Five years after a push for a historic overlay covering all of Sylvan Park stalled when it evolved into a polarizing neighborhood issue, a more modest proposal affecting the oldest stretches of Park and Elkins avenues is on the table.
The Metro Historic Zoning Commission has scheduled a special meeting Wednesday at 2 p.m. to vote on a proposal introduced by District 24 Metro Councilman Jason Holleman to create a new overlay to protect Park and Elkins properties between 42nd and 51st avenues, an area eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
“I was approached by neighbors along Park and Elkins that felt like they wanted to pursue an overlay district that affected only those streets,” Holleman said. “There’s a high concentration of historic homes, as well as the Cohn school, in that area.”
The district, the oldest in the thriving Sylvan Park neighborhood, is noted for its collection of Victorian-era structures and bungalows of the pre-Depression period. Besides the Cohn Adult High School, other Metro-owned properties include Richland Park Library. Under the proposal, the library could be removed without affecting the historic integrity of the area.
Holleman said the overlay would affect 175 owners of historic properties.
The historic commission’s staff has recommended approval of the overlay –– which, if made law, would provide a set of design guidelines to guide future change in the designated district. The staff has recommended the overlay with or without the inclusion of Richland Park and the library.
The planned overlay is also subject to future votes by the Metro Planning Commission and Metro Council. Holleman said a public hearing before the council is scheduled in July.
An overlay proposed in 2006 to include the entire Sylvan Park area struggled to gain traction, with residents in more recently developed parts of the neighborhood mounting some of the opposition.
An information meeting on the new overlay proposal took place May 25 at the Cohn school.