Dear PoPville – Check Out this New Construction on Meridian Place, NW

Dear PoPville,

Thought you’d like to (if you don’t already) know about the new construction on meridian between 14th and 16th. Closer to 14th street. Not sure how this is approved by DCRA. Atrocious, no? Feel bad for neighbors.

37 Comment

  • God this sucks so much

    • it does? why?

      • It breaks up the continuity of the rest of the block. It’s like the house is giving the finger to its neighbors.

        We’ve seen pop-ups a lot worse, but this doesn’t look like one of the more promising ones.

        • i understand the desire for architectural conformity, but i don’t see anything wrong with this.
          was this granted a variance, or is this matter of right building?

          • Surprised they didn’t try to get a fourth or fifth floor to really make it obvious that the building is an allusion to the middle finger.

  • I don’t get it – what’s so awful about it?

  • Oh that’s that new condo called “The Eyesore”. I read somewhere that it’s a 20 unit bulding with floorplans varying from 200 sq ft to 400 sq ft starting in the low 400’s. Feet from a Starbucks and Harris Teeter. #streetparking

  • I was going to ask what was there but after looking on street view I think it might have been an empty lot though it looked like it was attached to peach deal with the weird (but scaled normally) dormer-like thingy (in the pic there is a wood fence covered by a huge tree that has obviously been torn out).

    • I should add that based on the photo that I can’t believe the got permission to go that far out on the front of the lot.

      Also, I assume this is multi-unit project and not single family house.

    • Used to live on this block – this particular plot used to be a vacant lot that was then sold at a DC government auction.

  • DCRA is a joke, they approve anything if you pay the right people

    • ah

      I’m not sure this is a DCRA issue.

      It looks like the height is probably consistent with zoning (3 stories, 40 feet), but the other houses aren’t built to the height limit.

      It also looks like it’s built to the front lot-line, just as the porches are, but it goes up whereas others have porches.

      As for the bay windows, if those project into public space, it’s a DDOT issue, but they issue permits for bay windows, and some projection into public spaces is allowed (depending on a bunch of factors).

      So, whether or not it’s an architectural abomination, it may well simply be taking advantage of all the space available.

    • yeah, can’t exactly tell from the photo, but nothing about that strikes me as obviously noncompliant. it may well be just a matter-of-right development, in which case no DCRA discretion was exercised. (doesn’t, of course, mean ya gotta like it any better)

      i don’t have a big problem with it, myself.

    • This is not DCRA – this is Office of Planning and Office of Zoning

  • On another street this would be a good addition. On this block, that’s just offensive.

  • Is this a joke? If I lived on either side of this I would be so pissed. Look what it does to the second story view of the street for its neighbors. I hope the DCRA process for this one was scrutinized.

  • i’m currently having a problem with a disrespectful build next to my home, but this is absolutely rediculous, how DCRA will pass anything. That front facade should have never been able to protrude past the original second story facade. This is what makes me nervous about my situation.

    • I think it’s pretty obvious that DCRA has their marching orders to increase density & housing supply, and thereby increase the tax base, by any legally permitted means. The city has a shortage of good, readily liveable housing. They love it when an empty lot – or a single residence – is replaced by a multi-family building (and if it’s mixed use, even better!)

      • I mean… I love it too. This is terrific imo. Takes a vacant lot and puts 3-4 units onto it. Sucks if you live on the street, but ultimately DC needs more units, and they need to go somewhere. It looks fairly tasteful (outside of how far it is allowed to protrude of course) and looks like it will be a nice building.

        Hooray another vacant lot turning into productive use!

        • “DC needs more units”

          Why?

          • Because we lack supply, as evidenced by the high cost of housing.

          • colin,
            not every neighborhood in dc is expensive.

            and isn’t it better to have more demand than supply. the opposite, which we’ve had for many years, is not a good option.

        • It looks like a huge tree got taken out as well. That is the bigger issue IMO. Whoever is developing this should have had to kick in 20K or so to CleanRivers for the extra amount of pressure on the sewer system due to less permeable land, and that tree which was absorbing a ton of rainwater.

          Other than that, as noted below, sounds like 14th and Meridian is a drug dealing corner, more people on the street, more people calling 911, hopefully they can get it cleaned up.

  • The wording “atrocious” came from the person who wrote to PoP, not from PoP himself.

    There is a longstanding debate on this blog about pop-ups. It seems to me that the majority of PoPville posters don’t like ‘em, but some PoPville-ians do.

  • This is just plain rude and obnoxious. From this view you cant even see the house next door. This chops the entire sight of the block.

  • People continually disparage DCRA as if the permit reviewers have some kind of discretion as to what is or is not allowable under the current zoning code. If a design conforms to the zoning code, then it will and should be approved. R4 districts, as a previous commenter noted, allow for 3 stories and 40 feet maximum height. It has been this way since 1958. If you have a strong opinion on this, DC is revamping the zoning code now, make your voice heard, although its practically a done deal at this point.

    Do I think this development fits in with the rest of the row houses? No, but blaming DCRA is ridiculous. A new historic overlay could solve this problem in the future, but there are many positives and negative to this approach. The height isn’t as problematic to me; the break in the continuity of the street wall bothers me much more, something HPRB could weigh in on if given the authority.

    • Could you please tell us more about the zoning code? If there’s any chance of it being revised to prevent this from happening to my block, I’ll support the politician who makes it happen, and it seems like I probably wouldn’t be alone in that.

    • saf

      They do have some discretion.

      For example, I was denied a permit for an arbor. Why? Because they thought it looked like a carport.

      The most annoying part was that when I asked what would make it legal, they wouldn’t tell me. They just kept saying, “Re-draw it and come back and we’ll tell you if it’s legal.”

  • That block is already a bit of a mismatch — that side of the block has some bland rowhouses, but right across the street on the other side of the block are more attractive Victorian-style rowhouses.

    It might not end up so bad if the exterior style ends up mimicking the Victorian style of the rowhouses across the street. It will still stick out on its side of the block, but it could conceivably tie in with the other, more attractive side of the block.

  • Trust me, that house is the least of that block’s concerns. The guys selling drugs on the corner of 14th and Meridian are a bigger problem then that building not being uniform with the rest of the block

  • it seems like everyone wants dc to grow, so long as it’s not on their block.

  • I live on this block across the street in a condo. Since this photo, the building has popped up one level higher with what looks like a roof deck entry. The interior looks HUGE. I would guess it will end up being 4 units, one on each floor. I do feel bad for the neighbors… they lose full sight of their block when sitting out on the porch. It was an empty lot prior to this new construction. Never imagined something so big could fit in that space!

  • I live on the street. I’m not looking for strict conformance to what what is already there – I am not in favor of historical zones in general, and I am generally for more density – but not without boundaries of our current system of city planning. My issue is that the building will look incredibly bizarre. That doesn’t seem to phase the builder at all.

    I suspect that it is within code (we have requested a review), but it was a complete suprise to me that something like this was allowed. The front of the building (not the foundation, but the bay windows) extends beyond everyone else’s porch, then straight up 4 floors – when the rest of the block is pushed back and lower (a lot, we’re not talking inches here).

    Lesson learned – if city government can’t/won’t prevent something like this, I strongly encourage any development on your block to be heavily scrutinized at the earliest stages of purchase/development.

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