West Jefferson St. housing project gets green light

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By Tia Lyn Lecorchick staff writer

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) gave Parallel Housing the green light to move forward with their conceptual design for their proposed low to moderate income apartments for senior citizens to be located near the intersection of West Jefferson Street and Fifth Street on March 10.

With the preliminary review accepted by the HPC, Parallel Housing will formally submit the final version of their plans during the HPC’s meeting on April 8. The conceptual proposal included blueprints for a two story apartment building with 44 units, balconies off of each apartment, an exterior designed with blonde bricks and stucco, with two main sections, four entrances, a courtyard, a gazebo, benches, a detention pond, pavement, and parking space.

The location for the new senior housing complex is right on the cusp of the historic district, situatated behind public housing, with most nearby properties outside of the historic district. “Reveiwing an aparmtnet building is a strange and new thing for us…Such buildings would not be appropriate near the center of the district, but this is in the rear yard of the historic district,” said Ken Kocher, consultant for the HPC.

HPC Member Richard Simpson noted the commission’s desire for style consistency when considering new constructions in the historic district. “We emphasize simplicity, so a new structure doesn’t stand out in the historic district,” said Simpson.

“And these plans seem to meet that goal.” Monica Callahan, planning director for the Downtown Development Authority, praised Parallel Housing’s proposal. “We are very pleased with what we have received from them so far,” said Callahan. “The idea is for the structures to be compatible with historic models. They have offered us a model that might just be appropriate for this area,” said Callahan. HPC Member Flynn Clyburn thought the plans made good use of space.

“The building is big, so you have done a good job with these plans spreading everything out so it doesn’t look like a huge monster building in our historic distict,” said Clyburn. Curry Wadsworth, the Parallel Housing representative, concurred with the commission’s vision for the project. “We like simple, we like sleek, and we want it to look classic. We will proceed futher in this direction and formally submit our plan in April.” said Wadsworth. The HPC will render a final decision on the project on April 8.

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