Retraction: Fifth Avenue development clears Historic Preservation Commission hurdle

The Historic Preservation Office approved the proposed construction of a multi-family building at 837 N. 5th Ave. (Sarah Nachbar/DD)
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Editor’s Note

A previous version of this article posted on Thursday was removed due to a factual error stating the decision made by the commission went against the interests of the developer of the property at 837 N. 5th Ave. This article has been updated to reflect the correct information. Downtown Devil apologizes for the mistakes made in our editing process that led to the errors being published.

The Historic Preservation Commission denied an appeal against a recently proposed multifamily development near Roosevelt and Fifth Avenue Monday.

The Commission also discussed an amendment to the 30-day demolition hold rule and postponed action regarding historic preservation funding.

Downtown Devil previously reported the approval of this development as well as concerns neighboring residents had regarding its compliance with Phoenix Historic Preservation guidelines.

RELATED: Multifamily development on Fifth Avenue approved despite neighbor’s concerns 

Jeff Swan, the owner of two nearby lots, appealed this approval and requested the board reconsider the Oct. 25 hearing decision.

“There’s no consistency [with the historic structures],” Swan said. “The decisions on this are being based on a popularity contest, not the guidelines [of the Historic Preservation].”

Owner of the lot Danny Bokting said the building took these guidelines into consideration but that they were constraining due to the proximity to other new downtown developments.

“If we look at the definition of what a guideline of why we should step [the setbacks] back, it is very specific to residential areas,” Bokting said. “This is clearly not a residential area; we are surrounded by many commercial areas on just our block alone.”

The development sits at 837 N. Fifth Ave., within walking distance of Roosevelt Row, which has seen massive commercial development in the last decade. The house is within the Roosevelt Historic Neighborhood, where residential units are subject to strict Historic Preservation standards.

Residents from neighboring houses voiced their concerns with the developing project, saying they would rather wait for a more neighborhood-friendly project to come along.

“The fact that it’s been dirt since 1963, does that mean we really want to put something bad there? Is it because we want something?” Kim Casper, who lives directly behind the property, said.

After hearing the developer and residents of the neighborhood, the board voted to dismiss Swan’s appeal 6-to-2. Swan previously said he will pursue all of his options regarding the development. Construction set to begin in 2018 but could be pushed further back with continuing legal action.

Following Swan’s appeal, the Commission reviewed a September expansion of the 30-day demolition hold to residential single-family homes and duplexes. Later, it postponed a report from their financial resources subcommittee to December. The subcommittee has not reported since it was formed in September. It also postponed a decision on what to use remaining Historic Preservation Bond funds on.

Contact the reporter at smedwar7@asu.edu.

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