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* ANC 6D's meeting on Monday night (June 8) looks to be a little shorter than usual, with only a few agenda items, one of which is a public space permit request by the Courtyard by Marriott to expand (?) their sidewalk cafe.
* Speaking of L Street, a reader wrote today about the Little Red Building at Second and L, once known as the Star Market. Apparently the owner was posting a liquor license hearing notice, which gives me a feeling of deja vu, since this also happened in September 2006. The owner told my anonymous tipster about his plans for the building, which are pretty much what we've been hearing since 2006: tear down the building and build a new two-story structure, with the first floor being a liquor store and the second floor being a deli (at other points over the past few years it was a sushi bar and then a wine bar on the second floor). The plans have even stayed mostly the same after the building changed hands last year for $900,000. See my various posts from 2006 through 2008 about the previous attempts to change the building's liquor license and the negotiations with the ANC.
* Lots of coverage today of the city "landing a movie project," though it's the Owen Wilson/Reese Withersoon/Paul Rudd baseball movie that was first reported on back in May. Parts of it will be filmed at Nationals Park.
* In a similar vein, the Post reports today on the trapeze school coming to DC, which we discussed a few days back. Negotiations are still underway to have them "land" (ar-ar) at The Yards after they spend the summer on the old Convention Center site.
 

Contained in the materials for Thursday's meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission is a document that sheds some light on something I've always wondered about--exactly how does the Navy Yard feel about the planned 90-foot-tall office building right across the street at 600 M, on the site of the old Capper Seniors building? And, concurrently, how do the Marines feel about the planned apartments directly between this new 600 M building and the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters on L Street?
The NCPC board is reviewing the Zoning Commission's approval of the slew of Capper zoning changes that I wrote so much about earlier this year, some of which focus on these two new buildings on the old Capper Seniors site. The Executive Director's recommendation document (which provides some good background if you haven't been following along), refers to letters included in the document to the Zoning Commission from both the Navy and Marines stating that the new buildings on what's known as Square 882 "may pose a safety and security threat to the military personnel at both the Navy Yard and the Marine Barracks and that the there will be a visual impact on the Navy Yard Historic District."
Apparently the Navy, Marines, the DC Housing Authority, and Forest City (developers of 600 M) have tentatively agreed to a few steps to mitigate these concerns: the placement of surveillance cameras on the roofs of the proposed buildings, procedures for notifying the Navy and Marines when the roofs are to be accessed, review by the Marines and Navy Yard of tenants wishing to occupy the third through eighth floors of the 600 M office building, and a "window design to enhance security for Navy and Marines." (On this last point, the document says that "the Navy and Marines would request that the windows facing their sites not be operational," but I wonder how tenants in the proposed apartment building along L Street would feel if none of their windows could ever be opened.) The document says that memorandums of understanding between the housing authority and the Navy and the Marines should be able to be completed within the next few weeks.
Additionally, in its letter to the Zoning Commission, the Navy Yard mentions its belief that "buildings exceeding the currently permitted fifty (50) foot height restrictions located across M Street from the Navy Yard Historic District will negatively impact the view shed from the Navy Yard" and "could potentially compromise the integrity of the Washington Navy Yard Historic District, including the Latrobe Gate." It might be worth noting here that the old Capper Seniors building, built in the 1950s and demolished in 2007, was nine stories high, and so an uninterrupted "view shed" is not something that the Navy Yard has always enjoyed since its arrival in the neighborhood back in 1799.
The NCPC's reason for reviewing Zoning Commission cases in DC is to determine whether the proposed actions would have an "adverse effect" on federal interests, and, in this case, the NCPC staff is advising their commission to vote to advise the Zoning Commission that these Capper cases do indeed meet that "adverse effect" standard. Also, the NCPC staff is recommending that the Zoning Commission delay their final action on this case (scheduled for Monday, June 8) to allow the agreement described above to be finalized.
 

Between it being Friday and the sun finally being out, I bet everyone's feeling a bit better today. Maybe even Biking to Work! So, a few tidbits:
* The latest Capitol Riverfront BID newsletter is out, with a few items of note. First off, there's a new "branding" campaign going on--"Be Out Front." Look for signs promoting "Front Yard," "Front Office," "Front Door," "Store Front," etc. And they'll soon be launching an equally rebranded web site.
Also, the current estimated population within the BID is 1,584 residents; the newsletter says that there are now more than 2,000 residential units, more than half of which are leased/sold and occupied.
The newsletter also gives the Bullpen's official opening date as May 15, and also mentions that the weekly Tuesday farmer's market at USDOT is now underway, and that the weekly Wednesday lunchtime concerts start on May 20.
* The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is out (hopefully it'll show up online before the meeting itself), and the only Near Southeast item is a presentation by Michael Stevens of the BID--kind of a BID 101 tutorial for the ANC commissioners. Otherwise, it's voting on marathons, bus stops, after-school programs, and also an announcement of a "Southwest Night" at Ft. McNair on July 1. The meeting is at 6th and M streets, SW, at 7 pm. (Maybe next month it'll finally move to the new digs at the new 1D police station at the former Bowen Elementary.)
* The Examiner reports that the 2010 federal budget includes $15 million for "Southeast Federal Center remediation." There's certainly been piles of environmental cleanup there over the years (not surprising when it used to be blocks and blocks of munitions factories).
* EYA has spiffed up its web site a bit--their Capitol Quarter page is worth a visit if you haven't checked it out before.
 

On Monday night, a surprisingly contentious Zoning Commission meeting resulted in the three voting members approving a delay in the deadline for the Housing Authority to file for building permits for the proposed Capper Community Center; however, after some heated exchanges between commissioners, it was decided to vote not for the DCHA's requested deadline of Jan. 1, 2011, but instead a shorter deadline of July 1, 2010.
Commissioner May argued that DCHA had not made a compelling case for why the center isn't going forward, and that the discussion at the March hearing (transcript here, my description here, and a letter from ANC 6D about it all here) on the extension "resonated" with him, and he recalled that the community center was one of the prime benefits for residents when the original Capper PUD was approved. Jeffries, as frustrated and blunt as I've seen him (probably because his term is about to end), said repeatedly that "the world is a different place now," that the developers needed to be given some flexibility to get things done, and that it was not the place of the commission to "be punitive" given the current economic conidtions. Chairman Hood attempted to find middle ground between the two (which begat Jeffries curtly telling Hood "this is a time when you're going to have to take a side"), although in the end all three voted for the July 2010 deadline.
Representatives of the Housing Authority said they'd be trying their best to meet that deadline, but with the difficulties of finding funding for the project, they might very well be returning to request an extension of that July 2010 deadline.
The other requests, including an overall extension of the PUD deadline to Dec. 31, 2013 and a bunch of other items I can't bring myself to write about again, were approved with far less sturm und drang.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center, meetings, zoning
 

The latest Capitol Riverfront Connections newsletter from the BID was sent out late last week, with updates on the LEED for Homes plaque presentation last week at Capitol Quarter, an interview with BID executive director Michael Stevens on Newschannel8, and news of a ceremony coming tomorrow (Monday) at 2 pm on the Tingey Plaza at USDOT, where Mayor Fenty will kick off the launch of 28 new artistic bike racks around the city.
Also on Monday, at 6:30 pm, is a Zoning Commission hearing where a first vote could possibly come on the batch of zoning changes being requested for Capper/Carrollsburg to which I've dedicated so many bytes lately.
And, on Tuesday morning at 8:30 am is a dedication ceremony and breakfast fundraiser (also with the mayor) for Diamond Teague Park, being held across the street at the foot of the stadium's grand staircase. Tickets are $50 per person.
 

At Monday night's meeting, ANC 6D voted 6-0-1 to approve a letter drafted by commissioners McBee and Siegel responding to submissions by the Housing Authority in the wake of the marathon March 20 zoning commission hearing on the various modifications and extensions being requested for the Capper PUD. As I wrote on the 20th, there was much discussion about DCHA's request to delay construction of the planned community center until at least 2011, and there was also testimony by two former Capper residents that DCHA isn't adhering to what the 2004 zoning order requires in terms of job training and other social services for the former Capper residents.
The letter ANC 6D is now forwarding to the Zoning Commission can be read here, and it addresses in detail the Community Support Services Program (CSSP) and the community center. The DCHA numbers quoted in the ANC letter show an initial CSSP case load since 2005 of 828 cases, with only 394 cases now active due to residents declining to participate, being declared ineligible, or having gone "missing." The letter also says that no further funding for the CSSP program is forthcoming from HUD, and says that the numbers provided by DCHA "do not paint a good picture for a Hope VI Project whose main objective is sustainability and empowerment for the effected community."
As for the community center planned for Fifth and K, the ANC says that its delay "has already done sufficient damage" and that its absence "will fail to address the social and educational needs of the residents." The ANC also notes a lack of any mention of the center in various testimonies by DCHA on their budget and on stimulus dollars coming to the city, saying "we now have no confidence [...] that the Center will ever be built."
The Zoning Commission's next hearing on these Capper doings is expected to be on April 27.
 

Tonight ANC 6D gave its support to a plan for "Festival Park on Half Street," a 14,000-square-foot combination food, drink, and activity space on the northwest corner of Half and N streets, on land owned by Akridge directly across from Nationals Park.
This is the "beer garden" that caused a bit of a stir last week, and representatives of Akridge, Georgetown Events, and Headfirst Sports were on hand to explain their concept to the ANC. A document handed out describes it as a space with "a large tent that will include a beverage station, a temporary stage for live music, porta johns, tables with seating, possible baseball netting cages for live instruction, and a children's activity area." It would be open on game days beginning three hours before game time and ending two hours after (or before midnight regardless of whether the game is over). The newly erected 12-foot-high wooden fence would surround the site, with one entrance where IDs will be checked and bracelets given to those 21 and older, with up to 12 security employees on hand. There would be food from third-party vendors as well as Georgetown Events' own restaurants (Surfside, Jetties, and the Rookery). There's also the possibility of activities in the space (such as farmers' markets or other events) on non-gamedays, though the lease for the space ends at the beginning of November.
Headfirst Sports (named by Sports Illustrated for Kids as the "Best Summer Camp in the Entire Washington Area") is planning to run in the park a "variety of games, contests, and competitions as well as small clinic and group instruction aimed at teaching young Nationals fans how to play and love baseball and softball." The operator of Headfirst also made clear his interest in working with youth groups from the neighborhood in sessions apart from the gameday activities.
The ANC commissioners were supportive of the plans, although they had a lot of questions (too bad you all missed the long discussion of whether the phrase "frozen drinks" is a legal term), and 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel complimented the group, saying "you convinced us that this is going to possibly work." Some specifics still need to be hammered out in the "voluntary agreement" that Georgetown Events is entering into with the ANC, but the commissioners voted 7-0 to support the group's application for a "Tavern" liquor license. An April 30-May 1 opening date is being targeted, but there is still city bureaucracy to contend with.
As for the Akridge site, baseball fans heading to the ballpark today were met with a slew of new signage on the west side of Half Street advertising "Akridge at Half Street"--the new web site shows some of the art on the signs, and I also took a few photos of the fences and put them on my Akridge Half Street page, though the skies were so gloomy that I couldn't bring myself to post the complete set. There's a spot where local artists will be creating works right on the fence, and there is also a chalkboard where passers-by can write messages, as many did today.
UPDATE: Some additional details on the plans from WBJ.
 

The agenda for the April 13 ANC 6D meeting has been mailed out (though isn't yet posted online), and one of the items is "Akridge Realty Beer Garden"--apparently they are looking to have a summertime offering on their land at Half and N, across from the ballpark. I presume it would just be on game nights, though I don't know for sure, and don't know anymore than what I've written here. More as I get it....
 

How can I possibly summarize in this small space the never-ending parade of testimony and questions at last night's hearing on the various Capper zoning modification requests? (I just thank the heavens I watched the web cast and didn't attend in person.) If you didn't avail yourself of this entertainment, you'll just have to wait for the transcript to come out to get all the specifics, but here's a few bullet points on issues that were brought up (read the Office of Planning report on what was actually being requested):
* Commissioner May was displeased that there were no "sample boards" of the exterior finishes for the two new apartment buildings, as is apparently required for a stage 2 planned-unit-development approval.
* The commissioners were clearly befuddled by the scope of the requests, variances, and exceptions before them, even though last year they had requested that the three separate filings be grouped together in a single hearing.
* There was much discussion of the request to further delay the construction of the community center until at least 2011, with the Housing Authority testifying at length as to the financial realities of the bond and lending markets (see more about that here), and members of the public and ANC commissioners (Siegel and McBee of 6D) emphasizing as they have in the past "the community's" need for the center and questioning DCHA's idea that the neighborhood needs to reach a "critical mass" before the center should be built (does 300 completed units out of a planned 1700 meet that threshold?). DCHA said repeatedly that building a community center is a promise they have made that will not be broken, but that right now it's just not a possibility.
* Two former Capper residents testified to their belief that the Housing Authority is not adhering to what's required in terms of job training and other social services that are supposed to be provided while residents are waiting to move back, which got chair Anthony Hood into a bit of a dander. (Read pages 12-14 of the 2004 Capper zoning order to see what is expected in this realm.) This and the other public comments (such as the "why can't you use Obama's stimulus money?" question that had come up at ANC 6D) brought a somewhat forceful response from David Cortiella of the Housing Authority as to what they're doing for the former residents, and he again went through the current barriers to financing the center. There was then a minor dustup between commissioners Jeffries and May, with May pressing the housing authority on its performance and timeline and Jeffries expressing some level of surprise that the zoning commission was questioning a Hope VI redevelopment's financial problems "in this economic climate."
By the time the hearing wrapped up at 11:15 pm (and I'd be lying if I said I had paid attention to every word), the commission was requesting a series of additional filings from the housing authority and its team, and put it all on their April 27 agenda. (And look for this to be back on the ANC 6D agenda on April 13, too.)
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, meetings, zoning
 

I've just about reached my recommended yearly allowance of writing about the various Capper zoning requests that are pending right now, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel, since the hearing is finally being held Thursday night at 6:30 pm. If you've grown tired (as I have) of my haphazard attempts to describe exactly what's being requested, you can now pour through the Office of Planning report, which gives far more detail than I've ever attempted. Even if you don't want to know that much about it all, there's a pretty good map on page three of the report that details the plans for every block of Capper/Carrollsburg (though without any timelines for the future projects). I have a similar map on my main Capper page, but this one does add a lot of detail.
I've also managed to snag the first renderings of two of the planned Capper apartment buildings, which I've added to my project page. One (seen at top left) shows the 171-unit building planned for L Street, next to Canal Park and behind the proposed 250 M Street office building. There's also now a first look at the 189-unit building planned for the 600 block of L Street (seen above), on the north side of the old Capper Seniors lot and just south of the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters. In the original Capper plans, this site was going to be townhouses, but it was decided that an apartment building would fit in better with the larger surrounding structures.
The Thursday hearing will be available via live web cast, if you're so inclined.
 

I can't hardly bring myself to write about the Capper PUD modification requests *again* (my first post on them was back in July), so I'll just stick to the basics and say that on Monday night ANC 6D voted to support the three requests, with provisos that the Zoning Commission request the start date for construction of the community center be in 2011 and not 2012 and that the Housing Authority provide *50* parking spaces in the lot at 7th and M for health-care workers who visit the Capper Seniors #1 apartment building, where apparently there is trouble with parking (according to commissioner Robert Siegel, who lives across the street). The delay on the community center was again a major sticking point (just as it was at the February meeting where these requests were also presented, giving Monday night a very Groundhog Day feel), and the Housing Authority representatives again explained that the center must be financed with bonds, which are all but impossible to "float" these days given the economic realities. (The bonds that eventually pay for the community center will also pay for the demolition of the trash transfer station and the other infrastructure work needed on the western edge of the Capper footprint, around Canal Park.) Cries of "but what about the Obama stimulus money?" also were left unsatisfied. But, in the end, with the extra wording proposed by Commissioner Sobelsohn and approved by Siegel, the resolution passed.
The Zoning Commission will have its hearing on these three requests on March 19. Read my February or July postings for all the specifics. And I hope to at some point get renderings of the apartment buildings planned for L Street between Second and Third and between Sixth and Seventh (hint, hint).
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, meetings, zoning
 

The agenda has been sent out (though not yet posted) for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW. The only Near Southeast item on the agenda is a vote on the three zoning PUD modifications being sought for the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment--they were presented to the ANC back in February, which you can read about here. Other agenda items include updates on the Waterside Mall redevelopment and the Southwest Zoning Planning process, the SunTrust marathon, the proposals for the new firehouse at 4th and School, SW, and the job fair held in Southwest earlier this week for employment at Nationals Park.
 

Last night the Zoning Commission unanimously approved Forest City's Phase 2 plans for the waterfront park at The Yards, which include three glass-enclosed pavilions offering 50,000-sq-ft of retail and a 60-foot "visual marker" at the edge of the water on the boardwalk. You can see more renderings and designs on my Yards Park page (scroll down a bit for Phase 2), and this National Capital Planning Commission report has a lot of information as well, with many of the same drawings that were presented last night. I described it all thusly a few months ago:
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.
The commissioners were very complimentary of the designs, with only a bit of concern expressed about whether the tower (made of stainless steel prisms) was either a bit too small for its surroundings (commissioners Jeffries and Keating) or if perhaps its base was a little too plain (May and Turnbull). Turnbull was also concerned about sustainable design features of the pavilions, and, more succinctly, that the walls made all of glass would just make the buildings into "a very hot box." May also said that Forest City needs to come up with better names for the vertical marker and the retail pavilions, though he also dryly added he was "not advocating selling the naming rights."
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development testified in support of the project, and the Office of Planning recommended approval--their staff report is worth reading for more details on the project and on the various zoning exceptions and speical requests Forest City was seeking. ANC 6D voted last month 6-0-1 to support the project, and there were no other witnesses either for or against the plans.
In the end, with the commissioners having made no requests for additional materials or clarifications, it was decided to take their vote immediately, and approval was given 5-0. Because this was a Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review, this was the only vote that will be taken.
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 third phase will be the piers and marina, which Forest City said last night is targeted for completion in 2012 or 2013.
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More posts: meetings, Retail, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning
 

* (h/t reader F) The AP takes a look at the Capitol Power Plant just north of the SE Freeway, the neighborhood's second most "favorite" landmark (after the school buses) with its smokestacks obscuring the view of the Capitol dome from many locations. On Thursday, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to the Architect of the Capitol asking that the power plant switch from burning coal to using natural gas for its operations, saying "The switch to natural gas will allow the CPP to dramatically reduce carbon and criteria pollutant emissions, eliminating more than 95 percent of sulfur oxides and at least 50 percent of carbon monoxide...We strongly encourage you to move forward aggressively with us on a comprehensive set of policies for the entire Capitol complex and the entire Legislative Branch to quickly reduce emissions and petroleum consumption through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean alternative fuels." The AP's story tells how Congress has been trying to clean up the plant and make it more "green," and the potholes in the road to making it run completely on natural gas. I'm guessing it wouldn't be wise to start counting the minutes until the smokestacks are gone.
* On Monday at 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission is scheduled to have its hearing on the Phase 2 plans for the park at The Yards, though we'll see if the weather wreaks havoc with the schedule. Here's my notes on the presentation of the designs to ANC 6D, and my Yards Park page has renderings.
* (UPDATE) Missed this--the Examiner reported on Friday that the Capitol Hill Restoration Society has filed suit to stop construction of the new 11th Street Bridges, citing its "significant, irreversible, adverse effects" on the surrounding area. The CHRS web site has a bit more detail as well.
* Tickets still available for Elton and Billy. Apparently there was a bit of a glitch yesterday when they went on sale.
 

On Monday night, the Zoning Commission gave final approval to the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review of Akridge's Half Street project, on the site of the old WMATA bus garage at Half and M. Normally this would be where I would link to my entry with a detailed description of the late January hearing on this review--except that I couldn't find it. And as I thought back, it then dawned on me that I didn't actually write one. I think I was waiting to see if maybe I could get some renderings (which I've failed at), and then life sped onward. Oops. Feel free to ask for your money back.
But at least I wrote a long description of the project when it was presented to ANC 6D in December--or, if you really want to know how the hearing went, here's the transcript. (Though it will be pretty hard to follow along without any drawings to look at.)
The 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project could get underway in early 2010. The bus garage will probably be demolished pretty soon, to clear the space for stadium parking.
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More posts: Akridge/Half St., Development News, meetings, meetings, Metro/WMATA, zoning
 

* With thanks to SWill for passing the word (since I couldn't attend the meeting), I can report that ANC 6D on Monday night voted to support the plans for phase 2 of the Yards Park, which will be going in front of the Zoning Commission on March 2. (You can read my summary of last week's presentation to the ANC on the plans for more information.)
* If you're looking for analysis of what exactly the plans for the new 11th Street Bridges configuration might mean, Greater Greater Washington is taking a look at them (part one here; part two not yet posted). For what might perhaps be called an opposing viewpoint, DDOT's chief engineer Kathleen Penney contributed this article in the February Hill Rag about what DDOT sees as the benefits of the project. And, if you want some 11th Street Bridges material to use as a sleeping aid, I pass along this link (via Tommy Wells's blog) to the RFP for the design/build contract. (The "amendment" link is the *slightly* more comprehensible one.) There was a hearing last week on a bill about the contracting procedures for the bridge, but I'm not *so* desperate for content to wade into that.
(UPDATE) I already posted about this, but it's a good time to mention again that there's a public forum on the 11th Street Bridges on Feb. 17: "Sustainable Development, Infrastructure, and the Future of the District of Columbia," at the MLK Library at 6:30 pm. (DDOT just sent around its own announcement, now posted online.)
* And hey, check it out, the council has finally updated the user interface for its legislation database!
* Other than that, all is very quiet these days. Though those following my Twittering were apprised yesterday of this breaking news item: "[I] Dreamt last night that 3rd and K Market was reopening both as a bodega and a swank Indian food joint. With a new noodle place next door."
 

Been kind of a nice few days here without much news, so now I'm having to force myself back into the routine. I'll start small:
* An update to the post about the new houses released at Capitol Quarter: EYA tells me that the houses released are spread throughout the development: 421 L Street, under construction and expected to be ready in April (listed for $720,340 on the EYA "Move In Now" list), two houses in the block just to the north (expected to be ready in the fall), and four houses in the block bounded by I/Virginia, Fifth, Fourth, and K that could be ready by the end of the year. On all of these blocks the reservations placed by homeowners over the past few years have now been converted to contracts; that is expected to happen for the final Phase 1 block (between Third and Fourth and Virginia and I) later this year.
* The agenda for Monday night's ANC 6D meeting is posted, and it includes a vote on the Phase 2 designs of the Yards Park that were discussed at last week's special meeting. I've also now added a bunch of those Phase 2 renderings to my Yards Park page. Other items on the ANC 6D agenda are about Southwest subjects, though I should note that the National Marathon on March 21 (which they'll be discussing) will be coming across the Douglass Bridge, briefly using South Capitol Street until it turns west on P Street.
There's also an agenda item about a BZA application for 1101 South Capitol St., SW, which was the old KFC. This is a good opportunity for me to mention that, with two blogs about Southwest now in full flight, I'm going back to my original boundaries, which old-timers will remember stopped in the median of South Capitol Street, which is where Southeast ends and Southwest begins. I'm lucky enough to be watching a neighborhood that has probably the firmest boundaries of any in the city, so I'm going to respect them!
* City budget season is nearly upon us. I've added to my calendar a partial list of dates for FY08-09 oversight and FY10 budget hearings, for agencies that have the most bearing on Near Southeast. Check the DC Council web site for the full list.
 

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
 

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.
 

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.
 
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