Historic Zoning Commission
Ft. Sanders NC: Level III
Staff Recommendation for Construction of three new primary buildings
Staff recommends approval of Certificate 10-F-21-HZ, subject to the following conditions:
1) Revision to rear elevations to correct proportions and more clearly correspond with facades, to be submitted to the Commission for review;
2) Updated site plan to reflect requirements of City Engineering and provisions of the zoning ordinance;
3) Material specifications to be provided to staff for approval, including correct eave overhangs, siding details, window selection, and front doors;
And providing for discussion from the Commission on the proposed height and scale of the structures.
Applicant RequestOther: New construction
Proposed construction of three new primary buildings (residential duplexes) on a vacant lot. The lot is currently composed of four parcels, which will be subdivided to create one large lot.
The three houses are proposed to be set 21'-0" from the front property line (south), and set equidistant from each other. The rightmost house will be set 15' from the right side property line (fronting James Agee Street), and the leftmost house will be set 9' from the left side property line. Parking will be provided by a large surface parking lot to the rear of the property (fronting the alley). The proposal also includes the retention of several large existing trees (including two maples on the southwest corner of the property, a large hackberry on the southeast corner, and a maple fronting James Agee Street), and the planting of new trees and other landscaping on front, rear, and side yards, and surrounding the parking lot.
The three houses are generally identical in size, shape, and height. The proposed houses are rectangular in form, measuring approximately 45' wide by 42' long. Measuring to the center of the primary roof gable (per City of Knoxville measurements), the houses measure 30' tall from the main floor level, with an additional ~5' to the roof peaks. The houses are three-and-one-half stories, including a basement level visible on side elevations via window wells set into the foundation, and dormer windows on the front and rear roof slopes. Each façade features a front porch, and rear elevations feature two entry porches on each building. Materials are listed as brick-clad foundations, wood (OSB) siding and trim, and fiberglass-shingle-clad roofs. The porches are supported by prefabricated poly columns on brick bases. Windows are double-hung vinyl windows.
Each façade features differences in porch design, dormer form, and minor window details. The side elevations of Duplex 1 and Duplex 2 are identical, and the right side elevation of Duplex 3 (fronting James Agee) is unique. The rear elevations are proposed to be identical.
8/12 pitch side-gable roof. Four-bay façade on the ground level, featuring a shed-roof projecting bay window with a metal roof on the first and fourth bays, with two shed-roof entry porches centered over the doors on the second and third bays. The porches measure 8' deep at the deepest point, and are supported by 8" square columns on brick bases. Second-story windows include paired double-hung vinyl windows on the first and fourth bays. Steeply-pitched triangular dormers are centered above the first and fourth bays, featuring a shingle cladding and a Queen-Anne influenced tripartite casement window.
Side elevations are three bays wide, featuring varying arrangements of double-hung vinyl windows and trim. Three bays of window wells on the basement level. Round louvered vent on gable field.
8/12 pitch side-gable roof. Four-bay façade on the ground level, featuring paired double-hung vinyl windows on the first and fourth bays and entry doors on the second and third. A shed-roof porch, supported by five sets of paired 8" square columns, extends the length of the façade. The porch measures approximately 7' deep and approximately 9' tall to the eaves. Second-story windows include paired double-hung vinyl windows on the first and fourth bays. Gable-roof dormers, featuring single double-hung windows, are centered above the first and fourth bays.
8/12 pitch clipped side-gable roof. Four-bay façade on the ground level, featuring a hipped-roof projecting bay window with a metal roof on the first and fourth bays, with two hipped-roof entry porches centered over the doors on the second and third bays. The porches measure approximately 8' deep at the deepest point, and are supported by 10"-12" round tapered columns. Second-story windows include paired double-hung vinyl windows on the first and fourth bays. Clipped-gable, shingle-clad dormers with recessed casement windows are centered above the first and fourth bays.
The right (east) side elevation features a full-height, 11'-6" projecting bay which is centered on the elevation. The bay features decorative trim on the fascia, a small casement window on the gable field, and a canted bay window on the first story. First and third bays of the side elevation feature double-hung vinyl windows.
REAR ELEVATION (DUPLEX 1, 2, 3):
Four-bay first-story, featuring paired double-hung vinyl windows on the first and fourth bays, and a centrally-located, hipped roof porch over the secondary entry doors on the center two bays. The entry porch features an 8/12 pitch hipped roof. A large, single, hipped-roof dormer is centered on the roof slope, with windows placed toward the outside of the dormer.
PLACEMENT AND SITE
1. The houses are proposed to be set 21' from the front property line, with front porches between 7' and 8' deep projecting towards the front (14' and 13' from the front property line). The average front setback of the block is 18'. The applicant has noted the intent to retain at least three existing street trees fronting Forest Avenue, accounting for the 21' setback of the main massing. The proposed houses will be aligned with the adjacent new construction and the rest of the 1500 block. The side setbacks are consistent and arranged evenly on the lot. As the project involves three houses, the proposed placement will create a consistent pattern on the east end of this block of Forest Avenue.
2. The proposed parking meets the intent of the Fort Sanders design guidelines by avoiding the front yard, providing access off an alley or a side street, planting native shade trees to provide landscaping screening, and providing secondary access on the houses' rear elevations from the parking. The new parking will not require a new curb cut on Forest Avenue. Per the zoning code, the area is classified as a "parking lot" and is subject to the associated standards, including perimeter landscaping. The applicant has received City Engineering comments and is revising the site plan.
HEIGHT, SCALE, AND MASSING
3. Review of the adjacent new construction at 1519 Forest Avenue (8-E-18-HZ) notes that "the streetscape and context of the 1500 block of Forest Avenue has been heavily intruded upon and the streetfaces are lined with vacant lots, modern apartment buildings, and altered facades; therefore, there is not an existing historic development pattern to follow. This allows flexibility in building style, placement, and size."
4. Overall, the houses are large in scale. Presenting as two-and-one-half-stories from the street (though actually 3.5 stories with the basement), the houses are taller than typical historic houses in Fort Sanders, which are generally 1.5 to 2 stories. At 30' tall to the center of the roof gable (with an additional ~5' to roof peak), they will be somewhat taller than the adjacent new construction at 1519 Forest (which measures 28' from the façade ground-level to the center of the roof gable). The houses at 1519 Forest Avenue present from the façade as two stories, but also feature a basement level visible on the sides and rear.
5. Guidelines recommend that single-family detached infill housing be proportional to other pre-1940 houses in terms of height and width. While duplexes, the houses are using the forms of single-family houses (similar to 1519 Forest Avenue). The proposed houses are taller than the neighborhood's historic houses. At approximately 45' wide, they are also wider than the adjacent new construction at 1519 Forest Avenue (30' wide).
6. The overall massing is successfully broken up by porches, bay windows, and dormers. These features add sufficient visual interest on the façade elevation. While the side elevations on Duplexes 1 and 2 are relatively flat, they have sufficient transparency and will be less visible from the right-of-way due to the placement of three houses.
7. The 1'-2' tall brick foundations are consistent with the historic context. The basement-level window wells in the foundation are unique features, but will be minimally visible from the right-of-way due to the construction of three adjacent houses and the proposed landscaping and trees.
MATERIALS AND ELEMENTS
8. The proposed 8/12 roof pitch is the minimum recommended in the design guidelines. The houses also utilize the "variation in the form of the roof" from the guidelines with the varied dormers. The dormers serve to differentiate the three houses and contribute visual interest to the designs. The front elevations do not have eave overhangs, while the rear elevations do; final drawings should incorporate consistent eave overhangs on each elevation of the house.
9. The front porches use "proportions and materials that complement pre-1940 housing." The proposed porches vary from each design, to avoid monotony, and the use of a full-length porch in Duplex 2's design sufficiently differentiates the three houses. The size of the porches meets the design guidelines.
10. The submitted drawings note "wood/OSB lap siding" as the primary siding element, also showing shingle cladding on dormers. Further information on the siding material, including dimensions of siding exposure and trim elements, should be submitted to staff for approval. The proposed brick foundation is appropriate for the context.
11. In general, the window proportions and placement meet the design guidelines. Windows are currently shown as 4/4 and 6/6, though it may be preferable to use 1/1 windows, as vinyl windows with false muntins do not approximate historic divided light windows. Windows should be double-hung sash, per the guidelines, and actual window specifications should be submitted to staff for approval.
12. The proposal exceeds the intent of the guidelines for landscaping. The applicant intends to retain several large trees fronting Forest Avenue, and has incorporated many new oak and maple trees at the rear of the houses, along James Agee, and surrounding the parking lot. The revised parking/site plan will also be required to incorporate perimeter landscaping, per the landscaping standards of the zoning code.
13. On Duplex 3, the side elevation will be significantly visible from James Agee Street. The incorporation of a projecting bay and canted bay contributes sufficient depth and visual interest for a corner house. The horizontal trim band on the projecting bay should be the same width as the trim band on the rest of the side elevation.
14. Due to the topography of the block, the location of parking lots (existing and proposed), and the height of the buildings, the rear elevations will be visible from the public right-of-way. In general, the rear elevations do not correspond with the facades. The dormer is disproportionately wide on the rear elevation, with windows placed at unusual distances. The rear elevation windows are different in size and detailing than front or side elevations, and the porch roofs do not reflect the porches on the facades. The rear elevations should be revised and submitted to the Commission for review.