Historic Zoning Commission

Ft. Sanders NC: Level III

1-B-23-HZ  

Staff Recommendation for New primary structure

The Commission should first determine if a complete reconstruction of the demolished original house is appropriate; or if a new compatible but distict design is preferable. If a compatible new design is requested by the HZC, staff recommends postponement of 1-B-23-HZ.

Approval of 1-B-23-HZ as submitted would be conditioned on 1- granting of all necessary variances at the 1/17/23 BZA meeting (1-E-23-VA), 2- use of historically appropriate cornerboards, window trim, and door trim; 3- final site plan to meet City Engineering standards for parking and remain within impervious surface limits; 4- selection of a façade door to meet design guidelines, with approval by staff; and 5- bottom section [bulkhead area] of projecting bay window to be enclosed with siding instead of glass.


Applicant Request

Other: Demolition; new primary structure

After-the-fact review of demolition; new primary structure.

Demolition: due to moisture intrusion, existing conditions on the site, and construction tactics, the west side foundation wall collapsed on Saturday, December 10. Most of the remaining building collapsed over the following day, necessitating the Building Official to determine the building to be an "eminent danger to the public" and issuing an emergency demolition permit on Monday, December 12. The house has been demolished and the site is largely cleared.

New primary structure: under 8-E-22-HZ (see COA and staff report attached), the applicant was approved for exterior rehabilitation and a new rear addition at the October 2022 HZC meeting. The design proposed to be reconstructed under 1-B-23-HZ is identical to the previous project, which featured a section of an existing house (with a fully modified façade), a reconstructed roofline, and a large, three-story rear addition.

The new house will feature a one-story façade elevation, with two-story massings on the sides and rear elevation. The house features a complex roofline (determined by the previous proposal of retaining the existing house, which featured multiple rear and side additions); the roofline features a primary hipped-roof massing with large gable-roof massings projecting to the sides and rear, along with a shed-roof massing extending the length of the right (east) elevation. The house has an asphalt shingle-clad roof, an exterior of smooth-finished fiber cement lap siding, and a brick-clad foundation.

The front setback of the new house is not specified. Parking is located behind the house, accessed from the alley.

The facade (south) features a one-story projecting gable-roof massing, with decorative wood trim, a decorative bay window, and a centrally located door followed by two windows. A partial-width, shed-roof porch supported by square posts projects from right side of the façade. There are large, three-story gable-roof massings on both side elevations, with three stories of fenestrations on the rear elevation. Two secondary entries are centered on the rear elevation.


Site Info

N/A

Demolished house was a Queen Anne cottage, highly modified: One-story residence with a hipped roof with lower gables projecting to the front and side, clad in asbestos shingles. Craftsman-style, front-gable roof porch enclosed approximately 1950. Side addition. Secondary entries on rear and side levels of basement.


1. 1315 Forest Ave was a contributing structure to the Fort Sanders National Register Historic District and local NC overlay. The house was a highly modified Folk Victorian house with an enclosed front porch, a side addition, and a basement level accessible via the side and rear elevation.

2. After reviews at the August and October HZC meeting, the applicant received a COA, noting approval with conditions, for a proposed exterior rehabilitation and new rear addition. One central section of the house was proposed to be removed and reconstructed. See attached staff report and COA for 8-E-22-HZ. Prior to the house's collapse and demolition, the work was covered by the COA.

3. The applicant received an interior demolition permit on 8/3/22 (BU22-1243). Review of the full building permit was in progress but voided by Plans Review and Inspections after the collapse/demolition. An after-the-fact demolition permit was issued 12/13/2022.

4. The modest Folk Victorian house was highly modified in exterior detail (including replacement windows and siding, a reconstructed porch, and multiple rear and side elevations). The house did retain the overall historic form of a Folk Victorian house, with a taller hipped-roof massing and lower gable-roof sections projecting to the front and sides. The applicant had proposed a relatively sympathetic exterior rehabilitation, with a rear addition that (though large in scale) fit the context of the contemporary neighborhood.

5. Demolition of the house, even if inadvertent, constitutes a significant loss to the neighborhood's historic fabric, and the removal of another structure that contributed to the Fort Sanders NRHP Historic District. The applicant has completed or initiated many similar exterior rehab and new addition projects throughout the NC overlay, including at least 8 since 1/2020. Future construction efforts should plan for compromised foundation conditions and avoid removing all exterior cladding, sheathing, and framing.

6. The new house proposed for 1315 Forest Avenue will reconstruct the project already approved under 8-E-22-HZ, featuring the façade-elevation form of a Folk Victorian, with large side and rear additions. Established under 8-E-22-HZ, the proposed design met the design guidelines for exterior rehabilitation and additions, provided the applicant met the conditions of approval adopted at the October 2022 HZC meeting. The Commission is now charged with determining whether the same design is appropriate as a completely new house.

7. The applicant completed a similar demolition at 1610 Forest in 2019 (11-E-19-HZ, 12-E-19-HZ), and returned to the HZC for approval of a new primary structure which reconstructed the existing. The reconstruction of the demolished house's footprint and exterior elements was approved (12-F-19-HZ). At 1610 Forest Ave, the applicant had retained the existing house's roof, and rebuilt the house below the existing roof. There are no extant features from 1315 Forest Avenue.

8. The adopted design guidelines for Fort Sanders, as a Neighborhood Conservation (NC) overlay, do not specifically reference the Secretary of the Interiors Standards. However, the area is also a National Register Historic District, so the SOI Standards should be considered (though not legally required).

SOI standard #9 recommends that "new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the integrity of the [district]." Other SOI Guidelines for New Construction within the Boundaries of Historic Properties note that new construction should be distinct from the old, should not replicate historic buildings elsewhere on site, and should avoid creating a false sense of historic development.

The Commission should first determine if a complete reconstruction of the demolished original house (frontmost cross-gable section), non-historic additions (shed-roof section on the right side), and previously-approved additions (rear additions) is appropriate; or if a new compatible but distinct design is preferable.

9. Approval of the work as proposed is also conditioned on the applicant receiving several variances at the January 17, 2022 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, including front setbacks and side setbacks (hardship noted as "rebuilding the same setback as was existing before.") As of the 1/17/2022 BZA meeting, the HZC will not have required the applicant to reconstruct an identical house on the property.

10. In general, the new construction proposal meets the design guidelines, including the sections on height, scale, & massing, porches, wall materials, and windows and entrances. The same conditions of approval per the 10/20/22 HZC meeting (1- use of historically appropriate cornerboards, window trim, and door trim; 2- final site plan to meet City Engineering standards for parking and remain within impervious surface limits; 3- selection of a façade door to meet design guidelines, with approval by staff; 4- bottom section [bulkhead area] of projecting bay window to be enclosed with siding as typical instead of glass).

Applicant

John Holmes


Planning Staff
Lindsay Crockett
Phone: (865) 215-3795
Email: lindsay.crockett@knoxplanning.org
Location Knoxville
1315 Forest Ave. 37916

Owner
John Holmes