For once, I'm feeling kinda jazzed about new townhomes. Too often we get the standard six-packs with the lop-sided overhangs, the cattle-pen yards, and the driveway-dominated streetscape. I think this proposal fits that corner better, so I sent in these comments:
Cc: Philip Christofides (moc.sedifotsirhc-onallera|cpilihp#moc.sedifotsirhc-onallera|cpilihp); Robert Mohn (ten.tsacmoc|trebornhom#ten.tsacmoc|trebornhom)
I've taken a look at the online design packet for this project on Edmunds and 39th.
I have a lot of respect for this design team's work. They live and work here, and they've got an abiding sense of Columbia City's neighborhood texture & scale.
In the preferred concept, the siting decisions for this corner are exactly right.
- Front doors should face onto 39th, set back somewhat and elevated a few steps relative to the sidewalk. The guidance should emphasize the importance of the direct line of sight from each front door to the sidewalk.
- Parking should be located at the back of the site.
- Resultant departures appear to me to be well justified by application of the guidelines.
I think the simple fenestration on the south side effectively addresses what might otherwise feel like a blank wall. This wall will be very visible, so the updated design should be very clear about its treatment.
- Finish materials aren't necessarily defined at EDG, but I do think this style of wall would be most effectively designed using a substantial material, like the masonry used in the lofts project to the southwest.
- The design's reference to that project is obvious and appropriate, but I'd only caution that there should be some clear differentiation between the two — a different shade of brick maybe?
If possible and if necessary, it would be worthwhile to engage with SDOT to allow the alley grades to be steeper than the standard. This neighborhood has a few very steep alleys to the north and south of this block, and they appear to work just fine.
- Depending on the height of the parking pad, I encourage the design team to think about visual activation of the southern plinth. It might be appropriate to provide a (gated) stairway, as well as a landscaped area that's accessible and useful to the residents adjoining it.
Overall, I'm very satisfied with the design's initial direction. Thanks for reviewing these comments.