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March 17, 2016

“Difficult” historic housing plan gets an ARB “massage”

67 Waterloo St. Project
• What: 10 proposed townhouses in Warrenton Historic District.

• Site: 0.57 acre, where Eppa Hunton House and additions housed Napoleon’s Restaurant. Fire in July 2014 damaged the historic buildings beyond repair, forcing demolition.

• Property owner: Horacio Magalhaes, H&C Investors LLC of Manassas Park.

• Architect: David Norden.

• Townhouses: Three- and four-story units, 24 feet wide and 42 feet deep.

• Needed: Certificate of appropriateness from Architectural Review Board.

• Previous: ARB rejected plan in September; applicant attempted to appeal to town council, which sent project back to review board. The ARB on Thursday, Feb. 25, postponed a decision and agreed to conduct work sessions with applicant.

• Next: The ARB will conduct another work session with the applicant next month.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Architects for the 67 Waterloo St. townhouse project will head back to the drawing table after Wednesday night’s work session with the Warrenton Architectural Review Board.

During the 105-minute discussion, the ARB worked with the applicant’s architects to “massage” the proposed design for 10 townhouses to fit historic district guidelines.

ARB members James "J" Tucker, Steve Wojcik and Melissa Wiedenfeld attended the meeting.

In February, the ARB postponed a decision on the project that calls for six units facing Smith Street and four along Diagonal Street.

H&C Investors LLC of Manassas Park owns the half-acre lot that sits in the historic district at a transition between residential to commercial uses in Old Town.

“I realize this is a difficult lot, but it was difficult lot when you bought it,” Ms. Wiedenfeld said.

In September, the board voted, 5-0, to deny a certificate of appropriateness, required for construction in the Warrenton Historic District.

The applicant tried to appeal that September decision to the town council. But, the council agreed that the plan had changed significantly and sent the application back to the review board.

ARB members Wednesday discussed their concerns with massing, scale, buffering, height and the projects relationship to Waterloo Street.

“The sawtooth design concerned all of us,” Ms. Wiedenfeld said of the proposed arrangement of townhouses coming down Diagonal and Smith streets.

David Norden, the architect for the project, supported the “sawtooth” arrangement, showing an earlier plan not submitted to the ARB.

“In our original plan, we were parallel on Waterloo Street with the sawtooth (design) on the side streets . . . If you put all of the (townhouses) together, it looks like a solid block,” Mr. Norden said.

The townhouses would measure 24 feet wide by 44 feet deep.

“Waterloo needs to be respected,” Ms. Wiedenfeld said.

Mr. Tucker said the proposed porches facing Waterloo Street would “become a collecting place for Big Wheels (children’s toys) . . . towels from the WARF.”

Ms. Wiedenfeld added, “That’s not something you should see in the historic districts.”

The ARB asked the applicant to work on five key issues:

• Place townhouses facing Waterloo Street, the main thoroughfare, instead of the side streets.

• The “sawtooth” design doesn’t respect the historic district.

• The townhouses must not exceed three stories, according to historic district guidelines.

• Scale and massing to other neighborhood buildings and residences need to be addressed.

• Walls or fences should not exceed 6 feet tall.

“You presented something overwhelming . . . in a historic district,” Mr. Tucker said of the original drawings. “Come back with a design that wows us.”

Both parties agreed to continue the discussion.

“This is really important that we get this right,” Ms. Wiedenfeld said.

Architects will adjust designs to meet the historic district guidelines and bring the results to another work session.

The ARB probably will vote Thursday, March 24, to delay a decision another month.

Board members Carole Hertz and Carter Nevill missed the work session.

Albert Hinckley, senior partner in Mr. Norden’s architecture firm, and John Foote, the applicant’s lawyer, also took part in the discussion.

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BJ · March 22, 2016 at 6:30 pm
Put a pretty little park there with a fountain and benches and shade trees, turn it over to the Masters Gardeners as a teaching garden, and be done with it.
EdithDH · March 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm
It's incredible the amount of wasted time the town has spent on trying to keep this project from happening, not to mention the waste of money. Are you trying to tell us that David Norton, a life-long resident of Warrenton who served on the Warrenton Town Council for 3 terms can't design a set of townhouses to the town specifications? Maybe he should read p.69, Guidelines for New Construction from the Warrenton Historic District Design Guidelines adopted in 2008 and amended in 2014. By the way, he is acknowledged in the credits and acknowledgement section. Looks like from the aforementioned document that the town isn't asking for anything more than what the guidelines require. So...why can't a set of plans be presented that meets these guidelines?? Ian tired of looking at that vacant lot. But more importantly, I am tired of why that lot is still vacant.
BJ · March 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm
How bad can this be compared to the "Cube Smart" fiasco?
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