Historic Zoning Commission

Ft. Sanders NC: Level III


Staff Recommendation

Staff recommends approval of Certificate 4-G-24-HZ, subject to the following conditions: 1) meeting all requirements of CU-4 zoning and requirements of the Administrative Review Committee; 2) final site plan and parking to meet City Engineering standards.

Applicant Request

Other: New primary structure

New multi-unit residential building. The building proposed for HZC review is a section of a larger building outside of the Fort Sanders NC overlay; it will connect to a multi-unit building on the west (fronting White Avenue) and via a proposed overhead alley crossing to a building fronting Cumberland Avenue. The building is proposed for the rear of two houses fronting 1800 and 1804 White Avenue, land which currently serves as surface parking. The building will front 18th Street, measures 66'-1.75" wide by approximately 100' deep.

The flat-roof building is five stories tall on the 18th Street elevation, measuring slightly under 50' tall above grade. The building will be clad in brick veneer on the east elevation (fronting 18th Street) and the eastmost bays of the north and south elevations. Additional exterior siding materials are corrugated metal siding and fiber cement panel siding.

The façade (east) is ten bays wide, arranged symmetrically, with the central four bays on a recessed massing and the outer bays projecting towards the street. On the first through fourth stories, the central bays feature recessed front porches with metal railings. The uppermost level is clad in dark grey corrugated metal siding. Windows are double-hung, 4/4 on the façade and 1/1 on the side elevations. The façade windows feature flat brick headers and sills. A cast cornice detail separates the first and second stories.

The north elevation fronts White Avenue, including the rear of the two houses at 1800 and 1804 White Avenue. The north elevation is four stories tall, featuring 25' of brick cladding on the leftmost bay followed by six bays of double-hung windows surrounded by fiber cement board and batten siding.

The south elevation fronts the alley and the new structure to be built along Cumberland Avenue. The five-story elevation features 25' of brick cladding, a CMU foundation with a garage exit, and six evenly-spaced bays of double-hung windows.

Site Info


Vacant surface parking area behind two houses fronting White Avenue.

1. 1800 and 1804 White Avenue are contributing resources to the Fort Sanders National Register Historic District and local NC overlay. The properties are zoned CU-4, subject to the form-based code which extends for 1-2 blocks along Cumberland Avenue, instead of the Residential or Office zones more prevalent throughout the Fort Sanders NC overlay. The multi-unit building to the immediate east is outside of the NC overlay. 1800 and 1804 White Avenue are the only two parcels in the NC overlay which have the CU zoning.

2. The CU-4 zone "serves as a transition between Cumberland Avenue and the White Avenue neighborhood to the north and is primarily intended to accommodate a variety of commercial, office, and residential uses." The form-based code addresses form, scale, and building elements instead of specific uses, and the CU code allows for relatively large buildings, particularly in the districts along Cumberland Avenue. The form-based code is reviewed separately by an Administrative Review Committee. The goal of preserving the two historic houses while developing the site to the Cumberland Avenue code is appropriate within the design guidelines and commendable.

3. The building is proposed to be set approximately 8' from the front property line along 18th street. The front of the building will be aligned with the side setbacks of the houses fronting White Avenue. The side setbacks are consistent and the building is arranged evenly on the lot.

4. The building will serve as a transition in height from the larger section fronting Cumberland Avenue, and the historic houses along White Avenue. The proposed building meets the guidelines for scale and massing, which recommend breaking up facades of new apartment buildings with bays or porches that are consistent with the dimensions of historic buildings in the neighborhood. The façade (east) breaks up two ~24' wide outside massings with a centrally located porch, measuring approximately 8' deep and 25' wide.

5. Design guidelines for roofs recommend steeply-pitched roofs with variations in the form; flat-roof multi-unit structures have been previously approved in the NC overlay on a case-by-case basis. The flat roof is appropriate in this application, serving as a transition from the section fronting Cumberland Avene; a pitched roof would increase the overall height and scale of the already tall building.

6. The 18th Street elevation incorporates a porch which meets the design guidelines, measuring 8' deep and recessed into the building.

7. The use of brick cladding on the front elevation and the eastmost bays of the side elevation serves to connect the new building with historic multi-family buildings in Fort Sanders, and meets the design guidelines. The façade incorporates additional detail with inset brick on the outside massings. Metal panel siding is not directly referenced in the design guidelines, but it's used as a secondary material on the façade and serves to visually reduce the overall massing, creating the effect of a step-back. Fiber cement siding is regularly approved in Fort Sanders. The HZC should discuss the use of board-and-batten siding on side elevations. The south elevation will not be visible from the public right-of-way beyond the 25-foot wide, brick-clad section, due to the seven-story building proposed fronting Cumberland Avenue. In the opinion of staff, the siding pattern proposed for the side elevations is appropriate within the guidelines.

8. The windows meet the design guidelines, using proportions, symmetry, and designs "similar to the pre-1940 styles in the neighborhood." Guidelines do not specify window material in Fort Sanders, permitting vinyl, metal-clad, wood, or other materials. The façade windows incorporate additional detail via flat arches and window sills. There is not a primary entry to the building from the 18th Street elevation; however, the first story porches do provide engagement with the street at the pedestrian level via full-light doors.

9. Parking for the building is located in a structured parking area internal to the section adjacent to the west, and will be accessed from the alley, which meets the design guidelines. Final site plan and garage standards should meet City Engineering standards.


Benjamin C. Mullins

Planning Staff
Lindsay Crockett
Phone: 865-215-3795
Email: lindsay.crockett@knoxplanning.org
Location Knoxville
1800 White Ave. 37921