ANC 6C Report

Third and L Streets 

The Commission continued last month's conversation regarding a Planned-Unit Development (PUD) modification application including 5,000 square feet of land for an upcoming apartment project. Dennis Hughes of Holland and Knight reported that the owner/applicant met with the Zoning Commission (ZC) on June 27 where they received feedback on the project design. The ZC will hear the matter again during its July 29 meeting; however, they need the Commission's recommendation by July 15. 

The attention shifted again towards parking. The project is separated into three phases; each phase is owned by different companies. According to Eric Siegel, representing the owner, Phase I's owner will not allow public parking. Phase II is open to the idea, but wants to wait until after the building opens to make a decision. Osborne George, the applicant's traffic consultant, reported his findings from a six-month study. Looking at an eight-block area bounded by M and K Streets, George reported that parking demand is well-within the need, as metered parking is under-utilized and unrestricted parking is used about 50 percent of the time.  However, the lack of parking, along with fact that the project is not a consolidated PUD, convinced the Commission to oppose the application with a six-zero vote.

Union Kitchen Update

After last month's protest vote, Commissioner Goodman reported that Union Kitchen filed their voluntary agreement with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). However, the owners have another issue; they want to complete exterior improvements, including placing wooden planters between the sidewalk and property line. The additions will not affect sidewalks or parked cars in the area; however, Commissioner Goodman said that some District Department of Transportation (DDOT) members disagreed with the planters. The Commission voted six-zero to support Union Kitchen. 

Zoning Regulation Changes

Joel Lawson of the Office of Planning (OP), presented an overview of proposed zoning regulation changes. The ZC already approved two of those proposals: green area ratio requirements, which will go into effect in October, and pervious surface requirements, which will be applicable to only new developments. The ZC also made administration amendments, bringing regulations up to date with their and the Board of Zoning Adjustment's (BZA) current practices. For instance, height measurements for low-density areas changed from measuring from the underside of the top story, to measuring from the top of a flat roof or midpoint of a pitched roof. 

Some proposed changes include:

  • Parking: OP proposed a transit zone concept: projects located a half-mile from a Metro station or one-fourth mile from a high-service bus corridor has no minimum parking requirement. Other changes include more car-sharing spaces and increasing landscaping requirements for surface parking lots.    
  • Alley Lots: The OP proposed allowing developers to build a single dwelling on an alley lot, or an alley with no street access, if the alley is 24 feet wide. 
  • Corner Stores: OP proposed that corner stores should be allowed in R-3 and R-4 zone districts, which usually allows matter-of-right development for single-family homes. Under the new regulations, a grocer is allowed by right under certain conditions, including separation from a commercial zone and only use of a corner site. Any other use would be allowed under special exception. 
  • Downtown: OP plans to expand the existing downtown zone area to include areas, such as NoMa, that were not originally included in the Downtown Development (DD) Overlay District. 
  • Industrial Zones: Since the term “industrial” applies to any use that is not residential, OP proposed limits on non-industrial uses in industrial zones. They also proposed a 25-foot buffer between industrial and residential zones.
  • Zoning Regulation Code: OP wants to make the zoning regulation code more user-friendly by including subtitles, tables and diagrams. They also plan to group similar regulations together to make them easier to find. 

To find out more about the proposed zoning regulations, visit dczoningupdate.org or zoningdc.org or email OP at zoningupdate@dc.gov. 

Bicycle Accommodation on G and I Streets/Joint Meeting with ANC 6A

Since last year, there have been numerous reports of  bicycle accidents on streetcar tracks along the H Street corridor. Joe McCann, chair of the Transportation and Public Space Committee, Commissioner Goodman, along with ANC 6A Commissioner Omar Mahmud, Councilmember Tommy Wells' office, and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association have since engaged DDOT to find ways to prevent more crashes. Ideas include warning signs, making the tracks safer and finding alternate bicycle routes on nearby G and I Streets. 

On July 16, ANC members for 6A and 6C met with a DDOT representative who presented four options. The first alternative will keep G and I untouched, but adds sharrow lane markings to direct cyclists away from the tracks. The second option introduces a contraflow lane, or a bike lane traveling opposite from the one-way car traffic. The third option adds the contraflow lane, along with diagonal parking on the other side of the street. The last alternative is to covert both streets to two-way traffic for both cars and bicycles. The Commission voted six-zero to adopt the Transportation Committee's recommendation, the second option, adding that the fourth option should be considered for I Street. 

Uline Arena

Representatives from Antunovich Associates returned to the Commission presenting plans for the public space area for the Coliseum, or the former Uline Arena. Located at the front of the building, the pedestrian plaza will feature an outdoor cafe area at the corner of Third and M Streets, with trees and grass outlining the space and 24-hour camera surveillance. The Transportation Committee raised concerns about seating arrangements for the deaf (as they need to face each other to use sign language) and grass maintenance for the potentially active building. The committee also suggested adding a fountain and a bike station. The Commission voted six-zero to support the project. 

Ibiza Nightclub

Commissioner Goodman gave an update on Ibiza Nightclub's recent ABRA hearing regarding a March violation, stemming from an assault involving an underage patron. Despite having at least five cameras pointed at the scene, the managers could only provide one piece of grainy footage weeks after the request. Despite its license being up for renewal this fall, the club filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.