Haddon Heights Debates New Mixed-Use Building’s Design

The Haddon Heights Historical Preservation Committee recently convened to deliberate on several applications, with the most significant being the proposal for a new mixed-use building at 501-503 Station Avenue. The proposed structure, which would include 12 residential units and ground-floor commercial spaces, ignited a multifaceted discussion among committee members, architects, and the public, encompassing concerns over the building’s height, design, material use, and potential impact on the community.

The proposed building’s architectural design, particularly its height and visibility from Station Avenue, was a topic of intense scrutiny. Committee members questioned the appropriateness of the building’s scale within the existing streetscape. Renderings and plans presented showed a red brick building with navy blue wood or ASAC trim and red accents. The building’s massing was a point of contention; suggestions were made to break it up using varied materials and design elements to reduce the perceived size. Notably, the first floor of the main commercial space was designed to be set back 7 feet from the property line, creating a covered arcade potentially suitable for café seating.

Debate extended to the choice of materials. A preference for an all-brick exterior was voiced by one committee member, contrasting with another’s suggestion to use white material on the back of the building to give the appearance of multiple structures. After much discussion, the committee voted in favor of using all brick for the back. Poly Ash paneling, a durable and rot-resistant material, was proposed for other exterior areas, and the committee addressed concerns about the sight lines and traffic safety implications of the building’s design, with reassurances that standards would be met.

The committee also tackled the building’s functionality and integration with the surroundings. The balance between parking availability and retail space emerged as a contentious subject. While some members cautioned against reducing retail space in favor of parking, others stressed the importance of considering the overall land use and its impact on the downtown area. Landscaping too was debated, with suggestions for taller greenery to screen the parking lot, contingent on preserving visibility for drivers. Public input highlighted concerns about the building’s safety implications, sight lines, and the addition of residential units to the area.

Furthermore, the issue of signage on the building provoked discussions, with some members hesitant about using the building itself as signage, contrasting with others who pointed out the presence of a large sign at the current corner and advocated for some form of signage. Ultimately, the committee decided against having any signage on the building itself. The possibility of utilizing the building as a canvas for a mural in the future was also deliberated, given the available space at the back of the building.

The committee’s recommendations, including the use of all brick for the back of the building, the exclusion of signage, and the endorsement of taller landscaping, were slated to be submitted to the planning board and council for further evaluation. The committee expressed their collective opinions and the breakdown of votes on the various recommendations to inform the planning board and council’s review.

In addition to the discussions about the Station Avenue building, the committee also reviewed and approved two other applications. The first was a storefront sign supporting local baseball teams. The second application concerned a house renovation on First Avenue, where plans for a new main bedroom, full bath, and kitchen expansion were presented. Architectural details, including a new door and the visibility of the addition from the street, were discussed before the committee granted approval.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Mayor:
Zachary Houck
Historic Preservation Commission Officials:
Christopher Morgan (Council Liaison), Jonathan Gremminger, Drew James, Carol Larro, Brad Slamp, Caitlan Zaslow

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