Danville's Planning and Heritage Resource commissions held a study session Tuesday night to discuss issues related to the possible development of a downtown parcel. Located at 120 West Linda Mesa Avenue, the property includes the historic Austin Root House.
Ardi Onsori recently purchased the 4,373 square foot property and approached the town with preliminary development plans to move the Root House east and forward, add 2,189 square feet of retail space to the left and behind the historic structure, and build three second story residential units. One of the units would be built as a second story addition to the Austin Root House, approximately 16 feet from the front of the porch.
"The consensus is that there was concern about no onsite parking because there's three residential units. Direction back to applicant is there should be onsite parking for residential use," said Principal Planner and Heritage Resource Liason David Crompton.
Built in 1919, the Austin Root House was relocated in 1950 to accommodate the gas station and, under this project, would be lowered 2 feet to sidewalk level. A staff report stated that the Austin house should be moved closer to the James Root House (relocated to 90 Railroad Avenue and built sometime in the late 1800s), but the move would disrupt the "historic spatial relationship" between the related homes.
"Because the Austin house is historic structure, the Heritage Resource Commission weighed in to make sure that addition and new building construction doesn't overwhelm structure and is done in a way that is compatible but different," Crompton said.
Although the Austin Root House is not registered as a heritage site, Crompton said the building could come up for consideration following completion of the new development. Part of Onsori's development plan includes restoration of the building and removal of non-original additions such as the rear porch, vinyl windows and partial enclosure on the front porch.
The unofficial proposal would also demolish the accessory structure at 120-A West Linda Mesa. Onsori proposed purchasing approximately 610 square feet of excess right-of-way along Railroad Avenue, which the Town Council was previously receptive to.
Planners and town officials also had concern about the floor area ratio (or ratio of total square feet of flooring on multiple levels divided by lot size) being 24 percent higher than designated under zoning code. The ratio basically limits structures to two stories to keep the "existing character of downtown Danville."
"With those concerns raised it's back to the property owner and architect to see if they want to submit an application," Crompton noted.
The plans would then go to the Design Review Board, Heritage Resource Commission and Planning Commission. The project is not on any agenda yet.