ANC 6D Report - February 2016

At its meeting on Feb. 8, ANC 6D grappled with an agenda focused on development. Commissioners Marjorie Lightman (6D01), Stacy Braverman Cloyd (6D02), Chair Andy Litsky (6D04), Roger Moffatt (6D05), Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06), Meredith Fascett (6D07) and Vice Chair Rachel Reilly Carroll (6D03) were in attendance.

PN Hoffman Presents Pier 4

Representatives from PN Hoffman presented their plans for Pier 4. Originally part of the Wharf’s second phase, the pier is designed to accommodate all Southwest cruise boat operations. It will be located at the current embarkation site next to the new waterfront park. The time table for its construction has been moved up to minimize disruptions to the new park and adjacent condos.

The existing head house at the base of the pier will be renovated and a new 35,000 square foot structure added. The facility will provide secured waiting and embarkation areas for tourists on its lower level.

A finger pier at the end, now under construction, will allow all five existing tour boats to dock. Bus loading will be moved to both sides of Maine Avenue in front of Arena Stage. There will be no increase in tour operations for the waterfront as a whole. All boats will be moved to the finger pier upon its completion. There will be no stoppage due to construction.

“We didn’t want our waterfront park to be a holding area for those waiting for the boats,” pointed out Chair Litsky speaking in support of the design.

Two upper levels will house the office facilities of Entertainment Cruises. The structure will be completed along with the other phase one projects. It is being built as a matter of right with the exception of a parking easement. It will be a LEED gold building.

Commissioners questioned the lighting plan for the pier. According to the Hoffman representatives, it very modestly employs four eight-foot light poles and recessed sconces. Most of the light will be blocked by the canopy.

Commissioners also expressed concerns over the use of the pier’s third floor terrace. A Hoffman representative promised that it will not be an event space and will be reserved solely for the use of the office tenants. The developer is also amenable in incorporating usage restrictions in the Planned Unit Development stipulations.

The Harbor Square Cooperative Board has submitted detailed questions to the developer regarding the Pier 4 design and the management of its construction, Litsky reported.

The Hoffman representative also informed the commission that plans were well under way to create a water taxi connection between The Wharf and Haines Point. The National Park Service is supportive of the developer constructing a small vessel launch near the point’s tennis courts. The taxi service would run from the Municipal Pier near the Fish Market beginning in 2018. A request for proposals is in the works to select a future operator.

Stadium District Lofts Sparks RPP Discussion

Tyler G. Merkeley, a Southwest resident, presented his plan for the Stadium District Lofts. This four story, eight unit, infill project will be built at 1542 First St. SW on the site of what was formally a derelict, abandoned single family home. The DC Zoning Commission will review the project on March 17.

The development will feature a mix of one and two bedroom units with the fourth floor loft having three-bedrooms.

The project features permeable pavers, an interior trash room, bicycle accommodations and a bio-retention garden. It will be silver LEED.

No public space will be used by the development. Its design incorporates a 12 foot setback. A public sculpture will grace its entrance. It is being designed to align with the nearby 1990s flats. It will have public pet waste dispenser.

Merkeley is a part-time real estate investor who has previously converted four blighted properties. He requested for that commission support the project’s application for a parking exception.

The building is far too narrow for onsite parking, Merkeley pointed out. There is also no rear alley access. The law requires eight spots. However, a study he commissioned revealed that only 39 percent of the adjacent street parking is utilized at night.

To encourage residents towards transportation alternatives, the development will provide free bike helmets, and five years of free bike or car-share memberships to residents. A $30 Uber credit will be awarded to residents on move-in.

“It is rare you see a developer come to us with a plan that is this well thought out. This is truly a neighborhood project,” stated Chair Litsky. Commissioner Hamilton, whose SMD contains the project, echoed his assessment.

Commissioner Braverman Cloyd questioned whether the ANC’s support for the parking variance and on street parking for the project’s residents signaled a change in the commission’s stance. Would this mean Residential Parking Permit (RPP) restrictions for new construction would be considered on a case-by-case basis, she asked.

“People should not be worried that we are just going to allow 6,000 people to park on the street,” responded Vice Chair Reilly Carroll speaking in support of the variance for the project.

Commissioner Moffat stated he could not vote in support of the project if the residents were allowed RPP. Up until this time we have had an informal approach of no RPP for residents of new construction, he pointed out.

Using RPP denial as a weapon, does not ensure developers put in sufficient residential parking, Commissioner Lightman observed. New residents quickly become old residents. They will question the discrimination, she pointed out.

“If we don’t make any exception, the project cannot move forward. A massive building will take its place when the property is sold,” stated Commissioner Hamilton.

“This is not an opportunity for any other developer to come before us and ask for RPP,” stated Chair Litsky. He suggested commissioners sit down and work out a formal policy for future developments. “We are not going to have a full discussion of RPP at this time,” he stated ending the discussion.

Six commissioners voted in support of the project’s design and zoning exceptions. Moffat abstained on both counts.

Buzzard Point Plan Problematic

The commission voted unanimously to send a resolution to the DC Office of Planning detailing their caveats regarding its proposed Buzzard Vision and Implementation Plan.

The commissioner is concerned that more than 6,000 units of housing are being squeezed into a few small blocks. That development, in the commission’s opinion, lacks sufficient commitment to affordable housing other than the minimum required under Inclusionary Zoning. The transportation plan is “bare bones” and unbudgeted. The commission also had concerns for arrangements for public safety in such an intensively developed and geographically isolated area.

Public Safety Report

Sergeant Architzel provided the commissioners with a public safety briefing. In PSA 105, there were no homicides, sexual assaults or burglaries. There were thefts from automobiles. There were six regular thefts. There was an increase in assaults with deadly weapons. There was one robbery with a gun and three purse snatches. In PSA 106, there were no homicides, one case of sexual abuse, an assault with a deadly weapon, six robberies, one burglary, 24 thefts from automobiles and 16 thefts.

The MPD is deploying a new traffic unit to enforce the traffic laws at Fourth and M Streets SW.

Miscellaneous Matters

The ABC Committee held no January meeting, reported Chair Coralie Farlee. The protest package for Bardo has been submitted. Commissioners approved the addition of two new committee members by unanimous vote.

The commission unanimously approved Vice Chair Reilly Carroll testifying at the DC Housing Authority oversight hearing on Feb. 24.

The commission voted to send a letter to the DC Council supporting a text amendment to the city’s inclusionary zoning law (IZ) requiring that all IZ rental units be affordable at 60 percent median family income; and that all IZ for-sale units be affordable at 80 percent median family income. The commission voted to let Commissioner Fascett testify in support of this position at the coming March 3 council hearing.

The commission voted unanimously to support the DC Statehood march planned for April 15.

The commission unanimously expressed its support for the National Police Week 5K race that will be held on May 14.

The commissioners approved the February agenda, the January minutes, the Treasurer’s report and the Quarterly Report unanimously. There were no community concerns.

ANC 6D will meet next at 7 p.m. on March 14 at 1100 Fourth St. SW, second floor. For more information, visit www.anc6d.org.