We had a great turnout from the neighborhood at last night’s ANC 6B Planning & Zoning Committee meeting. After listening to residents and discussing the merits of the projects, the committee unanimously voted (8-0) to recommend that the full ANC approve:
- a two-year extension of the waiver to Douglas Development for the old KFC site (1442 Pennsylvania Avenue SE), and
- parking and lot occupancy variance requests for a proposed residential development at 732 15th Street SE.
Here are a few highlights from the meeting:
- Paul Millstein of Douglas Development was optimistic that the KFC site would be developed in the next year. The project has stalled due to the down economy and a lack of financing.
- Mr. Millstein said that Douglas planned to continue to abide by the Memorandum of Understanding signed three years ago between the company and neighbors. The MOU makes it clear that Douglas will not pursue a number of potential retailers, including a 7-Eleven, night clubs, check-cashing establishment, or liquor store to fill the site.
- A few residents noted that the KFC site had not been shoveled during recent snowstorms. Mr. Millstein said that he will make sure the site is shoveled and maintained year round.
- Gary Cohen of Willco Development and Jeff Goins of PGN Architects walked through their plans for a proposed 5-unit residential development at 732 15th St. SE. Mr. Cohen said that he would like to provide parking on the site but cannot because there is only a five foot wide entrance to the property from Freedom Way SE (zoning requires 9 feet for a vehicle entrance).
- A number of residents voiced support for the project, saying that the new development could spur further development and improve public safety at the corner of 15th and Penn. Most said that parking in the area was an issue during day – commuters with Ward 6 stickers park in the neighborhood and walk to the nearby Potomac Avenue Metro. A few neighbors did mention difficulty finding parking spots at night.
- I noted that the full commission had received a petition signed by 16 individuals opposed to the project due to the lack of parking. I shared that I had been in contact with Councilmember Wells’ office and that the Councilmember was willing to consider asking DDOT to conduct a study of the area to see if additional parking spaces could be made available. One potential area for more spaces is the eastern side of the 700 block of 15th St SE.
Thanks to all of the residents who showed up, waited patiently through the agenda, and weighed in on these two projects. The committee’s recommendation is just a recommendation – the full commission will vote on both of these projects at ANC 6B’s February full commission meeting next Tues., Feb. 1, 7 pm at the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS (522 7th St. SE – the old Safeway building). Only two commissioners were unable to attend last night’s meeting – Ivan Frishberg (6B02) and Brian Pate (6B05).
Any thoughts about last night’s meeting or the two proposed projects? Please comment below.