immediate issue of roof shingles and their color, the Technical Standards say this about Armory Park: “Rolled roofing, white or light roofing shingles are discouraged on roof surfaces visible from the street.” Standards 9-02.7.2.D.5. Why? Because historically our houses did not have rolled roofing or light-colored shingles. That’s why the City needs to review and approve the property owner’s final choice.
As a general guideline, if you are planning exterior changes to your property (say, new construction, new windows, reroofing, building demolition, fences/walls), and you live within the Armory Park HPZ, ask first about an HPZ review. If somebody starts work on their property without a required HPZ review and approval, City Code Enforcement is likely to show up with a Stop Work order. Nobody wants that.
We have a unique neighborhood in Armory Park. Its HPZ status and the HPZ requirements help us keep it that way. 

This comment is extremely useful but also illustrates some of the problem. The technical standards use the word discouraged, not prohibited. That leaves the matter open to interpretation and debate. I suggest that if you propose a project with any controversial element at all, you should “get into the weeds” to become informed about the exact wording of the relevant city code. It is a challenge because the guidance is spread over several locations on the city website. You will get almost no help from the city staffer responsible for administering the program. The last two paragraphs are important. Almost any project altering the appearance of an Armory Park structure, except paint and landscaping, requires historic review. The city land use code definition of a structure may be helpful: “A physical element constructed or erected with a fixed location on the ground or attached to another physical element having a fixed location at, below, or above grade. Structures include such elements as, but are not limited to, buildings, paved areas, walls, fences, posts, and patios.” So, a storage shed or shade cover which is transportable and not connected to electricity, plumbing or footings, or to a structure as defined above, is not a structure.

The link to the APNA website is useful but the site overall is not an effective communications tool. There has been almost no new content posted there in over a year. People will not follow a website where the content does not change. New material relevant to the intended audience must be added frequently. I have volunteered to administer the site but providing fresh content is the responsibility of others. Board minutes and committee reports would be a good start. Newsy articles and even debates such as we see on the listserv would be even better. I hope some enthusiasm can be worked up for an effort in this area.

# # #

To be fair, what Phyllis replied here is correct.  The person in question did not realize that even if she was replacing an existing shingle roof with shingles that are a very close match in color, that she would have to have permission to do so.  She was given a cease and desist order and the roofers were sent home.  I went with her to see Mr. Taku at the city historic planning.  She was rightly worried that she would not get the review done in time to avoid water damage.  I will give credit to Mr. Taku and Bill Duffy for expediting a minor review.  Mr. Taku did give her permission to have the roofers put on the new tar paper right away to alleviate the concern about water damage.  Our neighborhood level of the review took place in just two days.  She is scheduled for the city wide  part of the review on Tuesday and there should be little problem in getting it approved.  One worrisome issue for her is that Mr. Taku said the city board would have to decide if she is going to be fined for doing work without a permit.

  I would like to raise an issue here based on this experience of a neighbor who is doing a fine job of fixing up a 110 year old house including landscape.  What is the definition of ‘WORK’ on the outside of the house? Mr. Taku explained to her that any work, his words, “even if you are fixing a broken window” requires a review. Is it really as stringent as ‘fixing a broken window’?  Or, another example Mr. Taku gave, ‘changing a light fixture’?  Since even a minor review has the $190+  application fee and two to four hours of work, this is an important distinction.  I submit that it is rather expensive to pay and do that just to fix a broken window.

Do we have a clear definition? 

The practical answer to this question is no. It makes no sense to require a historic review for repairs which do not change the exterior  appearance of a structure. Remember, the historic review fees help to pay Mr. Taku’s salary.

# # #

David brings up an issue that bothered my very much when I was Chair of the Advisory Board.  When I started with the board, about 15 years ago under previous city management, we did not require home owners in our historic district to pay for a review when they were simply repairing and maintaining their houses.  I have fussed about this change to require payment to fix your roof.  If the roof, door, window, or anything else on the exterior is being changed in any way, that obviously needs a review.  However, “fixing a broken window”, replacing a leaking roof with the same material and color is routine maintenance.  Why should those of us living in the historic district have to pay to maintain our houses when others living in most other neighborhoods can  carry out routine maintenance without paying the city for the permission to do so. 

I do think that this needs  to be looked in to.  Change to the exterior of a historic home is one thing.  Routine maintenance is another.  This policy only encourages demolition by neglect. As I said, this was not the way things were done years ago and we still maintained the historic feel of our neighborhood.

# # #

Yes something must be done.  If historic status means we must ask permission, wait for committees to meet, and pay $200.00 to replace a broken window or leaky roof, we may need to rethink that decision.  There has to be a reasonable alternative.  

# # #

In my opinion (and my opinion only), there has been a bit of an overreaction.

# # #

No one here in AP has to undergo any type of inspection to repair a broken window. To replace windows and doors, yes – there is a permitting and inspection process that has been well-established and well managed for many years. And there are very legitimate reasons for this. When we live in a designated historic zone, all homeowners agree to maintain our homes in a style and manner that adheres to the statues. In exchange we receive SUBSTANTIAL tax benefits – to the tune of many thousands of dollars per year. 

To me, adhering to the historic statues is a small price to pay for this tax break. I, for one, am not interested in seeing my tax bill go up by a couple of hundred dollars every month. 

Though I don’t know it for a fact, I imagine that (given the current fiscal climate), the City of Tucson would LOVE to get rid of the AP Historic Designation and receive a hundred thousand or so in additional tax monies per year. If we started pushing back to the City, I can’t imagine they would put up any kind of fight in ridding us of these “onerous” historic regulations. 

Just my $0.02 – but something that MUST be considered.

Preservation of historic structures in our city has value for the entire city as well as for the residents of historic neighborhoods. The tax benefit we property owners enjoy is an incentive to encourage us to maintain the historic character and integrity of our properties.

# # #

Thanks Jean, words worth far more than 2 cents.  My concern is that the person in charge of enforcing the historic zoning for the city does believe we need to have a review for a broken window.  That does bother me.  I would very much like to have our historic board put out a more reasonable definition of what requires approval. 

For the record, I can see and would support saying that re-roofing, even with the same material, would require approval just because it is such a big maintenance procedure.  We would like to see the color be compatible with the neighborhood, no lighter than the many roofs that are light grey. 

A major part of the problem illustrated here is poor communications between our community organizations and residents. This will always be a challenge but additional effort is needed to maintain support for and compliance with our historic review process. The dedicated members of the APHZAB and APNA board are a small circle in limited contact with other AP residents. I certainly wish residents would be proactive in learning about community matters but as a practical matter, the burden is on us. When I say us, I mean both of these organizations and those others of us who care about our community. I started this blog as a small effort to build community dialog but much more is needed.

If you want to add something to this discussion, please leave a comment. Also, participate on the listserv. It reaches more AP residents than any other medium.

APHZAB and APNA Meetings

The meeting was scheduled as a general member meeting of our neighborhood association but became two meetings in one. Jack McLain’s departure from the Historic Zone Advisory Board created a vacancy which board chair Bill Duffy wished to fill. Giovanna Hesley was nominated to fill the vacancy and the assembled AP residents elected her to be recommended to replace Jack. Bill thanked Jack for his excellent service as a board member and chair. John Burr was nominated to fill a special expertise position on the board based on his experience and education in historic architecture. He was also elected without dissent.

The APNA meeting opened with a presentation by the group which has been studying the Armory Park, namesake for our neighborhood. They have been collecting information which will allow the park to be closer to its historic roots while best meeting community needs. That is a significant challenge. It is used as the gathering point for many large events, most recently the Women’s March and the March for Science. The senior center now sitting where the armory once stood, occupies a large part of the park’s east side. These functions are important to the community and should not be lost. The military origin of the park and the military memorials placed there over the years are important parts of the park’s history and should continue to be honored.

The park earlier had many more trees which have been lost over the years. As they died or were removed, replacements were not planted. A 1948 overhead photo showed very little unshaded grass unlike the open expanse of today. The traditionally styled band shell had become cosmetically deteriorated and was removed. It was replaced by a modern bandstand in a different location.

When a digital copy of the report is available, it will be posted on the ArmoryParkTucson.org website and I will write further articles here about the park’s history and future.

Anne Cooper reported that there were nine homes planned for the upcoming tour and that several of them are particularly noteworthy. She is looking for a few more to bring the total to 13 – 14.

DeeDee and Michael Means have cleaned up five of our roundabouts.  They removed weeds and dead plants. Trees and shrubs were trimmed to more attractive shapes. This complements the cleanup work along our major avenues led by Martha McClements. DeeDee is organizing an upcoming event of socializing on the many porches which are such attractive features of our community. She is looking for help to get this going.

There was discussion of the problems created by commercial truck traffic passing through the community. It is not practical to enforce the 26′ limit as posted on signs and many trucks are 24′ long. Approaching the companies associated with the trucks may be the most promising avenue.

Plans for development of the vacant lot at 5 Points are still moving along. It seems likely that the property will become an HPAD (see glossary), leaving our historic zone but retaining some historic restrictions. The biggest issue is still the overall height allowed for a proposed building. The stakeholders are continuing to meet and hope to have agreement before the formal review process goes further. As economic values of area properties increase, there will probably be growing pressure to remove properties from historic zones.

David Bachman-Williams will be performing the board secretary’s duties going forward.

 

Keep Armory Park Historic

Bill Duffy, our AP Historic Board Chair, has just announced a special APHZAB meeting just prior to the general APNA meeting tomorrow night. The purpose of the meeting is to elect a new board member to fill a vacancy. The board serves a critical function for our community. Seeking a balance between historic preservation and the desires for personal aesthetic and convenience features is quite a challenge. The participation of thoughtful AP residents in the process is absolutely essential. I have observed meetings frequently and am impressed with the conscientious efforts of the current board members to strike the proper balance. I hope one (or several) of you will volunteer for this important duty. To make sure the facts are correct, I have copied Bill’s email here:

Due to a resignation, the Armory Park Historic Zone Advisory Board (APHZAB) will be holding a brief special meeting to identify candidates for the Board. The meeting will be held just prior to the Armory Park Neighborhood Association’s general meeting on Tuesday, May  9, 2017 at 7 pm.
Candidates must be residents or owners of property within the Armory Park Residential Historic Zone or be qualified as an expert in a relevant field (for example, architecture, local history, historic preservation law, construction)
If you or anyone you know is interested in joining APHZAB, please let me know. .
If you have any questions, please ask.
Bill Duffy
APHZAB Chair
emailduffy@gmail.com

April APHZAB Meeting Productive

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. Continue reading “April APHZAB Meeting Productive”

Historic Board, 21 March 2017

The agenda for this meeting included three project reviews. the first informal and two formal reviews.

Donna and I often walk south from our house along the east side of 4th Avenue. We have been pleased to see cleaning up around the long neglected property at 719 S 4th Avenue. The owner came to discuss his plans with the the board and to get their feedback on his ideas. He is new to Tucson but has done property restorations in California and does all of his own work. His general plan is to renovate the structure into four apartments, larger than typical in Armory Park. The biggest unit will have 1600 square feet of living space. The entrance security gate will be recessed and replacement double hung wood windows will be installed to give a more appealing curb presence and fit the rhythm of the surroundings. The courtyard is likely to have a water feature and a carport on Railroad Avenue will be another convenience for residents. Because there has been so much graffiti that can’t be entirely removed, the brick walls will be painted. There will be a brick wall along the south property line to provide privacy  for both properties. A seven foot height was proposed for the wall but the board said that six feet is the height limit. Another former eyesore is now coming back to life. Continue reading “Historic Board, 21 March 2017”

Board Meeting, 14 March

This meeting was informative on a number of subjects. The kickoff was a presentation on historic landscape of the Armory Park (the park, not the neighborhood) and children’s museum (former Carnegie library). This is a research project leading to a preservation plan. The researchers are seeking community input on improvements and restoration of both spaces. Board discussion centered on keeping open space, preventing changes detracting from AP’s historic character, documenting the history of both spaces and addressing parking issues related to events in the park. Armory Park is the city’s signature park; there are many well attended events staged there so parking is often a problem. More parking lots are not the best solution. Encouraging event sponsors to publish available parking options and connecting public transit could make life easier for event attendees and nearby residents. John Burr, Mark Crum and Martha McClements agreed to accept neighborhood input. Please contact any of them with your thoughts. The presenters will return for the April board meeting. Continue reading “Board Meeting, 14 March”

Mistakes Can Be Expensive

At the December meeting, the historic board considered a case where the contractor mistakenly built a structure three feet taller than approved. The property under discussion over-height-garage-1is the large guesthouse still under construction behind 741 S 4th Avenue. Because the structure was built so tall, it loomed over Railroad Avenue and appeared much taller than any building nearby. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture before the garage roof was lowered but you can see what it looks like today. The three feet it was lowered gives a normal appearance to the garage and makes it similar in height to other structures nearby. Continue reading “Mistakes Can Be Expensive”