All development proposals within the Bardstown Road / Baxter Avenue Corridor Review Overlay District (BROD) are required to comply with Guidelines, with applications approved by the Urban Design Administrator or the Bardstown Road / Baxter Avenue Corridor Review Overlay District Committee. Within the Office of Planning & Design Services (PDS), the Urban Design Team administers and manages this design and architectural review process.
The overlay district forms the backbone of the Highlands National Register District, which spans between Broadway and Douglass Boulevard, and then extends south to Kaelin Avenue. The overlay district is an important shopping and business area closely linked with high quality residential areas. The character changes from north to south with the older properties on the on the north. The character also reflects an evolution from a mixed commercial/residential strip to a predominately commercial corridor, with many buildings remaining intact from each period of development in both commercial and residential styles.
As a result of this evolutionary development, most buildings are constructed at or near the front and side property lines to establish a continuous street wall or building frontage along the sidewalk, although some existing residential buildings retain a front yard setback. Individual or connecting buildings along a block face form a continuous building frontage or street wall and are characterized by an overall 2 1/2-story mass that is divided into distinct segments or store fronts. Buildings generally have well-defined storefronts with individual entrances from the sidewalk facing the Corridor, windows for display of retail goods or services, signage that is designed, proportioned, and appropriately located, and other pedestrian-oriented amenities that create an attractive and animated sidewalk environment.
Parking is provided on the street or at the rear of sites with alley access. A pattern of parking encroachment into residential neighborhoods abutting the overlay district has been developing in recent years, and surface parking adjacent to the public sidewalk occurs where there have been contemporary intrusions of fast food franchises, a shopping mall and a large grocery store.
The overlay district begins near the intersection of Baxter Avenue, Cherokee Road, and East Broadway, which is near the location of the Cave Hill Cemetery entrance and also forms the northwest corner of the Cherokee Triangle Historic District. The west side of the intersection contains several intrusions to the district. The commercial character of this northern end of Baxter Avenue was mostly developed in the 1880’s, but there are scattered examples of early vernacular and Italianate residential and commercial styles as well as major turn-of-the century Classical Revival and eclectic commercial buildings.
Throughout the overlay district, many vernacular Victorian residential structures remain intact, varying in material, style, and decorative treatments. The architectural phenomenon of residences adapted for commercial use by building a 1-story addition to the front of the residence is first seen in the overlay district at the northern section of Baxter Avenue. These additions extend the building fronts to zero setbacks and are of a consistent style using red pressed brick with parapet walls containing a minimum number of decorative elements, central entrances flanked by display windows, and transom lights.
The overlay district was created by an ordinance adopted and passed by Metro Council pursuant to Sections 82.650 through 82.670 of Kentucky Revised Statutes. The ordinance provisions are provided in Chapter 162 of the Louisville Metro Code of Ordinances.
The Guidelines are not intended to discourage development or to dictate architectural design or style, but to encourage development that contributes to the overall design quality and sustainability of the overlay district. The Guidelines address construction and other external changes to buildings and properties. They are intended to promote compatibility of new development with existing land use and design features.
All development proposals shall comply with applicable Guidelines; however a proposal that does not conform to one or more specific Guidelines may be approved by the Urban Design Administrator or Committee if it is determined that the proposal is in conformance with the intent of the Guidelines as a whole. The Guidelines may be updated or amended from time to time upon a recommendation of the Committee and with the approval of the Metro Council.
The Bardstown Road / Baxter Avenue Corridor Review Overlay District Committee
Appointed by the Mayor and approved by Metro Council, the Committee consists of 8 members. All members of the Committee shall be residents of the county and shall have knowledge of or experience in design review. Further, the Committee's membership must meet certain qualifications set forth in Chapter 162 of the Louisville Metro Code of Ordinances.
To view the names and terms of the current Members, as well as to find an online application form for anyone interesting in serving on the Committee, please click here.
To view upcoming Committee meetings and agendas, please click here.