The Rome Historic Preservation Commission lived up to its name Wednesday, recommending that the full City Commission deny an application from three property owners for the removal of four lots from the East Rome Historic District. Owners of the property, Jerry Daniels, Gary Daniels and Wayne Robinson, contended their lots were an island surrounded by nothing of historical significance. But the HPC agreed with neighbors who argued that removing the four lots could pave the way for future changes they claim would diminish property values.
Owners of 305, 309, 211 and 315 E. Seventh Ave. have petitioned for removal from the East Rome Historic District, and the issue will now go to the City Commission, which will conduct another public hearing and vote on Aug. 12.
“You look 360 degrees around us and nothing represents the historic district anywhere around,” said Gary Daniels. “We’re like an island. You have the condos across from us built in 1986, and then you have the apartments on the end built in 2001. Everything else around us is commercial.”
The planning office staff analysis of the request contends that the properties in question are the last remaining historic buildings in this area of East Seventh Street. The homes were built between the 1870s and 1940s.
Pat McConnell, president of the Colony Park Condominiums homeowners association, spoke against the proposal and argued that it appeared removal of the lots from the historic district would be the first step toward conversion to future commercial development.
“We are worried about increased traffic, increased noise and increased security issues,” McConnell said.
HPC member Roger Wade said that commercial use is certainly permitted within historic districts and that the HPC doesn’t have any say in zoning issues.
“I see no reason to hold these people hostage in a situation with their real estate when it’s all commercial wrapped around them and multi-family and condominiums.”
The commission voted 6-1, with Wade, the lone dissenting vote, to recommend the lots remain in the historic district.
In other action, the HPC approved plans for a new single family home at 507 Cleveland Ave. in the College Heights Historic District; OK’d a request for construction of a 16-foot by 21-foot rear accessory building at 207 E. Fifth Ave. in the Between the Rivers Historic District; approved some changes to the material used on the “Hoyt Hill” townhome condominiums being built at 603 W. First St., but left the height of a fence that will go around the gated community up to the Board of Adjustments.
Finally, Robinson, won approval for a major facade change at 239 Broad St., home of Crawdaddy’s Restaurant. He explained that the changes would help create an oyster bar just inside the front entrance, hopefully expose old original arched windows and allow for development of a door and stairway leading to the second floor in the future.