Updates to Bell Avenue home didn’t comply with rules for historic district
The Denton Historic Landmark Commission approved plans Monday that should see an historic home on Bell Avenue restored after it was altered in violation of city rules.
Argyle resident Randall Tudor, the homeowner’s new builder, told commissioners that the replacement windows and front door would be the same size and material as the originals put on 1807 N. Bell Ave. Those alterations to the home’s exterior became a point of contention early in the battle over the renovations.
Tudor will also restore the front porch and chimney, swap out foundation vent covers and take down some fencing.
In addition, he will remove construction debris that was buried in the pool in the backyard during the initial demolition by another contractor. That job must be done under city supervision, city documents showed. Neighbors told city officials last spring they were concerned the buried debris could contain asbestos.
The home is part of the Bell Avenue Conservation District, which protects about 30 homes between University Drive and Sherman Drive. Many homes were built between 1900 and 1945, although some date from the 1950s.
The conservation rules governing the district help prevent the loss of the neighborhood’s architectural identity and are administered by the Historic Landmark Commission.
Property owners must apply for and receive a “certificate of appropriateness” before taking a number of actions that would affect a home’s exterior. Those actions include constructing a new building or making an addition to an existing building, altering the exterior facade, removing any architectural feature or constructing a fence, driveway or other permanent improvement.
The city wrote the homeowner, Terry Hess, four citations after it became clear that the renovations done under another contractor were significant alterations to the house’s exterior. Two more citations were for violating general construction rules.
As talks and efforts to restore the house continue, Hess has received at least two continuances in municipal court. The case is scheduled to be heard in February. Each citation is a Class C misdemeanor and could carry up to a $500 fine.
Next-door neighbor Angela Stripling was among the first to sound the alarm on work being done at the house last spring. Some of the other work done on the house that violated conservation rules cannot be prosecuted because it was erroneously approved by the city staff.
She told the commission Monday night that she appreciated members’ efforts.
“You made a stand, and I appreciate you holding the city’s feet to the fire and righting all the wrongs that were done,” Stripling said.
Hess, who lives in Gainesville, has said that when the work is finished, he plans to donate the house to the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth so that Texas Woman’s University students may live there.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.