In their discussion, the HPC once again struggled with the issues of compatibility. Making reference to case studies in Sense of Place: Design Guidelines for New Construction in Historic Districts, a publication of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, HPC member Phil Forman asked the applicant and his architect if they had considered any other changes, besides eliminating the carport, "in acknowledgment of other buildings on Rossman." The answer was no.
HPC member Miranda Barry, considering setback, opined, "It's not that the situation of the house couldn't work. It's neither a strikingly original design or one that blends." Architect member Chris Perry spoke at length about setback, enumerating the setbacks of all the houses on both sides of Rossman Avenue, concluding that the setbacks on the street were eclectic. He also noted that, on the issues of scale and setback, the proposed house was "clearly a lot smaller, and the setback is a lot greater."
HPC chair Rick Rector reminded the commission that scale is the "No. 1 criterion" and observed that, in scale, the proposed building was "dramatically different from the surrounding properties."
Perry noted that the Arts & Crafts bungalow at 3 Rossman Avenue is an "anomaly in scale, but it holds the street wall." Referring to the standards of compatibility, Perry said of the houses on the street, "Others are compliant in some respects but not others. This one [the proposed house] is compliant in none of them."
Before the vote was taken, Peggy Polenberg interjected, addressing her fellow HPC members, "This is related, even if you don't want to hear it. We didn't have a problem when [former HPC member] Tony Thompson wanted to built his black boxes on Willard Place," adding that she did not have a problem with them.
A motion to grant a certificate of appropriateness was then called for and seconded. Polenberg voted yes, to grant the certificate of appropriateness; the other six members--Gini Casasco, David Voorhees, Rector, Forman, Perry, and Barry--voted no. The certificate of appropriateness was denied.
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