Taken together with a sharply angled edge at the intersection of two busy avenues, its proximity to the historic Bonetto House and board member complaints of inadequate design, architect Joo Lee has had virtually no success in moving his designs for the parcels forward.
The same Design Review Board voted to send back his proposed single-family home — which would be next to the Bonetto House — for a second time two weeks ago, ruling it failed to reach the same level of design integrity of its well-known neighbor and did not mesh with the protected oak trees.
Neighbors who have spoken out against the proposed projects have hailed the relative design review blockade as a success, but so far they are unsure what to do with it.
Manhattan Avenue residents have long called for the two lots to be turned into a mini-park — a concept Design Review Board No. 2 member Michael James has pushed for in voting down all the proposed designs.
“It is screaming to be a mini-park,” neighbor Sandie Enslow said.
But that could cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in an area that already relatively flush with parkland, and at a time when the City Council is contemplating major multimillion-dollar capital improvement projects.
“I am sympathetic, and it would be a nice thing to have there,” Councilman John Drayman said.
“The problem is, the funds are not there, and I don’t see it happening.”
That sentiment is not lost on the site’s neighbors, who said they would meet soon to rethink their strategy on how to approach the parcels.
“We gotta try, but we have to be realistic,” neighbor Patricia Marsh said.