The Historic and Design Review Commission on Wednesday gave Eastside residents Chris and Lauren Mongeon final approval to build a structure with three apartment units behind their historic Dignowity Hill home, ending a months-long process that elicited considerable community feedback.
The apartments for the two-story structure are designed to be situated above and beside a two-car garage. The commission granted the project conceptual approval in October.
Chris Mongeon said the couple’s vision for the property was to “create a beautiful and functional space reducing the impervious ground cover from 90 percent of the backyard to 50 percent.” The backyard was formerly an auto lot paved over in concrete.
But it took months of meetings and a City Council vote to get the couple closer to realizing that vision. Office of Historic Preservation staff and two Dignowity Hill residents at Wednesday’s meeting requested that the commission deny approval because of the structure’s size. Two other residents, whose backyards are adjacent to the Mongeons’ home and separated by a fence, expressed support for the project and cited other two-story structures nearby as examples of consistency in size.
Commissioners dismissed staff’s recommendation based on the project’s size and footprint, instead noting that the Mongeons complied with stipulations requesting they use aluminum-clad wood windows that respect the area’s historic nature.
Chris Mongeon said that after receiving some final permitting it would take around nine months to complete the landscaping and construction on the structure. The couple is still interested in using the apartments as short-term rental spaces, noting the price tag for the project is higher than they originally expected.
“We’re really excited,” Chris said. “It’s been a long process, we’ve put in a lot of hard work, and it feels really good to get the result that we were hoping for with the final approval.”