Historic Zoning Commission

Fourth and Gill H: Level II


Staff Recommendation

Recognizing that non-contributing buildings are evaluated for their impact on the historic district and not evaluated as infill construction, the Commission should discuss the proposed project's exterior rehabilitation and identify whether any additional design elements are necessary to acknowledge the building's evolution. Staff recommends at least one additional design element be incorporated that acknowledges the original form of the building, which could be expressed in the front porch roofline.

The Commission should also discuss the proposed siding materials; staff recommends that based on neighborhood precedent, exterior materials be wood lap siding and trim elements instead of fiber cement.

Additional conditions of approval should include: 1) final window specifications of windows, front door, and deck materials to be submitted to staff for approval.

Applicant Request

Architectural feature; Doors; Material changes; Porch; Roofing; Siding; Windows

Exterior rehabilitation. Applicant proposes removal of the existing non-historic roofline, siding, windows, and doors. Exterior of the house is proposed to be largely reconstructed with a pitched front-gable roof clad in asphalt shingles, an exterior of fiber cement lap siding with cornerboards and window trim, and cedar shingles in the gable fields. Windows will be installed in new fenestrations on the façade, left side elevation, rear elevation, and upper gable fields.

The façade (southwest) will feature a centrally-located, multi-light door flanked by sidelight windows and topped by transoms, and paired one-over-one, double-hung windows (no materials provided) on the two outside bays. The left side elevation will feature five bays of four-over-four, double-hung windows. One-over-one, double-hung windows with trim are located in each gable field. On the rear elevation, two sets of multi-light double doors and a third door will open onto a deck. The deck features steel supports and a horizontal steel railing, and an unspecified composite decking.

A hipped-roof porch supported by square posts is proposed to extend the full-length of the façade.

CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL PER 10/19/2023 HZC MEETING: Modification dated 10.16.23 with two gables on front porch roof approved; 1) final window specifications of windows, front door, and deck materials to be submitted to staff for approval; 2) siding to be wood.

Site Info

Shotgun houses combined to form a vernacular commercial building, c.1900

One-story commercial building with a gable roof, featuring a large wood parapet on the façade. Exterior is clad in vertical wood siding and windows are single-light, fixed panes on the front and left side elevations. The front door is recessed between two projecting massings on the outside bays.

1. 616 Luttrell Street is part of the Fourth & Gill National Register Historic District and local overlay, but noted on the c.1985 NRHP nomination as "non-contributing."

2. The project was postponed at the September 2023 HZC meeting after extensive discussion of the building's evolution and the proposed design. City Plans Review and Inspections staff also noted that the trellis could not be installed on the façade as proposed. Revisions to the drawings include: changing the 4/4 and 6/6 windows to 1/1 windows and installing a full-length hipped porch instead of the trellis. Beyond the recessed front door, no elements have been incorporated into the revised design that acknowledge the building's evolution or history.

3. The building is highly altered. The 1917 Sanborn map indicates the building used to be two narrow shotgun houses with front porches, and the 1950 Sanborn map depicts the two buildings as connected with a roof between the two, and individual front porches. By the 1940s, the building was used for commercial purposes. The NRHP nomination from 1985 describes the building as a "one-story frame house with double gabled roof and circular attic vents, severely altered." By the late 1980s or 1990s, the building was modified to feature a false parapet wall on the façade, along vertical wood cladding and single-light commercial-style windows. On the façade, the original two-building form can be seen in the two projecting massings with a recessed front entry; this element is retained in the proposed design.

4. SOI Standard #3 notes that "each property should be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or elements from other historic properties, should not be undertaken." The proposed rehabilitation does add multiple conjectural features or elements from other historic properties. The proposed façade design retains the recessed front door and two projecting massings to indicate the combined front elevations.

While reconstructing the original combined roofline could pose construction and maintenance difficulties, the proposed new roof creates the illusion that the building has always been one house. There is no historic evidence for the proposed front-gable roof. Additional design elements should acknowledge the historic evolution of the building from two shotgun houses with front porches to one commercial structure. Such elements could include a revised roofline including two front gables with the primary gable recessed from the façade or a front porch incorporating two engaged or projecting gable fields.

5. At the September 2023 meeting, the property owner stated that because the building does not contribute to the historic district, only the design guidelines for new construction would apply. See attached document prepared by previous Historic Preservation Planner Kaye Graybeal in 2017 detailing the difference between contributing and non-contributing properties. A building's status as non-contributing is not the same as a vacant property. Work on a non-contributing building is evaluated for its effect on the streetscape and overall district, and can take into account any information known about the building's original form and details. The design guidelines still apply to non-contributing properties, though greater flexibility may apply for these buildings, as they are non-contributing because they do not retain any character-defining features.

6. Removal of the existing siding is appropriate. The application includes fiber cement lap siding as a replacement for non-historic vertical wood siding. Fiber cement siding has not been approved in Fourth and Gill as a replacement siding on original buildings; the Commission should discuss the proposed siding materials.

7. The current windows' design and placement are not original or character-defining. The proposed window design and placement are new elements of the design, as the commercial building is repurposed for residential use. As no evidence exists to recreate the original windows, double-hung windows with exterior trim and sills are appropriate. The applicant has revised the submission to propose 1/1, double-hung, aluminum-clad wood windows. In the opinion of staff, aluminum-clad wood is an appropriate replacement window material in this application. Final specifications for windows should be submitted to staff for approval.

8. A revised design acknowledging the building's original forms or elements could be incorporated in the front porch; guidelines recommend reconstructing the original front porches or using historic elements such as posts or columns and balustrades. The submitted revisions have not addressed this element.

9. The proposed deck will be somewhat visible from the right-of-way, due to the adjacent vacant lot. The deck will contain steel supports and guardrails and composite decking. Material specifications for the deck should be submitted to staff for approval.


Daniel Daniel Cooter

Planning Staff
Lindsay Crockett
Phone: 865-215-3795
Email: lindsay.crockett@knoxplanning.org
Location Knoxville
616 Luttrell St. 37917

Jennifer Jennifer Ackley - Jeff Talman Jeff Talman