Here are five takeaways:
- The commission, commonly known as HARC, voted Dec. 14 against granting a certificate of appropriateness to the developer of the building, which was proposed at 204 E. Eighth St., Georgetown. In its denial, HARC cited concerns over the building’s height and aesthetic design as well as the design of a top-floor setback and the amount of parking that would be made available for future residents and restaurant tenants.
- Eric Visser, representing the proposed building’s developer, appealed HARC’s decision to City Council. Visser, who is also involved in the development of the Lofts on Rock residential complex under construction at 810 Rock St., Georgetown, near the Georgetown Public Library, told the council Tuesday that HARC erred in its denial of the Eighth Street building proposal. He said HARC’s concerns exceeded the commission’s authority and argued that a conflict of interest with one of the commission’s members should render moot the prior denial. Visser also said the project’s developers were committed to strengthening Georgetown’s downtown. “We bring pride of ownership and an upfront and personal relationship with Georgetown’s downtown identity with people who want to live here,” he said.
- Residents living in Georgetown’s Old Town area opposed the development. An online petition against the building drew more than 650 signatures, and a number of opponents to the proposal attended Tuesday's meeting. About 25 people spoke to the council against the Eighth Street development, including Linda McCalla, who previously served as Georgetown’s first Main Street Manager. “The scale and design of this building seems to completely ignore everything around it,” McCalla told the council.
- Council members voted down a motion to approve the developer’s appeal, with only Council Member Steve Fought voting in support. Georgetown city planning staff had recommended approval of the appeal and were at odds with HARC and Council Member Rachael Jonrowe on interpretations of portions of the city’s unified development code.
- The denial from HARC stands, but the Eighth Street project’s developer could bring the project, or a similar project, back to the city for future consideration after waiting 180 days, according to City Attorney Charlie McNabb.