After denouncing Baltimore’s preservation commission in harsh terms, calling its policies “arbitrary and capricious, ” developer Larry Jennings came away empty-handed.
The panel voted 8 to 0 yesterday to reject his plan to build an apartment building at 3535 Clipper Road, saying the proposed design is too tall and massive to fit in with the Woodberry Historic District.
The vote came after leaders of the Woodberry Community Association and 7th District Councilman James Torrence asked the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation to reject Jennings’ proposed five-story building.
It was the second time that CHAP has rejected Jennings’ plans for the parcel. The first time was on November 10. The commission invited the developer to come back with a revised proposal.
Now a Historic District
Addressing the panel before the vote, Jennings said he believed CHAP was being inconsistent because it previously approved a 118-foot-tall apartment building in Mount Vernon, even though surrounding structures are lower.
Unlike the one planned for Clipper Road, that project had overwhelming support from the Mount Vernon community.
Jennings also said he believed the city was “moving the goal posts” on him because the last time he presented his plans, CHAP indicated it might accept a five-story building if his architects would set back the front portion, which they did.
Panel member Anath Ranon reminded the developer that, while the CHAP staff had recommended approval of the project with conditions, the commission overruled the staff recommendation and instead voted unanimously not to approve the design.
CHAP planner Walter Gallas yesterday noted that Jennings is “finalizing permitting” so he can begin construction of a five-story apartment building on land just south of the site.
Gallas said the project was approved before Woodberry became a local historic district last summer. Different design standards now apply to the project at 3535 Clipper Road because it is part of a historic district.