by Michael R. Allen
The owners of #19 Windermere Place want to cut up their historic front porch to add off-street parking to their home. They have applied for a permit to alter the home to create a parking lane that would run at yard grade under the existing canopy — a plan that would remove a section of their original porch deck. What a mistake that would be!
While other houses on the street have off-street driveways, they are either original to the home or did not get built through alterations to the houses. The homes on Windermere Place are part of the Visitation Park Local District (made a City Landmark in 1975 and expanded in 1987). Owners of homes here have to adhere to historic district standards that preclude major alterations like this one; they must get a variance from the Preservation Board to go against the standards.
Rarely does anyone seeking a variance aim to do anything other than damage the architectural quality of both home and street scape. The owners of this house are no exception to the norm.
These owners and those of other properties will be appearing before the Preservation Board at its meeting on Monday, January 23 at 4:00 p.m. at 1015 Locust Street (12th floor meeting room). Thankfully, the Cultural Resources staff recommends denying the permit.
Read the Cultural Resources staff summary of the application to see photographs of the home as well as plans for the remuddling.