7/13/2010Posted by MJ
As promised, Housing Visions is back with a plan to revitalize Genesee Street.Next up a visit to the Zoning Board for parking variances similar to the ones they were granted last winter for other properties:
The Syracuse-based not-for-profit agency, which specializes in troubled-neighborhood turnaround, is negotiating again with local landowners to buy up parcels along Genesee and several cross streets.....
The Pine/Genesee portion will go before the Zoning Board of Appeals later this month. A number of variances will be sought, including a waiver on the rule that two parking spaces must be provided per apartment unit. The site plan on that portion calls for one shared parking lot for three apartment houses containing a total of 10 units and one parking space for each unit. The zoning board OK’d the one-space-per-unit layout of the overall development last year.
Another item of note is this quote:
"Neither new builds nor rebuilds may too closely imitate the originals they’re replacing, Lockwood said. That’s per the direction of the state Historic Preservation Office, which approves Housing Visions’ construction plans."I am familiar with the requirements that an addition to a registered historic structure must be readily distinguishable from the original structure. I guess it is no surprise that it also applies to districts. We'll have to see what the proposed plans look like. I have yet to be able to get a hold of them. I'll try to get something at the zoning board meeting.
While this statute can be an excuse to supply crap architecture I don't feel it has to be the case. The statute is most likely open to interpretation. The community center that was shown last winter was nice looking with peaked roof, wrap around porch etc.
The main goal needs to be making the new builds fit in with the existing property. This goes beyond looks into the realm of the site plans. The site plans themselves must also mimic the current land use around them as to blend in and add value as opposed to most short sighted development site plans that detract from it.
An interesting development to note is High Point in Seattle. It is a development of 1700 mixed income housing units (600 low-income/senior units). Although it was a total remake of a distressed neighborhood it uses some sound principles to make the total package succeed.
HV should be a first step to shoring up the street and DT next door. What remains is a plan to promote private investment in the remaining structures in the area.