Tudor Place Should Begin Architectural Design Phase, Says Old Georgetown Board
Tudor Place offered its second presentation before the Old Georgetown Board on the proposed master preservation plan.
At the conclusion of the almost two hours of presentations and comments, the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) told the representatives of Tudor Place to move forward with the architectural design phase and to return for review in the future.
The master preservation plan does not currently fall under the Old Georgetown Act and as such, the board can merely make suggestions. When the project returns with a detailed architectural plan, the board can then require adjustments and modifications to proposed structures.
Leslie Buhler, the executive director of Tudor Place Historic House and Garden, told the OGB that she and her team at Tudor Place had given "honest and thoughtful consideration" to the board's previous comments. The plan has a few tweaks, but is largely unchanged.
The board and the community have made several suggestions to alter the plan, such as off-site archival storage or additional below-grade structures. Buhler said the team considered several alternatives, but the costs proved to be prohibitive.
Mary Oehrlein, of Oehrlein & Associates, told the board that limitations such as cost, the historic easement on the property, the will of the institution's founder and even the route zones of older oak trees compelled them to forgo an "aggregated piece of construction on the site."
Anne Adams, an architectural historian with Goulston & Storrs, said about visibility concerns raised by the neighbors that just because the buildings will be seen does not mean they should not exist.
"Visibility is not a test of accountability or appropriateness,” said Adams.
At the conclusion of her presentation, Buhler pleaded, "The long-term stability of Tudor Place is at stake."
The various agencies with purview over the design include the National Park Service and the Office of Planning. Both agencies considered the plan generally acceptable and pushed for the next phase to begin.
Tim Denee, with the OP, said the applicants "have looked at this quite carefully ... the proposals are not frivolous."
For now, he said, Tudor Place has "put together a master plan that seems reasonable and sufficiently sensitive," to the concerns of the neighbors and the historic limitations of the property.
Georgetown resident and architect Outerbridge Horsey offered his own alternative plans and spoke on behalf of the Neighbors of Tudor Place.
Horsey said to the board that the neighbors, "hope that you can encourage the Tudor Place Foundation to revisit their site plan along the lines of your comments last fall."
The board members continued to have reservations about elements of the master plan, such as the size and use of the proposed gatehouse.
However, as they discussed design issues like the placement of an addition on the garage or the proposed education center, the OGB leaned towards moving forward so those concerns could actually be formalized, rather than continue in the abstract.
OGB Member David Cox, after offering critiques of the plan, said, "rather than continue to quibble or request an alternative of the site plan ... I’m ready to go with it."
Stephen Vanze echoed those sentiments: "We want you to move forward, we want to see specific designs."
Tudor Place will now resume the process of recruiting a design architect to move the project forward to the next phase.
In a press release, Buhler said, "As we move into the design phase, we will continue to meet and work with all stakeholders to present plans and discuss and consider concerns."