887 Locust Avenue

This link is to the BAR 30 minute discussion regarding 887 Locust Avenue, an example of new construction in the Martha Jefferson Neighborhood CV which underwent review by the BAR. This BAR/homeowner interaction was raised during the 4/10/17 WMNA Board meeting. The owner of the property reportedly found interacting with the BAR to be burdensome and expensive. This corner lot addition, located in the Martha Jefferson Conservation district, was reviewed by the BAR 3/15/2016.

old addition

The old addition was torn off.

north elevation 887 Locust

A new addition was added, and one window size was changed on the front part of the house.

887 Locust North Elevation

The BAR has a reputation amongst many as being out of touch, aloof and overbearing in their handling of architectural matters that increase expense to the homeowner. Their regulation does increase construction and maintenance costs in the Architectural Design Control districts. Take, for example, clapboard siding. It is a lot cheaper to own and maintain an aluminum sided home than a wood sided home.

The BAR that sits in Judgement of CV new construction is the same BAR that rules on ADCs, so it is understandable that Woolen Mills Residents might be leery of these perceived patricians.

Have you ever attended a BAR meeting? Historic Preservation 100 years ago was about the Houses Of Great Men. Times have changed, and have been changing since President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Historic Preservation Act into law in October 1966, formally recognizing historic preservation as an important policy of the United States establishing the framework and incentives to preserve historic buildings, landscapes, and archaeology. These heritage resources help us learn from the past, shape our sense of place, anchor economic revitalization, and ensure a more sustainable future for our neighborhood.

The BAR has changed too. They are about more than fancy houses on Park Street. In September of this year they enthusiastically and unanimously recommended an overlay for the Woolen Mills neighborhood, celebrating our collection of vernacular architecture, the “mish mash” of the Woolen Mills. They feel that our place matters. They feel that our place is under threat.

The BAR understands that our neighborhood has a different populace than Park Street. The re-write of the CV ordinance and “guidelines” reflects that understanding.

If you’ve never attended a BAR meeting, 887 Locust is a good place to start. Listen to the staff report (recommending approval of the 887 Locust addition). Listen to the comments and questions from the BAR. Listen to the solution arrived at. Read the application from the homeowner.

I think the change the BAR requested required the homeowner to increase the interior wall thickness along 12 linear feet of their house resulting in a loss of approximately 3.5 square feet of floor space and a slightly increased expenditure on construction materials and labor. (maybe they employed a different, more expensive route? I am speculating from the floor plans)

The application for the 887 Locust COA was submitted 2/18/16. The application (with one change) was approved at the next BAR meeting 3/15/16. The process didn’t drag out.

BAR_887 Locust Avenue_March 2016sm