My battle with the sick bug these past two weeks delayed my recap of the final meeting of the commission term. Here it is:
- The commission voted unanimously to support the Hill East Redevelopment – Phase I: Parcels F-1 and G-1 Disposition Approval Resolution of 2014 (PR20-1153) and retroactively approved my Dec. 9 testimony (pdf) in support of the resolution in front of the DC Council Committees on Economic Development and Government Operations. The commission had previously voted to support the surplus declaration (PR20-1152). On Dec. 17, the DC Council voted unanimously to support both resolutions, which means that Donatelli Development and Blue Skye Development can move forward on their plans for two mixed-use buildings on the parcels. I’m really pleased that this project is finally moving forward and optimistic that it will help push the city to develop the remaining parcels at Reservation 13.
- After a significant amount of discussion, the commission voted on the Office of Planning’s proposed text amendments (pdf) to definitions, maximum height and minimum lot dimension requirements in residence zones. On the proposal that has received the most attention, the commission voted 6-3 to support OP’s proposal to limit the maximum height in the R-4 rowhouse zone to 35 feet (from 40 feet now) and to allow homeowners to apply for a special exception to build up to 40 feet subject to certain criteria. The commission did voice concern that some of the special exception criteria veered into the area of historic preservation. I voted with the majority. While it does subject “pop-ups” to additional ANC and Board of Zoning Adjustment Review, the OP proposal does not prohibit third story additions outright.
- The commission voted unanimously to send letters to the District Department of Transportation on adding pedestrian crossings in the area of 11th, K and L Streets SE (near the freeway entrance ramps) and on converting the current one-way streets just south of Barracks Row from one-way to two-way streets.
- The commission voted unanimously to reiterate our support for the 1333 M Street SE First-stage Planned Unit Development request.
- The commission voted unanimously to urge the DC Department of General Services to initiate an environmental assessment of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza redesign plan. Commissioner Brian Pate (6B05) gave the commission and audience a brief presentation on the redesign plan.
- After some debate, the commission voted 6-0-3 on to send a resolution (pdf) to the DC Council and the Public Service Commission voicing our concerns about the proposed Exelon-Pepco merger. I’m skeptical of Exelon’s record on sustainable energy and that the merger will be the best interests of DC residents.
- The commission voted unanimously in favor of a resolution (pdf) thanking departing commissioners for their service. A big thanks to Commissioners Francis Campbell (6B10), Ivan Frishberg (6B02), Dave Garrison (6B01), Sara Loveland (6B07), Nichole Opkins (6B06), Brian Pate (6B05) and Phil Peisch (6B03) for their great service to their constituents, ANC 6B and the city. They all will be missed!
- Commissioner Campbell, completing 12 years of service, adjourned the final full commission meeting of his tenure. The next commission meeting will be on Tues., Jan. 13 at the Hill Center.
This is not a Historic District. The R-4 zoning of 40 feet already placed an acceptable restriction on the use of land. Lowering it to 35 feet is an unnecessary intrusion on the rights of property owners to develop or increase their liveable land area.
This whole pop-up debate is wrong. The issue is not pop-ups, the issue is the lack of affordable housing, even for those with good jobs and incomes, that causes developers to build pop-ups and split them into condos. We need more development in this part of DC – especially on PA Ave SE – and that should hopefully reduce prices and eliminate most of the pop-ups.