Washington, DC


Photo via office of zoning files

The following was written by PoPville contributor David McAuley, founder of Short Articles about Long Meetings.

A four-unit apartment building at the N Street entrance to Blagden Alley has been operating for about 14 years on the basis of “forged” documents. That’s the story a committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle heard at its regular monthly meeting last night (November 29).

Nneka Shelton, the representative of the owners of 924 N Street NW, told ANC2F’s Community Development Committee that the owners have been operating the building since 2003 without a valid DC Certificate of Occupancy. At various times in the meeting, Shelton characterized the owner’s current Certificate of Occupancy as “faulty” or “forged”.

The certificate of occupancy in the publicly-available electronic files of the DC Office of Zoning for this case is from July 1985 and allows a dry cleaners to operate on the premises. Shelton said at the meeting that this is the latest Certificate of Occupancy for the building.

A Certificate of Occupancy is the DC government’s confirmation that a property is being used in accordance with zoning regulations. In this case, the property is now zoned RF-1, which is “for areas predominantly developed with attached row houses on small lots within which no more than 2 dwelling units are permitted”. Before a 2016 conversion of zoning designations, the building was categorized as “R-4”, but the limitations were the same – no more than two residential units per property.

Now the owners want to get legal. Read More

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The following was written by PoPville contributor David McAuley, founder of Short Articles about Long Meetings.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and a team of department heads discussed many topics at the regular monthly meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E/Shaw last night (November 7), but the conversation frequently circled back to garbage and the vermin who feed off of it.

“The number one complaint is rats,” said ANC6E Chair Alexander Padro (Commissioner for district 01), as he prepared to pepper Bowser with sanitation-related complaints from Commissioners and constituents.

“I take it very seriously,” Bowser replied, adding that the city is working with restaurants and examining best practices from other cities. Bowser also said that “the growth of the rat population is real”, due to exceptionally warm weather the last two winters, and she was hoping for “a very cold winter” to assist in dealing with the problem.

Bowser also told the audience that the administration was planning a rat-centric (“not potholes, not lights, not trees – just rats“) community walk in the Dupont Circle area next week.

After discussing some other topics, Padro asked: “Are we ready to move on to trash?” Read More

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1210 R Street, NW

The following was written by PoPville contributor David McAuley, founder of Short Articles about Long Meetings.

Developers legally committed to providing a unit of affordable housing at the Logan Station Condominiums (1210 R Street NW) are asking Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle whether they can abandon the commitment if they provide the community some other type of compensation.

On October 25, attorney Anthony Rachal and a representative from the developer told the Community Development Committee of ANC2F that they wished to be relieved of this responsibility, due to unforeseen construction problems.

“This is becoming obscenely expensive,” the developer’s representative said.

Since 2007, when it opened, the 63-unit Logan Station Condominiums has had a large “community room”, which was primarily for the use of the Metropolitan Baptist Church, the condo’s original landlord and previous occupant of the space. However, the church filed for bankruptcy protection in 2016. In the wake of the filing, the church petitioned DC authorities to convert the now-unneeded community room into three additional condominium units, of which one unit would be officially designated as affordable housing.

Inadequate documentation of the original project caused repeated delays in construction, the developer said. In one case, an attempt to drill into the slab foundation of building cut the electrical supply for all the elevators in the condominium complex. Because of these difficulties, the developers would not be able to construct the additional units as originally planned.

Instead, the developers and their attorney suggested that stakeholders, including the ANC, negotiate a package of community benefits in compensation for the lost unit of affordable housing. For example, the developers offered a larger unit of affordable housing at 721 Kennedy Street NW. A committee member asked how far away it was.

One mile?, the developer guessed. Read More

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Proposed. Photo credit: from documents submitted at the committee hearing on October 25

The following was written by PoPville contributor David McAuley, founder of Short Articles about Long Meetings.

Inscape Studios was back in front of the Community Development Committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle on October 25. Gregory Kearley of Inscape came with a modified plan to develop the space above 1412 Q Street NW. The lot is owned by the proprietor of The Bike Rack, a bicycle dealership on the first, and so far only, floor.

The expansion plans need approval from DC’s Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), because the shop is located within the Fourteenth Street Historic District. However, the owner does not need separate relief from zoning requirements, as the present proposal is within what the owner may build “by right”.

The plan presented was a scaled-down version of an earlier proposal. Kearley told the committee the new version of the plan has lost 12 feet in height by dropping a proposed penthouse.

Still, ten neighbors stood before the committee to object to the project. In addition, ANC2F Vice-chair John Guggenmos (Commissioner for district 02) read a communication from a constituent against to the project. (1412 Q Street is in Guggenmos’s ANC district.) Some neighbors criticized the design. Others objected to the effect the proposed expansion would have on their view, light, and air. The latter is a zoning matter and is not, strictly speaking, within the purview of HPRB, which is primarily concerned with the exterior appearance of the building. Read More

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Photo credit: from documents distributed at the ANC meeting

The following was written by PoPville contributor David McAuley, founder of Short Articles about Long Meetings.

RRaze of Collapsing Mt. Pleasant Carriage House Proposed

“We won’t let our children go near that property,” a neighbor told Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1D/Mount Pleasant at its October 24 meeting.

The property in question is a carriage house at the rear of 3305 and 3307 18th Street NW. It is a single structure which was built in the rear of two adjacent residences, perhaps around 1896, according to homeowner testimony to the ANC.

“The carriage house is in very bad shape,” the owner of 3305 told the ANC. The homeowner also said the building was structurally unsound and submitted a petition with 24 signatures from neighbors supporting the demolition of the existing structure and replacement with a new structure of similar appearance.

Since the carriage house is located in the Mount Pleasant Historic District, getting permission to demolish and replace it involves two separate permissions. The plan to rebuild must be approved by DC’s Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). But the act of demolishing a building in any historic district involves a separate review by the office of Mayor’s Agent at DC’s Office of Planning.

A representative of Historic Mount Pleasant, a local organization dedicated to architectural preservation, said that, in this case, the organization supported the demolition of the building. Read More

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Proposed site of single-family dwelling behind 1665 Harvard St NW from Office of Zoning Files

The following was written by PoPville contributor David McAuley, founder of Short Articles about Long Meetings.

Meridian Hill ANC Says No to Harvard Street “Popbacks”

Homeowners on the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Harvard Street NW are meeting local opposition to adding rear additions to their homes. At the October 24 meeting, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1D/Mount Pleasant, voted to oppose three separate requests for zoning relief in these blocks. Each vote to oppose was unanimous.

The first case was for zoning relief for a property at the rear of 1665 Harvard Street. The owner of the lot wishes to build a two-story, single-family dwelling on a lot facing a rear alley. Although the owners may build “by right” (i.e., without having to ask for permission), the proposed design cannot satify the requirement for setbacks along the side and rear of the property without zoning relief.

Attorney Meridith H. Moldenhauer, representing the applicants, noted that the city is encouraging the construction of alley dwellings and the lot under consideration was the only lot in the area that is “large enough to be buildable”. However, neighbors came out in force to object to the petition, saying that the proposed project would render an adjoining walkway difficult or impossible to use, and that no other house on Harvard Street has been granted an exception to the setback requirements, among other objections.

One neighbor said approving the zoning relief “would eviscerate zoning requirements”. Read More

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“Dear PoPville,

I saw an update on one of your GDoN posts in my neighborhood list serve. The dumpy Takoma house that went for $55K over asking is on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B’s CommunityDesign Review Committee agenda to become an apartment building.

It also looks like some of the space in the Takoma Theatre is leased to Children’s Hospital Outpatient offices, and the developer is trying to reduce the amount of required retail space on the ground floor.”

Thanks to all who sent the ANC Agenda: Read More

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Pablo Raw Raw

From an email:

“PoPville’s post on our geysering DC Water bills, and the comments it garnered, helped convince ANC 4D a community Water Forum was needed to support productive discussion on the city’s increasing water challenges.

Hello, neighbors,

Strange and frightening charges are turning up on our water bills.

And, as the heavy rainstorms last summer proved, DC residents are experiencing more-frequent dangerous flooding in our homes and streets.

As DC careens into a new, wetter climate era, what do these alarming trends portend for us? And what can we do about them?

Ask your questions, and get answers at the ANC 4D Water Forum:

Tuesday, Oct. 24, 6:30-8:30 pm

Washington Latin Public Charter School

5200 2nd St NW (between Ingraham and Hamilton)

This will be a calm, respectful, yet candid engagement with DC Water and DOEE representatives aimed at getting the real story behind all the bill increases and the environmental challenges ahead. We will also hear how City Council is researching these issues and what it is considering to do in response.

Best regards,
Nancy E. Roth,
Commissioner, ANC 4D”

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Photo via BZA files

The following was written by PoPville contributor David McAuley, founder of Short Articles about Long Meetings.

JP Morgan Moves to Protect Its Capitol Yards Real Estate

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D/Waterfront has found a powerful ally – JP Morgan Asset Management – in its protest of zoning relief for a proposed new apartment building at 100 K Street SE.

The 150-year-old multinational has hired local attorneys Holland & Knight to represent the interests of the property next door at 909 New Jersey Avenue SE, which it bought on behalf of institutional investors in 2012.

The developers of 100 K Street SE, GH Group LLC, are proposing to raze the auto body shop currently on the site and build a 12-story mixed-use building with 34 apartments. According to DC zoning, no window in a new residential building of this type shall be within 40 feet of existing windows. Read More

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via Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) files

The following was written by PoPville contributor David McAuley, founder of Short Articles about Long Meetings.

“This is a gorgeous project. It’s a magnificent project,” said Commissioner Andy Litsky, Chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D/Waterfront.

Commissioner Rhonda Hamilton (district 06) called it “a beautiful phase two”.

Phase one is extraordinary and we fully expect to come to a good conclusion rapidly,” said Commissioner Meredith Fascett (district 07).

Nevertheless, ANC6E, after listening to a long presentation led by Shawn Seaman, Executive Vice President of developer PN Hoffman, voted to protest the request to DC’s zoning authorities to proceed with the project because a few details remained to be negotiated. Among the matters of contention were:

— working out an on-street parking plan that kept tour buses off residential streets,

— the details of a prohibition on electronic signs (e.g., will bus stop advertisements be included?),

— minimizing the inconvenience that the project will cause to “live-aboard” community, that is, Washingtonians whose homes are boats moored in a Southwest marina.

This last group made a strong showing at the meeting, with over 50 people on their feet when the ANC asked members of the live-aboard community to stand up. The local live-aboard community claims 94 members total.


via Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) files

The tone of the meeting was very cordial and both ANCs and audience members seemed eager to get the project moving forward. Read More

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