Difference of opinion on how Historic District Commission should judge apartment project | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Difference of opinion on how Historic District Commission should judge apartment project

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 10:08 AM

click to enlarge apartments.jpg

Here's an artist's rendering of the proposed Scott Street Apartments, proposed for a currently vacant half-block between 9th and 10th. The Moses Tucker Real Estate project is currently stymied by opposition on the Historic District Commission, where members find it out of scale with the neighborhood, particularly single-family houses on the west side of that block of Scott. Action was deferred on the project last night because of questions raised by City Attorney Tom Carpenter over continued lobbying on the issue by Jennifer Carman, who recused from participation because she owns property within 150 feet of the project.

Commissioners have continued their opposition despite some changes in design. Setbacks from the street and property line were increased; the maximum height was reduced five feet to 44 feet 5 inches; the foundation height was reduced; the scale of the facade was reduced by varying depths; porches were added; siding and brick was added to the facade to contribute to the appearance of individual homes; front and side fences were reduced to three feet and brick fencing was eliminated.

City Attorney Carpenter, in response to a question from Director Dean Kumpuris, issued an opinion on whether the Commission should consider the entire district, or merely the immediate area, in deciding whether to allow a construction project:

In consideration of compatibility with the District, the entire District should be considered to determine if such developments are close to single-family residences. If so, then lacking some particularly distinct history of surrounding buildings, the mere fact that a multi-family residence will be constructed near single family residences alone should not be the basis to deny a certificate of appropriateness.
Several commissioners disagree with Carpenter.

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