ESP, Inc. supported Boulevard Park Neighborhood Association’s request that a developer modify a proposed new building design on the alley at 2207 C Street. ESP, Inc. supports creative alley infill projects that are “context-appropriate” for the neighborhoods. It is our hope that the builder modifies his plan and continues with a vital, neighborhood appropriate project. Following is the full text of our letter.
31 January 2011
RE: Proposed 2207 C Street Alley Infill Project
East Sacramento Preservation, Inc. (ESP), a neighborhood advocacy group representing East Sacramento, has been asked by the Boulevard Park Neighborhood Association to comment on a proposed alley infill residential project at 2207 C Street in midtown Sacramento. The city’s neighborhood associations have an imperative to request that development projects meet minimum design standards for compatibility with historic neighborhoods so that these communities can maintain their cohesiveness and desirability as places to live, work and recreate.
ESP fully supports the idea of alley infill housing which creates, in the words of a prominent alley developer, “alley-front homes that are context-appropriate. With attention to material, color, and finish selections, these new buildings [should] respond to their neighborhoods and create new life in our urban alleys.” This proposed project is deficient from this perspective. We therefore encourage the city to request that this project team “massage” the design concept to recognize its context and ameliorate the building’s scale, mass and visual impact on the neighborhood. Design measures should be incorporated that acknowledge both its location in a proposed historic district and the city’s Central Neighborhood Design Guidelines.
As is common in many controversial project proposals, the root issue probably comes down to trying to squeeze too much structure on too small a site. (It should be noted that the median square footage of newly built homes in the US fell to 2,065 square feet in 2009.) At the same time, we feel that modern buildings and existing historic fabric can be compatible with the right design and encourage the owner/developer to continue to work with their architect and their future neighbors to come to a satisfactory, compromise solution.
Land Use Committee
Board Member, East Sacramento Preservation, Inc.