"Size matters" in historic Louisville neighborhood - WDRB 41 Louisville News

"Size matters" in historic Louisville neighborhood

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A 17-story building may be going up in a historic Louisville neighborhood, and residents in Cherokee Triangle aren't too happy about the plans.

Willow Grande is the name of the condominium development set to be built in the neighborhood. It would take the place of a two-story apartment building on Willow Avenue.

Some neighbors don't want the condominiums to come to town, and they have echoed that sentiment in front lawns across the neighborhood. Lawn signs read "Size matters; stay true to the triangle." They are peppered throughout Willow Avenue and beyond.

"It's a beautiful building, but it doesn't belong here," said Tim Holz of the Cherokee Triangle Board of Trustees. Tim has been leading community meetings to stop the development.

The proposed development would take the place of the Bordeaux Apartments and would reach 17 stories high. It will boast 24 units and 52 underground parking spaces. The buy-to-own units will range in size from 2,000 to 6,500 square feet.

"It's not only too tall, but it is too big from side to side, it's too big from front to back," said Peggie Elgin.

Despite the fact that there is an 11 story condo building next door, and a 20 story building nearby, those living near the site of the new Willow Grande condominium development say the 24 unit building doesn't fit.

"I really like the neighborhood, what it represents, and the houses that surround it, and it's important to keep it," said Paul Petra. Paul lives directly across from the building and boasts a large "size matters" sign in his yard.

Not everyone in Cherokee Triangle is touting a yard sign, however. Jefferson Development Group claims they have received 200 signatures on a petition supporting the project.

Representatives from the development group say their building fits the aesthetic character of the neighborhood, and it will house only two more units than the rentals currently in place.

Neighbors say it isn't just the grandeur, but the precedent it sets for future development.

"If they are going to say, 'Your neighborhood plan doesn't matter,' to someplace like Cherokee Triangle, what's to keep them from telling the people in Portland, California, and Crescent Hill that their plan doesn't matter?" said Holz.

The Cherokee Triangle neighborhood plan lays out a set of building rules that residents must comply with. It was originally composed in the 1930s after the neighborhood received its first building over four stories. The latest plan was tinkered with in the 1980s and that's the plan that all residents must currently abide by.

Lauri and Joe had to follow the plan when they remodeled their 80-year-old home, so they don't understand why the developer doesn't have to follow the same.

"We kept it in its classical sense. We respected the architecture of the neighborhood, and that's not what they're doing, they are doing quite the opposite," said Joe.

His fiance adds that if they wanted to live amongst tall buildings they would. As pilots, they can live anywhere.

"We don't want to live amongst skyscrapers. We want to live amongst trees -- and that's why people come to the triangle," said Lauri.

Jefferson Development Group says despite concerns over increased traffic in the neighborhood, the company's traffic engineers say 24 permanent residents make less trips daily than 22 renters.

Jefferson Development denies claims that this would spark a flurry of tall buildings, they say the piece of property was unique and they doubt the Landmark Commission would approve a similar building anywhere else.

The fate of the project will be determined this Thursday at a Planning Commission meeting. The meeting begins at 6 p.m.

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