Historic District Commission OKs new construction, studio addition
By Samantha Jones
Jeff Chapman and Stan Dubois can continue working on their new construction at 304 Spring St.
On Wednesday, July 3, the Eureka Springs Historic District Commission approved the request for new construction, a studio addition, additional architectural detail and a new picket fence on the property. According to the summary of facts, the property is not contributing to the historic district. Commissioner Judy Holden read the requests, saying the property owners hope to move existing light fixtures to a new exterior wall, add decorative overhang to the shutters and paint the colors to match the house.
Laura Lee Wilcox, who lives next door to the property, said she never received a letter informing her of the work. Wilcox said she spoke with one of the property owners, who told her the project has been approved by the city because it is a home occupation.
"This is the first I've heard that term," Wilcox said. "I personally find this unacceptable based on the fact that it's still a business where people will come and go."
Wilcox said she didn't want the business to operate in a residential area.
"It has also been brought to my attention they have no off-street parking," Wilcox said.
Chairman Steve Holifield said the commission can only approve design guidelines.
"I was told that, but I was told to go ahead and say this," Wilcox said.
"A lot of what you said has nothing to do with what we can approve," Holifield said.
City preservation officer Glenna Booth said there iso a whole page in the Eureka Springs Municipal Code that sets out the parameters for a home occupation.
"The owner can have a business there if it falls in the guidelines," Booth said.
Commissioner Dee Bright asked Chapman about parking, saying it's possible his clients could park in his driveway.
"They could, but I don't think there's ever been a problem parking down where we live," Chapman said. "I've lived there for a year and two months, and the street is always open."
Bright reiterated that the commission can only consider design guidelines and moved to approve the work at 304 Spring. The commission unanimously voted to do so.
The commission then heard from Melissa and Michael Brooks about new construction at 159 Spring. According to the summary of facts, the three-level home would include a residence and two rental units. Neighbor Mark Hughes said he initially doubted the project but worked with the planning commission to create a design that works for everyone.
"Most of my concerns were alleviated when they proposed the current design, which was to take something sprawling and stack it," Hughes said. "The current design of the building seems very attractive to me. I like the look. I think it looks more attractive for a city like Miami or Palm Springs."
Michael Brooks said the design wouldn't clash with the Victorian homes in the neighborhood.
"We've studied a lot of Victorian homes and some of the homes that are on Spring … they're all decorated up," he said. "They look really pretty and cute with the plants and stuff, but how much of them are really Victorian?"
Bright said the commission isn't asking anyone to build a "fake Victorian home."
"Being compatible does not require matching or copying historic designs," Bright said. "That is not our design guidelines."
The commission voted unanimously to approve the work.
Also at the meeting, the commission approved a new gate at 109 Wall, a new sign at 51B S. Main, a new sign at 78 Spring and repainting and replacing rotten siding at 4 Prospect.
The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, at the Auditorium.