De Tonty Street & the Limits of Historic Preservation in the City of St. Louis

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De Tonty Commons - UIC
{rendering of a courtyard at De Tonty Commons – UIC proposal}

The 4100 block of De Tonty Street in the City of St. Louis Shaw neighborhood has been vacant for more than a decade. Fourteen lots are empty, cleared in fits and starts beginning in 1998 with the demolition of a four-family building. Two more demos came in 1999, two in 2000, four in 2002 and the final two in 2007. The city’s Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) now owns all 14. In all, at least forty residential units once occupied the site.

One week ago, UIC, the architecture and design firm whose vision has unexpectedly transformed a forgotten in-between city neighborhood into a model for redevelopment, presented the city’s Cultural Resources Office with a plan for De Tonty. The plan calls for 16 single-family homes oriented toward two courtyards and away from De Tonty and the abutting Interstate 44. If the history, market and I-44 weren’t enough of a challenge, the site sits within the Shaw Historic District. And this is where things get interesting.

While neighborhoods can be designated historic at the federal and state level, it’s the local historic district that affords the most control, is the most prescriptive. Implemented and approved by a district's residents, local historic district regulations can only be amended by residents. Land-use decisions reside at the local level and everything from the aspect ratio of windows to building setback to chimney height can be prescribed. The purpose is to preserve the historic aesthetic in each and every contributing structure, new or old.

De Tonty Commons - UIC
{De Tonty Commons site plan – UIC proposal}


{aerial view of 4100 De Tonty}

Of 11 points considered by the CRO regarding the UIC De Tonty proposal, it determined the project complied with just three; those pertaining the landscaping, other ground cover and parking. Three were inconclusive and five considered “Does not comply”. With significant community support, a development can go to the city’s Preservation Board to appeal a CRO denial, and perhaps prevail. Often, non-compliant elements can be tweaked, or modified to comply.

Looking at individual criteria in this case, begins to illustrate the limitations of the existing Shaw Historic District code:

A. Height: New buildings or altered existing buildings, including all appurtenances, must be
Constructed within 15% of the average height of existing residential buildings on the block.
Does not comply. The remaining buildings on the block are two stories.

Here the block consists of six buildings and 15 vacant lots. It appears that the proposed construction is likely just less than within 15% of the average height of existing buildings.

B. Location:
Location and spacing of new buildings should be consistent with existing patterns on the block. Width of new buildings should be consistent with existing buildings. New buildings should be positioned to conform to the existing uniform set back.
Does not comply. While along De Tonty there is a variety of residential building types ― one‐, two‐ and four‐family buildings ― all are sited to face the street and conform to a consistent setback. The proposed development will create two “courts” perpendicular to De Tonty, each with 8 houses facing an interior walk.

The CRO evaluation recognizes the precedent within Shaw of residential courts (Hortus Court probably being the most similar), but concludes that existing examples are much deeper, and do not present all homes to a street view, as does the proposed development.

De Tonty Street
{the De Tonty Street site today}

The recommendation goes on to explain that De Tonty Commons wouldn’t comply with Shaw Historic District regulations for exterior materials (it needs to all be brick), architectural detail (the proposal doesn’t replicate details already present), and roof shape (the dominant type is flat). Others have envisioned infill that would likely pass CRO muster, including this proposal from What Should Be on nextSTL. LRA ownership means, in effect, that whatever is built will require the approval of 8th Ward Alderman Stephen Conway and the Missouri Botanical Garden, just a few blocks away. The city will not approve a development plan opposed by either. The CRO recommendation is just step one in the development process and it's anticipated that UIC will present the development for review again and work with residents and city representatives to address concerns.

De Tonty Commons - UIC
{profile of De Tonty Commons home – UIC}

Here, the issues seem larger than the pitch of the roof. Local historic district regulations serve a purpose; to preserve the historic integrity of a neighborhood, district, or portion of a city. This is what prevents Home Depot doors on Soulard homes and cinder block retaining walls in Benton Park. This tells a homeowner than an investment in their historic home won’t be deadened by a neighbor’s chain link fence or ill-fitted white vinyl windows. And local historic districts have been found to enhance property values.

So what’s not to like? For the heart of historic districts, little. In fact, preservation districts evolved from the recognition that a single historic landmark deserves to retain its context. Virtually no one would like to see contemporary infill sandwiched between a couple 1895 Victorians facing Lafayette Square Park, though it’s debatable whether or not historic district guidelines there have produced anything more than noticeably off-kilter facsimiles of their historic neighbors.

LafSq new
{historic district regulations in Lafayette Square have produced attractive, but fake historic infill}


{a previous more traditional infill proposal for 4100 De Tonty has long since disappeared}

If the De Tonty site were at Cleveland and Lawrence, the heart of Shaw, the discussion would be different. However, along its entire length it faces a 15-foot Interstate embankment. Is it reasonable to require the same exacting standard as new infill on Flora Place? Whether or not one fully endorses the existing UIC proposal, the limitations of our existing development framework is acutely antiquated. The existing UIC proposal has likely already been limited and contorted in an attempt to conform as much as possible to historic district guidelines. What would be possible if the visioning process was more open for public considering?

A basic proposal: local historic districts should be regulated by gradation. Back to Lafayette Square: it serves neither the local historic district, nor the immediate surrounding neighborhoods to have drastic shifts in building regulation across a city street. Historic district regulation should move from strict at a district’s defining core or places, toward a form-based code at the edges. This would do more to preserve an historic district than current regulations as it would preserve a feeling of place by graying the line between the regulated historic district and a free-for-all.

Imagine a Lafayette Square that invites reinterpretations of Victorian homes (new materials used on the same basic building envelope for instance) on streets such as Dolman or Chouteau at the district’s edge. Imagine single-story homes, vinyl siding and certain commercial developments not being allowed across the street from where now it’s required to build to particular exacting standards.

In Shaw this would mean recognizing the challenges facing the De Tonty site. In general, facing the Interstate is not something a homebuyer would value. Why force new development to do so when the highway’s intrusion is clearly a massive hindrance, and one that existing century-old homes obviously did not have to consider? How can any development code refuse to acknowledge the existence of an urban Interstate?

Any city needs housing options. The City of St. Louis needs more than most. Our greatest asset may be our historic building stock, but it’s also acts as a hindrance to attracting new residents. When historic district regulations clearly prescribe an unnatural solution to a decade old complex land-use issue, those regulations should be reevaluated and reconsidered. Historic districts and preservation must evolve from freezing time to creating better cities that fit existing context. Residents of St. Louis local historic districts should reevaluate the limitations imposed by current regulations. The thick solid lines demarcating historic from non should be blurred. Better historic districts and a better St. Louis would result.


De Tonty Commons – St. Louis City Cultural Resources Office Submittal – July 10, 2013
by nextSTL.com

Shaw Neighborhoood Historic District Standards – St. Louis, MO by nextSTL.com

City of St. Louis Preservation Board Agenda July 22 2013 by nextSTL.com

Press Release: UIC Announces DeTonty Commons Project in Shaw Neighborhood by nextSTL.com

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  • skoz

    Does anyone have an example of a large historic urban infill project in another city such as Chicago that they feel both paid respect to historical surroundings and also solved logistical location/neighborhood challenges, with the final result being widely considered successful? I’m just curious to hear “Why _____ project *did* work in _____ city” rather than “Why *this* project won’t work in St. Louis.”

  • Monte

    Alex, I appreciate the issues you raised in the article. I live in Shaw. In fact, I live on DeTonty and have done for 13 years. My two comments are (1) this project has remained largely a well kept secret between the developer and the Shaw Housing Corporation up until a couple of weeks ago, in spite of the “6 month review period” Brett mentions below. The actual residents of Shaw are only now beginning to learn of this and many of us are not at all pleased.
    (2) Historic neighborhood districts are not built block by block but that is a great way to deconstruct one. There are definitely drawbacks to living in a historic district. You can’t repair your home with cheap materials, the latest “industry standard”, etc. You can’t put a junk car up on blocks in front of your house for weeks on end. Etc. On the other hand, when people buy here they know what they are getting into. Shaw is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city but without the past 40-50 years of historic guidelines enforcement by neighbors who love and care about it. we would not be in that position.

    The proper approach to the market problems posed by DeTonty and the Hwy 44 frontage would be to work on improving the infrastructure and existing homes on that street first, then build better homes later. There is a similar improvement program going on just one street to the south (Shaw Blvd). If we build cheap crap on DeTonty we will be stuck with decaying property that transitions into a rental ghetto in 12 to 15 years. No way that is happening.

  • Marshall Howell

    I do not find those home appealing in the least bit.

  • SikofFalln

    I support this project fully, and I think that UIC has done a creative job at filling a void within Shaw. As a resident of Shaw, in a historic 116 year old home, I realize that the proposed homes at Detonty are not an exact fit with the existing housing stock. What they are though, are affordable single family homes that would attract new young families to our amazing neighborhood, and likely the best laid plans towards fixing a gaping hole.

    • Alex Ihnen

      But then isn’t the question that if Shaw residents want to make significant exceptions to the historic district code, that the code itself should be revisited?

      • SikofFalln

        It is my very humble opinion that the historic code should remain intact with few exceptions, such as Detonty. The code has its place, it helps to keep the neighborhood’s integrity intact. I know that I am contradicting myself, but Detonty should be given special consideration, esp since the freeway was not there when the neighborhood was established. In the end, I would just love to see the void in Shaw filled with affordable single family homes. I know that there are affordable homes here, but they are still well out of the range of most young couples, and the ones that are within range require substantial work. Detonty would help address this issue.

  • guest

    Not trying to hijack the thread here, but I think it would be interesting to read more about why there are so few historic districts in St. Louis County and other places outside of the City of St. Louis? Do they not value their histories as much in those places, or just not have the infrastructure in place to create historic districts? For example, are there any national register historic districts in say, Kirkwood, Webster, U City or Ferguson? Those are all pretty historic areas.

    • Alex Ihnen

      This would make for an interesting article. My guess is, in part, that historic districts are often enacted to fight disinvestment, the potential loss of homes and buildings. If a community is healthy economically, that threat is lessened. However, in Kirkwood, for example, we’ve seen an anti-teardown effort aimed at preserving the existing community aesthetic. There may also be an issue simply regarding the age of the buildings and the desire to keep 1880s brick homes, or Victorians, to a certain aesthetic measure while we feel less impulse to do so with 1930s/40s bungalows. Also FWIW, here’s a map of Webster Grove’s historic districts: http://mo-webstergroves2.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/439

  • PhilS

    Could something like this be approved in the city if the developed area is too large to be infill? If it’s a large enough area does it need to conform? How did Pruitt-Igoe and LaClede Town get through?

    • Alex Ihnen

      This issue here is largely that the site is within the Shaw Local Historic District.

  • My blood boils at the sight of the first illustration. Regardless of brick, vinyl, or mud exterior….regardless of the cheap-tiny little windows that will inevitably be used…..those designs, along with many others that have already been built in STL, are *not in any way suitable* for an urban environment. There are ~300,000 people in the city now and ‘good’ neighborhoods are often a brick’s-throw away from ‘bad’ ones. Like every other major city, we have to take safety and security into account when designing new homes. This doesn’t mean that we need security fences and gun-turrets. It does, however, mean the putting large open porches right up against a sea of waist-high glass windows and doors is a criminally dumb f*cking idea.

    And yes, btw, when you live close together like most of us in the city do…it matters what your neighbor builds. With freedom comes responsibility. If you want to build a craptastic vinyl-wonder…go somewhere where it blends in.

    On the flip side, I can think of several infill projects around the city that have done a pathetically poor job of imitating history yet I cannot think of any that did it well. Does anyone have photos of good multi-unit infill, even if it’s just complimentary in context?

  • musigny

    I dont know what the voting rules are for changes to be allowed by the neighborhood, but ultimately, this is a decision the residents should make. would they like to continue with the status quo? empty blocks, marginal properties that are historic but poorly maintained/dangerous? Or would they like to be flexible and work to develop the neighborhood.

    It seems to me that shaw has structural challenges that cannot be fixed with the existing structure. It will continue to be a partly fantastic and partly marginal community if the exisiting rules are not changed. or it might be a slightly less authentic but more viable neighborhood. Or, I suppose it’s possible that allowing this development would do nothing special and we would be back to square 1. Seems unlikely, but should the residents get to decide? seems like they should.

    • some Shaw resident

      When was the last time that you visited Shaw? The neighborhood is doing pretty well, and home values have been climbing just within the last few months. There have been examples of people putting properties on the market, being laughed at for the high price they were asking, and then homes selling immediately. As in, under contract before the open house even starts. The neighborhood is doing just fine.

  • dempster holland

    I grew up in the Central West End and now live in webster Groves. Each of
    these areas have a diverse style of buildings and architecture. When they
    were developed between 1880 and 1970, there was no group telling each
    property owner what to do, or how high to make the building, or what the
    window size should be, or any of the numerous rules which now seem to
    guide city development. Nor did a builder have to run around pleasing an
    alderman (how about a ticket to my fund-raiser?) or groveling before some
    twenty-something cultural assistant (“this is the newest idea). Rather, the
    building decisions were made by the builder who had to please the market
    but could do so in his own way. As a result, in both the CWE and in Webster
    we have a quite interesting variety of building styles, and have the very essence of what urban activists seem to like about cities.

    • agitatedbacon

      For every success story like Webster Groves and the CWE there are thirty unsustainable Chesterfields out there. Builders will always build the option that makes them the most money if given the option, but the externality caused of allowing willy-nilly demolition (ala SLU) and consturction in an urban city can be disasterous.

      • dempster holland

        post world war 2 dvelopment was also characterized by rigid
        rules, particularly relating to a larger lot size and the nearly
        complete seperation of retail from residential. This led to a much less dense and less interesting urban form. It occured
        generally in the suburbs because by the 1940s the city was
        generally completely built up. In some suburban areas,
        there has been a partial retreat from the earlier rigorous
        standardswith Planned Unit Developments and I have observed a few of these with small retail stores.
        In general, however, I think that urban planning has too
        often substituted the judgement of planners for builders
        to the detriment of variety. There have to be some rules
        of course (the classic being a prohibition of “slaughter
        houses”)and I agree it is hard to know where to draw the
        line. But I think some of the examples in historic zones have gone much too far

    • guest

      So you’re saying if I own a lot in Webster in an historic neighborhood, I ought to be able to put up whatever tacky vinyl sided ranch home I like regardless of what local neighborhood plans for historic neighborhoods might require? So, what you’re really saying is that you’re opposed to neighborhood plans, right?

      • dempster holland

        Right. That is how Webster was built. Look at many examples
        of small houses built next to large houses. Fortunately most
        were built with good taste, but there were admittedly some
        with tacky vinyl siding. Life is not perfect; neither are cities

        • guest

          Personally, I’m glad that local codes would prohibit a tacky vinyl sided ranch house in Soulard or Lafayette Square.

          I think we’re all the better for it. Further, had locals not fought for such standards back in the 70s, those neighborhoods might not have survived.

    • Alex Ihnen

      We may also be well served to remember that the reason that St. Louis is a brick city is in large part due to that onerous rule that required builders to use building materials that wouldn’t burn like balloon frame homes. Lot sizes were also generally dictated by government regulation.

      • dempster holland

        I agree that government regulations have often dictated lot
        size, and that is what had led to large lot subdivions which
        characterize many suburbs. My point is that most activists
        who prefer a dense urban enviornment do not like these
        large lot subdivisions, and correctly note that they cause urban
        sprawl and necessitate more highways, both of which the
        activists also do not .. My point is that government regu-
        lation of what is “good” is not always going to lead to
        acceptabl4e results As to the rule requiring brick, I have never
        heard of that and would point out that there are many wood
        frame houses in St Louis city (fire stops are required)

        • john w.

          I believe Alex was referring to a historic period in the decades immediately following the 1871 Chicago Fire, and not to the preponderance of brick constructed homes versus frame homes that can be easily seen in large numbers throughout the city. My 1906 1-1/2 story home at the city/county line is the typical 12″ brick bearing (3 wythes) with 1″ interior plaster (measured 13″ thick) at the main floor, and frame gable-end walls at the 2nd floor, and in the Maplewood area there are hundreds of big American 4-squares and other similar two-story homes of frame construction that date from the 1890s (or earlier) to 1920s… so yes, there are many frame houses in the city of St. Louis.

      • PhilS

        I wonder how many have died in conditions of extreme heat over the years because of the city-wide mass of brick and air-flow blocking lots? The Post last year compiled records which indicated over 1500 had died since 1901 due to the heat. Can’t find statistics to compare, say Kansas City, with StL over the same time. But there are several studies which show most heat related deaths occur in urban areas with densely built environments – and this is for the decades prior to A/C so I’m not making a point of the deadly effect of poverty. No one had A/C for the first half of the 20th century. Today, A/C is available for those who can afford it. A/C is an energy suck fighting against structures ill-suited for hot temps. How economically and environmentally sensible are these current (old) rules?

      • samizdat

        Not to mention the huge deposits of excellent clay underneath the City. Local materials and all that.

  • guest

    Does this project request any subsidy from the city? Does it plan any set aside for affordable housing? Does it have the support of the Shaw Neighborhood Housing Corporation? Does it have the support of St. Margaret of Scotland parish council (if there is such a thing)? Does it have the support of Alderman Conway? And why would the Botanical Garden hold a veto over something like this?

  • Steve Kluth

    A. Height: New buildings or altered existing buildings, including all appurtenances, must be constructed within 15% of the average height of existing residential buildings on the block.
    Does not comply. The remaining buildings on the block are two stories.

    If you look at the house drawings, the homes are two floors. You can argue they are more a traditional 1-1/2 story, but the second floor itself will cover the first floor enough that it’s a moot point to most people. The roof ridge will also likely make the height within the 15% of neighborhood’s buildings. The proposed homes are still ugly and don’t fit the neighborhood, but if you’re going to argue everything people will get hung up on the first point on not take you seriously on the rest.

    • guest

      This controversy could have probably been avoided had the developer started out by meeting with neighborhood representatives including Alderman Conway, the city’s building division, and the Cultural Resource Office. Did that happen or did the idea for this project just sort of happen in the developer’s imagination?

      • Alex Ihnen

        Don’t believe this has risen to a “controversy, but you make a good point. I have nothing that says what you suggest was, or was not, done, but what you mention are the basics of getting development done in St. Louis.

        • Brent Crittenden

          To help with the discussion, I have attached the press release that was distributed last week to local media, with other images. The development proposal is the result of a publicly advertised RFP and a 6+ month review process.

          • guest

            Great. So the project is supported by CDA, the alderman, and the neighborhood group, but is not recommended for approval by the planning division. Is this any way to run a railroad?

            Sure, one could say they have to deny it in order to approve it on appeal. But, for the future, why not start lining up the various branches of government and citizen effort to streamline the process? This becomes a leadership challenge.

            A similar situation comes up re. the zoning of long vacant LRA properties (especially vacant lots where buildings were demolished ages ago). Some of these are zoned commercial from the old days when there were corner stores on every block.

            Due to zoning restrictions, to consolidate these lots with neighboring residential lots, hoops must be gone through to gain approval and building permits.

            So why not have planners go through and identify these obsolete commercially zoned LRA lots and rezone them for residential use to conform with the rest of the block?

          • Alex Ihnen

            Regarding the expressed support and recommendation “by the planning division” (CRO), historic districts regulations must be adjudicated by someone. The regulations have the force of law and exceptions can certainly be made. Support for the project would be considered by the city’s Preservation Board. The process may not produce perfect results, but it’s valuable and serves a clear purpose.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Thanks Brent – this really should have been included in the post above. I’ve now added it.

          • guest

            Read the first paragraph of section 6 of the Shaw Historic District standards (the intro), and then explain how this design is acceptable.

      • guest

        The Alderman has concerns with the project, and has relied on Cultural Resources to handle the issue. CRO outlined the plethora of problems with this proposal long before it went to the Preservation Board. Unfortunately, these concerns were almost entirely ignored by UIC, except that they changed the northern houses to brick.

        • Dean

          You make such a blunt statement of “fact”. I would think you would at least sign your name.

  • John Westermayer

    This is a concept similar to New Town in St Charles,which has been a good seller in any city where it is used. Zero lot lines are very attractive to many and would go a long way to attracting new residents to STL.

    • Don

      The problem with New Town St Charles and similar developments (which I agree have been popular) is that they look so contrived and unnatural. Some of this is inevitable because all the structures are about the same age, and the developments are large but they would benefit from more design and materials variety.

      In small amounts like we’re discussing here, I think you’re on to something.

  • Presbyterian

    I guess my thought is that (in most cases) historic preservation should apply to existing historic structures and not to every piece of new construction. If you try to keep an entire “neighborhood” feeling uniformly historic, then the neighborhood can stagnate culturally and become Colonial Williamsburg.

    Perhaps form-based code would be a better tool for regulating new structures. That would control building heights and setbacks to prevent new buildings from dominating a historic district… but would allow the freedom to build a De Stijl house on an empty lot in a neighborhood with lots of Arts and Crafts bungalows.

    Maybe faux historic could be mandated at particularly sensitive or significant locations, but it does sound like Shaw’s statue goes awfully far in regulating the style of new construction.

    • onecity

      I agree with the first two paragraphs, not the third. It’s 2013. No need to build for 1913. We have Zaha Hadid. In 1913, they did not.

      • agitatedbacon

        Zaha Hadid is an artist whose medium is buildings, which is unfortunate for the people who have to occupy them. Her work contains no function, only form. She creates fire stations that can’t be occupied and stadiums with architectural elements blocking sight lines.

        It should be clear after St. Louis destroyed its riverfront and the heart of its business for a massive sculpture masquerading as architecture in the 1960’s that we don’t need more of that philosophy. We need a strongly practical and organic architecture that will help revitalize our city, not create Howard Roark fantasies.

        • Presbyterian

          I would love to live in a Zaha Hadid building. I don’t care if the coffee maker is at the top of a spiral geometry accessible only by rope.

        • dempster holland

          Like that stupid Eiffel Tower? Man does not live by
          bread alonde, and the Arch is, at the least, very
          interesting

          • onecity

            It can be really visually…tiring…to be in St. Louis. There is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much red brick. Everywhere. I am happy to see any kind of architecture that provides relief. Do I love the designs? Depends on the materials used – materials and proportion alone can speak volumes by themselves.

          • samizdat

            If you’re tired of red brick architecture and the St. Louis vernacular, you’re not looking hard enough. There is more than red brick and standard masonry units out there. Mark the craftsmanship, note the myriad of terra cotta designs, and how they were utilized. You need a guide.

            I never get tired of the St. Louis vernacular.

            St. Louis politicians and residents, on the other hand…

    • guest

      In a sense, the Shaw code is a form based code. They are looking for the historic fabric of the neighborhood to drive new development. So, lot patterns is a first step in that path.

  • agitatedbacon

    Why are the admittedly attractive homes in Lafayette Square described as “fake”? That sounds like a holdover from the same modernist philosophy that has consistently failed St. Louis, bringing us Pruitt Igoe and swaths of demolished buildings.

    Why is it an architectural sin to build in a style that has been successful in St. Louis?

    There are things to like about this project. I like the idea of solving the highway problem by facing the buildings inwards towards each other, but the renderings look awful. They look nothing like the “examples” offered of similar buildings in the neighborhood. Rather, they look like what you would get if you were able to buy a house from Ikea: stylish for the moment, but ultimately cheap and fleeting.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I describe the Lafayette Square homes as “fake” because they only approximate their neighboring historic homes. The windows and front doors are smaller, the detail less intricate, the general massing a bit off. It’s just my opinion, but I believe historic district codes should be more nuanced. The homes pictured fronting Lafayette Square should have been subject to greater/better standards. Those being built on Dolman should be held to a slightly different standard.

    • Don

      Well said. I agree completely with Alex for the need for flexibility in historic districts at the margins.

      I like the solution of facing the homes inward to alleviate at least some of the highway problem, and this is a perfect example where the city should find some flexibility.

      But those renderings? “Awful” is the word and this is perfectly stated: ,they look like what you would get if you were able to buy a house from Ikea: stylish for the moment, but ultimately cheap and fleeting.

      On of my regrets is that I didn’t buy one of the cities 1.5 story bungalows 20 years ago in a good spot and renovate it. I would love a modern redesign of the classic bungalows using new materials etc. on this site and preserving it as single family units.

      1920 Mccausland.

  • I love the work that UIC does, and maybe they deserve some leeway here by virtue of that work locally, but on the whole, I wouldn’t support overturning Shaw’s historic guidelines or adjusting its boundaries to fit this in.

    A potential fix could be more traditional two-or-three story multi-tenant flats or apartments on the street side, possible with a wraparound at the corners. This would answer many of the historic districts and regulations and concerns.

    Of course, you lose three or four of what would be one-story single-family structures, so there’s that balance to worry about too…

    • Alex Ihnen

      Right. The article is (meant to be) more a discussion of how we implement local historic district code and less an argument in favor of this specific proposal as-is.