lanier_heights_pop_up

From an email:

“ANC 1C Votes Unanimously to Support Zoning Reform Barring Popups

This is a statement on behalf of the informal group of Lanier Heights residents whose campaign for zoning reform led to a vote by ANC 1C on December 3, 2014, to support a change to R-4 zoning:

Clearly the vast majority of Lanier Heights and Adams Morgan residents want to change zoning to protect the remaining 165 row houses against efforts to build them up and out and carve them up into multi-unit buildings.

Over the past two months, the ANC scheduled a series of public meetings devoted explicitly to the issue of whether a change in zoning would be the right response to the flood of rowhouse conversions in the Lanier Heights neighborhood, which represents the northeastern section of Adams Morgan, north of Columbia Road and east of 18th and Calvert Streets. Media reports of the controversy, in an understandable effort to be even-handed, have given equal weight to proponents both of reform and of popup development. But the public meetings have revealed that the overwhelming sentiment of the neighborhood is on the side of protecting the neighborhood against popups. The vast majority of the owners of Lanier Heights row houses that would be directly affected by the proposed change who have spoken, and indeed the vast majority of the residents of Lanier Heights apartment buildings, favors preservation of the neighborhood character of the inner streets of Lanier Heights. Specifically, the neighbors themselves want to preserve the rowhouses along such streets as Lanier Place, Ontario Place, and Argonne Place, along with parts of 18th Street, Ontario Road, and Adams Mill Road overlooking Rock Creek Park.

The owners of over 100 row houses have by now put their handwritten signatures on a petition supporting zoning reform, and hundreds more in the neighborhood have both hand-signed and joined an online petition. A copy of that petition, and supporting materials, can be accessed through our web site at http://lanierheights.info/?page_id=475. Despite a monthly door-to-door distribution of full-color, glossy, cardstock flyers by a few people calling themselves “Neighbors Against Down Zoning” so as to sound more weighty, only ten row house owners, and a few pop-up condo owners, have said they support keeping the current zoning.

Statements by ANC commissioners at last night’s monthly ANC meeting revealed that private email communications from their constituents reflected the same overwhelming tilt in favor of zoning reform. The attached resolution was passed late Wednesday evening December 3 by a unanimous vote of the ANC; concluding as follows: “Resolved that Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C supports the proposal to change the Lanier Heights zoning designation to R-4 and will send a letter of support to the Office of Planning and Zoning Commission to that effect.”

Lanier Heights neighbors look forward to meeting with city zoning and planning officials and with the Zoning Commission to secure a vote in favor of this change.

Paul Alan Levy
Public Citizen Litigation Group”

and the other side:

“ANC-1C VOTES IN SUPPORT OF DOWNZONING LANIER HEIGHTS

The ANC vote came as no surprise.

The ANC was most interested in the opinions of the owners of the 165 unconverted single family row houses in Lanier Heights. They are the group that will be most directly affected by downzoning, since their property rights are on the line. They are the group that will be most directly affected by any new pop-ups. That was the view of the ANC.

The downzoning petition claims support from 99 of that select group while “only” 15 people who have signed our petition against downzoning own unconverted single family row houses. The 50 Lanier Heights row home owners who never publicly took a side on the issue weren’t a part of the ANC’s calculation.

Obviously, we disagree with the ANCs decision, but we understand why they voted as they did, based on their definition of who the true stakeholders are.

Our view is different. Those 99 petition signers represent just 60% of the affected home owners. Although that’s a majority, it is not an overwhelming majority. If only a handful of those 99 people change their minds or sell their homes and move, the percentage could easily drop down to around 50%.

While those slim percentages might be enough for the ANC, we think it is a weak result to use as a basis for taking away the rights of 100% of current and future home owners in Lanier Heights.

The ANC did their job as they viewed it. Now the downzoning petition will move on to the next step in the process.

We are encouraged that more home owners on Lanier Place signed our petition and put up yard signs in just the last few days.

To those who have a NEIGHBORS AGAINST DOWNZONING yard sign in your yard, keep it there. If you want a yard sign (or two or three) let us know. If you live in an apartment or condo in Lanier Heights and want signs for your yard or window, let us know. We think your opinion counts. Everyone who lives in Lanier Heights is a stakeholder.

Thanks for reading

Ronald Baker
Lanier Heights home owner”
Neighbors Against Downzoning

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“Dear PoPville,

On Argonne Place NW, one of Adams Morgan/Mt. P’s hidden little streets, there’s a new developer monstrosity happening…call it a shove forward. This block has awesome Wardman-style porches, many with beautiful arches. The houses were built in 1920 and designed by Reginald Wycliffe Geare, the architect of the Lincoln Theater, and they are all nearly identical, but with little differences inside and on the porches. That is, until now, when the developer carving the house up into condos is seemingly turning the front porch into a room, blocking off everyone else’s view and light. It’s got this entire block up in arms and very upset, and I wonder if it’s going on in other places around the city. Help!”

Another reader tweets us:

“Visit Argonne Place, mid-block, to see the demolition of a 1920 Reginald W. Geare house. So sad. Not a popup, but an abomination.”

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accident

“Dear PoPville,

This morning at about 8:30 AM, a driver crashed into my building, at the corner of Quarry and Summit. (the same street where a car went down the small staircase a week or two ago). There was no damage to the house, but the car hit our gas meter, causing gas to leak out all through the building and outside. The fire department and police came, and everyone in the three apartments evacuated or was at work. The driver is fine too, and was there with us talking to the police. They are still clearing everything up now, and Washington Gas is shutting off the gas.

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For reasons I don’t understand, the fire department decided to break in the doors of all three apartments to get in, to check for people inside, even though one apartment’s residents were all at work, and I and the residents of another apartment were standing outside, watching, and we knew no one was left inside. We just didn’t notice the firemen breaking in until late. There is doorframe and siding damage, and one apartment’s door was broken even though it was unlocked. We’re talking with the landlord about the damage, and I imagine there has to be way to get insurance compensation/ to file a complaint from the fire department. Has anyone else had a similar experience with the fire department?”

Ed. Note: I imagine the Fire Department has to err on the side of caution in cases like this.

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“Dear Popville,

On Tuesday, you published a message from NADZ, a group that opposes an initiative by a group of resident in Lanier Heights to rezone the rowhouses there from an R-5-B designation to an R-4 designation. ANC1C has not yet taken a position on the initiative, and accordingly, we look forward to eventually hearing the views of the affected neighbors, whether for or against. We were disappointed, however, to see NADZ make a number of inaccurate representations concerning our process in the message that you published.

By way of correction, ANC1C did not hold a meeting on Wednesday night. Rather, our Planning, Zoning, and Transportation Committee held a meeting on Wednesday night. The Committee held its meeting on the thirdWednesday of the month at the Kalorama Recreation Center. which is the same night, and the same location, where the Committee has held nearly all of its meetings for many, many years. The location has nothing to do with the Kalorama Citizens Association. All of our Committees hold their meetings at this location because it is one of the few spaces in Adams Morgan that are owned by the District of Columbia government where our Committees can meet without having to pay a fee. And the inclusion of the item the Committee’s agenda was not for the purposes of having the ANC take a position on the matter. Rather, the Committee invited staff from the Office of Planning to explain to the community and to the Commission how a re-zoning proposal would be handled by the District government bodies that have responsibility for such matters, and what ANC1C’s role in such a process would be.

We hope that all Adams Morgan residents who are interested in the Lanier rezoning issue will participate fully in the process as it unfolds. We also hope that all parties will refrain from mis-characterizing ANC1C’s actions.

Sincerely,
Billy Simpson
Chair, ANC1C”

NoDownsize

“Dear PoPville,

No “downzoning”? So what is this all about? Sounds like a good initiative for those of us who would like to see higher density and more affordable housing options (an apartment is easier to buy than an entire townhome), but often the devil is in the details. So what gives, is anyone familiar with the fine print here and can give us the Cliff notes?

They do have a website: nadz.org.”

Ed. Note: We last spoke about this debate in July.

The folks from NADZ just sent an email this morning – Downzoners Pushing Ahead with Proposal to Downsize Home Owner Rights in Lanier Heights:

“Dear Neighbor:

On Wednesday, the folks that favor downzoning will make a presentation to our Advisory Neighborhood Commission. They will propose changing Lanier Heights from the current zoning (R-5-B) to a lesser zoning (R-4).

The ANC meeting will take place at the Kalorama Recreation Center, 1875 Columbia Road, at 7 PM on Wednesday September 17. Please note that this is not the usual location for our ANC to meet. The Kalorama Recreation Center is in Kalorama Park, in Adam Morgan’s Kalorama Historic District, where the Kalorama Citizens Association is based. The KCA tried to create a Lanier Heights Historic District in 2007 but they were defeated. Now the KCA is a big supporter of downzoning our neighborhood.

We all have better things to do with our time than go to a meeting on a Wednesday night. Unfortunately, the downzoners don’t have anything better to do with their time. On Wednesday night, they will make a proposal to downzone Lanier Heights. If that proposal becomes law, that will be the end of residential growth in our neighborhood. Home owners will lose their right to convert a row house into a 3 or 4 unit apartment or condo building. Downzoning will cost home owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost home equity, and will cost our neighborhood the chance for growth and change. (more…)

1725 Lanier Place Northwest

This rental is located at 1725 Lanier Place, Northwest. The listing says:

“Spacious and bright 2BR/1BA 1st floor unit in Mount Pleasant. Kitchen is big enough for a table and offers tons of cabinet space! Rental also comes with storage unit. Available to move in right now! Pets not allowed. Housing Voucher welcomed, pls check DCHA website for approved submarket rent limits.”

You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/1 bath is going for $2,525/Mo.

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Photo via NADZ

From an email:

“We are gaining new supporters but time may become a factor. The comments period on proposed zoning changes ends on Sept. 15. If the downzoning group gets their way, all existing R-5-B lots could be rezoned downwards to R-4 status.

We are battling the downzoners in Lanier Heights, but there are downzoners all over the city and it needs to become a city wide issue.

For more information visit our website NEIGHBORS AGAINST DOWNZONING

Ed. Note: Previously we talked about the Lanier Heights ‘Stop Pop Ups’ vs ‘Stop Nimby-ism’ here and downzoning could “could cost you $100,000 – $200,000 – $300,000 – OR MORE…” here.

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Photo via NADZ

1801 Clydesdale Place Northwest

This unit is located at 1801 Clydesdale Place, Northwest. The listing says:

“MOVE-IN READY EFFICIENCY IN THE SAXONY! LARGE WINDOWS MAKE THE SPACE FEEL LIGHT AND BRIGHT! UNIT FEATURES KITCHEN WITH DUAL REFRIGERATORS AND GOOD STORAGE, HARDWOOD FLOORS AND LARGE WALK-IN CLOSET! GORGEOUS ROOFTOP PATIO WITH INCREDIBLE VIEWS, GREAT FOR ENTERTAINING! ENJOY CONVENIENT CITY LIVING – WALK TO ADAMS MORGAN!”

You can see more photos here.

This efficiency is going for $140,000 ($368 monthly fee.)