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This house, turned seemingly unoccupied apartment building, in the 1700 block of Bellefontaine Street, is the perfect example of what not to do when converting a historic property. Not only is it visually offensive in almost every possible way, but its deferred maintenance and hap-hazard construction present huge liabilities for the future. The misery of this sad building seems to have no end. Much like the mange-covered poodle at the pound, this American Four Square has little hope to be adopted (rehabbed into a useable building).

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

– John Donne

4 responses to “WTH Weds: For Whom the Bell Tolls…”

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    This is unfortunate; a neighborhood like this needs real historic preservation; not shoddy treatment like this…this neighborhood was “saved”, so to say, from I-169 construction, only to be burdened with buildings like this?

  2. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Yikes! How did the owner of this property get away with these abominations? Surely the change in its use from a single-family residence to a multi-family apartment building, as well as its many unconventional physical alterations, could not have been done without obtaining variances from the City. I can’t imagine any DMD Board of Zoning Appeals approving some of the changes I see here — from its setback lines, to its room additions, to its commercial parking lot, to its post with bell, to its lot-line fencing, and so on. If permission was not obtained from the City, can the owners be made to undo the grotesqueries?

  3. David says:

    It’s not in a historic district, so there is no regulation of anything relating to aesthetics. The setbacks are, if anything, larger than average for the neighborhood. The zoning is most likely D-8, which allows multifamily structures by right. There’s no rule against fences as long as they conform to height maximums. Not sure about the parking lot, but overall I’d say there’s nothing that requires a variance.

    From the permit history available in the city database, it looks like the conversion was done in the early 90s. An ILP was issued for that address in 1991.

  4. David says:

    Actually, though the zoning case history going back that far is spotty, there’s a record in the database that suggests the owner did, in fact, seek and receive a variance.

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