Canal Park Parking - NCPC Staff Recommendation
Jul 9, 2007 4:16 PM
UPDATE: With a mere 14 minutes to spare, I've just now been informed that the 30-day comment period on the zoning text amendment ends today at 4:30, so if by chance you're reading this in the next few minutes, you can fax your comments and contact information to the DCOZ at (202) 727-6072 so that it can be considered when they take final action on July 30.
Maneuvering continues today on the No-Parking-on-Canal-Park
front: there is word that the National Capital Planning Commission
staff is recommending that the NCPC board should request at its Thursday meeting
that the Canal Park site be excluded
from the proposed zoning amendment
that is allowing temporary surface parking on certain lots
in Near Southeast. (The NCPC weighs in on all zoning changes that might "impact federal interests," and they are considering Canal Park an amenity for US Department of Transportation
workers across the street, thereby making it of "federal interest." Heh.) It should be noted that the NCPC board does not have to go along with its staff's recommendations. In addition, the zoning commission does not have to incorporate the NCPC's comments when it takes its own final action on the parking lots, but I imagine the word will get to the zoning commission as loudly as it did to the NCPC about the strong desire to exclude the Canal Park blocks from the final parking amendment.
I'm waiting now for some clarification from the Office of Zoning of exactly what the future votes and procedures are on the parking amendment
--it was adopted as an emergency measure in May, which I believe means that at some point the temporary amendment must be made permanent. That would appear to give time and wiggle room for additional changes to the amendment if desired by the ZC, but I'm checking to be sure.
Jul 8, 2007 2:27 PM
With the calendar inching toward DC's annual August shutdown, there's a boatload of meetings and hearings on the agenda this week as everyone tries to get their work done before heading for the beach. Here's a not-very-detailed rundown, so follow the links if you want more detailed information:
* At about the same time, ANC 6D
is having its monthly meeting, and will be having a presentation and vote on Forest City's July 26 zoning hearing
to allow temporary surface parking lots at The Yards
. This meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 6th and M Streets, SW. (Having to make a choice, I'm opting for the zoning meeting, so it might take a little while before I find out what happened at the ANC.)
* On Tuesday night WMATA is having a public hearing
on the proposed move
of the Southeastern Bus Garage from its current location at Half and M
to a new facility at DC Village in Southwest. (It's probably geared more toward residents near the new location.) There's an open house at 5:30 pm, and the hearing itself starts at 6:30, at 2700 Martin Luther King Dr. SE.
* WMATA's Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee is meeting in executive session
on Thursday morning to address something having to do with the Southeastern Bus Garage, but they're not saying what.
* Wrapping up the week (pant pant pant) is a city council Subcommittee on Economic Development hearing on the transition plans
for folding in the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; it's in the council chamber at the Wilson Building at 10 am, and may also be broadcast on DC cable channel 13 and via streaming video
And then I will spend the weekend alseep.
, 250 M
, ANC News
, Capitol Riverfront BID
, Canal Park
, Florida Rock
, Nationals Park
, The Yards
Wells Springs Into Action for Canal Park
Jul 6, 2007 5:40 PM
Another day of lightning-fast developments in Near Southeast, so apologies for the disjointedness.... A letter has been posted on Tommy Wells's blog
, to the chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission, making it clear that council member Wells does not want to see any delay in the construction of Canal Park
(see my earlier entry for background
on all of this). The rest of the blog entry says that these concerns have been communicated to the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert as well (and Mr. Albert agreed). The letter specifically tells the NCPC: "The temporary parking zoning amendment must be modified to include clarifying language to protect the park site from any zoning changes, temporary or otherwise. Specifically, no temporary surface lots should be permitted on US Reservation 17, parcels B, C and D, which are the location of the proposed Washington Canal Park." Crisis averted? The NCPC meeting is July 12.
And, as a bonus, Wells's post says that Canal Park is scheduled to begin construction in August, the first start date I've heard. But until I see yellow school buses driving off into the sunset, I'll remain merely cautiously optimistic.
Concerns About Canal Park and Parking - Update
Jul 6, 2007 12:12 PM
While I've been following for weeks the zoning procedures around the plans for temporary surface parking lots in the blocks north of M Street, I'm hearing today for the first time that there may be some pressure behind the scenes to delay construction of Canal Park, so that its three blocks of space could be used for temporary surface parking to help fulfill the necessary spaces for Nationals ballgames.
It is indeed true that those three blocks are covered under Zoning Case 07-08
, which was approved back in May
, but because of some odd tax parcel configurations (where the parcels 767, 768, and 769 actually stretch across the eastern half of 2nd Street over to 3rd and so also include the three blocks where Capper buildings were demolished earlier this year), I always just assumed that those references in the zoning requests were merely for the Capper portions of the parcels and not the Canal Park portions. Plus, plans seemed to be moving forward for Canal Park to begin construction in time for a Spring 2008 opening, so it didn't appear to be an issue (much the way that Case 07-08 asked for the ability to build temporary lots on the Pepco site in Buzzards Point even though Pepco says they wouldn't be vacating those blocks anytime soon).
I'm now hearing whispers that the salivating over Canal Park might not actually be completely stadium-related, but also a part of the continuing need for the Metropolitan Police Department to find about 150 extra spaces to have enough parking for their proposed move into 225 Virginia Avenue
WMATA Expecting at Least $2.3 Million for Navy Yard East Entrance
Jul 6, 2007 6:17 AM
(I found out the hard way that my subscription to Metro's press releases doesn't seem to be working these days, so this item is about a week late.) In WMATA's press release announcing their choice of NJA Associates (aka Donohoe) to develop the east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, it's mentioned that Metro will receive at least $2.3 million from the sale of the 5,612-sq-ft property, but that that could grow to $3.4 million if Donohoe can get zoning waivers to expand their planned 1111 New Jersey office building up to 220,000 sq ft. (Its original design came in at 146,000 sq ft, and with the new land but no zoning waivers they could go to 206,000 sq ft.) (UPDATED because of switched numbers in the original headline.)
WMATA Board Approves Navy Yard East Entrance Sale
Jun 28, 2007 11:41 AM
Without any discussion, the Metro board has voted unanimously to select NJA Associates (a subsidiary of Donohoe) to develop the Navy Yard subway station's east entrance at New Jersey and M; there will now be negotiations for the sale itself. You can read my Monday entry
for more background on the plan, or visit my 1111 New Jersey Ave. page
for information on Donohoe's planned office building right next to the station, which the company apparently plans to expand onto this additional land. You can also look at the WMATA documents on the plan
, although they aren't ridiculously heavy on detail. Next steps? Waiting for word of the actual sale, and keeping an eye out for Donohoe's revised design, which will now have to go through a Capitol Gateway Overlay zoning review
since the expanded lot would front on M Street.
WMATA to Sell Navy Yard East Entrance to Donohoe
Jun 25, 2007 9:01 AM
WMATA's Planning, Development, and Real Estate subcommittee has recommended to the full board
that NJA Associates LLC (a subsidiary of Donohoe
) be picked to purchase and develop the 5,612-sq-ft east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station
at New Jersey and M
. Donohoe already owns 16,406 sq ft directly adjoining this property, and has received zoning approvals for its plans to build the 1111 New Jersey Avenue
office building on the site; however, they would apparently expand the building's design to 206,000 sq ft with the new land acquisition, or go up to as much as 220,000 sq ft if the Zoning Commmission approves. And since the building would front M Street with this expanded configuration, it would also need to go through a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
to make sure it conforms with the design requirements now expected of M Street
Of course, the west side of the Navy Yard station is already getting developed and expanded, as work continues on 55 M Street
, the office building that will fill the northern portion of Monument's Half Street development.
Council Actions Today - BID and Ballpark
Jun 21, 2007 1:24 PM
Just a quick sleep-inducing update on actions at today's City Council
legislative meeting (have I mentioned that you people don't pay me enough?):
* Bill 17-0011
, the "Ballpark Hard and Soft Costs Cap Act of 2007," makes permanent the legislation passed in 2006 that set a city spending cap of $630 million. There was some bickering when council member Catania asked to add an amendment updating the soft costs amount in the bill to $117 million from the originally specified $111 million as a result of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission's May 31 report. Council member Evans was quite vehement about not changing numbers on dais without consulting the CFO's office to be sure that even an innocuous-seeming change like this one wouldn't end up having unintended consequences (and he also was miffed that Catania hadn't shown him the amendment before the meeting), but in the end the amendment was agreed to.
Council member Kwame Brown said that a new report by the DC Auditor indicated that the stadium remains on budget at this time, although there items that will need "close attention paid" to them. Catania expanded on that by citing a series of numbers from the auditors' report indicating that the city still has up to $95 million in additional costs when there is only $6.7 million left in the contingency fund; however, $72 million of that is the amount that the eminent-domain'ed landowners are seeking from the city in compensation, which may not be exactly how much they receive once the hundred years' worth of court battles are finally completed. Catania said that the council needs to face these potential problem numbers instead of "putting our head in the sand."
* Finally, Bill 17-0021
, the "Ballpark Parking Completion Amendment Act of 2007," was passed, creating permanent legislation exempting from zoning restrictions the parking garages on the north end of the stadium site
; council member Mendelson asked that before second reading, a sunset provision originally in the emergency legislation that requires the exemption to end by the end of 2008 be inserted into this permanent legislation.
Capper Building #2 Almost Finished
Jun 18, 2007 8:58 AM
The final touches are starting to be put on Capper Building #2
, the wraparound addition to the Carroll Apartments at 4th and M
. It's expected that new residents will start arriving in July, with full occupancy by the end of the summer. While this was originally planned as a building for low-income senior citizens, there was a modification to its zoning
back in March to allow younger residents with lower incomes as well. Seniors who have lived at Capper / Carrollsburg but chose not to move to the new Capper Seniors #1
when it opened in December get first dibs on units in this second building, followed by other former Capper residents who meet the requirements of having an earned income and having participated in their community supportive services
program. Applications are also being accepted from non-Capper residents who have incomes between 50 and 60 percent of the area median income (just under $38,000 for a single person or $54,000 for a family of four). If you meet the income requirements and are interested in applying, you can visit the BallparkApts.com
web site for more information, or call 202-546-1024.
As for the old Capper Seniors building
at 601 L Street, it is scheduled to be demolished
sometime this summer
late this year. Temporary surface parking lots will be built on the site in time for the opening of the ballpark
in spring 2008, but long-range plans call for office buildings to be eventually developed there.
UPDATED 6/19 with the revised timeline for demolition of the old Capper Seniors building; it's now scheduled to happen toward the end of 2007, thanks to hazmat abatement needing to take longer than originally planned.
Florida Rock Zoning Correspondence Deferred
Jun 12, 2007 8:18 PM
Last night there was scheduled to be a discussion at the Zoning Commission's public meeting about Florida Rock
(aka "RiverFront on the Anacostia"); the developer and architect had requested guidance
from the commission about whether the project's new design is what the commission was looking for when it asked for revisions back in February. However, chair Carol Mitten announced that the agenda item was being deferred to the commission's July 9 public meeting, so that the Office of Planning can submit comments on the plans. That'll teach me to drag myself down there and show up in person instead of just hanging out at home watching the webcast!
More on MPD/Post Plant
Jun 12, 2007 12:28 PM
Last night at its monthly meeting, ANC 6D passed a resolution opposing the proposed relocation of the First Distrct Police Station currently at 415 4th St. SW to the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave. SE. There's a series of 11 bullet points describing the ANC's opposition, many of which were brought up at the city council subcommittee hearing last week, most notably of course being the potential impact on "community policing" if the police are no longer housed right in the community. Other issues such as parking at the new site, the "massing" of so many police functions in such a small area given that the 1D1 substation is just four blocks away, and the potential loss of easy walk-in visits to 1D if they are housed in the same building that contains high-level MPD functions such as the chief's office, the Special Operations Division, the evidence warehouse, and other departments.
I also finally got a chance to see the portions of the hearing that weren't originally broadcast, and one of the items that jumped out at me (and that is mentioned in the ANC resolution as well) is that the Office of Property Management is already looking for 10,000 square feet of "swing space" for the 1D substation, because it needs to be out of its current location by early 2009 to make way for the new combined forensics lab. Because of timing issues with getting the 225 Virginia building ready for occupancy (a project that could cost up to $100 million), 1D may not be able to move directly to the new building. (OPM said it should know within 60 days if 1D will need to move to swing space.) Both Carol Schwartz and Tommy Wells were quite skeptical of moving 1D to 225 Virginia, with Schwartz saying "Have you thought of how ridiculous that is?" (But she said it really nicely.) The council members pressed OPM and MPD about why the forensics lab couldn't be at 225 Virginia instead, but issues with ceiling heights and ventilation seemed to be stumbling points, although former OPM head Carol Mitten testified that it wouldn't be impossible. There was also a lot of discussion about the possibility of buying 225 Virginia outright, rather than leasing it.
And of course, as I mentioned in my initial summary
, parking issues were a large part of the conversation as well. Neither OPM or MPD would commit to Wells's idea of a ban on employee on-street parking; and as I said last week, OPM and MPD were floating the DPW trash transfer lot at 2nd and K as a parking alternative without seeming to be aware that that lot is already going to the DC Housing Authority as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg
Hope VI project. (I shouted it at the TV as loudly and often as I could, but apparently they couldn't hear me.) As described, a new parking structure built on top of the surface lot at 3rd and I would have about 520 spaces, 200 of which would be for police vehicles and another 100 for 1D staff, leaving only 200 spaces for the remaining 500 employees at this new headquarters.
Next steps? OPM is now looking at getting architectural drawings and guaranteed maximum buildout costs to the council by October (two months later than originally forecast); there is also supposed to be a parking plan given to the committee within the next two weeks, and also at some point a meeting between OPM, MPD, and ANCs 6B and 6D. A separate Zoning Commission hearing
on adding the site to the Capitol South Receiving Zone originally scheduled for this week has now been postponed. I imagine there will be a fair amount of behind-the-scenes maneuvering on the project that we won't hear much about until it comes time for the city council to vote on paying for the renovations to the building.
Another Round of Surface Parking Lot Requests - Update
Jun 11, 2007 3:17 PM
As expected, there is now a request in front of the Zoning Commission
to approve temporary surface parking lots on parcels totaling 396,000 sq ft in the Southeast Federal Center
(i.e., "The Yards"), to last no more than five years and to be available for Nationals ballpark
parking (among other uses). There are four lots, which I highlighted a few months back on my Stadium Parking page map
: on the southeast corner of 1st and N (where there is already a parking lot, along with a one-story brick building scheduled to be demolished); two spots on the SEFC land south of Tingey and DOT
and east of the WASA pumping plant; and on the southeast corner of 4th and M, behind the red brick wall, where a surface lot already exists. According to the meeting notice, temporary lots at the SEFC are already permitted under the existing Southeast Federal Center overlay
, subject to approval by the Zoning Commission.
I don't know anything more about this other than that there will be a ZC hearing on July 26; I'll be working to find out exactly how many spaces these lots may make available, although in the presentation slides
from the March public meeting there was an indication that 1,700 additional spaces could be available at the Federal Center. These would be on top of the other temporary surface lots recently approved
, and would bring the count of potential
available spaces on all temporary lots to 5,475 spaces, on top of the 1,225 spaces being constructed on the stadium footprint (adding up to 6,700 spaces, higher than the 4,900 spaces that planners anticipate will be needed for the highest-attendance games). Of course, not all of the identified potential lots will end up being used, and the likely total count from all lots is probably closer to 5,200, but this is clearly a healthy-sized addition to the lots approved last month. More information as I get it.
UPDATED with corrected numbers on the potential spaces, because math is apparently not my strong suit late on a Friday night. But these new numbers are still just speculation on my part based on that March public meeting on parking--we have to wait to see exactly how many spaces planners are anticipating at the SEFC.
UPDATE, 6/11: This zoning request apparently would allow for 925 paking spaces in four lots at The Yards; so it's far lower than what was projected for the SEFC at the March public meeting on the stadium transportation planning. It does mean that, if approved, up to 5,925 permanent and temporary spaces are in the mix around the stadium site (1,225 on the ballpark site itself and the rest from the temporary surface lots). And that doesn't count any possible spaces in lots beneath already-constructed buildings near the stadium. But hopefully some clarity will arrive when the draft Traffic Operations and Parking Plan is released by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, supposedly this month.
New Florida Rock Designs Now Posted
Jun 6, 2007 2:00 PM
I've now added to my Florida Rock page
the new proposed site map and some watercolors illustrating the revised design of "RiverFront on the Anacostia." As I said yesterday
, the architect has written to the Zoning Commission asking if these new plans are in line with what the ZC was looking for when it sent the planners back to the drawing board in February
(by the way, here's the transcript
of that meeting); the commission will be addressing this letter at its Public Meeting on Monday, June 11. It would be expected that then more hearings would be held on the new designs later this year.
I've tried to highlight the changes and new features of the plan beneath each of the new images, but apologies in advance if my text comes up short; I'm not exactly known for flowery prose and colorful descriptions.
Amendment Allowing Strip Club Relocation in Near Southeast (An Analysis)
Jun 6, 2007 10:49 AM
Tucked in the stories (Post
) about the bill that passed its first reading in front of the council yesterday--allowing the relocation of the strip clubs that have left Near Southeast because of the arrival of the stadium
and surrounding development--was word that an amendment to the bill had passed allowing clubs to relocate to certain zoned areas within 5,000 feet of the ballpark. People are already e-mailing me with the vapors, so here's what I've been able to find out.
The circle covered by a one-mile radius around the stadium site stretches across all of Near Southeast, most of Buzzards Point, a fair amount of Southwest, and even into Anacostia and small portions of Capitol Hill. But the text of the amendment
says that the clubs can relocate "in any C-3, C-4, or C-5 zone within 5000 feet from the Baseball Stadium footprint"; once you take into account those restrictions, when you look at the zoning maps
you'll see that there are very few locations that have those zone designations; in Near Southeast, the only areas meeting that criteria are the land bounded by South Capitol, I, M, and New Jersey (what I call the "North of M
" area) and the area just south the freeway over to the Post Plant
. In Southwest, the area between I, M, South Capitol, and 2nd St. SW, and the Waterside Mall parcel, are the only C-3/4/5 zones within the 5,000-foot radius. And across the river in Anacostia there is only one small area zoned C-3-A.
But, given the character of the areas in Near Southeast where these one-time strip club relocations would be allowed, it would appear to be a remote possibility--after all, what the clubs generally look for are large spaces with low rents, and with most C-3 parcels in Near Southeast now purchased by developers with grand plans for shiny new buildings, it would seem that the large-space/low-rent options east of South Capitol are few and far between. Unless the club owners decide to build big tents beneath the freeway.
Florida Rock Project Revised, Rechristened
Jun 5, 2007 8:30 PM
When last we left the planned redevelopment of the Florida Rock
site that sits on the Anacostia River just south of the new baseball stadium back in February, the Zoning Commission had surprisingly sent the architects back to the drawing board
, concerned with how the project's design was fitting in with its new neighbor to the north and with the its now-prime location as a gateway to the Capitol Riverfront area. It's been quiet for a few months, but I received word today that Florida Rock Properties and Davis Buckley Architects and Planners have a revised design for this project, as well as a new name--RiverFront on the Anacostia
--and are requesting that the Zoning Commission review the new plans (described as "a holistic re-thinking", especially of its public spaces) to confirm that they "respond positively" to the concerns expressed by the ZC back in March.
There are still two office buildings, a residential building, and a hotel, but the configuration has now changed to create three distinct public spaces, including a large new commercial public plaza called "The Pitch" (with sculptures of a pitcher and catcher on a grassy mound) directly across from the grand staircase of the ballpark
and next to the proposed Diamond Teague Park
. There is also a "multi-story transparent atrium space" called "Potomac Quay" linking Potomac Avenue to the riverfront, and a large oval "Piazza Cascade" with a central water feature that is at the center of three of the four buildings on the site. The esplanade and bike path running along the riverfront remain unchanged.
Although the overall density of the development remains unchanged (4.4 FAR for those of you in the know), residential space is now 557,700 square feet or 2.2 FAR, which is 50% of the density (up from 40%); to achieve this, the residential building and the hotel building (which in the new plan would have two residential floors on top) would be 130 feet high; the east office building by "The Pitch" would be 92 feet high, and the west office building 112 feet. The amount of retail has also been expanded, to 85,000 square feet.
I hope to have electronic versions of the new site plan and some early watercolor imaginings of the revised design within the next day or so, and when I post them I'll include better descriptions of what the new design is hoping to accomplish. (Yes, I'm looking at hard copies right now, so I can see all these designs and you can't. Nyaaah! But hopefully you won't have to wait too long.)
The Zoning Commission has put this request for review of the new plans on the agenda for next Monday (June 11); if the commission indicates that the revised design is on the right track in terms of how it responds to the issues that the ZC brought up in February
, then there would be a hearing scheduled on this proposed modification for the second-stage PUD, probably in the fall.
UPDATED to fix the incorrect amount of total residential space, which is 557,700 square feet.
1325 South Capitol's Zoning Hearing
Jun 1, 2007 9:51 AM
On Thursday night the Zoning Commission had another hearing on Case 06-41
, Camden Development's 276-unit residential project at 1325 South Capitol Street
. It's been a long trek for this project, having been caught in limbo as the Capitol Gateway Overlay
was expanded to include their location and as the city's Inclusionary Zoning law came into being, and so they were back for another hearing because it was decided that in order to properly handle the case it needed to be resubmitted as a Planned Unit Development--I can't bear to try to get anymore specific than that, so here's the transcript from the March ZC hearing
on the matter. The submitted plan last night was basically same as at their February hearing
(here's the transcript
Commissioner Turnbull led the questioning, and he seemed exasperated by the western facade of the project, expressing much concern it since will be facing the low-rise residential neighborhood in Southwest; even though the developer had added some additional articulation since the last hearing, he considered it "bland" and remarked that it's not just the back of a building, because it's very visible to the surrounding neighborhood. Turnbull also asked for information on where the affordable housing units will be in the building, wanting to make sure they wouldn't only be on the west side of the building; the developers responded that they are spread throughout floors 1-6 on three sides of the building. Turnbull also took issue with the non-green design of the roof, but the developers explained that they had to put the air conditioning mechanics on the roof to lessen the noise impact on the neighbors. The other two commissioners present, Hood and Parsons, expressed their strong support for all of the issues brought up by Turnbull.
Joel Lawson of the Office of Planning testified in support of the project, mentioning that the landscaped courtyard in the back will be a "nice feature" for neighbors; he said that additional articulation of the rear of the building would be fine, but that OP was happy with the current massing. It was also noted that ANC 6D supports the project as well. And the wife of one neighbor who had originally wanted to testify in opposition to the project announced they were now supporting it, after the ANC negotiated a deal for the neighors at 2, 4, 6, and 8 O Street to be able to lease parking spaces in the project's garage for 50% off the market rate.
The commission asked for documentation on the affordable-housing unit layout and some additional work on the rear side of the building; the submittal, response, and draft order process is to be completed by June 21, with a vote to be scheduled soon afterward.
June: Month O'Meetings
May 29, 2007 12:41 PM
The calendar for June is quickly filling up with all sorts of meetings and hearings on various Near Southeast-related projects, and although I've been adding them to my Upcoming Events list, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight them. So mark your calendars, and if you're interested in participating, many of the links have information on how to do so.
* The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
public board meeting originally scheduled for last week was postponed and will now be held on June 1
at 1105 New Jersey Ave., SE, at 6 pm; agenda items include "South Capitol Waterfront Modification of Contract for Parsons Brinckerhoff" (which I believe has to do with the project to design Diamond Teague Park
) and "Baseball District: Western Development Litigation" (which is the lawsuit that resulted from when the city opted not to move forward with Herb Miller's Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness plan for on-site stadium parking).
* On June 7
, the DC Council Committee on Workforce Development and Government Operations is having a Public Oversight Hearing
at the Wilson Building at 9 am on the proposed relocation of the Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters to 225 Virginia Ave., SE
, also known as the old Star/Post plant. (UPDATED
with a date change to June 7.)
* On June 14
, WMATA's Planning, Development, and Real Estate Committee will be meeting, and included in their anticipated agenda
items is "approval of developer selection and term sheet for the Navy Yard station east entrance", which is referring to a joint development solicitation
proposal back in September 2006
, looking to develop the 4,400 square feet owned by WMATA above the Navy Yard station entrance at New Jersey and M with some combination of a public plaza at ground level and development above it.
* On June 16
, the council's Committee on Economic Development
is having a Public Roundtable on "Progress of Economic Development Projects in Southwest and Near Southeast DC," at the Westminster Presbyterian Church at 400 I St., SW, at 10 am. (This was listed in the June issue
of the Southwester
, I don't have a link to an official announcement yet.) UPDATE, 6/1:
I've now got a copy of the meeting notice
* And on June 20
, the Zoning Commission
is having a public hearing at One Judiciary Square at 6:30 pm on Case 06-32
, a proposed text amendment to add Square 766 [the old Post Plant
at 225 Virginia Ave.] to the Capitol South Receiving Zone, a move that would allow greater height and density on the lot than under its current zoning.
So, don't ever say that this stuff sneaks through the political process without anyone knowing about it! The trick is trying to stay awake through it all.
Temporary Stadium-Area Surface Parking Lots Approved
May 21, 2007 9:31 PM
Tonight the Zoning Commission approved with a 3-0-2 vote Case 07-08, the request to allow temporary surface parking lots (lasting no more than five years) on a number of parcels within walking distance of the Nationals ballpark. (I considered this hearing so important that I took off my fuzzy slippers and actually ventured to Judiciary Square to attend in person rather than watching Ye Olde Webcast.) Commissioners Mitten, Hood, and Turnbull voted for the action; Commissioners Parsons and Jeffries did not attend.
The Office of Planning, while making clear in its report
that it strongly encourages the use of mass transit and other alternatives to cars and would not normally support surface parking lots, testified that these lots and the 3,775 maximum spaces they would provide (see my Stadium Parking page
for a map that shows their locations) will help to alleviate the short-term shortage of available parking during the next few years until new developments with additional underground parking in the area are completed.
It was requested that the case be approved immediately, on an emergency basis, with the explanation that the sooner the Nationals know where their lots are going to be, the better they can tailor the assignments of season-ticket holders to different lots based on where they are arriving from. (It was also emphasized numerous times that the parking lots are just one part of the overall traffic planning for the stadium.)
The main opposition to the amendment came from residents of Southwest, and ANC 6D commissioner Andy Litsky testified
that the neighborhoods were not so much concerned with the lots themselves, but how traffic would be directed to the lots, with the bulk of the consternation focused on 4th, P, and I Streets, SW, which the residents consider to be local roads but which were mentioned by a traffic consultant at the March public meeting
as being likely routes to the possible lots in Buzzards Point. There was also a surprising moment when a representative of Pepco testified that there's no way that Square 665 at Buzzards Point can be considered an option for a surface lot, because there's a substation still in operation on it. The Office of Planning explained that this text amendment was merely identifying "potential" lots, and that it's assumed that not all squares will ever actually have surface parking on them, and in fact the presentation slides
by traffic consultant Gorove Slade from the March public meeting indicated that most likely no parking would be created at Buzzards Point. Ken Laden of DDOT then testified that his agency has never considered 4th, P, and I in SW to be important streets, because the vast majority of the lot locations are on the east side of South Capitol Street and that DDOT is trying to keep the bulk of the traffic in Near Southeast (where there are currently very few residential developments).
This gave the zoning commissioners an opening they were looking for, and they crafted a pretty sweet way to take the residents' concerns into account: because each surface parking lot will still have to go through the normal DC approval process for a Certificate of Occupancy (environmental review, DDOT review, etc.), they ordered that the associated traffic plans submitted with the COO may not include directing traffic to/from the lots down local streets (specifically mentioning 4th, P, and I). With that, the amendment was approved on an emergency basis. Andy Litsky said he was "pleased" with the decision.
As for the overall traffic management plan, apparently DDOT was not real happy with the first draft that they received on April 30 from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (Laden said it wasn't "user-friendly") and are expecting a new draft in early June, which will then be put out for public comment (and I'm guessing there will be plenty of that). It will include the same sort of on-street parking restrictions that have been used around RFK, where no one can park during games without a special residential parking permit, although exactly how far the boundaries of that restricted area will reach is still under discussion.
And DDOT's Laden also said that an agreement is close to being reached that would add a Circulator bus line from Union Station to the new US Capitol Visitors' Center to the Capitol South and Navy Yard Metro stations, which would give direct access to the red, orange, and blue lines without having to change trains at L'Enfant Plaza.
Above all, it was repeated numerous times that this will be a work-in-progress, that the plans will be tweaked and massaged as the planners see what works and what doesn't. In other words, while traffic will undoubtedly be a nightmare on Opening Day 2008, that doesn't mean it will always be that way. And, oh yeah, take Metro.
New Drawing of 250 M Street
May 18, 2007 11:20 AM
Hot on the heels of the Zoning Commission's approval
of William C. Smith's plan for its 190,000-sq-ft office building at 250 M Street, I've found an updated drawing of what the project will look like (designed by Hickok Cole Architects
), and I've added it to my 250 M Street
page. You can see how the building is designed to echo 1100 New Jersey Avenue
, its neighbor across Canal Park
Upcoming Zoning Hearing on Stadium Parking
May 18, 2007 9:49 AM
A reminder before the weekend starts that on Monday night the Zoning Commission will be having its hearing on Case 07-08, the request to amend the city's zoning laws to allow temporary (no longer than five years) surface parking lots on certain squares in Near Southeast and Southwest to help provide parking for the new stadium. (It's available via live webcast [but not archived] for those who don't wish to schlep to the meeting.) You can read the Office of Planning's report in support of the case that I posted earlier this week and see my map laying out where the parking lots would be located; there's also a piece in this morning's Examiner about how nearby residents (read: residents in Southwest, since there are hardly any in Near Southeast) are "furious, fearing that the location of the new lots will force traffic onto their narrow neighborhood streets, trapping them in their homes on game days." Note that the mention by Andy Litsky in the article of 4th Street is referring to the street in Southwest, not Southeast. My Stadium Transportation and Parking page also has in addition to the map the various presentations by DDOT and the traffic consultants about the plans to get people to and from the stadium, the on-street parking plans (i.e., none), and also the news items from the past few months about this subject. I imagine the zoning hearing is going to be quite festive.