Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B
Special Public Meeting, February 5, 2013
The following recommendations are being 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.
Adopted Resolution – ANC 4B – February 5, 2013
Spring Place, NW Variance Applications – 18503 and 18505
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.