The historic Kent Wells-Sherman House is one step closer to relocating to 247 N. Water St., the site preferred by the non-profit group working to restore the house.
The Kent Architectural Review Board issued a certificate of appropriateness to the Friends of the Kent Wells-Sherman House, Inc., for a site plan that puts the house on the vacant lot between and .
The project's site plan will next go to the Kent Planning Commission for consideration on Sept. 4.
But there's a catch. The architecture board recommended the house be set back between 12 feet and 15 feet from North Water Street.
And the planning commission already voted this summer for that lot that showed the house set back 15 feet from the street.
This is where the issue gets complicated.
Rick Hawksley, a member of the non-profit Kent Wells-Sherman house group, said because the commission rejected the earlier site plan they had to substantially alter the plan before it could be resubmitted for reconsideration.
The substantial change they made was to put the house just 16 inches back from the North Water Street sidewalk.
"We aired on the side of substantial change not knowing how that would be interpreted," Hawksley said. "It would be preferable to have more" of a setback.
Kent Assistant Law Director Eric Fink said city code dictates that a site plan must be different before it can be resubmitted to the planning commission if denied.
"It does not say what is different enough," Fink said.
Several members of the architecture board agreed with Hawksley and said the house would be better suited situated further back from the street.
"I don't think it should be any closer than 10 feet," architecture board member Howard Boyle said. "Even 10 feet is not very long."
So the architecture board's certificate of appropriateness comes with the recommendation that the planning commission approve a site plan with the house set back 12 feet to 15 feet from the street.
Fink said the Friends of the Kent Wells-Sherman House still have to present the altered site plan, showing the house 16 inches from the sidewalk, to the planning commission on Sept. 4.
"But they can say the architectural review board recommended the (larger) set back," he said. "And the planning commission would have to act appropriately."