Near Southeast DC: Past News Items
- February 2009
Go to Full Blog Archive
26 Blog Posts
Go to Page:
Capper Zoning Changes Presented to ANC 6D
Feb 4, 2009 3:17 PM
The last item to summarize from Monday's ANC 6D presentation hearing was an update on the series of changes being requested
to the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD
. I've been writing about some portion of these requests since July
, so here's some bullet points I've previously written (I just can't bring myself to have to compose new entries about this stuff AGAIN), along with comments from the ANC commissioners:
* Expanding the number of units at Capper: "There are five new apartment buildings slated to be built, three of which along the east side of Canal Park where the temporary parking lots are, and another at New Jersey and K on the trash transfer site. And there is a new plan for a fifth apartment building, on L Street across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (B.E.Q), on the northern portion of the old Capper Seniors footprint.
"Under the original Capper plans, there was to be a strip of 61 townhouses built on this spot, but the DC Housing Authority has recognized that these homes would be dwarfed by the B.E.Q. to the north and the two planned office buildings directly behind them at 600 M Street. So DCHA has now filed a request with the Zoning Commission to allow an expansion in the total number of housing units allowed at Capper to 1,747, which would allow the construction of a four-story 189-unit apartment building (with a massing very similar to the B.E.Q.) on this stretch of L Street known as Square 882N. This Zoning Commission request is also looking to expand the number of units in the planned apartment building on the south side of L Street between Second and Third (let's call it Square 769N) to 171 units[.]"
The ANC was told that the Square 769N building was originally designed to be a market-rate condo building only, but that financing realities have forced a switch to rentals. And because rental units can be smaller, they were able to not only add more than 60 units, but make 34 of those units public housing, allowing a lower proportion of public housing units in the other four apartment buildings while still maintaining the required Hope VI one-to-one replacement of the original 695 Capper public housing units.
As for the Square 882 buildings, the change to apartments from townhouses would require a boost in parking spaces from 49 to 172--but they are proposing to lower the total spaces at the office building from 400 to 284. This is part of a request to bring down the overall number of required parking spaces from 1,845 to 1,780, including the removal of the requirement for 70 off-site spaces for 400 M Street
, which have been determined to be unnecessary.
(Note that the Square 769 and Square 882 issues before the Zoning Commission are technically a PUD second-stage review.)
* Time Extensions:
"There were also requests for three time extensions: to extend the first-stage PUD for an additional five years, to extend the deadline for filing second-stage approvals for the apartment building sites along Canal Park (including the trash-transfer station site) to 2013, and to extend the deadline for filing a building permit application for the planned community center at Fifth and K to January 2011, with an included extension of the start of construction to January 2012."
Commissioner Bob Siegel in particular is very unhappy about the delay in the community center construction, saying that the senior residents of 900 5th Street need an exercise room and other amenities. But he was told that, simply, the community center is unfinanceable right now.
And Commissioner Ron McBee wants to revisit the community benefits that were agreed to in the original Capper PUD, asking the presenters to get him a list of those benefits--I can do it for them, by pointing to pages 12-14 of the 2004 zoning order
The Zoning Commission will be hearing all these items on March 19. You can see the hearing notice
for the zoning-related specifics on the three cases
Feb. 19 Hearing to Replace N22 With Circulator
Feb 4, 2009 9:49 AM
Just out from WMATA
: "A public hearing will be held on Thursday, February 19, to receive the public's input on the proposed elimination of Metrobus route N22, the Navy Yard shuttle service, with that service switching to the DC Circulator
. The public hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m., at Metro's headquarters, 600 5th Street, NW, Washington, D.C." Why? "The District Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) notified Metro of its intent to transfer operation of Metrobus route N22 to the DC Circulator effective March 29, 2009. Therefore, it is proposed to discontinue Metrobus service on route N22 so that DDOT can transfer the funds to a new DC Circulator route that would serve the Navy Yard - Union Station area. Details of the proposed DC Circulator route are being developed by DDOT." See my previous posts on this switch
from N22 to Circulator for more information and background. See the Metro release
for information on how to be a witness if you wish to testify.
Morning Roundup of Recent Little Items
Feb 4, 2009 8:49 AM
A couple small things from the past few days:
* For the second time in eight years, Capitol Quarter's
EYA has been named America's Best Builder
by Builder Magazine, which cited
"its commitment to high-quality design, building in areas featuring life within walking distance, and industry leading results on homebuyer satisfaction and referral sales."
* From WTOP
, news that the current occupants of the encampment at First and M
are seeing the tab for their move escalate a touch: "The estimated cost of building a sprawling new complex at Fort Belvoir to house [the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
] and its 8,500-strong work force will be $350 million more than prior estimates, according to a report from government auditors." It's mandated that they have to be moved into their new digs by September 2011, but the GAO report "warned that the agency's small window for delays means that 'any unmitigated disruptions can jeopardize' meeting the 2011 deadline." The price tag is now $2.44 billion.
A 'New' Near Southeast Overhead Image: 1949
Feb 3, 2009 4:47 PM
With great thanks to reader G. for passing this along, I can report that the newly released Google Earth 5.0
(beta, of course) now includes an option to page back through older satellite photos. As you might imagine, I raced to see what they had for Near Southeast, and found a not-razor-sharp 1949 image, which you can see on my Near Southeast Satellite Photos page
if you don't have Google Earth.
You might enjoy the "Where's Waldo?" test of looking for buildings you recognize, such as the Southeastern Bus Garage
, the WASA
buildings, and even that big brick warehouse at South Capitol and O
that was demolished to make way for the ballpark. Things that *aren't* there: the Southeast Freeway (built in the 1960s), the second span of the 11th Street Bridges
, a completed Douglass Bridge
, and many of the Capper buildings that came in the 1950s. You'll also see how packed with buildings the Navy Yard
was, especially since this was still during the time that its boundaries stretched all the way to First Street (across what is now The Yards
). And look at how, north of Virginia Avenue, Garfield Park was bisected by Second Street.
The other image offerings from Near Southeast are mostly variants on the ones I already have on my satellite photos
page that came from non-Google sources over the years (1988, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007), though there are a few extras from the later years where the quality of the image isn't all that good.
If this is whetting your appetite, I also have a batch of non-satellite historic photos
of the neighborhood you can wander through, along with detailed street maps
from 1903 through 1921.
UPDATE: Commenter MJM rightly reminds me of a fact that an American History major such as myself should have remembered: Sputnik was the first *satellite*, launched in 1957. So these overhead images from 1949 are not satellite images, but were taken from planes. Or they attached a camera to Superman and had him fly around the globe a few times.
Update on South Capitol Street EIS, New Bridge
Feb 3, 2009 10:32 AM
ANC 6D heard a presentation on Monday night from the team working on the South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement
, which is now in its "final preferred alternative" stage. Their PowerPoint presentation was pretty close to the one I posted last month
, and one of the consultants did tweak me a bit about how I "spoiled the surprise" on the choice of the arched bascule design for the new Douglass Bridge
Here again are the (long!) bullet points about what the preferred alternative designs are for the portion of South Capitol west of the Anacostia (see the presentation
if you're interested in the preferred alternatives chosen for east of the river), along with some issues raised by the ANC:
* It was emphasized that these new designs will not be adding any capacity, but that the main goal is to bring back the "boulevard" feeling of the corridor.
* The new bridge will have 20-foot-wide sidewalks on each side, and only two piers will need to be built in the river, compared to 3-5 piers that would have been needed with the other designs. (The cable stayed swing bridge would have had just one pedestrian/bike path, 16 feet wide, in the middle of the bridge, surrounded by six lanes of traffic.)
* There will be a seven-acre traffic oval
at the foot of the new bridge (which will be located to the south of the current bridge), reshaping the intersection of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue
. (The ballpark
's Home Plate Gate and entrance promenade will be the northeast edge of the oval.) The city is already in the process of acquiring seven properties or portions of properties that will be needed for the oval and bridge footprint, including the red brick warehouse on the northwest corner
of South Capitol and Potomac. This oval is on the NCPC list of locations for future memorials and museums
* The intersection of South Capitol Street and M Street
will become an at-grade intersection (no more underpass for through traffic). ANC chair Andy Litsky expressed great concern about how this could make the intersection even more dangerous than it already is, to which the DDOT team replied that the reconfiguration should make it safer. (Certainly it would seem that having a "normal" intersection with two left-turn lanes in most directions would be an improvement safety-wise over the existing mish-mash of lights and poorly striped turn-lanes, but then there will also be a lot more cars cycling through once the tunnel lanes are gone.)
* There will be modifications to South Capitol's interchange with the SE/SW Freeway, with the replacement of the ramp that begins at I Street with an at-grade intersection underneath the freeway that would have two left-turn lanes to a new ramp. With the existing ramp removed, the intersection at South Capitol and I would also be reconfigured.
* The northern section of South Capitol Street will match the reconfigured portion between N Street and Potomac Avenue, as a six-lane boulevard with a median and wide sidewalks.
Commissioners McBee and Moffatt asked as they have in the past about whether the existing bridge could be kept as a pedestrian/bike-only bridge, but DDOT explained that since the swing span would continue to need to be opened for river traffic, the cost of maintaining the old bridge just isn't feasible. (The RiverFront
folks might also be a teensy bit upset that their land that's beneath the current bridge wouldn't be coming back to them.) And the team also indicated that this new bridge does not preclude the construction (Some Day, Perhaps, in Some Far Off Time) of a tunnel to move non-local traffic from Anacostia to I-395.
They expect the final Record of Decision from the feds this fall; however, when pressed for a start date, they said 2011 would be the absolute earliest for the start of construction (with completion possibly in 2015), but that as of now there's no funding for the $700 million project. It's also possible that portions of the designs could be undetaken if partial funding is received.
First Look at Phase 2 of the Yards Park
Feb 2, 2009 11:00 PM
Tonight ANC 6D had a special "presentation" meeting, to lighten the load of next Monday's business meeting so that everyone could go home before 2 am. On the agenda were three items, all of which are JDLand perennials. I'll post on Tuesday about the Capper zoning stuff
and the South Capitol Street EIS
, which didn't really contain much that I haven't previously covered; the third item was the designs for the second phase of the waterfront park at the Yards
The first phase, which is expected to begin construction in the next three months and be completed by mid-2010, is the basic layout of the park and the boardwalks. The second phase comprises 55,000 square feet of retail in the to-be-rehabbed Lumber Storage Shed and two new buildings, as well as a 60-foot-tall "visual marker" (seen at left) just to the southwest of the shed. (The third phase will be the piers and marina.) I was dreading coming home to describe these latest plans with no renderings to accompany my ramblings, but then I found the National Capital Planning Commission has done all my work for me
, thanks to these phase 2 designs being in front of the commission at their meeting this Thursday
(and for which the NCPC staff has recommended approval). You can see all of the drawings presented to the ANC in this NCPC document
, along with a lot of description of the designs, but I'll hit some highlights.
The "light tower," designed by James Carpenter Design Associates
, is made up of stainless steel prisms that reflect light during the day and will be subtly illuminated at night. The top is actually 70 feet from the top of the water, but 10 feet of that is the boardwalk; the structure itself is only 60 feet high.
The storage shed, as I've mentioned in the past, will lose its faaaahbulous salmon-colored corregated skin and will be enclosed with non-reflective glass. The other two buildings (currently given the wonderfully descriptive monikers of P2A and P2B) will also be mainly glass structures. There will be a restaurant court in front of the center building, overlooking the area of the park that steps down toward the waterfront. (A drawing of the three buildings' southern facades is here
; a larger version of the rendering at right showing how the buildings are not at all dominant when viewed from the waterfront is here
. See the NCPC document
for additional views.)
The questions from the ANC commissioners included whether this public park financed by public dollars
and owned by the city would be open to the public, whether there would be preferences for ANC 6D-based businesses for the retail spaces and the six kiosks planned near the light tower, and if there would be any city-controlled vending spaces in the park.
The designs will be presented to the Zoning Commission on March 2
(there are also some exceptions and/or variances being requested). The ANC will presumably be voting on whether or not to support the project at its Feb. 9 meeting.
Go to Page: