Construction Sensitive to Historic Character

The house on 440 W. Cloverhurst Ave. will soon change, but it’s historic charm will not.

Architectural designs detail a proposed extensive addition to be added onto the back of the property.

“We’ve always been proud of our district,” said Diane Adams, a neighbor and the realtor who sold the house to the current residents. “That house has long been many people’s favorite in the area.”

Neighbors like Adams who appreciate the traditional character of the house need not worry about the change. The plans were approved by the Historic Preservation Committee at the most recent of their monthly meetings.

This body oversees all exterior construction on buildings in Athens’ 10 historic districts. At 5:30 on Wednesday, March 17, the Committee addressed three such construction projects, including the Cloverhurst case.

“People like to walk up and down Cloverhurst Ave. because of its character,” said David Dwyer, another neighbor. “We’re all pleased that this character is being maintained by the project.”

Adams and Dwyer were both on hand at the meeting to speak in favor of the proposal, citing the sensitivity and care being taken not to disturb the house’s integrity.

All committee meetings are open to the public. Before discussing matters, the committee opens the floor to public commentary on the issues under consideration.

“This is a significant addition with a minimal impact on the appearance of the house,” said board member Helen Kvykendal.

After approximately a half hour of discussion, the board unanimously passed the measure with minor conditions that some windows in the design be moved and additional retaining walls be constructed around the property.

The board often approves plans with conditions in the effort to aid property improvement.

“We want to allow people to move into historic Athens,” said board member Alexander Sams. “People sometimes need to make changes to improve a home’s functionality of use.”

Another condition of the approval is that the improved design be resubmitted to the Planning Department to ensure that the specified conditions will be met.

Although these may seem like small details, the Historic Preservation Committee is responsible for protecting the consistency and charm held by these historic zones.

“I’ve know that house forever and always admired it,” said Sams.

The majority of the two hours of the meeting was spent by the committee hashing out the specific details of these approval conditions.

Also present at the hearing were the new owners Tom and Donna Murphy and Jim Robinson, the architect who designed the renovation plans and submitted the proposal to the Planning Department.

“I see this as one of the most beautiful homes in the Five Points area,” said Robinson. “This is probably one of the oldest houses in the area and has a great deal of historical significance.”

The two other items on the agenda were also residential cases requesting permission for significant construction projects. Both were also handled a similar manner to the Cloverhurst property.

Robinson also designed the proposed carport for a property on Woodlawn Ave.

Like the Cloverhurst case, both other proposals were passed conditionally. Most of the conditions considered came from an introductory report given by Amber Eskew, the historic preservation planner at the Athens Planning Department.

Eskew bases her recommendations on prior research she compiles on the properties and plans. These recommendations are presented prior to any discussion and have no direct affect on the board’s final decision.

The meeting was held in the main auditorium of the Planning Department Building at 120 W. Doughtey Street downtown.

All seven board members were present.

One Comment on “Construction Sensitive to Historic Character”

  1. […] Published on Civil Life in Downtown Athens blog on March 25, 2010 […]

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