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New Wells-Sherman House Plan gets OK from Architecture Board

Friends of Kent Wells-Sherman House presented altered site plan for 247 N. Water St. lot

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."

Previous coverage:

Paxton Crenshaw August 28, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Mr. Budner, ESQ. speaks the truth.
Chris (Kit) Myers August 28, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Thanks, Mr. Williams for the web site. I don't see where I have impugned the work or character of anyone at the University. I have just asked questions and stated facts. And why should the university deserve favoritism? Is the University more equal under the law than I am? I do not hate the university. My mother taught there and I have two degrees from there.
William B Budner ESQ. August 28, 2012 at 03:51 AM
i didn't say anything about your rentals other than that you make money off of them based on KSU being here. also i stand by my statement, a majority of the people who live in kent do so because of KSU not despite it. if KSU wasn't here, this would be a town similar to all the drab little towns surrounding kent, boring. if you don't like KSU then leave for greener pastures. there's no sense hating the institution and things that come with it when you CHOOSE to live here.
Balertwine August 28, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Traci, back when man first descended from the trees and began living in caves, things were much simpler. Grunk lived in a cave he defended with a club and his spear. Most stayed away from Grunk as they feared him and knew he was a good shot with his spear. One day, Borko came by and said, "Hey Grunk, you can't build your fire in your cave like that, you're destroying the etchings your grandfather drew on the ceiling!" Well, Grunk speared Borko, and that settled that. Grunk continued to burn his fires as high as he wanted. It was a good system. Things went downhill after that. Things like zoning laws, zoning boards, architectural review boards, and planning commissions came into existence. You can no longer do what you want with your cave or your piece of land through reliance on your club and your spear. It's a sad situation, but at least it keeps your neighbor from turning his backyard into a nuclear waste dump if he feels like it. You probably wouldn't like that. Instead of knocking on his door to complain, and risk getting speared, you nowadays go to the zoning board and things like that. If you disagree with this system, you'll have to somehow overturn 200 years of case law in the United States. Good luck with that.
Balertwine August 28, 2012 at 04:14 AM
I've attempted to explain the fundamental reality of these laws. I haven't advocated for or against landowners' rights. In short, everything that has occurred has been legal -- people without current or prospective ownership interest in 247 N. Water St. expressed their concerns to the Planning Board, and the board voted against approving the plans to locate the house onto 247 N. Water St. Like it or not, this is all legal. By "ownership interest" I'm talking about members of the community who don't own or plan on owning 247 N. Water St. They have the right to express their views to the Planning Board, whether KSWH likes it or not. Again, I'm not arguing one way or another, I'm simply explaining that this is how the laws have evolved. So, it's silly for KSWH to argue that the artist who created the mural on the side of Scribbles has no right to voice his opinion to the Planning Commission. As a resident of the community he has the right to do so if he so wishes. Perhaps KSWH would like to pretend it has the power to rewrite 200 years of case law without anybody noticing.

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