Function of City Gates not to be forgotten

After St. Augustine city commissioners approved a second floor hotel addition across St. George Street from the city gates, as well as an adjacent hotel development, Historic City News watched as Robert M. Hall suggested that “the true function of the city gates seems to have been forgotten”.

Hall, who is 79 years-old and lives on Spanish Street in downtown St. Augustine, has long battled what he says are abuses of “height and scale elements” in the historic preservation districts; calling, among other things, for a strict limit of 27 feet to roof peaks.

“Over-scale building,” said Hall of the recent construction adjacent to the City Gates, “makes it look like a decorative Disney lawn ornament.”

Hall is co-founder of the Historic Florida Militia and the retired head of Flagler College’s Art Department.

At Hall’s request, both the Historic Architectural Review Board and Planning and Zoning Board will review historic architectural guidelines

Recently the City Commission authorized styles other than Spanish Colonial in the Historic Preservation zone south of the Plaza. “Changes to the Architectural Guidelines for Historic Preservation related to architectural styles in HP-1,” will come before the Historic Architectural Review Board on Thursday, July 21st.

Also to be addressed are zoning changes to HP-1 and HP-3, and a change to the definition of “height” as it relates to buildings in the HP-3 zoning district.

The Planning and Zoning Board will hear these issues at their regular meeting on August 2nd.

If you are planning to attend — both Board meetings will begin at 2:00 p.m. and will be held in the Alcazar Room; on the first floor of City Hall, located at 75 King Street in St. Augustine.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer

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