Edgewood-Park City Design Guidelines Workshop - Summary Of Questions And Comments

The Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) and Knox Heritage co-sponsored a Design Guidelines Workshop at the Cansler YMCA on June 29th from 6-9pm.

There were approximately 60 people in attendance. Kim Trent, Director of Knox Heritage, kicked off the meeting with information on the events leading up to the designation of the existing Edgewood-Park City Historic District (H-1) overlay in 1997. She also offered some information on housing trends on the back-to-the-city movement and how this trend is reflected locally in Parkridge. It was acknowledged that overall neighborhood demographics are changing, even without historic district designation in the expansion area.

Kaye Graybeal, MPC Historic Preservation Planner, presented slides that reflected previous input from stakeholders, followed by a period of questions and comments about both the district and the design guidelines.

One of the more significant proposed changes in the design guidelines would be a clarification that items that are not visible from the street right-of-way would not require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA).

Following is a summary of comments and questions from the workshop.

Could current property owners be exempt from the requirement for a COA for Level I work items [which are approvable by MPC staff as opposed to being required to submit to the Historic Zoning Commission (HZC)]?

The H-1 Historic Overlay falls under the zoning code, which is tied to the land and not to specific property owners. Because of this, zoning exemptions based on ownership of property are not possible. However, some items currently requiring a Level 1 could be eliminated from the requirement.

Could the requirement for a COA for accessory structures be eliminated?

Neighborhood support for this should be gauged, along with a consideration for more flexible design guidelines for these structures. One proposal is to eliminate the requirement for a COA if a structure cannot be viewed from the public street right-of-way. One of the updates allows for a Level 1 staff review of structures that are 120 square feet in area or less.

Could the use of wood substitute materials, such as certain polymers, plastics, and fiber cement board, be allowed for use in moisture prone-areas?

Yes, substitute materials for wood siding may be proposed to the HZC. There is a proposed update to allow fiber cement board siding in place of wood on all areas of the building.

Could more flexible standards for chimney reconstruction/repair/removal be allowed?

Yes. Allowances for reducing the height or removing chimneys altogether under certain conditions are proposed in the draft design guidelines update under the section titled “Roofing, Roof Features, and Chimneys.”

Could substitutes be allowed for materials such as terra cotta blocks or slate roofing that are no longer readily available?

Yes. This allowance for HZC review of alternative materials is addressed in the Introduction to the draft updated design guidelines under the heading “Considering Alternative Materials.”

Could more flexibility in the placement of solar panels and their visibility be allowed?

Yes. This flexibility and allowance for placement is addressed in the design guidelines draft update under the section titled “Installation of Rooftop Solar Collectors” within the “Roof and Roof Features” section. Solar collectors are not required to be completely hidden from view.

What is the process for changing the status of a property from Contributing (C) to non-contributing (NC) and vice versa?

An owner may present information and evidence to staff and/or the HZC indicating that the status of a property should be changed. Regardless of the “C” or “NC” status, changes to the exterior of properties are required to be reviewed by the HZC or staff, but more modern/recent materials and features are not required to be retained on either type of property.

Do the design guidelines allow for environmentally sustainable choices for repairs or renovations?

The very act of preserving historic buildings and their original materials supports sustainability by encouraging repair and re-use of existing resources. Information is provided in the Introduction of the update under the sections entitled “Historic Preservation and Sustainability,” “A Sensible Approach to Sustainable Design Solutions,” Your Structure May Already be a Green Building,” and “Sustainable Considerations in the Project Planning Process.”

Will fences be regulated?

It was suggested during the workshop that chain link fences and any fence over 4 feet tall in front yards are inappropriate because they are the most impactful. If fences are chosen to be regulated, fences existing before adoption of the updated design guidelines may remain. However, if either of these two inappropriate types of fences were removed after the adoption of the design guidelines, they would not be able to be replaced with the same.

View the slide presentation on design guideline updates recommended by stakeholders in the existing historic overlay as well as the expansion area.


Related topics: historic preservation, knox heritage, design guidelines, workshop, q+a