Minutes – Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

February 5, 2013 Special Public Meeting – Adopted 2/25/13

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:04 PM, Sara Green, Chair (and ANC 4B01) presiding.  It was held at the Emery Recreation Center, 5701 Georgia Avenue, NW.  Also present were Commissioners 4B02 Faith Wheeler, 4B03 Fred Grant, 4B04 Brenda Parks, 4B06 Ron Austin, 4B07 Judi Jones, and 4B08 Yvonne Jefferson.  A quorum was present for all votes.

 

Actions:

 

1.         Commissioner Wheeler moved to adopt the agenda as presented.  Commissioner Parks seconded the motion.  The agenda was adopted without objection.

 

2.         Presentation and Recommendation Vote to the Zoning Commission:  6000 New Hampshire Ave NE, application for Modification of Approved PUD and Special Exception for Adult Day Treatment Center (ZC-05-30C)

 

Mr. Michael Beidler, Trout Design Studio, the architect for the project, presented their application for a modification of the PUD approved for 6000 New Hampshire Avenue N.E.

 

Following discussion and questions from Commissioners and the public, Commissioner Jefferson moved the adoption of a resolution opposing the application for modification of the approved PUD and a special exception for an adult day treatment center at 6000 New Hampshire Avenue N.E.    Commissioner Grant seconded the motion.

The motion was adopted by show-of-hands vote, 6 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain.

Commissioner Green asked that Commissioner Jefferson represent the 4B Commission regarding this issue.  Commissioner Jefferson agreed to do so.  There was no objection.

The adopted resolution:

 

WHEREAS:

 

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B has consulted extensively with both the community and Karajoel LLC (the Applicant), regarding the Applicant’s application for a modification of a Planned Unit Development at 6000 New Hampshire Ave N.E., and

 

WHEREAS:

 

The community, through its neighborhood organizations, has studied these proposed modifications as thoroughly as possible given the inadequate time provided, and has expressed opposition to them,

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B opposes the application of Karajoel LLC for approval of a modification to an approved Planned Unit Development at 6000 New Hampshire Avenue N.E. for the following reasons:

 

1.       The PUD was specifically designed and approved to be an all-residential community.  Although as a technical matter adult day treatment facilities do fall under residential zones as a matter of right, the PUD site was originally negotiated, for long-term planning purposes, to eliminate such uses.

 

2.       While the community does make note of “the extraordinary difficulty [the Applicant] has had in securing a residential developer for the smaller existing building,” the community does not have sufficient data from the Applicant to ensure all resources have been exhausted to maintain the site as all-residential.  Also, such difficulties are not the primary focus of either the comprehensive plan or the original PUD site plan, or in the best interests of the community.

 

3.       In addition, the community does not believe there has been sufficient D.C. Government Agency evaluation and input regarding traffic impacts and environmental impacts. Furthermore, the long-term impact on redesignating the property as an “adult day treatment facility” has not been fully vetted.

 

4.       The current PUD is more in line with Comprehensive Plan Policy RCE-1.1.6: Development of New Housing, which states in part, “Encourage the retention of existing subsidized housing units within the Rock Creek East Planning Area, along with other measures to increase housing choices and improve housing affordability for area residents.” The modification would actually reduce the development of new housing, from 58 to 46 units. Not decreasing the number of residential units in the PUD would be more aligned with the Comprehensive Plan’s goal to provide a variety of housing choices.

 

Overall, the Commission, working with the community, remains available to have a constructive dialogue with the Applicant to resolve future plans and any amenities and/or community benefits that may be agreed upon for the two buildings.

(Letter to BZA)

 

3.         Presentation and Recommendation Vote to the  Board of Zoning Adjustment:  Spring Place Apartments Application for Variance to Reduce Number of Required Parking Spaces and Size of Loading Docks

 

Mr. Bruce Levin, with Mr. Don Tucker and Mr. Mike Tucker, developers of the Spring Place Apartments project, presented their application to the Board of Zoning Adjustment for a variance to reduce the number of required parking spaces in the building and the size of the loading docks.

 

Ms. Anna Chamberlain, D.C. Department of Transportation, answered questions regarding traffic issues related to the application.

 

Following questions from the Commission and the public, and extensive discussion, Commissioner Green moved that the Commission adopt a resolution supporting the application with conditions and recommendations to the Board of Zoning Adjustment.  Commissioner Parks seconded the motion. 

 

Friendly amendments were offered and accepted by Commissioner Green.

 

The motion was adopted by show-of-hands vote, 6 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain.

 

The adopted resolution:

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the following recommendations be submitted to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) and to the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) for their consideration and comment as per DC law with respect to Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

 

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B supports Applications 18503 and 18505 from Keystar Spring Place LLC, with some conditions and concerns.  These conditions will help ensure that granting the variance will not cause substantial detriment to the public safety and the public good. 

 

Keystar is asking for a variance from the off-street parking requirements and loading berth and loading platform requirements for apartment buildings in Spring Place, NW and Bull Place, NW (Square 3186, Lots 1 and 804 and Square 3185, Lots 52 and 822). 

 

We understand that this project is intended to primarily attract tenants who do not own cars.  Therefore, reducing the number of provided parking spaces could make sense.  Fewer cars mean less traffic on the heavily congested Blair Road.

 

However, we are concerned that should these projections be inaccurate, tenants, who will have very limited on-site parking, will overburden area streets. Chestnut Street residents, for example, report difficulty parking under existing conditions, and adjacent portions of Dahlia Street have a similar problem.

 

We also understand that residents of the adjacent Gables Apartments currently do not receive residential parking permits.

 

We therefore ask that the BZA do what it can to prevent the issuance of Residential  Parking Permits at this location.

 

The developer bases the variance requests on his project’s walkable, bikeable, mass-transit friendly location and amenities.  However, we have serious concerns about pedestrian and bicycle access to the street and to the Takoma Metro Station.

 

Currently, Chestnut Street provides the only pedestrian access to Spring Place, but Chestnut is not ADA accessible, with only partial sidewalks.  Pedestrians, including those in wheelchairs, must use the street.  A bike and pedestrian path connecting Spring Place to Cedar Street was part of the 2002 Takoma Central District Plan, but has not yet been built or designed.  DDOT has delayed, in some cases for more than a decade, other promised Takoma-area safety improvements.  These new residents need to have safe access to their homes from day one. 

 

We therefore ask that the developer construct, at his own cost, the pedestrian/bike path from Spring Place to Cedar Street and a sidewalk connecting Spring Place to Chestnut Street and Blair Road.   This is similar to what other developers have done elsewhere in the city.

 

Currently, it is difficult and sometimes dangerous for cars to make left turns from Chestnut onto Blair Road.  We ask that the BZA and DDOT evaluate a “right-turn only” restriction on cars exiting Chestnut, particularly during rush hours.  Also, better signage, including more stop signs, and striping, need to be provided.

 

In keeping with the developer’s commitment for an environment-friendly building, we thank him for his commitment to provide at least 100 bike parking spaces and also ask that dedicated parking spaces be provided for Zip Car(s) and electric car(s), with appropriate outlets.

 

We also ask that BZA require that the developer send ANC 4B, as well as DDOT, a copy of its annual Traffic Count so that ANC 4B can monitor the conditions and make recommendations for mitigation, if necessary.

 

With respect to the loading berth and loading platform requirements, we defer to DDOT’s recommendations to protect public safety.

 

We authorize ANC 4B01 Commissioner and ANC 4B Chair Sara Green to represent these recommendations to the Board of Zoning Adjustment and to the DC Department of Transportation.

Letter to BZA

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:44 PM