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Storybook house remains a looming castle in Clarksville’s imagination

Thursday, October 25, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Despite three hearings at the Historic Landmark Commission and repeated attempts by the Clarksville Community Development Corporation to persuade Priscilla Glover, the owner of 1002 Charlotte St., that her proposed home design would not contribute to the character of the neighborhood, the applicant insisted that she had the right to build whatever structure she wished.

“I’d like to build what I’d like to build there,” Glover said at the Oct. 22 meeting of the Historic Landmark Commission.

According to the letter of the law, the current home sitting on the property is not historic, and as such, she stated correctly that it was her discretion as to whether or not she chose to preserve the original structure that is still standing on the property.

Furthermore, she explained that “all of my directly adjacent neighbors support my demolition application and my proposed building plans.”

In defense of Glover’s plan, one of the immediate neighbors, Sharon Miller, came to voice her support. The design, Miller agreed, does not fit the character of the neighborhood, but then again, she argued, “it really has turned out to be an eclectic neighborhood.” She said she was also speaking on the behalf of two other close-by neighbors.

Another neighbor sent in his support via letter. However, Commissioner Blake Tollett pointed out that although the letter writer and his wife do technically own the home next door, they are “absentee owners” since they currently reside in Mueller.

Commissioner Kelly Little also pointed out that even if a few neighbors are in support of the project, not everyone is. “Are you aware that five neighbors came to our last meeting to speak in opposition to your design?” she asked.

Several of those neighbors who previously spoke in opposition to the design also returned to the commission on Oct. 22 to reinforce their disapproval of Glover’s plans. Aubrey Carter and William Edwards both spoke as residents who had remodeled their homes but in a way that “fits into the feel, the culture of Clarksville,” explained Edwards.

Glover strongly disagreed that many of the remodels done in the neighborhood had been completed in a way that contributes to the original character of the historic African-American working-class neighborhood. She specifically displayed photos of homes of board members of the CCDC that are non-contributing to the Clarksville historic register district.

“Everyone’s making themselves happy,” she said.

Still, the commissioners remained unconvinced. “It’s not appropriate to the neighborhood. It’s a false arch style. It’s just providing a false sense of history to the neighborhood,” noted Commissioner Beth Valenzuela.

Commissioner Alex Papavasiliou, however, saw things a little differently. He noted that perhaps Clarksville has already passed the “tipping point” and suggested that the current structure on the property is already not in a position to reverse the matter because it is not a contributing structure. Nor, he noted, was there much discussion surrounding the building itself about whether it qualifies as a landmark.

“It looked like a lot of finger-pointing and not a very substantive case,” he said.

Nevertheless, Papavasiliou indicated that he wanted to find a way to help mediate between the two parties. In an effort to do so, the commission once again voted unanimously to postpone the hearing for another month. Commissioners Emily Reed, Kevin Koch and Terri Myers were absent.

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