Here’s the summary email Tim sent (with edits to remove identifying information and to add links to photos):
Subject: Addition to antebellum house at [address]
From: "[last name], Tim (Historical Commission)" [email]
To: "Karsten Soltauer" [email]
We appreciate you working with us through the review process for the proposed addition at [address], a contributing, historic antebellum, Federal style structure in the Germantown National Register District.
We have reviewed the plans you submitted for a partial demolition and rear addition to [address]. We appreciate the extent and quality of drawings provided for our review, as they make it clearer in evaluating the proposed project’s effect on historic structure.
It is noted that there are several unusual constraints associated with this parcel. They include the unusual grade change on the parcel, which slopes up from [street] to the alley by 15 feet, the soil condition in the rear yard, where there are numerous exposed limestone outcroppings, and the existing inappropriate additions on the rear of the structure, which set out approximately 3 feet beyond the side wall of the original structure.
The proposed addition is appropriate in its height, massing, roof shape, materials, and proportion of openings within exterior walls. However, the addition should be subordinate in its massing and height to the historic structure. To meet the guidelines for the district we would recommend that the addition set in from the rear corners of the existing structure, and the second floor of the addition be set back from the rear gable end of the historic structure by several feet (2 feet minimum). With those changes to the proposed plans, the Metro Historical Commission (MHC) staff believes the addition would meet the MDHA guidelines for Historic Germantown.
Please feel free to call or office at [phone number] or e-mail me, if you have any questions or concerns.
Tim [last name]
I don’t know what the effect of those changes will be, but they really don’t seem too bad. The rooftop deck will still be plenty big for parties (woo hoo!), and the bedrooms/offices at the rear on the first floor shouldn’t be too squished by being set in from the existing house.
Pretty exciting stuff! Now for one last round with the architect, and then we just have to figure out how to pay to have the work done. OK, that last part is probably going to be a lot harder than it sounds. But at least we can start figuring that out, because we know we can do it! Yay!