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Chevy Chase Neighborhood Coalition Worried About Proposed Development at 5333 Connecticut Ave, NW

by Prince Of Petworth — January 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm 42 Comments

5333 Connecticut Avenue, NW

The 5333 Connecticut Neighborhood Coalition says:

The proposed 263-apartment building will stretch down the side streets of Military and Kanawha,
creating substantial parking, traffic, light, and pedestrian safety issues.

• The proposed structure will be the tallest building in Chevy Chase at grade and will have the highest population density.

• The proposed building contains 263 units in 299,000 gross square feet.

• The 263 units will house approximately 500 residents.

• There will be 173 parking spaces for 263 units and no guest spaces.

• The building height from grade on Military Road to the top of the penthouse level will be 125 feet.

Check out a rendering here.

  • Chevy Chase

    I live about 3 blocks away. I’d love to see something other than a big apartment buidling here but it probably won’t impact me much. I have a tendency to skew pro-development, however. The thing that does seem bad is using the existing alley to access a 180 something car parking structure. That seems like a disaster in the making.

    • why? that seems like a good use of an alley to me.

      • Anonymous

        The alleys are very narrow and aren’t meant for serious traffic. I wouldn’t object if they were a bit wider but 180 cars going in and out of those alleys on a daily basis seems a bit beyond their capacity.

        • anon

          I thought the whole point was that they were widening the curb cut to minimize actual alley traffic? Parking entrance would be at the alley entrance, but not necessarily through traffic.

          Read the GGW article on this for some real laughers from the ANC crowd. I would tend to pay attention to their arguments if many weren’t so fantastically reactionary and ridiculous. See the recent arguments over accessory dwellings.

  • Anonymous

    This region has a housing shortage. This will add more housing and comports with the existing zoning requirements. Go cry to someone else.

    • Anonymous

      This is such NIMBY B.S. We need more housing stock in the area.

      • Anonymous

        …with parking. The Friendship Heights metro station is quite a clip from there. Doable, but a clip.

        • Marymay

          I live a block away from this lot and it takes me 7-10 min. tops to get to the friendship heights metro.

      • I have to roll my eyes every time I see folks like yourself

        trot out the “we have a housing shortage, and need more units to lower prices” fairy tale.

        I am going to let you in on a little secret. The District is but 10% of the DC Metro’s population and “affordable housing” (whatever that is) cannot be created in a vacuum. You can build 20,000 housing units a year in the District and it wouldn’t lower current pricing in the District by 1 dollar unless MD and VA do the same.

        They aren’t.

        The District has built 29,000 new housing units in the past 12 years, more than enough to accommodate every last of the 58,000 people who have moved to the District during that period, with a few thousand in spare (persons per household in the District is 2.13).

        6,000 of those housing units were built in the last two, with another 10,000 under construction right now with another 28,000 in the pipeline yet to break ground. To accuse DC of doing anything but focus on real estate development the past decade means you are simply uninformed.

        I am generally pretty pro-development, but cringe when I see armchair Donald Trumps like yourself talk about things which you have no earthly clue. You think that if you had it your way, you would be able to get that swank 2 bedroom apartment above the U Street Metro for $1,200 a month, yet it never happens.

        High density transit oriented development? Awesome idea. Many metro stops in NW DC should have far more density. This building is a brisk 16 minute walk from the nearest metro station, and is bordered on all sides by SFD and SFA housing. I don’t live in that neighborhood, but trepidation by the folks who live there is warranted.

        • TG

          Are you saying 16 minutes is a long walk? I think friendship heights metro is pretty accessible from here.

          • I know you are likely some marathoner who runs 10 miles to work every day and doesn’t mind a 34 minute round trip walk to the metro every day to work, but most people don’t consider a brisk 16 minute walk one way “easily metro accessible”.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            Joker – most people YOU know may not think that. Most people I know would have no problem with a 15 fine fine 16 minute walk to metro. But I do admire how sure of yourself you always are.

          • anon

            Sorry, joker, a 10-15 minute walk is perfectly doable for anybody without a physical impairment. There are thousands of people in this city who walk distances that far or longer on a daily basis because *GASP!* they LIKE to! And that doesn’t even mention bikes (oops, I mean “anti-car weapons”). Just because the residents opposed to this development can’t see beyond driving down the block to get groceries doesn’t mean lots of people have no problem with a car-free or car-lite lifestyle. The truth is they aren’t designing this building for the neighbors to move in; they are designing it for people who want an apartment in a good, transit-accessible neighborhood and are willing to pay prices to have that. Why should we deny this because somebody else wouldn’t live that lifestyle?

          • Anonymous

            i’m amused at those arguing with joker. he already knows more than everyone here combined.
            you may as well argue with a wall.

          • anony

            joker is the authority on the walking habits of potential future residents of this development? that’s quite the specific skill set to possess.

          • SW1

            Young man, I’d be happy if I could be as sure about one thing in my life as you are sure of everything – Disraeli

        • Anonymous

          “trot out the “we have a housing shortage, and need more units to lower prices” fairy tale.”

          Who made this argument? My argument was that we have a housing shortage and people need places to live, therefore we should build more places to live. Didn’t say a thing about prices or affordability.

          • Who is “we”? The District doesn’t have a housing shortage. In fact it built more units in the past 12 years then needed by all the people who moved in.

            DC has plenty of housing, or are you saying the District has an affordable housing shortage? Two completely different things, and if you are meaning the latter, building apt’s in Chevy Chase DC that will rent out for $2500 a month (1 bedroom) isn’t going to address affordable housing.

          • resident

            why is everyone yelling about affordable housing? This has nothing to do with affordable housing. It would be an awesome place for some new quality units and I think you would see some better local retail success there too.

            And for the clown who thinks 16 minutes is too long a walk to a metro…cmon pal. Half the city and even more of VA folks often walks that much to get to metros. I walk 12 every morning and night and consider myself “right by a metro”

        • Anonymous

          Red herring record. You are arguing against points that no one has made. The argument is that there is housing shortage in the area (unassailably true). And that if you add more housing units, there will be more housing units (unassailably true). No one ever argued that if you build more housing units then rents will decrease. Perhaps you’re hearing voices in your head?

          • Joker

            “Unassailably true”

            Link to your data then. Anecdotal opinions and off the cuff subjective views are not fact. I gave you census data above that shows we’ve built more housing units in the District than needed in the past 12 years to accommodate everyone that has moved here. Disprove it, or you are simply wrong.

    • Anonymous

      To be fair, if I owned a million+ dollar house in the area directly affected by this development, I’d do everything I could to overturn it.

      Alas, I do not, so I’m perfectly fine with this being built.

  • dcgent

    Almost all of Conn Ave along that corridor is lined with high-rise (high for DC) condo/apartment buildings so it’s hard to argue this shouldn’t move ahead–and it will as a matter of right, I believe. More crowds for the L2 bus!

    • TG

      Yep – there are a half a dozen or so building of equal size very near by. Plus, I have to imagine the several old folks homes may eventually turn to something else.

  • How dare they let the kind of savages that don’t want to live in a detached single family home move to OUR neighborhood?! Won’t anyone think of the children?

  • Chris in Eckington

    Resident’s in Chevy Chase DC rejected a proposed historic district a few years back because they thought it would infringe on their property rights. Now some of the same people are opposed to a “by right” project. Am I the only one who finds this ironic?

    • 17th St

      Ironic is putting it kindly. I find it offensive. A by-right project means the developer is playing by the rules while the neighbors are trying to change the rules on an ad hoc basis. It would be a different thing entirely if the developer were proposing something that was not otherwise allowed.

  • TakomaNick

    I’m fine with it as long as the newcomers can’t get residential parking permits, can’t send their kids to local public schools, and can’t vote in civic organizations or city elections. Also, the building should have a 100 foot setback on all sides, be off the grid, and transparent, casting no shadows and obstructing no views.

    • You forgot that residents can only come out under cover of dark, so locals don’t have to be aware of their presence.

      • Jes

        And they shouldn’t spend their interloper dollars at the local businesses.


  • Jes

    My neighborhood is so amazing and special I don’t want anyone else to live here!

    • DC202

      Yeah – I love living in the city, I just don’t want other people around me.

  • Anonymous

    Measuring any type of height from Military Rd is pretty disengenuous due to the fact that the road slopes up towards Conn. Ave. Of course a hill looks tall if you’re standing at the bottom of it.

  • AngryParakeet

    That is one heck of a bird-killer.

  • Marcus Aurelius

    How many “affordable” units will there be? Or does that requirement only apply to new construction in “up and coming” neighborhoods”?

    • The Joker

      Unfortunately, only those who have the good fortune to leave in a gentrifying area have to deal with silly “affordable housing units”, usually because they tore down some crime ridden public housing projects. The “affordable units” really should be market-rate, but it’s certainly better than what was there before.

      • Anonymous

        It depends what we want as a city. If we only want wealthy professionals, then your solution makes sense. If we want a city where a mixture of people can live and add to its vitality – from firefighters who save our buildings to janitors who clean them – then we need to manipulate the market in such a way that doesn’t impede development but also allows for a variety of income ranges. That’s the DC I’d prefer to call home.

  • ClevelandDave

    Not much sympathy here. 1) Area already filled with high-rises- including, it would seem by crafted wording, that includes other buildings that are actually as high or higher than this one. 2) The use of the lot is and has been nil for some time- shoulda come up with a better plan instead of reacting to one that seems fairly consistent what is already allowed in that area 3) Some fairly big and possibly untrue assumptions about, for example, the number of residents- it assumes each unit will have two residents. 4) Get real on the parking- it seems about right for the area to have a little less than one space per unit- heck where I live there are so so many new developments that are being allowed with none or almost no parking spaces. I’d be happy if zoning required one space for every two or three units. 5) It seems that little tweaks- a step down on the top floor or adding some additional parking would be issues that can be worked out in zoning. 6) I’m not sure what the point is about 263K units in 299K gross feet- seems about right. Welcome to Washington DC in 2013!

  • Anonymous

    Why would an influx of supply cause prices to fall? It’s only the most basic economic concept.

  • Anonymous

    I know exactly what sort of people live in this neighborhood. And they don’t deserve this development. They deserve TEN of them!

  • Brian Kraft

    I love when “light” is cited as a concern. “Air” is never far behind. And I see “pedestrian safety” is a concern. I guess they don’t want that either. I miss Ward 3!

  • Anonymous



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