Commission considers N. Main property demolition
By Stephanie Johns
The Historic Preservation Commission voted to allow a building demolition and an alteration to an outbuilding during its November meeting. They also participated in a conceptual discussion of a new railroad building.
The request that prompted the most discussion, though, was construction of a side addition.
Commissioner Joe Smith recused himself from that design review and presented plans for the construction of a 20 x 18 foot side addition at 507 S. Main St.
A question about the visual impact the addition would have on the house prompted a lengthy discussion. The entire discussion about the addition – from Smith’s presentation to the commission voting – took almost one hour and 15 minutes.
Toward the end of the discussion Commissioner Richard Simpson clarified the arguments: if the addition is too big it throws off the proportion of the structure. If the addition is too small it looks like a bathroom addition.
Commission chair Marti Jessup reminded the commissioners that they could not base their votes on whether or not they like the design but must base it on whether or not the design meets their guidelines.
In the end the request was approved as submitted.
As to the other requests that night, I.V. Henry, the potential owner of 818 N. Main St., sought permission to demolish the primary structure if he were to purchase the property. The current owners shared that they had been unable to maintain the property.
An inspection of the house found it to be in “fairly poor condition,” according to Ken Kocher, HPC Consultant.
The house, dating from the late 1930s, was one of the few African American resources in the district.
Commissioner Richard Simpson said that they have participated in letting that area go.
Michael Hollis applied to the HPC to alter an outbuilding at 614 N. Main St. His brother, Selwyn Hollis, presented the application at the HPC.
They want to add a fourth wall to the current building, a three-sided machine shed. They also want to add a floor on cinderblocks, windows, an entry door in the front and a carriage door in the back.
Shandon Land, chair of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), and DDA member Everett Royal shared the DDA’s concept plan associated with relocating a historic train depot donated to the DDA by Norfolk Southern.
As part of the DDA’s agreement with the railroad, the DDA must provide a replacement building to be used as a line shack with storage space as well as an office/training area and a bathroom. The building will have a handicap accessible ramp in the back. Final dimensions for the building: 32 x 16.
While no vote was taken, Commissioner Stratton Hicky said the design looked reasonable and Simpson said he thought it was appropriate.
Administrative approvals included the following: a change in roofing materials at 386 Academy St. and at 389 W. Central Ave., screening a rear porch at 156 Academy St. and adding porch handrails at 356 S. Main St.
Printed in the November 22, 2012 edition