November 2010

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6C

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Heritage Foundation

114 Massachusetts Avenue NE

Minutes

  1. Agenda

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion to approve the agenda as presented.  The motion passed without objection.

  1. Minutes

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion too approve the minutes as presented, leaving them open for editorial changes for one week.  The motion passed without objection.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

Quarterly Report

Mr. Richardson presented the Quarterly Report for the 4th Quarter 2010.  Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to approve the Quarterly Report as presented.

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Richardson reported an opening balance of $99,420.33, including an interest payment of $.82.  There were disbursements of $2,500 to the Mt. Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District for a grant for a market (Check #1186);  $65 to Karen Wirt for reimbursement for the purchase of business cards for Commissioner Keith Silver (Check #1196); and $3500 to Innovation Tennis for a grant, leaving a balance of $93,856.75. Motion:  Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report as presented.  The motion passed without objection.

Expenses

Mr. Richardson presented an expense of $206 for transcription of minutes for October.  Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to approve the expense as presented.  The motion passed without objection.

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to approve the expense of printing business cards for the citizen Committee chairs.  Ms. Phelps asked whether they have committed to serve for another year, and was told that they have.  The motion passed without objection.

Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion to approve the reimbursement of Mr. Docter for an expense of $8.20.  The motion passed without objection.

Web Site

Mr. Richardson said that he wants to initiate a fully integrated interactive web site for his SMD.  He said he has checked with Gottlieb Simon and the cost is a legitimate expense for ANC Commissioners.  Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to authorize the expenditure of $5,000 to implement a web site.

Mr. Hamilton said that if every Commissioner asked for $5,000, it would amount to $45,000, a large chunk of the ANC’s budget, and he said he couldn’t approve the expense.  Ms. Wirt asked whether the $5,000 included maintenance of the site or just constructing it.  Ms. Phelps said it was a significant expense, and should available to benefit the whole commission.  She said that if everyone did it, it would significantly cut the cost.  She suggested that the issue be further explored before any decision was made. The original motion was withdrawn, and it was agreed that more research would be done on the issue.

  1. Community and Commissioner Announcements

Primal Fitness – 219 M Street NE

 

Mark Torock, one of the owners of Primal Fitness, presented a status report on the problems at Primal Fitness.  He said that the zoning issues have been straightened out, and he has been given a “clean hands” certificate.  He is now working on the Certificate of Occupancy.  He reported that he has cut down on the size of his running groups (people run in groups of six or less), and is now offering free classes to the neighborhood on Fridays at 4 p.m. He has built a separate weight room in the back of the facility to mitigate the noise. He also said he is doing a neighborhood clean-up, which Primal Fitness will sponsor and provide the bags and gloves and equipment for.  Finally, he said, the club will donate gift certificates of $150-200 for silent auctions, etc.  He said he is looking forward to working with the community.

Sursum Corda

At Mr. Dixon’s urging, Chip Glasgow, of Holland and Knight, gave a report on the status of plans for Sursum Corda, saying that he is working with the Low Income Co-op Association, and coordinating with Councilmember Welles on the Small Area Business Plan and how to get people to return to the area.

  1. Transportation and Public Space Committee

National Guard Memorial Museum- 1 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Committee Chair Joe McCann presented information on this request to install two flagpoles outside the building at 1 Massachusetts Ave. NW, which houses the National Guard Association, a library and the National Guard Museum. They want to install two 26’ flag poles in tree boxes directly outside the front door of the building from which they will hang vertical banners publicizing the museum and advertising exhibitions. The poles are close to the building, do not obstruct the view of the Capitol, and have only commercial neighbors.  Ms. Wirt commented on how well planned the project was, because the poles are close to the building and don’t interfere with the street.  Motion:  Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to send a letter to the Public Space Committee in support of the construction of two flagpoles at 1 Massachusetts Avenue NW.  The motion passed without objection.

  1. Alcoholic Beverage and Licensing Committee

Ms. Phelps announced that it  is renewal time for the liquor licenses, and most of them required no action, but four of them were of concern.

Fur Factory 33 Patterson Street NE

Ms. Phelps reported that the absence of representatives from the Fur Factory may be a breakdown in communication because they had only received the notice recently.  She said she is seeking to amend the Voluntary Agreement it increase the number of reimbursable detail officers and institute coat checking—people leaving coats in their cars contributes to the crime in the neighborhood. She said that in her SMD, people are moving in significant numbers and they need their safety assured, as do the college students.  When events are planned they should be letting MPD know.  Motion: Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Docter seconded a motion to protest the license for the Fur Factory in order to have time to address and negotiate the issues of concern. The motion passed without objection.

Ibiza – 1222 1sr Street NE

Ms. Phelps said that there were the same questions with Ibiza about public safety, and the VA should be re-addressed for the same reasons.  Ibiza said it would become an amenity for the community by serving breakfast and lunch, and it fell by the wayside.  There are also other cases about Ibiza before the ABC.  She said that she would be glad to hear from Mr. Dixon about his view of the establishment.  Mr. Dixon said he is glad to hear that the Commission is doing something about the club   He introduced Eric Clay of Ibiza.

Mr. Clay said that he had made a point of being responsive to the community, and had worked through Mark so the community would be aware of what was happening.  Not serving breakfast and lunch was a business decision because there wasn’t the demand in the community.  He said he was providing free coat checking, and asked whether the ANC could help him get an extension of hours for the club.  Ms. Phelps responded that the ANC could not get to that at this time.  Mr. Clay questioned tying the coat check to the VA, and Ms. Phelps responded that things in the VA were not being responded to and that’s why it has to be re-negotiated.  Mr. Clay asked why they couldn’t negotiate outside the VA, and Ms. Phelps responded that it can’t be done, that it’s not allowed and that if it’s not in the VA it can’t be enforced.

Ms. Phelps said that the notification had only arrived the previous weekend and it doesn’t leave adequate time for negotiation.  She said that protesting the license was not a reflection on Mr. Clay or Ibiza but only the way the process works.  Motion: Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to protest the license for Ibiza so that the ANC can work with the establishment to resolve existing problems.  The motion passed 5-1, with Mr. Hamilton in opposition.

Muse – 717 6th Street NW

Ms. Phelps reported that Muse shares a wall with the Cosmopolitan, a residential building at 715 6th Street NW, and the main issue is noise.  A police officer had positive things to say about the club’s operations.

Mr. Dao, the club’s owner, addressed the noise concern saying he has documentation of the soundproofing steps he has taken, spending over $ 60,000. He presented samples of the soundproofing material that was installed and said there are twelve layers of material on every inch of wall, with additional sound muffling material on top of that.  He said that there should have been 4’-6’ left between the buildings when the Cosmopolitan was constructed.  He claims the regular amplification is 61.

Nancy Hansen, a tenant in apartment 305 at the Cosmopolitan, said that her tenant is unable to sleep, and while she is living in Georgetown, she has been made aware of two serious incidents.  She called the owner three times and they have remained unanswered.  The predominant issue is the noise, and she said, his sound expert is not knowledgeable and didn’t do the correct fix.  She said there was a financial impact on the building, with several units not salable.  Mr. Docter said he has not heard from the Avalon, the building that backs up on Muse.  Carol Groves, who said she has no adjoining wall to Muse, said she is woken up at 1 a.m. for 5 ½ to six years.  Mr. Dao responded that there has a report from ABRA when an inspector went to an apartment in the Cosmopolitan to check for noise, and told him there was no violation.

Mr. Docter asked whether they would consider hiring someone on a weeknight to monitor the noise, working with police officers.  Mr. Dao said he has reimbursable officers.  Mr. Hamilton said it was like people living at the airport complaining about planes taking off.  These people knew there was a club net door.  Motion:  Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Docter seconded a motion to protest the renewal of the license of Muse on the grounds of peace, order and quiet.  The motion failed 2-4, with Commissioners Richardson, Phelps, Dixon and Hamilton in opposition.

Ms. Phelps said there are provisions on noise in the VA and provisions in the VA for filing a complaint.  She said if the process is followed, a motion isn’t needed.

Penn Quarter Sports Bar

Ms. Phelps reported that the ABRA renewal notice and the VA have different operating hours listed on them for the Penn Quarter Sports Bar.  In addition, they have a covered patio and an uncovered patio and each is treated differently.  Mr. Docter said that an additional problem is that of crowd control when people leave.

Candace Haynes, the attorney for the Sports Bar, said that they try to be good neighbors, and have opened their doors to the community and have offered food and free drinks.  Dominic Cardozo, who lives upstairs from the establishment, said there has been a noise issue from Day 1, and that while they came up with a VA two years ago, it hasn’t meant a thing.

Ms. Phelps said that there are provisions in the VA for negotiation and it should be left to Mr. Docter and the Sports Bar to work out the problems within the framework of the VA.  Mr. Docter said that the only way to work within the VA is to protest the license renewal.  Ms. Wirt added the interests of the community have to be taken into account, and that in order to smoke this out there needs to be a protest. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Docter seconded a motion to protest the license renewal of the Penn Quarter Sports Bar.  The motion failed 2-4, with Commissioners Richardson, Phelps, Hamilton and Dixon in opposition.

  1. Planning, Zoning and the Environment Committee

Rob Amos, chair of the PZ&E Committee, presented his Committee’s report:

612 A Street NE

This is a request for support of a Historic Preservation application for the construction of a new accessory garage at 612 A Street NE

This project was presented to the ANC in April, and the ANC supported a Zoning Commission application.  At that time several issues were to be addressed, including the height and depth of the proposed garage; the structural integrity of adjoining garages; the prevention of damage and preservation of existing magnolia trees; and a commitment not to have a porch of landing large enough for seating on the garage. The Applicant has addressed these issues and has receiving letters of support from adjoining neighbors, as well as preliminary approval from the Historic Preservation Review Bard (HPRB) staff.  Motion:  Ms/ Phelps moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the HP request to allow the construction of the accessory garage at 612 A Street NE.  The motion passed without objection.

250 K Street NE

This is a request for support of request to the Zoning Commission to modify a PUD to allow the Applicant the flexibility to develop the approved 500 units of residential and retail in the second phase of the approved PUD into two sub-phases.  No other material changes are requested.

The applicant is seeking to modify the PUD because it is easier to obtain financing for two smaller parcels. The 500 units will be broken into two phases of 244 and 256 units, and will still have 14,000 sq. ft. of retail and a day care center.  All amenities will be delivered with the first phase of the project.  Parking will be reduced but, Bikeshare will be included, and the proposed park will open, and be open during the construction (to serve Phase 1, which has been completed, and is over 50 percent rented. Motion: Mr. Dixon moved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the PUD modification to develop the second phase of the project at 250 K Street NE in two sub-phases.  The motion passed without objection.

I-395 Air Rights Project

This is a request for support of a Zoning Commission request for a first-stage PUD, a consolidated PUD and the PUD-related Zoning map amendment for a mixed use project of office, residential and retail uses on a platform above the Center Leg Freeway between E Street and Massachusetts Avenue, and to re-establish the connection of F and G Streets to the existing L’Enfant street grid, creating three new city blocks.

This is a full description of the project:

  1. a)Proposal is for a mixed-use project of office, residential and retail uses above the Center Leg Freeway, between E Street and Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., and to re-establish the connection of F and G Streets to the existing L’Enfant street grid.  The platform above the highway and the base of each of the new buildings will be at the existing grade level of the surrounding streets, creating three new city blocks (North Block, the Center Block and the South Block).
  2. b)Overall development – approximately 2.3 million square feet (FAR – 9.01)
  3. Office – 1,974,827 square feet
  4. Retail – 70,000 square feet
  5. Residential – 180,384 square feet (approximately 150 units, with at least 50 units set aside for affordable housing)
  6. Institutional – 70,397 square feet (This is for the Annex and Rectory for Holy Rosary Church and the new and existing JHS buildings.)
  7. c)North Block – three office buildings, connected with central atrium and incorporating extensive retail opportunities
  8. d)All parking and loading in centralized below-grade facility. Loading is access from E Street; Parking is accessed from a single curb cut in each block.  Parking and loading are provided at zoning minimums.
  9. e)Re-establishment of F and G Streets will serve to complete the major, missing component of Downtown DC, linking the Downtown core to Capitol Hill.  F Street will provide both vehicular and pedestrian access while G Street will serve as a pedestrian thoroughfare.
  10. f)The project is a model for sustainable design.
  11. LEED Platinum standard for the core and shell of the office buildings and LEED Gold for the residential building.
  12. Water collection and re-use system
  13. Eco-Chimneys
  14. Development of co-generation plant
  15. g)The project incorporates the physical relocation of the historic Adas Israel Synagogue, containing the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington’s Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum, from its current location at the northeast corner of 3rd and G Streets to the southeast corner of 3rd and F Streets.  This relocation provides a significantly improved siting for the historic building, with appropriate orientation and better visibility and access.  Office and museum space will be constructed for the Jewish Historical Society in the South Block.
  16. h)The HRC Rectory and Annex will be moved out of the F Street right-of-way and reconstructed within the project, immediately to the east of the Holy Rosary Church.
  17. i)Many Public Benefits and Project Amenities, as set forth in the summary provided (see page 9)
  18. j)Discussions from Committee members centered on these issues:
  19. Increasing ceiling heights for retail space in northern block – especially at prime corner locations
  20. Increasing support for Massachusetts Avenue Park directly north of project area. Granted they have included a $50K payment to Casey trees for plantings, the community would like to see increased hardware (benches, planters, etc) at the park in addition to the trees.
  21. Addition of a Capital Bikeshares facility in project (this is now an added amenity)
  22. Increased residential component; ensuring project did not include a dormitory building for Georgetown Law School. We were assured that there are no plans to build a dormitory for Georgetown Law – but if students wanted to rent out the residential units, they were welcome to do so.

Summary of Public Benefits and Project Amenities

Zoning Commission Case No. 08-34

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Construction of Platform over the Center Leg Freeway and Re-Opening of F and G Streets, N.W.

o   F Street, originally a major east-west thoroughfare in the L’Enfant Plan, will be re-opened as a through street to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, with a width of 100 feet to match the existing right-of-way to the east and west. The streetscape design of F Street includes tree-lined sidewalks of precast concrete pavers with continuous pedestrian zones, a variety of plantings, bicycle stations, retail on each edge and streetlights.  Traffic- calming street designs will promote pedestrian activities and allow for periodic closing of the street to vehicular traffic on weekends.

o   G Street will be re-opened to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and will be designed as a landscaped area having a width of 90 feet.  G Street will be lined on each side with retail, and will include paved walkways surrounding raised planted areas of shade trees and groundcover.  G Street will become an active, mixed-use pedestrian thoroughfare flanked by retail, commercial office and residential uses.

o   Creation of three new city blocks over what is now an active highway will re-knit the East End of downtown Washington with Capitol Hill.  Currently, the highway is a 22-foot deep chasm separating these neighborhoods.

o   Improvement to the existing interstate highway and the local transportation system, including increasing intersection capacity and pedestrian convenience and safety along Massachusetts Avenue, F Street, and G Street.

o   The full cost of the platform, including F and G Street bridges, is estimated to be in excess of $200 million, not including the costs of site acquisition and approvals.  Of this amount, approximately $10 million is associated with the F and G Street bridges.

  • Environmental Benefits

o   Cutting-edge sustainable design that will set a new standard for urban infill and air rights development projects. The Applicant is working with the USGBC to write a program for these types of developments, with a focus on improving existing air and water quality issues at the site.

o   Water collection and re-use system, such that all rainwater and ground water entering the site will be captured, processed and re-used throughout the buildings on site. It would also be possible to accommodate water from adjacent sites.

o   The development of an electrical co-generation plant that will have the ability to service not only this development, but also approximately 5-8 million square feet of nearby, existing development.

o   Eco-chimneys to provide for air filtration from the below-grade parking garage and service corridor.

o   Green roofs on every building in the development to reduce the heat island affect and mitigate storm water run-off.

o   A USGBC LEED Platinum standard for the core and shell of the office buildings and LEED Gold for the residential building.

  • Housing and Affordable Housing

o   Residential building with approximately 180,000 square feet of gross floor area (approximately 150 units).

o   Minimum of 50 units set aside for affordable housing.

o   Affordable housing will be affordable to individuals earning no more than 80% of the AMI within the District of Columbia and paying no more than 30% of the family’s household income for rent or housing ownership costs.  Affordable restrictions will remain for a period of forty years from the date that the first unit in the residential building is occupied.

  • Historic Preservation

o   Relocation of the historic Adas Israel Synagogue to corner of F and 3rd Streets, allowing for superior siting, more appropriate orientation, and enhanced visibility and access.

o   Provision of a site to accommodate museum space and additional office space for the Jewish Historical Society in the South Block, with the Applicant contributing a multi-million dollar amount toward the construction of the new JHS museum.

  • Uses of Special Value to the Neighborhood

o   Re-construction of the Holy Rosary Church’s existing Annex and Rectory, both of which currently sit in the right-of-way of F Street, which will re-establish the historic relationship of the Church, the Annex, and the Rectory to the configuration that existed prior to construction of the freeway back in the 1960’s.

o   The Applicant will pay all costs associated with the construction of the new Annex and Rectory and will make a multi-million dollar series of cash contributions to the Church.

  • Urban Design, Landscaping and Creation of Open Spaces

o   Creation of three new city blocks that will link neighborhoods in the District that have historically been separated by a vast canyon.

o   Ground floor retail will line the newly created streetscapes, to attract visitors, residents and office workers into a heretofore inaccessible part of the District.

o   Important public open spaces, including the G Street Garden between the North and Center Blocks and the Central Plaza located in the North Block.

o   $50,000 contribution to Casey Trees to improve the existing park at 2nd Street and Massachusetts Avenue, located immediately to the north of the Site.

  • Transportation Management Measures

o   Centralized below-grade loading and parking facilities with limited curb cuts to minimize impacts on pedestrians and vehicles.

o   Transportation Management Program for all office tenants.

o   Incorporation of a Capital Bikeshare Station within the project to be paid for by the Applicant.

  • First Source Employment Opportunities and Certified Business Enterprises

o   First Source Employment Agreement under which the Applicant will fill 51% of all new jobs resulting from the construction of the project with District residents, and will fill 67% of all new apprenticeship positions with District residents.

o   Certified Business Enterprises will represent twenty percent of the developer’s equity in the project.  Furthermore, in accordance with the Certified Business Enterprise Utilization and Participation Agreement into which the Applicant has entered, the Applicant will contract with Certified Business Enterprises for at least 35% of the contract dollar volume of the project.

Mr. Docter said that the ANC was advised there was not enough residential in the project, and the Office of Planning (OP) said they would sponsor it.  The ANC should agree with that and it should be part of the motion.  There should be additional retail on the former F and G Streets frontage, and the Commission should be on record with that understanding.  Ms. Phelps said that those are aspirational thoughts for when OP looks at the project later on.

Bob Bronhoefer, of Dreyfuss, in answer to a question said that the with the platform and approvals, the project will cost about $1.3 billion.  He also said they are doing a huge community outreach.

Monte Edwards, saying he fully supports the project, called into question the height of the buildings of the middle and southern blocks. His interpretation of the Height Act limited those buildings to no more than 110 feet (rather then the planned 130 feet). Christy Shiker, representing Holland and Knight, the developers’ attorneys, responded:

“Specifically, the development within the Center Block and the South Block will each contain a single building for zoning purposes.  Thus, the 130 feet in height is permitted by the Height Act based on the single building’s frontage on 3rd Street (which has a right of way of 110 feet).  It is well established in the District that under both the Height Act and the Zoning Regulations, where a building fronts on more than one street,  you can use one street for the width for the purpose of determining the maximum permitted height and use a different street, which may be narrower but have a higher elevation, for the purpose of actually measuring the height.  Therefore, zoning permits the use of 3rd Street to determine maximum height of the building for Height Act purposes even though the development will be measured from F Street.”

Mr. Bronhoefer said that the vehicular traffic on F Street  is complicated by  the arrangement Georgetown Law School has with the City, and it’s up  to the City to make any changes.

He responded to another question by saying that the project is will be carbon-neutral and is a model project of the US Green Building Council.  The office buildings will be LEED platinum and the residential LEED gold.  Water will be captured and used in cooling towers, and they are adding co-generation plants to the project.

Mr. Amos announced a Mt. Vernon Square Neighborhood Association-sponsored meeting on the project at the Yale Lofts, in November at which Dreyfuss would be present.

Mr. Bonheoffer said that it would be about 3½ years before construction started: the environmental analysis and zoning process would take about a year, and it will be the end of 2011 before they close on air rights, after which there will be another year of design work, so it will be late 2012 or 2013 before they begin.  The interstate will have to stay operational, and they will not have to close the area around the shelter.

Ms. Phelps thanked the developers for being so responsive about raising the ceiling heights, and Mr. Amos added that the inclusion of Bikeshare was an example of their flexibility.  Mr. Bronhoefer said they had increased the ceiling heights on the retail to two-story spaces, and lowered the slab 18”.

Motion: Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Docter seconded a motion to support the Committee’s recommendation that the full ANC support the first-stage PUD, the consolidated PUD and the PUD related Zoning map amendment as presented and that the developer consider adding more residential units and retail establishments to the development.  The motion passed without objection.

Comments on Zoning Regulations Regarding Automobile Parking, Bicycle Parking and Loading

Ms. Phelps called to the Commission’s attention that PZE Committee member Joel Kelty had submitted extensive comments on the revisions to the Comprehensive Zoning Regulations regarding parking, bicycle parking and loading that are now under consideration.  She urged the Commissioners to read the proposed changes and Mr. Kelty’s comments and submit comments to the Zoning Commission as individuals, as the deadline for comments is too short for the ANC to vote on them as a body.  Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/ Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to send a letter to the Zoning Commission, asking that the record for comments be kept open for 30 days so that Commissioners have an opportunity to comment. The motion passed without objection.

New Committee Member

Motion: Ms. Phelps moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to nominate Ryan Velasco to be a member of the PZE Committee.  The motion passed without objection.

The meeting of ANC 6C was adjourned at 8:45 pm.