It was almost like David and Goliath, the small Library Mews met up with the overwhelming Hembree building.
During the City Commission meeting to decide whether this proposal would move forward, the issue was clearly defined. The proposal met the code test for the DROD (Downtown Residential Overlay District) as well as the downtown zone code criteria, but the question was whether it was compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.
The City Comprehensive Plan requires that new projects be compatible with the neighborhood. The Comp Plan describes compatibility in terms of height, scale, size bulk and being sensitive to surrounding neighborhood. The Hembree proposal was for a 10 story building with a footprint basically lot line to lot line. This building would be nestled in between 2 and 3 story building on all sides. This is where the compatibility question came into play.
The result was that the commission voted 3-2 to turn the proposal down. The basis for those voting against the proposal was that it was not compatible, that there were ways that the proposal could be designed to take into consideration its effect on the surrounding building intensity.
This was a victory for common sense. While the proposal met the DROD criteria and the downtown zone code criteria, it was simply not compatible with the surrounding area. Common sense over ruled the technical criteria.