Amendments to BAR regulations affecting the Old and Historic District will be considered at special meeting of the Planning Commission at 5:00 p.m., on Thursday, May 25, 2017 in the Burke High School Auditorium, 244 President Street. Amendments generally address the authority of the BAR to consider height, mass and scale of new construction and codify certain policy statements for the BAR’s use in evaluating applications.
While some revisions follow the recommendations of the Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) consulting firm, CNA believes the amendments fail to provide adequate protection for our historic neighborhoods in several respects.
For instance, CNA favors improved notification of BAR applications that would affect adjoining neighbors. Currently, notices are frequently impossible to read from sidewalks because they are obscured, illegible, cryptic or posted in a remote location; sometimes, notices are not posted at all and the Planning Dept. admits it lacks resources to monitor posted notices. Even adequately posted notices at a house may not be seen by adjoining neighbors on the rear or side of the subject property.
The Planning Dept staff has stated that residents should monitor agendas on the City’s website to learn of proposed additions or alterations that may affect them. CNA does not believe this is an adequate or realistic solution.
Instead, CNA favors requiring an applicant to mail or otherwise provide actual notice to adjoining neighbors, whose identities and addresses are easily determined through property records if they are not known to the applicant. Some, but not all, architects and owners already notify neighbors, but there is no requirement for such neighborly consideration.
CNA is also concerned that the amendments ignore DPZ’s recommendation that the BAR should include an architect with appreciation or background in traditional architectural design. Further, CNA believes the BAR should be required to have one or more members who actually reside in the historic district that the BAR was established to protect.
Comments from concerned neighbors unable to attend the May 25 meeting at Burke High School may be emailed to Christopher Morgan of the Planning Dept. at email@example.com with the request that he share those comments with the Planning Commission.