Three of the things seem more-or-less routine, but one of them is not.
|View from Liberty|
|View from Mission: Long and Low|
|Typical proportions are closer to square|
The Houses of Grant Neighborhood
My gut is that we would actually be better served in this particular place by a building form that is not trying to mimic - and even camouflage itself in - an historic style in order to be "compatible" with the Historic District.
Our Historic Preservation Code, however, tends to the opposite conclusion. SRC 230.035(b)(1)(C) requires that
The design reflects, but does not replicate, the architectural style of historic contributing buildings in the district.So there's that. But it seems to lead here to an aesthetic misfire.
You might have a different opinion, and it would be interesting to hear from folks who think the vintage 1920s look is actually the best approach.
The site itself has been contested. In 2007 Salem Weekly wrote about the "demolition by neglect" that was underway, and in 2010 the SHINE historical digest covered the demolition itself.
But here we are with an empty lot on a changing Mission Street. There is no reason not to allow a podiatrist office here.
But is trying to ape a Craftsman Bungalow actually the best design solution?
What do you think?
Other items on the agenda, which at least from here do not seem controversial:
- The new footbridge along Court Street just east of 18th Street.
- A residence on High Street applying to be considered a "Local Landmark."
- A proposal to add a vintage caboose to the whole Mission Mill complex - a little train history next to the Train Depot.
The Public Hearing will be Thursday, September 15th.
|Statesman, September 27th, 1925|
Update, September 14th
The Commission meets tomorrow and you know what? This is faint praise, but it's true, it doesn't suck!
|Looking NE from Liberty|
|Looking SE through intersection of Liberty and Mission|
If these elevations are accurate, it's not as out of balance as I feared it might be. It's still inelegant, but it's not grotesque. Maybe there's some refinements or adjustments the HLC might request - the facade on Mission St might be articulated more to break up the facade, and it could use another entry. It doesn't really relate organically to the Mission St sidewalk. You can nitpick at it if you like, and you wouldn't necessarily be wrong. But the big picture seems decent enough.
The Staff Report recommends approval, and as far as these things go, there doesn't seem much reason to contest it.
It looks like the written record will be held open for another 7 days in case SCAN wants to bring more criticism, and maybe it will have to get voted on next month. Maybe, too, the zoning change Hearing on the 20th will complicate things. In the meantime, it seems neither catastrophic nor terrible.
Update 2, September 19th
Here's the Staff Report on the zoning change, which recommends approval.
This discussion of encroachment seems nuanced and reasonable, and interestingly seems to lean in the direction of a form-based code type interpretation:
Neither the classification of historic districts or resources as "Residential" or "Commercial," nor the design standards which implement tham take the place of the zoning code in establishing permitted land uses. The predominantly residential Gaiety Hill/Bush's Pasture Park Historic District includes some non-residential uses, just as the "Commercial" Salem downtown Historic District includes some residential uses. In summary, the Residential Historic District designation is implemented by standards limiting incompatible design, materials, scale, and intensity of development - but not the specific uses allowed on the subject property....Some critics want to freeze the district in its "period of significance" from 1878 to 1938, but of course that would be peak streetcar era, and critics may not also be willing to dethrone the personal automobile for residents. Our historicism is not always deeply considered, and the City here may actually situate the historic district in a stronger sense of unfolding and active history than do critics, who sometimes want something more static.
The CO (Commercial Office) zone is frequently found along buffers between single family residential areas and more intensive commercial uses...City records indicated that CO zoning has abutted RS zoning along the corridor since at least 1976, prior to the designation of the Gaiety Hill/Bush's Pasture Park Historic District.
At any rate, I find the City's answers persuasive here.