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
Lanier Heights home owner”
Neighbors Against Downzoning