Historic Zoning Commission

Fourth and Gill H: Level III


Staff Recommendation for New primary structure

The staff recommendation remains consistent with the original review: the Commission should discuss the overall massing, size, and scale of the house as it relates to the surrounding context of the historic district. The applicant should provide a height comparison with the existing two-story houses on this side of Morgan Street. Further initial topics of discussion should focus on the overall amount of transparency on the left side elevation; and any differentiation necessary between 701 Deery Street and 700 Morgan Street.

Pending the approval of overall massing, size, and scale, staff also recommends the additional conditions of approval: 1) confirmation of the proposed front setback's compatibility with the adjacent houses, and revision to the front setback as necessary; 2) final door selection to be wood and submitted to staff for approval; 3) the use of wood lap siding over HardiePlank siding; 4) using dark-colored asphalt roofing shingles and unpainted brick masonry elements to better connect with the historic context.

Applicant Request

Other: New primary structure

New single-family residence fronting Morgan Street, with a side elevation fronting E. 4th Ave. Overall footprint measures approximately 33' wide by 63' long, including an 8'-2" deep front porch. The house features a two-story hipped roof with a 3/12 pitch, with two-story hipped-roof massings projecting on both side elevations. The roof is clad in asphalt shingles, the exterior is clad in wood lap siding with brick porch supports, and the house will rest on a brick-clad foundation.

The house is proposed to be set 18'-2" from the front property line, with an 8'-2 deep front porch set 10' from the front property line. The house is mostly centered on the lot. A concrete walkway will extend from the front porch to the sidewalk. Parking is accessed off the alley, with a 20' by 20' permeable paver parking pad.

The façade (southwest) features a hipped roof with a 3/12 pitch, with a two-story hipped-roof porch centered on the façade, supported by brick columns. Exterior elements include wood lap siding and 2'-6" by 5' tall metal casement windows on the first story. The second story features paired 7' tall by 5' wide French doors with transoms, centered over the first story windows. A half-light door is centered on the façade elevation. The front porch roof has been stepped down to be below, and intersect, the main hipped massing.

The right side (southeast, fronting E. 4th Ave), features a two-story, hipped-roof porch which is centered on the elevation. The porch is three bays wide, with a 3/12 pitch roof, and supported by square brick columns. The first story features three adjoining 2'-6" by 5' tall metal casement windows on the first bay, followed by a 5' by 5' single-light picture window, followed by three pairs of 5' by 8' tall French doors topped by transoms. Paired 2'-6" wide by 5' tall metal casement windows are located on the final bay. A similar pattern repeats on the second story, with all fenestrations centered above those on the first story.

The left side (northwest) features a two-story, hipped roof massing projecting from the center of the elevation. There are four windows on the second story (2'-6" wide by 5' tall metal, single-light casement windows), and three adjoining casement windows on the first story. Windows are irregularly placed.

The rear (northeast) elevation features a two-story, centrally-located flat-roof massing projecting outward, with six adjoining 2'-6" by 5' metal casement windows on first story and six adjoining 2'-6" by 4' metal casement windows on the second story.

Not noted on drawings: the applicant has requested options of HardiePlank siding in place of lap siding, and wood windows in place of metal windows.

Site Info


Vacant lot.

1. The new house is proposed for an average-sized lot in Fourth and Gill that historically held a rectangular, two-story, wood frame residence with an exterior of wood and a one-story corner porch. The proposed house reflects the shape of the lot, with a rectangular form and the narrow side parallel to the street. The subject property is a corner lot, which requires additional elaboration on the side elevation.

2. The house's proposed setback is 10' from the front porch to the front property line, and 18' from the front porch to the house's main massing. The average front setback of the block is 16'. The adjacent house at 704 Morgan Street is set 17' from the front property line, with a corner porch that's flush with the main massing. The applicant should confirm the proposed front setback will maintain the historic façade line of the streetscape, recessing the house towards the rear property line if necessary to continue a consistent front yard space with the rest of the block.

The house is centered on the lot with consistent side setbacks, and a 12' side setback from the right side property line, with 5' of the porch encroaching. This will allow for landscaping and green space adjacent to the sidewalk. The left side setback pattern will be reflected by the adjacent proposed new construction at 701 Deery Street.

3. Guidelines recommend avoiding "replicating or imitating the styles, motifs, or details of older periods," and encourage compatibility in interpretation of historic styles and forms seen in the neighborhood. Similar to the proposed houses at 705 Deery Street and 700 Morgan Street, the proposed house is a contemporary interpretation of the Prairie style, including a mix of wood and brick elements, a low-pitched hipped roof, and wide eave overhangs. While there are not many Prairie-style houses in Fourth and Gill (or Knoxville), the selected style is compatible with the neighborhood's period of significance. The Prairie style is an appropriate style selection for the applicant and owner's goals of a large house, as most Prairie houses were two stories and incorporate substantial porches.

4. The proposed house is two stories, measuring 27'-4" to the roof peak on the façade elevation. The size and proportions of the new house relate more to the largest buildings in the district (multi-family buildings at 403 E. Fourth Ave; 727 Deery Street) than the immediately adjacent Queen Anne cottages. The proposed house will be the same height as the new houses at 705 Deery Street and 700 Morgan Street. The applicant should provide a general height comparison to show compatibility with the 700 block of Morgan Street.

5. To break up the large rectangular form, the proposed house uses varied massings, including a two-story, centrally-located front porch; a two-story, hipped-roof side porch; and variety of siding details. The flat-roof, two-story projecting massing on the rear elevation is a unique tactic to incorporate additional interior space. It will be visible from the street due to the size of the proposed house and the corner lot. It does contribute transparency to the rear elevations.

6. The proposed house is compatible in façade width with some of the Fourth and Gill examples selected for the application packet (two-story, side-gable or hipped-roof houses with three-bay facades). The most logical comparison for the proposed design is 727 Deery Street, a brick-clad Prairie-style structure which was designed as a duplex instead of a single-family house. The new house can also be compared with the two-story multi-family Cleveland building on the other side of Morgan Street. The proposed house extends significantly towards the rear property line, occupying the maximum building coverage permitted on the lot. The overall massing of the house is large. It is aligned primarily with the larger buildings on E. Fourth Avenue.

7. The façade integrates a mix of vertical and horizontal elements with horizontal trim bands, brick porch columns, and symmetrical window placement. These elements are characteristic of the Prairie style. The previously-proposed brick pilasters have been removed, in favor of vertical and horizontal trim elements.

8. The proposed hipped-roof form is generally compatible with the neighborhood, and incorporates some complexity via projecting hipped-roof massings on the side elevations. Guidelines also recommend using eave lines which conform to those of adjacent properties, and using divisions between stories that mimic neighborhood buildings. The proposed eave lines appear to be somewhat taller (and wider) than the immediately adjacent properties on the 700 block of Morgan Street.

The design incorporates substantial eave overhangs, characteristic of high-style Prairie architecture (including some outside-of-Knoxville examples provided in the application packet), especially on the façade. The application has been revised to include a separate hipped roof for the front porch, where the porch roof is set slightly lower than the primary hipped massing. This revision does assist in reducing the overall façade massing.

9. Guidelines recommend constructing new buildings to equal the average height of existing buildings on the street. The proposed residence is on the taller side of this average.

10. The house includes a raised, 2' tall brick masonry foundation, which is compatible with historic foundations.

11. Using a centrally-located half-light door, flanked by the two square porch columns and accessible via a new concrete walkway from the sidewalk, the design successfully incorporates a strong sense of entry on the front façade.

12. Guidelines note that the shape and pitch of roofs on new construction should imitate the shape and pitch of roofs on neighboring existing houses or other houses of the same architectural style. A 3/12 pitch is less steep than many of the original houses in Fourth and Gill, though the 3/12 pitch is in line with the selected Prairie influence. The roof features very deep eave overhangs. Due to the height of the building and the low pitch of the roof, the roof slope will present significantly flatter at street level than shown on elevation drawings.

13. The design includes an 8' deep, 21'-6" wide front porch. The porch is large in massing and scale, compared to other porches in the neighborhood. The proposed square brick columns and solid wood porch railing enclosures are consistent with the contemporary interpretation of the Prairie style. While it does contribute visual interest and complexity to a visible side elevation, the two-story, 28' wide, 12' deep side porch is significantly larger than most porches in the neighborhood. The large two-story side porch contributes to the overall large scale and massing of the house.

14. Asphalt shingles are an appropriate roofing material within the design guidelines. The final selection should use dark green, dark gray, black, or another dark color to simulate roof colors on original houses.

15. The half-light door is appropriate for the house's design and contributes additional transparency to the façade. The applicant should specify the door material and select a material compatible with the overall house and the design guidelines (preferably, wood).

16. Guidelines recommend wood materials instead of synthetic siding, noting that concrete composition planks may be appropriate for new construction as well. The submitted drawings propose wood siding, though the applicant has requested the option of HardiePlank. In the opinion of staff, due to the overall size, massing, and style selected, the house will be sufficiently "contemporary in spirit" and does not need further material elements to differentiate from the historic context. Wood lap siding features a more historically appropriate exposure pattern and overlap than fiber cement siding, which can present visually as flat and lacking depth. Using wood lap siding, along with the proposed brick elements, will keep the new house consistent with the historic materials used along the street.

17. While paint colors are not directly in the HZC's purview, in the opinion of staff, red or brown brick masonry elements would be most compatible with the neighborhood context, avoiding current trends of white-washed brick and monochromatic facades.

18. The application includes a substantial amount of transparency, in the form of rectangular, single-light, metal casement windows. The right (southeast) elevation fronting E. Fourth Avenue also incorporates three pairs of French doors and 5' by 5' single-light picture windows. The Commission should discuss the appropriateness of the window form and the proportions of transparency, in relation to the proposed house design and neighborhood context.

19. The northwest (left) side elevation has been revised to include three adjoining casement windows on the first story, along with four windows on the second story. There are no windows towards the rear elevation.

20. The proposed house is identical in design to 701 Deery Street. The Commission should discuss any variation in design necessary to differentiate the two houses.


Logan Higgins

Planning Staff
Lindsay Crockett
Phone: (865) 215-3795
Email: lindsay.crockett@knoxplanning.org
Location Knoxville
700 Morgan St. 37902

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