HOZ ARB considers 306 Center

During its regular Dec. 10, 2018 meeting, the Forney HOZ Architecture Review Board met and in summary:

  • Held Public Hearing -
    • a request for a certificate of appropriateness, in accordance with the Historic Overlay Zone district regulations, for exterior changes to the main structure at 306 S. Center StreetWatch Video
          Mr. Dixon stated this is for 306 Center - the applicant would like to extend the porches of the main structure and expand the rear corner of the building, expanding the combined square footage of the porches from 760 square feet to 1256 square feet. The intent is for balcony to look similar to the historic design shown in photographs.The house is a historic landmark. Staff received one response against the change.
         Mr. Grooms passed out photographs, and stated house was built in 1886 by D.G. Keller, added onto in 1901. In 1998 home looks the same. He used to own the home, he is opposed to making changes to exterior. The columns in the drawings are round, should be square, likewise for porch railings. City has spent millions on downtown - this is most historically accurate home in the city, don't need to change it, a lot of the building is original. Changing the porches will change the roof pitch. There is nothing structural to require this change, it is all about convenience. The house was built before Dallas was a city.
         Ms. Conaway asked Mr. Grooms about when he started restoring the building - the gingerbread items are made of cypress and are inside the house. The front porch was for sleeping. Upstairs porches were near step-through windows.
         Mr. Dan Sellers, homeowner, said feels like being ambushed by the previous owner. Porches have holes in them, brick was falling down, house was unlevel. He's not changing the looks of it. He's not changing the pitch of the roof. Porch in back would be bigger for his grand-kids to play. He lived in Grand Prairie 39 years, done some restaurants in Forney. His wife found this house while looking for antiques, been sitting empty for 5 years, deteriorating. Spent $300k for a house w/ no electricity or water. He wants to expand porches and make the house beautiful again. The balcony in old pictures, people would sit up there, had a railing. He just wants a permit to get started, doesn't see he's doing anything wrong, just extending porch 5 ft, won't be able to see it. He asked why Mr. Grooms didn't come over and say he didn't want the house changed.
         Mr Cunningham said board was there to preserve integrity and historical value.
         Mr. Sellers asked why Mr. Grooms house had round columns - Mr. Grooms said they are original. Mr. Sellers said they don't like the square columns, it will still look like a historical home.
         Ms. Conaway asked if staff knows about the historic status. The plaque says it is Queen Anne style, the drawing does not reflect that style.
         Mr. Dixon said the historic buildings can't be changed without notifying Tx. Historic Commission 60 days in writing before beginning construction.
         Mr. Morgan said the state would review the plans to see whether the historic plaque could remain.
         Ms. Conaway asked if they don't like the gingerbread style - Mr. Sellers does not. He said there are no columns there now, just 2x4s, it's falling to the ground. The other homes have round columns; he doesn't understand why can't expand the porches.
         Mr. Hansen asked how wide the porch is now - 8 feet?
         Mr. Sellers said wants to build the house to last, not just on blocks like it has now. Mr. Hansen asked if his architect could provide more room without widening.
         Mr. Sellers said he won't touch them, he can see how this is going. This is an ambush. This is a conflict of interest, Mr. Grooms being here, him being former Mayor.
         Mr. Cunningham said Mr. Grooms has no impact on him. Ms. Conaway said everyone near the home got a notice about the proposed changes, any of them could come and speak.
         Mr. Sellers said never would have left Grand Prairie if he had been told can't change the home. Mr. Hansen said it comes down to Queen Anne style. Mr. Sellers said doesn't like the look of the porch in pictures. The pieces are not all in the house, some are missing, a lot of pieces were rotten. He has architectural drawings to make the house look original, no one agrees with him. He has 4 acres, don't see why it matters to widen the porch 5 ft.
         Mr. Sellers left the meeting. Mr. Cunningham said he is changing the style. Ms. Conaway agreed, and he doesn't like it and wants to change the home. The state will let him, but not keep the plaque. Mr. Morgan said the historic plaque is of value to the city.
         Mr. Grooms said all the real estate listings showed in being in a historic district.
         Mr. Cunningham said he might have agreed to widen porch if he would stay with the Queen Anne style.
         Board moved to deny the request. Mr. Hansen suggested they send him a letter to explain the situation; Mr. Morgan said staff will do that. Mr. Sellers can re-apply.

  • Adjourned at 1833
Monday, 2018, December 10