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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Nov 20, 2006
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2 Blog Posts

The four alley closings bills that had their public roundtables last week have now been added to the agenda for the Nov. 21 City Council Committee of the Whole session. This is a quick procedural step, where council officers report as to whether the bill is in good legal standing and whether the record is complete; if approved, the bills then are scheduled for their first readings, when bills can be debated by the council and amendments offered, and then voted on or tabled. Speaking of first readings, the fifth currently active Near Southeast alley closing bill (B16-0818, for the east side of Square 701, along First Street between M and N) will have its first reading and vote on Nov. 14.
UPDATE, 11/20: The Nov. 21 session has been postponed to Dec. 5, so these four bills will have to wait a few extra days. Note that the Dec. 5 session is also scheduled to have second reading/final votes on two other bills of interest, the Square 701 (west side/Cohen family) alley closings bill and the Capper PILOT funding bill. See my Upcoming Events calendar as always for details.

 

In the second part of today's Dana Hedgpeth column in the Post, various developers of projects near the stadium (Monument Realty, Faison, and Ron Cohen) are quoted about their feelings on the tortuous process that led to the aboveground parking garages at the baseball stadium. Said F. Russell Hines of Monument Realty, who owns much of the land directly across N Street: "It's an unfortunate solution[.] Our development would be better if there was complimentary retail and a mix of uses on the other side of N Street. It's not a disaster . . . but this is a significant setback[.] We spent months and months of great plans of what this area was going to look like with the Anacostia Waterfront Corp., and in the end it feels like it's every man for himself. We're going to do what we can to create an area where people come off the Metro and they walk along the streets, where there's restaurants and stores and a real experience." (I wonder if this could be interpreted as also a bit of a smack against the AWC's still-never-released "Ballpark District Master Plan" process.) One of Monument's principals, Jeffrey T. Neal, is quoted as saying "We have a vision for Half Street SE between M and N streets Southeast that has the potential to be one of the most exciting neighborhoods in the mid-Atlantic, but that vision won't happen if the process looks like the one that produced two parking garages[.] There's a better solution . . . than two parking garages. Let the private sector do it. There are zoning laws already in place." For balance, there's Ron Cohen, developer of Square 699N (bounded by Half, K, L, and 1st): It's not going to be good, bad or indifferent[.] "It would have been nice to have buildings lining the parking but there's so much activity and energy in that corridor that it doesn't make a heck of a difference one way or the other."