A proposal to rezone two lots on Perkins Road for an arts district is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission this afternoon. Attorney Oscar Shoenfelt wants to rezone the property near Lydia Avenue to neighborhood office in order to turn it into a co-op for visiting artists. The plan has drawn opposition from neighbors, who posted an anti-rezoning sign during Saturday’s Wearin’ of the Green St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “The last thing we want happening to the frontage of our neighborhood is it becoming a strip mall,” says David Wright, who lives nearby on Ovid Street. Wright says while plans to set up an art gallery “sound great on the surface” the fear is that once property gets rezoned, it won’t go back to residential housing. “We like our neighborhood the way it is,” he says.
The Planning Commission staff has recommended turning down the rezoning request, arguing that it is not consistent with the adjacent land use and it falls in a proposed historic district for the Poets and Philosophers neighborhood. Commissioners are set to vote at on the historic district for the neighborhood, bordered by Perkins Road, Virgil and Ovid streets at today’s meeting. Residents of the neighborhood, which was built in 1920, say they want historic designation to preserve the character of the community in the wake of development along Perkins Road. The historic district document is 73 pages and sets guidelines for the design of houses.—Timothy Boone