By Bill Hendrickson
The proposal to build an imposing, three-story apartment building at N. Avenue 64 and Garvanza Street failed to win a crucial approval on Tuesday.
The developers of the project, Skya Ventures, were seeking a “Certificate of Compatibility” with the Highland Park-Garvanza Overlay Zone (HPOZ), a set of guidelines on historic preservation and land use in the area.
But the Board of the HPOZ said “no” on the grounds that the proposed development was drastically out of scale with the neighborhood as well as drastically out of sync in terms of local building materials and styles.
The Board’s rejection was unanimous and resounding. Summing up the Board’s objections, Jonathan Silberman, the Board President, said the building’s design was “antithetical” to the HPOZ guidelines.
The community’s objections go beyond the historic preservation and land use concerns of the HPOZ. For instance, many community members have pointed out that the area needs affordable housing, not dozens of new units renting for what the developer estimated would be $3,500 to $5,100 a month.
Going forward, the HPOZ Board’s decision will be written up and sent to the lead planner for the project at the City Planning Department. When the developers present their project to the City, the HPOZ’s objection will be part of the file, posing a considerable hurdle for the developers to overcome.