Evanston’s Preservation Commission will be asked Tuesday to issue a certificate of appropriateness for construction of a planned contemporary-style home at 1210 Maple Ave. in the Ridge Historic District.
The new home, designed by Evanston architect Nathan Kipnis, would have a passive home certification. City staff says the plans are zoning compliant.
The site is on part of an oversize lot that also holds the existing home at 1214 Maple Ave. whose owners are seeking to subdivide their property.
Three neighbors on the block have already filed email messages with the commission opposing the plans — arguing that the new home’s design is not compatible with the existing, mostly Victorian, structures on the block.
“How could modern construction such as the intended design possibly be viewed by the Commission to be in keeping with the existing architecture within the District,” wrote Stephanie Fine of 1242 Maple Ave.
Martha Stockton of 1220 Maple Ave., an architect, compared the new design unfavorably to an infill home on the block at 1241 Maple Ave. constructed about 15 years ago that she said “blends into the block beautifully.”
Stockton says questions why the planned owner of the new house, Margaret Stender, “likes the block she is moving onto,” and suggest she consider “whether her new home will contribute to or detract from the strong historic aesthetic of the street.”
Jeffrey Hickey of 1227 Maple Ave., and the other neighbors also complained that they “are not allowed significant changes to the exterior of our homes.”
As outlined in a memo by City Planner Cade Sterling, the commission has a 16-point list for judging whether new construction is appropriate.
Those standards demand “visual compatibility” in a variety of structural elements.
But at the same time they say that “innovative design for new construction … shall not be discouraged” and that for new construction “the Commission shall not impose a requirement for the use of a single architectural style or period.”
In an exhibit submitted to the commission, Kipnis, the new home’s architect, argues that there are many similarities in the proportion of design elements between the proposed house and the Victorian-era townhomes directly across the street.
The commission meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the City Council Chambers at the Civic Center.
Under the city code, a decision by the commission to deny the certificate of appropriateness can be appealed to the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee.