Report: ANC6B July 2014 Meeting

It took 10 Commissioners almost 3 and a half hours on Tuesday night to get through a very extensive agenda.  First we had to sort through all the historic preservation (HP) and zoning cases on the consent agenda.  Many of the HP cases that the Planning & Zoning Committee had plowed through a week earlier it turned out would not be heard by the Historic Preservation Review Board until September.  Since plans we viewed in July could be changed by September, about half the HP cases were deferred to September.  (That included the condo project for 900 11th Street SE.)

All of the HP and zoning cases that remained on the Agenda were approved.  The most hotly debated was the zoning case for &pizza to locate at 405 8th Street SE.  After several motions and lots of discussion, it was approved by a vote of 6-4.  I voted in opposition because–bottom line–I do not think any management scheme attached to a BZA order will change the negative impact of another fast food operation on this block.

Under the Transportation Committee section of the agenda, the Commission voted 10-0 to send letters to DDOT (asking for an extension of the comment period of the moveDC draft and to hurry up with a traffic calming request for the 300 block of 8th Street SE); to DC Water about its plans to replace a water main on 17th Street SE that will further delay implementation of the pedestrian safety changes to that street; to MPD (asking for an update on a suggested Stop Sign camera at the north 8th & D SE intersection); and a Resolution (to WMATA) on Metrobus plans to eliminate some stops along the 30’s bus line.

I also announced during the Transportation portion of the meeting that the ANC will be holding a Community Meeting on the SE Boulevard planning study now underway in conjunction with the Office of Planning and DDOT; the date will most likely be Monday August 4th but an official announcement will be sent out with the details.  Meanwhile, you can check the Transportation Committee’s July Report for details on the study.

Other approvals, all with 10-0 votes: (1) Testimony before the Council’s Committee on Human Services on a Sense of the Council for Closing DC General Shelter Resolution of 2014 (PR20-845); and (2) a letter to DGS requesting a market study in support of Eastern Market’s business planning efforts. And, (3) the ANC’s April-June 2014 Quarterly Financial Activity Report.

The Treasurer also prepared a “burn rate” by Quarter of our financial situation.  Since the renovation of the Hill Center, the ANC has been paying both office rent and for the services of our (excellent) parttime executive director.  In anticipation of this situation, the ANC many years ago conducted a savings campaign.  Since we moved back into the Center, we have had to spend some of that savings to cover our monthly costs.  As part of the negotiations on the Hine project, the developers are obliged to give ANC6B reduced rate office space.  But, given the delay in getting that project even started, that space won’t be available for several years.  Our burn rate suggests that we cannot afford both an office and staff beyond the 3rd Quarter of 2015.  The ANC has to have office space within its borders and CM Wells’ office is checking out all DC government properties within 6B where the Commission would be entitled to free office space.

The Commission heard a presentation by Mr. Marc Battle of Pepco about the proposed Exelon-Pepco merger.  Mr. Battle’s bottom line seemed to be that Pepco customers would not “see” any change as the current Pepco entity would continue to operate as is.  A version of the fact sheet handed out at the meeting is available.

Commissioner Pate, chair of the Outreach & Constituent Services Task Force, announced that at the next TF meeting–Wed 16 July, 7pm, Hill Center–the members will discuss and update the 6B Vacant properties list and discuss a planned Fall Public Safety event.

And, then we all went home.  Or, somewhere else.

My New Year’s Resolution …

is to KEEP THIS BLOG UPDATED in 2013 … or, cancel it!  So, here– on 2013 Day 1–are some updates.

Kirsten Won Reelection in Nov 2012 thanks to the help of many people in the community who sent checks, volunteered their time, and spread the word.  I look forward to serving the residents of 6B04 (see map) for another 2 years.

What’s the Status of the Hine Redevelopment Project?” is probably the most frequent question I get.  And, the short answer is that the historic preservation and zoning reviews are basically completed.  (Details of the final version of the project are here.)  Now, the developers–Stanton East Banc–are negotiating the final financial terms with DC, their architect is drawing up the building plans, and, last I heard, construction will begin in the 3rd Quarter of 2013.  Completion of the complex is estimated to be late 2015.

ANC6B Begins a New Term in January 2013 with 4 newly elected Commissioners joining 6 re-elected Commissioners.  I don’t expect the same fireworks that erupted in January 2011 when 4 new Commissioners joined 6B and created a voting block of 6 that persisted pretty much up until the final vote on Hine in 2012.  This time, even before we begin, I feel a spirit of cooperation prevails.

But … we shall see.

Major Issues in 2013 Abound.  In January 6B is conducting its first round review of the huge proposed revision of the DC zoning regulations.  And, we expect the draft EIS on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project to land on our laps for review in early 2013.  This spring DDOT ought to be announcing the start of a NEPA Environmental Analysis of the Barney Circle, SE Boulevard, and Potomac Avenue Metro area project.  Sometime in 2013, DDOT will be developing the Traffic Management Plan for the Hine project construction phase.  There will be continuing detours as the Local bridge of the 11th Street Bridges project is completed and the new intersection on 11th Street SE between K and M Streets is created.  We will be evaluating the proposals, sometime in Spring or Summer, for initial development of Reservation 13.

There’s more but I am becoming fatigued just thinking about it.

What About That Expansion of PBP?  Well, Commissioners Garrison, Frishberg, Pate, and Oldenburg are still talking with DDOT on the final details.  The ANC passed the Resolution requesting DDOT to expand the boundaries back in September 2012.  My guess is that we will be half way through 2013 before the new “Zone 6 Only” signs are installed north of Pennsylvania Avenue. [PBP=Performance Based Parking]

In Conclusion: What are your Capitol Hill Issues for 2013? And, what should ANC6B do about them?

ZC Adds Hine Part III at Part II

The Zoning Commission (ZC) met in a 2nd session on the Hine Redevelopment project from 630pm to nearly midnight on 21 June.  But in those 5 hours the ZC did not manage to hear all wanting to testify in support of or opposition to the project.  This, despite a 1st session on 14 June that lasted nearly as long.

Midway through the evening, the ZC chairperson interrupted the proceedings for an extended 45-minute discussion with all of the parties about the need for a third hearing in order to accommodate all who had asked to testify.  Various options were considered including delaying the third session until the fall and in the end it was decided to hold the third and final hearing on Wednesday, 11 July.  The date of the final session was made possible by the Chair’s decision to change the normal order of these proceedings and hear all of the opponents with “party status” that evening, as one of their witnesses was unable to be present on 11 July.  The Chair announced that only those who had requested to testify by the end of the June 21 hearing would be permitted to speak at the July 11th final meeting.

So, what did happen on the 21st?  The following testified and were cross examined: the applicant’s transportation expert, DDOT, ANC6B, and the opposing parties with status (Eyes on Hine, Hine School North Neighbors, EMMCA and Diverse Management).  DDOT, whose testimony was delayed from the 14th so that more data and analysis could be obtained, seemed still not convinced of the need for a garage with 320 parking slots.  But, a deal seems to have been struck on the 55’ truck delivery issue with the final solution to be determined by a public space permitting process during the post-ZC period.  During cross examination, Ms Riehle of EMMCA pressed DDOT on the idea of putting the garage entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue rather than the new C Street.  This idea was pretty fairly shot down by DDOT’s analysis of the traffic and pedestrian safety problems that would ensue and its statement that the one existing in the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue would never to approved today.

The ANC was next with Commissioners Frishberg and Pate presenting the ANC’s support in favor of the PUD application (somewhat modified by the MOA between the developer and the ANC).  On balance, given the complexity and multifaceted nature of the Hine project, I feel the two 6B witnesses, who did not speak from a prepared text and instead worked from notes, did a credible job.  However, in my view, some of their presentation veered a bit off course from what the ANC had actually seen and debated.  I was particularly struck by an analysis of the existing Metro Plaza in support of opposition parties desire to restrict retail on a portion of the façade facing the Plaza, an analysis that had never been offered before the ANC.  The ZC complimented the ANC’s presentation (as compared to what they normally hear from ANCs) but only asked a few clarifying questions.

During the opposing parties hour, Marcel LaFollette of Eyes on Hine presentation was eloquent but wrong in its analysis of the impact of the Hine complex on the lives of the residents of the 300 block of 8th Street SE.  Bill Pate of the Hine School North Neighbors (200 block of 8th SE) suggested that the North Residential Building be excised from the project in favor of open space.  He did not mention how the loss of 34 affordable units would affect the overall number of such units in the complex, which now stand at 30 percent of the total.  EMMCA presented its written testimony, trying to make the case that what the developer has said were its goals for the project will not be realized by the current design.

Then, Diverse Management (owned by Michael Berman who runs the Sunday flea market on the Hine parking lot) had its presentation.  It consisted of 3 witnesses (that the ZC decided were not “experts”) who discussed the monetary and social value of the existing flea market.  The implication of this testimony being that it all would be lost with the current Hine design but it failed to put this potential loss within the context of what the Hine project and an enlarged Eastern Market weekend operation would generate.  Berman showed his design for a redesigned Hine plaza that would hold 100 tents but, again, failed to identify the impact on the loss of 7-day a week brick and mortar retail or residential units above. None of the opposition testimony generated much comment by the ZC or cross examination.

At about midnight, Session 2 was over.  Part III will resume the hearing with testimony by the Supporting Parties followed by all the individuals who will offer supporting and opposition testimony.  Rebuttal will end this 3rd session, after which the ZC will debate internally to come up with its decision on the project.  When this decision, in the form of an Order, will be publicly announced is unknown.

NOTE: Several folks have mentioned they did not see me at this Part II hearing.  Right they are, as I watched the entire proceedings from the cool comfort of my home on my laptop.  Also see my previous article on the Hine hearing for information about how to access documents submitted to the ZC.

ZC on Hine, Part I

At the initial Zoning Commission hearing on the Hine Redevelopment project (14 June), the session began with a lot of procedural matters.  There were instructions to the audience on how to behave and discussions among the 4 Commissioners as to which groups would be given party status, which enables them to cross examine witnesses.

Three community groups (Eyes on Hine, Hine School North Neighbors, and EMMCA) and Diverse Management (which owns the Sunday flea market operations) were successful in their bids to gain status.  A few others were denied.

Then, Stanton Eastbanc the developer of Hine and the applicant before the ZC was given an hour to present its case. The presentation included testimony by two of the SEB partners, the architect, and the firm that designed the landscaping.  For anyone who has sat through the numerous Hine presentations over the last few years, this ZC one was not much different in content but clearly structured for the purposes of informing the ZC Commissioners.

There was a bit of drama when the lawyer for Diverse Management aggressively grilled the landscape architect during cross examination.  Many of the questions were outright rude and beside the point.  But, DM is fighting for its livelihood as there is no guarantee that once Hine is built and the new Eastern Market legislation is in place that DM or the owner of the Saturday market will be back running a “flea market.”  Most of the vendors could be accommodated but this notion has been lost in the “Save the Flea Market” campaign being waged by the 2 current owners.

Next up to testify was the Office of Planning (OP) who summarized its report.  This report is in basic agreement with plans of the Hine applicant but has a few quirks.  A major one is a recommendation for cantilevering one of the buildings facing the Plaza to enlarge it, an odd design feature that the Historic Preservation Review Board would surely not support.

Donna Scheeder, chair of the Eastern Market Citizen’s Advisory Committee, then testified.  The EMCAC statement focused on the need for parking in the area and did a powerful job of blowing a big hole in the controversy over the size of the Plaza for weekend flea markets.  On parking EMCAC supported the developer’s plan to provide over 300 spaces in the underground garage. On the flea market, EMCAC put the flea markets in context with the rest of the Saturday/Sunday outdoor elements at Eastern Market and with the pending new Eastern Market legislation that will alter the governing structure of the Market.

After some grilling of Ms Scheeder by the DM lawyer, the 1st ZC session on Hine concluded after 4 hours give or take 10 minutes or so.

Note:  All of the prepared statements by witnesses are available on the Zoning Commission’s website under Case # 11-24.  Also available on the website is video of all the sessions.

Hine Moves From ANC to ZC

The Hine Redevelopment zoning package skimmed through ANC6B on 12 June (2012) with a narrow vote of 6-4 in favor of supporting the Memorandum of Agreement between the ANC and the developer, Stanton-Eastbanc.  Now, it will be up to the Zoning Commission to shape the final form of this complex of offices, residential units, and retail shops.

Including myself, Commissioners Frishberg, Garrison, Flahaven, Metzger, and Pate cast the 6 votes in favor.  Commissioners Campbell, Critchfield, Green, and Glick voted in opposition.  My dilemma on this vote, discussed in “Hine Begins to Wrap Up”, was resolved when changes were made in the MOA over the weekend as I said in my  Statement on Hine at ANC6B June 12 Meeting.

Once the ZC speaks in the form of an order, SEB will negotiate its final agreement with the city, assume ownership of the property, and construction can begin.  SEB has estimated that construction will take 27 months including demolition of the Hine school building, excavation for the underground garage and retail space, and building of the structure.

HINE Begins To Wrap Up

The ANC and the community are nearing a major milestone in the so far 4-year review of the Hine Redevelopment Project. The case moves out of our arena into the hands of the city’s Zoning Commission (ZC) on June 14.

As the end nears, the volume of the strident voices of the “anti forces” has been increasing. But the blooming of DownSizeHine yard signs seems to have reached a plateau. As someone who has attended countless Hine meetings–ANC and otherwise–over the last 4 years, I must say that listening to constant negativity and the same old arguments can grate on a person. I happily look forward to a summer relieved of “Hine.”

But, while a frustrating period, the last 4 years have also been invigorating. My knowledge about development, historic preservation, and zoning and the processes that govern them has increased immeasurably. I have learned by listening how not to fight against something. I have met and engaged in conversations with many people because of Hine. Many of these discussions revealed how we feel about our Hill and how we perceive its future. The differences abound but we all care about our community. Some simply do not want it to change. Well, in the 25 years I have lived on the Hill, it has changed immensely. More change is inevitable. We may live in a historic district but it has been a long time since it was a Victorian village.

At its critical Planning & Zoning Committee meeting on Tue 5 June, the ANC punted. Lots of discussion, issues placed on the table, but no decisions were made. On Tue 12 June, it is up to the full ANC—as the officially recognized representative of the community–to finally decide what to tell the Zoning Commission about this major change coming to the center of our Hill.

Punting on the 5th was caused partly by the fact that Commissioners did not receive decision documents until 1/2 hour before we were scheduled to meet to vote on Councilmember Wells Eastern Market bill. This gave us no time to review the documents prior to the Hine meeting.  The ANC’s PUD (Planned Unit Development) review process has been problematic throughout. Perhaps it was the overly complex structure the ANC set up. Or, the lack of communication with Commissioners on negotiation details between public meetings. Whatever the cause, we constantly have had to make decisions without full debate as meeting time ran out and/or documents were presented at the last minute. At this stage of the PUD process, one week from the ZC hearing, the ANC ought to be tying up loose ends not making major decisions. Now, as a Commissioner, I am forced to vote next Tuesday up or down on an agreement between the ANC and the developer; a 10-page document with 44 paragraphs plus innumerable “Whereas” clauses.

The whole purpose of any PUD is for a developer to give back to the community in return for being granted a change in zoning that will enable its project. While there are many aspects of the agreement with which I can agree, I find the core element–benefits to the community at large–miniscule. I also feel that denying residents in the affordable units the ability to park a car in the underground garage or curbside to be unfair.  Eighteen of the 44 paragraphs in the agreement deal with transportation issues, most of which will be decided by public space permitting processes after the ZC has spoken. Nine of them are about retail issues that will be covered in a post-ZC Retail Plan that the developer has to submit to the city before the final land transfer occurs. Several others deal with the weekend flea market (and partly overlap with the Wells legislation) or other management issues.

What’s left as true tangible community benefits? A grant of $50,000 to help pay for the redesign of the Metro Plaza, restricted community use of a conference room, and a promise to help fund a 24-infant daycare facility—on or off the site. Another benefit was lost when the developer was convinced to take one floor off the office building component of the complex. (I am a well-known opponent of that “taking”.)

Against stiff opposition from one Commissioner, I and two others have argued that the infant care facility serves a very small segment of the Hill population even if all spaces are used by Hill families rather than parents working in the office building who live elsewhere. As an alternative, we have proposed that the developers fund a children’s playground somewhere on the Hill to benefit all families with children of all ages.  Earlier in the process I proposed that the developer replace the basketball court that used to be in the Hine parking lot area but I lost that vote.  (Note: Community benefits do not have to be located on the development site but can be anywhere within the boundaries of ANC6B.)

ANC6B will not be the only voice speaking to the ZC next week. DDOT has issued a report on traffic issues that is critical of parts of the developer’s analysis. The Office of Planning (OP) issued its required report. This key report basically supports the Hine project as designed but OP came up with a bizarre solution to “Save the Flea Market.” It suggested cantilevering the North Residential Building’s top floors (i.e., setting back the ground floor) to provide additional space in the Plaza. OMG … this is a design nightmare. [Look folks, the flea markets will be just fine. There’s the whole 300 block of 7th, the Metro plaza, that triangle of brick in front of Hine, and the large space in the north parcel of the Metro plaza. We need to move on from this issue … or, at least deal with facts.]

Also in the mix is a report to the ZC from the DC Housing and Community Development that embraces many aspects of the project including the 7-floor height of the office building, and calls for the placement of retail all along the ground floor of the two building segments that face the Metro Plaza. The agency does question some features of the plans for 46 affordable housing units, however.

I–who can react negatively to change–have embraced the changes the Hine Redevelopment Project will bring to our neighborhood. It will provide a surge of energy and liveliness and I look forward to being a part of all. But, my immediate dilemma is whether to vote against the ANC’s position and, thus, the project itself because I do not agree with parts of the “agreement”

Notes from ANC6B Nov 2011 Meeting

The November 2011 meeting brought ANC6B back to the Old Naval Hospital (The Hill Center) after an absence of over a year.  We had presentations by and Q&As with Councilmember-at-Large Michael Brown and Matthew Marcou of DDOT’s Public Space Operations Project and … voted 9-0 (i.e., unanimously) on just about everything.

The Commission supported ABC license renewals for Marvelous Market, Motts, Rolands, Southeast Market, and Harris Tetter; the latter two contingent on a new, signed Voluntary Agreements.  Voted to protest the license renewals of 7th & L Market and Pennsylvania Avenue Market.  And, voted to take no action (i.e., remain silent) on the renewals of Congress Market, P&C Market, and Yes Organic Market.   Voted to support the application of Pound the Hill (621 Pennsylvania Ave SE) for an ABC license so the establishment can serve beer and wine with its new dinner service.   Also approved were the historic preservation applications for 117 C Street SE and 629 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (La Plaza restaurant, which plans to add a 2nd story to its building).

The Commission voted to send letters to (1) MPD requesting the deployment of photo enforcement technology on 17th Street SE, (2) FHWA and DDOT about the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project, and (3) the DC Protective Services Police Department requesting it provide crime report data for the Reservation 13 area of Hill East.

Plus, the Commission voted to revise its October 2011 Resolution on Redistricting because of decisions CM Wells has made to recommend that 6B not lose territory to 6C as was proposed by the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force.  Unfortunately, Councilmember Brown, during the meeting seemed to suggest that the DC Council Subcommittee on Redistricting, which he co-chairs with Councilmember Jack Evans, may decide to adopt the Task Force reports rather than the Ward Councilmembers’ recommendations based on those reports. (Is this just a ploy to leverage bargaining?)  Ultimately and rather quickly this citywide redistricting process has to be concluded with a DC Council vote by the end of December 2011.  CM Brown was unable, however, to provide any hearing schedule information.

Opposed by the Commission was an application for zoning relief (two “use variances”) at 1200 Potomac Avenue SE because the applicant never managed to provide any cogent rationale for the zoning change.  The applicants have proposed to establish a coffee shop on the ground floor and a pet supply store on the 2nd floor.  The zoning relief is required because the building is in a residence zoned area and neither commercial business is allowed “by right.”

The Commission voted 8-0-1 on the slate of Resident Members for its newly formed Subcommittee on the Hine PUD. The confirmed Resident Members and the organizations or groups they represent are: Roger Tauss (EMMCA), Steve Sweeney (Eyes on Hine), Bill Pate (residents in 200 block of 8th St SE), Ken Jarboe (At Large), Monte Edwards (EMCAC), Julia Christian (CHAMPS), and Gary Peterson (CHRS).  In addition, Commissioner Brian Pate was confirmed as vice-chair; joining Commissioner Ivan Frishberg, chair.  All other ANC6B Commissioners can serve on the subcommittee.  [I was the 1 abstaining vote on the slate.  If you want to know why, read “If I Were Chair …” below. And, if you want to know more about PUDs, visit Commissioner Metzger’s blog: www.ancnorm.org]

If I Were Chair …

As a community we have completed the conceptual historic preservation review on the Hine Redevelopment Project. We will soon enter into the next phase: zoning. This PUD or “planned unit development” process will take as many months as did the first phase. Perhaps longer. My guiding principle has been and will continue to be that this project will affect ALL of us who live on Capitol Hill. Ultimately, what gets built on the Hine site should reflect the entire community.

Thus, if I had been entrusted with the challenging job of chairing ANC6B’s Subcommittee on Hine PUD, I would’ve gone out of my way to make sure that Resident Membership on the subcommittee could not be perceived as biased toward any one perspective and was broadly representative of the residents and businesses on the Hill.

First, if I as a Commissioner already represented nearby residents, I would’ve asked a fellow Commissioner to be Vice chair whose constituents live away from the Hine Redevelopment site to assure a wide diversity of residents were represented within the leadership on the subcommittee. Second, I would’ve selected some of the ablest, most experienced community members to serve. Third, I would’ve asked that the three ‘nearby neighbors’ groups, who have made the most noise about the project to date, select one joint representative for the 6B subcommittee. And, I would’ve found other 6B residents to serve on the subcommittee because, again, this development will affect ALL of us who live on Capitol Hill, not just the residents and businesses who abut it.

Commissioner Frishberg, who is Chair of the 6B subcommittee and whose single member district includes the Hine site and thus represents one of the nearby neighbors groups, has done it differently. He has selected Commissioner Brian Pate, whose single member district includes two of the “nearby neighbors” groups to be Vice chair. And, all three of the “nearby neighbors” groups (EMMCA, Eyes on Hine, and 200 Block of 8th Street SE) have been individually nominated to serve as Resident Members. Hopefully providing some balance, knowledgeable representatives of longtime Hill organizations–CHAMPS, CHRS, and the Eastern Market Citizen Advisory Council—have been asked to serve along with former Commissioner Ken Jarboe, as an At Large Resident.

How the dynamics of the subcommittee will play out are unknown. But, I plan to be fully engaged in and watchful of the PUD process going forward.  And, I urge you too to get involved.

The first meeting on the subcommittee is Monday, November 21 at 7pm at the Hill Center’s 3rd floor conference room.  If you cannot attend, then come back here where I will post my meeting notes.

 

 

More Cookies Than People …

My SMD04 Gathering on July 10th came off without a hitch except that there were more cookies (several dozen) in attendance than residents (1 dozen).

Still, it was a good opportunity for me to learn from constituents.  Like, folks don’t really understand what attaching a Voluntary Agreement to a liquor license means.  Or, as the Hine project progresses, people are forgetting how it started; i.e., the basis for the whole project.  To me, this means that I am not explaining issues clear enough in my various reports (here and via Beat26 emails).  I should listen more.

While the attendees and I spent considerable time discussing the current “headline” issues: Hine and Hill Center, I started off with a list of the kinds of issues/problems I am working on directly with individual constituents.  Like …  sidewalk repairs, parking enforcement, raccoons, Tyler parking lot, replacing curbside parking on 11th Street, pedestrian crossing signals on 8th St, vacant properties, parking around the “new” Watkins field, the 7th & L Market, and so on.

Questions arose about the ANC’s pending decision on Chipotle’s zoning application to open at 413 8th Street SE [ANC will probably vote to support the request with conditions on July 12], the CSX Tunnel project [project fully funded now but no dates yet available for the public NEPA meetings], and Marine Barracks new BEQ [funding being sought and Square 882 seems to be back as Option 1].

I announced that the rate at the public parking lot under the freeway at 8th & I Streets SE has been cut in half to 75 cents per hour.  Hopefully, once the word gets out, more restaurant diners will park in the lot rather than take up residential curbside space in the Barracks Row area.

As to the headline issues: Most of the Hine discussions are captured in previous postings here.  The Hill Center discussions are covered in a recent Beat26 email that I have posted here.

Many thanks go to Kris and Roy of The Corner Store, who provided the space for the meeting.  To check out the wonderful and varied events at this great art space, go to <http://www.cornerstorearts.org/>.

Hine Redevelopment Project Update

The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) held its conceptual review of the developer’s plans for buildings on the 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue sides of the Hine site on June 30th.  I was unable to attend so cannot provide my impressions of the hearing.    Commissioner Norman Metzger (ANC6B03) was there, however, and here is his synopsis of the results:

“The HPRB unanimously supported the proposed height, scale, and massing for the parts of the project up for review today, and accepted the HPO Staff Report.  A number of design matters were raised that the Board will consider likely when the project returns after the PUD process is done; for example, the design of the corner at 7th and Pa to provide a visual bond btw 7th Street and Barracks Row, an issue raised by Ken Jarboe today and at [the ANC] Special Call meeting.  The 7th and Pa Ave height issue was hardly mentioned by the Board, other than by the Chair who emphasized that the approval of the height was not to be considered as a precedent, given the special nature of the site.  Next up for the July 28th HPRB is the remainder of the project. ”

On June 21st ANC6B voted 6-3 in support of a statement that was presented at the HPRB hearing by Commissioner Brian Pate (ANC6B05).  Commissioners Metzger, David Garrison (ANC6B01) and I (ANC6B04) had voted in opposition, fundamentally because the statement was crafted in such a way that would have required the 3 of us who voted against the first Hine resolution (April 26th) to abrogate that vote.  Thus, we provided our separate, individual non-ANC6B official testimony at the HPRB hearing on June 30; delivered by Commissioner Garrison.  [Note: Commission By-laws permit such testimony.]

As you can see from the above synopsis, the next step in the HP review of the Hine project will be a conceptual review of the height, scale, and massing of the balance of the proposed buildings on the site: North Residential and 7th & C.  Since HPRB is planning its review on July 28, it seems the ANC will have to schedule a special meeting in July on a date prior to the 28th.  In the Fall, we will all move into the PUD (Planned Unit Development) zoning phase of the project review where a whole different set of issues will be raised.  (If you want to know more about PUDs, go Commissioner Metzger’s <www.ancnorm.org>; for an excellent overview.)

For HPRB background information, such as the staff reports for both the April 28th and June 30th hearings, go to the Historic Preservation Office website <http://planning.dc.gov/DC/Planning/Historic+Preservation>; and click on HPRB Meetings.