ANC 6A Report

Something’s Happening at the R.L. Christian Library

Sometimes the action is not at the ANC meeting. Occasionally, the important stuff takes place at hearing or a committee meeting and it ends up being ratified, rather than discussed by the ANC. That’s the case with a new project taking shape at the site of the small yellow former R.L. Christian Library on H Street, where plans are afoot for a mixed-use retail/residential project being actively promoted by the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED).

The District has long had its eyes on the library, vacant for several years, as an ideal spot for a joint city-private partnerhippartnership, and, as with many other projects throughout the city (including tTheHE Hine project), DMPED many months ago sent out a Request for Proposals, and after the agency did its own vetting of the applications for responsiveness to the request, convened a meeting of the ANC’s Economic Development and Zoning (EDZ) Committee to review the top six proposals they had received, and at a meeting of the committee subsequent to the presentation, members discussed and analyzed their responses to the various schemes.

Concerns ranged from too much height (there was a clear preference for four stories over five), the lack of need for a Yes! Organic Market, which appeared in one proposal, and the presence of uninteresting design elements in several of the proposals. On the other hand, several some proposals were applauded for their materials and design elements. The presence of artists’ lofts, affordable housing, and larger apartments that would encourage families to move in, were all seen as positives in what will be a by-right project, meaning that the developer chooses the amenities he will include in his development.

After a thorough discussion of the project, the committee members were asked to vote for their top three proposals, after which the two top selections were designated as the Committee’s choices, and brought to the full ANC for a vote of approval. The vote, which was unanimous, tagged the designs by Argos and Rise design groups as the best, and will ask DMPED to solicit the two groups for their “best and final offer,” after which the community, the Committee and the full ANC will have a final round of discussions and select one, which, hopefully will move forward.

Medlink Project Is Really on the Move

The ANC voted on two issues relating to the “Medlink” project at 9th and D Streets NE that will turn what was originally a school, then a bank and finally, part of a hospital, into an apartment and townhouse development. One issue has to do with historic preservation issues, the other with zoning. This was another example where the major portion of the discussion took place at the EDZ Committee and was then voted on by the full ANC.

The historic preservation issues were related to the roof level on a townhouse to be built on D Street NE and the increased height of windows on the ground floor of townhouses on 9th Street. The developer had already, on the advice of community members and the Historic Preservation Office, implemented changes that after discussion appeared satisfactory to the committee, and was subsequently approved by the fukll Commission.

The second issue is more complicated. The developer has asked for permission to construct seven more townhomes than are allowed by zoning, with the major issue apparently being parking, since the R-4 district requires a 1:3 ratio of parking places to residential units, and is further complicated by the fact that the Historic Preservation Office is placing limits on the number of interior walls they can demolish. That could mean an increase in units, and more parking spaces. Commissioner David Holmes said there has to be some agreement on the number of units, and asked that he and Committee Chair Drew Ronneberg negotiate the number of units with the developer. He said that he believes the number of units should be capped at 26, possibly with RPP parking. And unless an agreement can be negotiated, the ANC would have to oppose the development, and recommended that the ANC

  • Not agree to greater density than is allowed by-right;

  • Authorize the chairs of the EDZ and the ANC to contihuecontinue further negotiations to porovuideprovide limits on the street parking to be permitted to residents of 901 D Street NE; and,

  • Agree that the future 913 D Street NE (one of the new townhouses) incorporate a dogleg to provide adequate light and air to the townhouse to its east.

The full ANC unanimoiuslyunanimously passed a motion that it oppose before the BZA increased density at 901 D Street NE, unless the Chairs of the Commission and the EDZ Committee jointljointly are able to negotiate with the developer a lessened impact on parking in that neighborhood,

Progress in 17th-19th Street NE Traffic Study

Michelle Frishberg and William Carlson reported on a study they have undertaken for DDOT on the traffic situation on 17th and 19th Streets NE between Benning Road and Potomac Avenue. The process began in May with a community meeting, followed by two charettes with the goal of making the streets safer for the schools and students as well as other users.

On 17th Street,T additional parking, curb sections will be brought into the street, There will be a raised crosswalk at Gales Street on the north side with signage at the crosswalks, Rosedale Street will have a raised crosswalk at C Street, and 17th Street south of E will be a single lane. It will take six months for the design phase, and they plan to implement everything simultaneously, 19th Street will have one receiving lane at C Street; and there will be a joint bicycle/ parking lane combined. The changes will go from Benning Road to Potomac Avenue, SE.

Mr. Holmes assured those attending that there would be an opportunity for the community to review the plans before they are implemented. The consultants have not presented drawings to the community or commissioners, and had with them only the set they were using to illustrate their plans.

In Other Actions…

In other actions, ANC 6A

  • Voted to invoke the provision of the ANC’s voluntary agreement with XII (Twelve) located at 1123-1125 H Street NE, that requires them to respond within ten days, due to continued noise complaints from neighbors. An official letter will be sent saying they have been invited to appear, and if corrections are not forthcoming within ten days they will be reported to ABRA. .Recommendations for correcting the problems (e.g. fixing cracked windows) will be included in the letter.

  • Voted unanimouaslyunanimously to support Gallaudet University’s required ten-year plan, required to go bforebefore the Zoning Commission They have already received support from ANC 5D and will seek support from ANC 6C. The school is physically located in 5D, but borders on the other commission areas.

  • And, in its monthly engagement with the gas station at 1400 MarlandMaryland Avenue NE, took three actions: voted to appeal a second DCRA building permit, this one granted for constructing a convenience store at the site of the gas station.

Second, Mr. Holmes said that the gas tanks for the gas station have been put into the ground and he has doubts that any testing was done. He said there has been no inspection of the site and no -one knows what is in there, and so the Commission voted to send a letter to the acting director of the District Department of the Environment requesting information on whether underground tanks had been removed and installed at 1400 Maryland Avenue NE without a permit.

Finally, is taking the gas station to court, as it is across the street from an apartment house he Is building and the ANC passed a motion to send a letter of support to Valor Development if they take the case to court.

The next meeting of ANC 6A will be held on thursdayThursday, decemberDecember 13, at 7:00 pm at Mminer Elementery.

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