Alexandria, VA

Density is forcing some Alexandrians to get closer to their neighbors than they might want: creating some tension as a new townhouse on a vacant lot returns to the Board of Architectural Review tomorrow (Thursday).

The BAR is scheduled to review an application to turn lots 1413 and 1415 Princess Street — which have sat undeveloped since 1893 — into a pair of townhouses. Staff reviewed the application and endorsed much of it, but the project still generated concern over its proximity and scale compared to some surrounding buildings.

At a meeting in November, neighbors decried the new development, stating that it would crowd in on nearby residents. One neighbor complained that his front door on the side of his house would now open into the side of a new development.

The applicant noted that some design changes were made after the November meeting. According to the application:

In response to the Board’s comments at the November 18th, the applicant has updated the plans to include casement windows on the north elevation. The number of windows on the east elevation of 1413 Princess St., has been reduced to three windows, one on the first-story and two on the second-story. The windows on the east elevation must be fire-rated windows as required by the building code. At time of permitting, the applicant must submit updated window specifications verifying the use of fire-rated windows on this elevation. The applicant has also included updated window specifications for the proposed windows and door on the north elevation, which comply with the Alexandria New and Replacement Window Performance Specifications in the Historic Districts. Updated elevations and renderings were also submitted to show the relationship between the proposed townhouses and the neighboring properties.

But staff and the applicant were both in agreement that the project could not be set back without losing parking spaces planned behind the facility. Staff ultimately recommended approval of the new development.

Image via City of Alexandria

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