From the Listserve...

About that proposed apartment complex off Starnes..... 

--Laura Thomas

We’ve talked a lot about that proposed apartment complex on Starnes and Elizabeth Place.

Lots of us are horrified about it.

We think it’s too large and too ugly for our quiet residential streets. 

We are appalled that more developers might try to put large apartment complexes like this on every lot in Montford they can buy. 

And now, we've yard signs opposing it! 

If you want one, just email me your name and address, and we’ll put one in your yard.

This project is inside the Montford Historic District, and is wholly inappropriate. 

If it's built, it would be a dangerous precedent. 

It’ s not that the HRC would necessarily want to approve the next apartment complex proposal that comes in from some other developer. 

The problem is that if this one is approved, a court could well find that it would be unfair to the next developer who wants to build a project like this. 

That happened downtown with hotels. 

When City Council approved one after another, and then tried to stop one at the old sheriff’s office on Haywood, the developer sued — and could very well win in court.

To learn more, check out the web site at <>


Laura on Elizabeth St

I would recommend that anyone reviewing the project please take note of the massive retaining wall on the North and East side of the lot, the fact that every tree (20+ and almost all over 6” in diameter) will be removed from the site, and the fact that the grade for the lot will be changed by 28 feet (a huge amount of soil will be added to the site to raise the grade). This will in essence create an island and will tower above neighboring properties to the North and East. The retaining wall is 19’ at it’s highest point, that is taller than many of the surrounding one story houses. A rendering of the retaining wall was conveniently left out of any of the developers’ side and rear renderings, they are not showing a true picture of how the parcel will look to neighbors or passers-by once developed with these plans. 

From the HRC Guidelines:

“It is not appropriate to alter the topography of the site substantially through grading, filling, or excavating, including alteration of drainage features, except to correct drainage problems.” (Page 41)

“Minimize grading changes and protect significant site features, including trees greater than 6-inch diameter at breast height, and known archeological resources from damage during or as a result of construction.” (Page 93)

This project is not just about the historical look of the buildings or the size of the buildings (although they are massive for such a small parcel), it’s about the change to the historic topography of our neighborhood. 

Thank you for your time and consideration,
--Bonnie Gilbert
Starnes Ave

Approval of this project would set a precedent. Others high density
apartment projects could follow in time. Here is something to think
about: imagine some time in the future one of the estate properties on
Montford Avenue had to be demolished. What is more likely: a private
person buys the property and builds a new estate home, or a developer buys
it and builds apartments? If the latter, Montford neighbors would
protest, but the developer would claim a precedent ... and the developer
would win. 'Nuff said.

--Jonathan Sackson