Duties: Preserves the residential character of Capitol Hill and sees that the DC Zoning Regulations are properly applied.
City’s Parking Working Group Recommendations Listed
by Gary Peterson
The September 23 CHRS Community Forum on new zoning regulations regarding parking began with a PowerPoint presentation by Travis Parker, Office of Planning (OP) Zoning Review Manager. The zoning review process is a result of the new Comprehensive Plan adopted in December of 2006. A three-year review process has been started to rewrite the 1958 Zoning Regulations to make them consistent with the new Plan. The Mayor and City Council members have selected a 24-member, city-wide taskforce to advise OP and the Zoning Commission. The rewrite has been divided into 20 working groups of which parking is but one group. The working group meetings are open to all and the calendar can be found at www.dczoningupdate.org.
The parking working group met often from February to April of 2008. The working group recommendations were reviewed by the taskforce on May 28 and were published for public comment on May 30. On July 31 the Zoning Commission held a public hearing and a decision is expected on October 16, 2008. The Commission is expected to comment on the recommendations and no zoning regulations will be formulated at this time. The next stage will be to draft regulations. All new regulations, not just parking, will be considered by the Commission at the end of the process.
Parker presented some interesting statistics:
He cited a number of hidden costs of too much parking. For instance the parking requirement increases the cost of housing by as much as $50,000; precludes or limits some types of housing; limits the reuse of existing buildings; increases traffic generation by as much as 40%; and, causes detrimental environmental conditions.
Parker outlined the 11 parking recommendations.
At the conclusion of Parker’s presentation David Garrison, ANC6B Commissioner and Bill Crews, at-large member of the Taskforce commented on the proposals and members of the audience made statements and asked questions. Garrison noted that parking involves more that just zoning and that DDOT and DPW also need to be involved. He also pointed out that we should value the way we now live and make changes that will only improve our lives. He doubted that the zoning proposals did this.
The statements and questions from the audience generally indicated opposition to the changes and reflected concern over the new, large residential developments around the edges of the Hill. The parking program was the first of CHRS Forums on the re-zoning of the City.
The OP Report on Parking is available at:
Recent Zoning Committee Reports
Upzoning Moratorium Fails, Fight Continues
by David Holmes
A moratorium on further upzoning along H Street, NE, was urged on the Zoning Commission by the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 6A and 6C, and Stanton Park Neighborhood Association. Unfortunately the Zoning Commission (ZC) rejected the community effort.
As part of the recently adopted H Street Overlay plan, all of H Street except its westernmost blocks was zoned as C-2-A, light commercial. The westernmost blocks were upzoned to C-2-B. Louis Dreyfus Property Group has proposed a further upzoning to allow greater height and density of development for the 200 block of H Street. The project is Capitol Place PUD (ZC Case #05-37). Across the street is a complex, under construction, that towers 130 feet high.
Referring to the Zoning Commission’s action, Dr. Drew Ronneberg, chair of ANC 6A’s zoning committee, said that, “The ZC felt that it was the right of all property owners to petition the ZC for an upzoning and that things had to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.”
He believes that developers and the Office of Planning will take note of the unified action of the civic groups in favor of the moratorium and the opposition to the 200 H Street upzoning request. Quoting Dr. Ronneberg again, “Our fight has made people notice.”
May 2007 Zoning Committee Report
by Gary Peterson
The Capitol Hill Restoration Society Zoning Committee met on April 12, 2007, and considered the following cases:
1. BZA# 17604, 1111 New Jersey Avenue, SE. The applicant proposes to construct an eleven-story office building that will include114 parking spaces in a three-level underground parking garage. The Zoning regulations require a rear yard but allow for a special exception to reduce the amount of rear yard. The rear of the property abuts a 14 foot alley and will not harm the light, air, and privacy of the office building behind it. For this reason the committee voted to support the application.
2. BZA# 17610, 1404 Constitution Avenue, NE. This case involves the application for a special exception to allow the construction of a basement addition to a non-conforming row dwelling. Since the addition was underground and the neighbors support the application, the committee voted to support.
3. BAZ# 17611, 314 Twelfth Street, NE. This case involves the application for a special exception to allow the construction of a one-story garage at the rear of the property. The lot occupancy of the property will increase from 60% to 69%. The committee was advised by the applicant that the Zoning Administrator had decided that a variance was necessary because the addition was for an accessory building and not an addition to the residence. The committee ordinarily supports applications like this and so voted to take no position on the variance.
4. BZA# 17613, 1359 C Street, SE. This case involves an application for a special exception to establish a child development center for 100 children and 18 staff. The property is located on the corner of Fourteenth and C Streets, SE. Payne Elementary School is directly across Fourteenth Street, SE, to the east. There is another child development center located on Fifteenth Street, SE, a few doors south of C. That center, Board of Child Care, is currently licensed for 68 children and 19 staff. It is reported that the Board of Child Care is seeking permission to expand to at least 80 children. A child development center is permitted as a matter of right in an R-4 district so long as it has not more that 16 individuals. A special exception is required because the applicant proposes to have 100 children and 18 staff. Section 205 of the Zoning Regulations specifies eight tests that an applicant must meet to qualify for a special exception. The committee voted to oppose the application because the proposal did not meet the requirements for a special exception.
5. BZA# 17620, 1383-1385 H Street, NE. This case involves various variances to allow the construction of a three-story building on 100% of a vacant lot. This property is within the H Street Commercial Overlay. The application filed totally ignores the requirements of the Overlay and the committee voted oppose the application as filed.
6. BZA# 17628, 323 C Street, SE. This case involves a small addition. The applicant wishes to increase the lot occupancy from 60% to 62% and the floor area ratio from 1.8 to 1.86. The committee voted to support this small variation.
There will be no May meeting. The next meeting will be held on June 14.
April 2007 Report
Calls Mount to Halt H Street Upzoning
CHRS and Stanton Park Neighborhood Association have joined with Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A to prevent further upzoning along H Street, NE. Upzoning provides for greater density and increased height for new development.
Currently all but the westernmost properties on H Street are zoned as C-2-A, the standard commercial zoning. The exceptions, on the west end of Capitol Hill, are zoned as C-2-B. C-2-A was adopted as the appropriate zoning level for H Street when the Zoning Commission added the H Street NE Neighborhood Commercial Zoning Overlay District to the Zoning Code.
The maximum matter-of-right height for areas zoned C-2-B is 65 feet. The Dreyfus Group is seeking to change the zoning on the block bounded by Second, Third, G, and H Streets to C-3-C, raising the maximum matter-of-right height to 95 feet. Even more height and density could be added with a Planned Unit Development (PUD), which Dreyfus is also seeking.
Senate Square (Abdo), across H Street from the Dreyfus site in the block that includes the old Children’s Museum, has already received an upzone, giving it a permitted height of 130 feet. Take a look at it as you drive by—it overwhelms the residential and commercial properties to the east.
The H Street Overlay is still new. The three community organizations have asked the Office of Planning to hold fast to the Overlay, keeping further development to C-2-A. Anything more would overwhelm the character of the surrounding residential community.
ANC 6C will consider a similar resolution at its 7:00 pm meeting on April 11 at the NPR building. 6C’s Planning, Zoning, and Environment Committee will consider a proposed resolution at its meeting on April 4, also at the NPR building at 7 pm.
Database of Historic Building Permits, Squares 1000–1125
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