Neighbors’ Concerns Prompt Delay of Home

The Design Review Committee voted to continue the hearing for a new home proposal on Euston Road after concerns were voiced about the imposing stature of the proposed home.
The proposal, which is at 1541 Euston Road, is a two-story ranch colonial style home with an attached one-car garage and a detached two-car garage. The DRC was favorable toward the design and materials for the home, but said a front wing for the house’s prospective dining room was too close to the street in comparison to the rest of the neighborhood. This, commissioners felt, magnified the size of the home more than the square footage would suggest.
“It’s always square footage in the context of the neighborhood,” said Commissioner John Dustin at the March 1 meeting. “This would be the second largest home in the neighborhood and on one of the smallest lots in the neighborhood.”
The new home would be around 10 feet closer to the street than the current one, which is apparently to accommodate the garages and also a pool. Alex Chang, the architect for the home, pointed out the second story is not truly a full second story.
“I know doing a true two-story [home] would be massive,” Chang said. “I think with this design, you don’t see much of the two stories.”
The proposed second story contains three bedrooms, one for each of the applicants’ two children. They are expecting a third.
“We’re not building a mansion,” said Carol Huang, one of the applicants. “We’ll have three children.”
Several of the Huangs’ immediate neighbors also voiced concerns about the proposal, consistently regarding the imposition of the front wing, which aligns flush with the porch. In a contradiction to staff findings, some also claimed the bedroom windows on the second story would encroach on the privacy of the adjacent homes.
Additionally, some commissioners felt the size of the front porch overhang could be more subtle, with William Dietrick calling the current pillars “awesome” in the sense they were too large. Commissioner Judy Johnson-Brody suggested lowering the height of the first floor by a foot might help alleviate some size issues.
“That might change how it appears from the street and it would also address the porch,” she said.
Dustin also wondered aloud about some ways to reduce square footage, specifically pointing out each of the upstairs rooms had an attached bathroom in the plans. He also asked about potentially combining the attached garage with the detached garage, which could allow room in the yard to move the home’s footprint further from the street.
The project will next come before the DRC on April 5. Chairman Frank Hsu also tasked city staff with finding out whether the project is able to comply with the standard front setback rule or must conform to the average prevailing setback in the neighborhood.
Alternative Commissioner Chris Huang recused himself from discussion on this project.
Other Business:
• The DRC denied two proposals at the March 1 meeting, both on Winthrop Road, on the basis neither fit within the immediate neighborhood. Both were two stories and said to be an inconsistent combination of styles that would have been too large in comparison to the lot sizes and adjacent homes. A sizable audience was present to speak against both projects.
• A one-story addition to the home at 2836 Cumberland Road and a block wall to be built adjacent to an alley were approved on the condition that all of the windows follow a consistent grid style and that an unpermitted water softener that was recently placed in the front yard be removed.
• A request to modify the exterior of the home at 1526 Cambridge Road with a brick façade was approved with six conditions: front lighting will be a light on either side of the front door; front entryway columns will be wood posts; the front windows will have brick sills; the side elevated windows will have wood sills; the brick façade will include some sort of wainscoting at the approval of city staff; and the front windows will remain flush with the wall and be bordered by vertically oriented brick.
• Proposed exterior modifications — new stucco, new color, new siding and new lighting — of a two-story commercial building at 2600 Mission St. were approved without conditions.

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