While walking along Shelby Street near Chestnut Street, something didn’t seem right. There was some sort of change since the last time I was there. I checked photos in the Broken Sidewalk archive and discovered that a new two-story infill building has filled a vacant lot two doors down from Ed Hamilton’s sculpture studio.
While the structure seems to blend well architecturally with the surrounding neighborhood, I can’t figure out why the new building is set farther back from the street than its neighbor. You can see in the photo that Hamilton’s studio, being a commercial building, has no setback and ends at the sidewalk. Next door, a brick town house is set back slightly to indicate that it’s residential and not commercial. The setback is slight as the front yard is largely ceremonial. The new structure is set back another increment of about five feet.
Why didn’t the new residential form conform to the historic residential setback? The front yard is largely wasted space and an additional five feet in the back yard might have been more functional. It also seems like the new building could have directly joined the neighboring townhouse instead of becoming a stand-alone structure separated by a few feet. There may have been issues with the property line or windows in the side of the townhouse that dictated such a move, however.
I’m not sure who built the new building but judging from its similarity to the housing stock in Liberty Green and the new apartments farther down Shelby Street, I would guess it’s the Louisville Metro Housing Authority. Did anyone see this thing go up?
Gosh, that five-foot setback seems like such a tiny crime compared to the uglisaurus to its right.
Good catch, Brandon! All in all, though, it seems the setback matches the graduation of setback from Hamilton’s studio to the 2nd building to the 3rd. Also, it seems to me that props for so closely approximating architectural style and context far outweigh the setback.
Not many people want to look out their window and see a stranger 3 feet away. Street noise is also an issue. The developer is just responding to the reality of how people want to live today.