The German Village Society is trying to ease its way into discussions involving a proposed residential development at the corner of Thurman Avenue and South Fourth Street.

As part of a value statement, currently in rough-draft form, the society will look to evaluate the project based on historic uses, context and impact on the neighborhood, among other criteria.

The society also will look to educate the developer, Lykens Cos., on preservation principles and German Village Society values, while creating a communication apparatus for the neighborhood and Lykens.

Furthermore, the society will convene meetings between interested parties and the developer.

The value statement is part of a larger communitywide preservation plan by Nancy Kotting, historic-preservation advocate for the society, said Shiloh Todorov, executive director of the society.

"It's definitely of an example of the kind of issue (where) the preservation plan can help us," Todorov said of the proposed development.

The point is not to be intrusive, Todorov said, but rather get involved in major issues that affect historic preservation.

The German Village Commission, the local architectural-review board, rules on action regarding the exterior of properties, which occasionally can halt a development.

"The tricky thing is always to help people understand the commission and society," Todorov said. "Both have it in our hearts and desires to protect the community. We just have totally different approaches."

Lykens' plans call for a three-story apartment complex with 33 micro units -- from 532 to 624 square feet each -- on a site that is now mostly a surface-level parking lot. The development also calls for 91 parking spaces.

Since the plans had become public early last year, the neighborhood has protested the work for a variety of issues, but mainly on density.

Other concerns have been expressed over trash-pickup and the effect of more traffic on Nursery Lane, which borders the south of the development.

Calls to the Lykens Cos. requesting comment were not returned.

Julia D'Elia, who owns Hausfrau Haven and several residential properties in the area, said the apartment complex, coupled with other new developments in the area, is going to make parking-weary residents even more frustrated.

"I don't think people understand how this is going to impact the street," D'Elia said. "It's going to get pretty nasty pretty quick."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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