There was a quorum for conducting business.
Adoption of Agenda
Commissioner Glick made the motion that for this meeting that all presentations be placed on a time limit of 3 minutes. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Olson. The Vice Chair asked all in favor to say aye. He then asked all opposed to say nay and the motion passed.
Olson stated that the Capitol Hill Day School Information Update presentation
will not attending tonight, therefore it will be removed from the agenda. She also pointed out that HPA #05-232,
Campbell stated that HPA 06-132,
Executive Director Randolph stated that the 18th Annual St. Patrick’s Day 10K Run has changed the route of the race such that it will not be utilizing any of ANC6B streets, therefore they will not present and needs to be removed from the agenda.
Jarboe added that HPA #06-XXX,
Commissioner Olson made the motion to approve the agenda as amended and it was seconded by Commissioner Glick. The Vice Chair then asked all in favor of adopting the revised agenda to say aye. He then asked all opposed to say nay and the motion passed.
Community and Commission Announcements
Vice Chair announced that Commissioner
National Marathon Update – Greater Washington Sports Alliance – Chris Brown – Director – Sports Initiatives & Business Development and Keith Dowling, Race Director
Mr. Brown stated that they had presented back in November their plans for the National Marathon Race and several questions were raised during the meeting and he wanted to come back and update the Commission and community on the latest on the race, which will be held Saturday, March 25, 2006. The race will start and finish at RFK Stadium.
He stated that the race is different from most races because one has to qualify with a prior race time of 4 hours and 30 minutes to be able to participate and a capacity of 5K entrees. Currently they have 1,800 registrants, which is no where near the 5K capacity, but they anticipate having about 2,500 on race day.
They met with the Department of Transportation and MPD Sub-Operations Division. DDOT will implement RFK Special Events Parking Regulations on race day, which means parking will be restricted to local resident. This is the same as when DC United or Nationals have an activity as RFK. There will be free parking in lot 8 for all participants or they can use the Metro after 7 am to get to the race.
The race will have a start time of 7 a.m. and the last runner will depart RFK at 9:30 a.m. They have allocated 6 hours and 30 minutes pace for the race. However, all participants must have a qualifying time of 4 hours and 30 minutes to enter the race. This will allow them 2 hours to cleanup following the race. The Tompkins Branch Boys and Girls Club, who are one of the beneficiaries of the race, will be hosting a water stop.
Mr. Brown stated that they looked at holding the race on a Sunday, but based upon looking at other races held on Sunday and the impact they had on traffic on that day, they elected to hold it on Saturday. They are asking for the support from ANC6B in conducting this worthwhile race.
Commissioner Glick asked when was the last day a participant could register for the race. The response was the day before the race.
Commissioner Thomas asked what the starting and ending times for the race. Mr. Brown stated the race will start at 7:00 a.m. and end at 1:30 p.m., which will allow 2 hours for cleanup.
Commissioner Jarboe wanted to clarify his understanding on
the timing of the race, so he asked if he was correct in saying that from RFK
to the Capitol,
He gave the website address, which is www.nationalmarathon.com.
Commissioner Campbell stated that he was assuming that there
would be rolling road closures and Mr. Brown reassured him that he was
correct. Commissioner Campbell then
expressed his concern with the potential traffic problems with the closure of
Commissioner Jarboe asked about the RFK Area Parking and it is his understanding that it does not exist anymore because it is now just Ward 6 sticker, so he wanted to know how they were going to address the neighborhood parking for Ward 6. Mr. Brown responded that they were offering race participants free parking in lot 8, which should keep them off the street.
Commissioner Russell wanted to know how visits to residents in Ward 6 be treated if they do not have a Ward 6 parking sticker. Commissioner Jarboe stated that he too would like to avoid people who are visiting residents in Ward 6 from receiving a ticket or even worse, having their car towed away. He suggest that Mr. Brown get with commissioners Campbell, Russell and Glick offline and to DDOT and DPW to see if there was some they could agree on how to handle this situation.
The Vice Chair asked Mr. Deatrick, who is with DDOT, if he could comment on the parking situation. He responded that he could not because it was the first he had heard about it, but he would do anything he could to help address the issue.
Commissioner Olson made the motion to support the National Marathon as long as the parking issue is resolved sufficiently for the three (3) Commissioners that are affected by the race. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wright.
The Vice Chair stated that the motion had been moved and properly seconded that the Commission support the National Marathon and asked all in favor to raise their hands. The vote was 4. He then asked those opposed to raise their hands. The vote was 2. He then asked those abstaining to raise their hands and the vote was 1. He then stated that the motion had carried.
Anacostia Waterfront Corporation – Melissa McKnight, Director of Grants and Partnership – High School Paid Internship and Grant possibilities
Ms. McKnight stated that Adrian Washington the new CEO was unable to attend and sent his regrets and would like to come at a different time, if possible.
Ms. McKnight announced that their 2006 Community Grants are
officially on the streets and offers tremendous opportunities for non-profits to
work with children that are under the age of 24. For the first they have a partnership with
the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation and they have agreed to
match the money they put into their grant program. So, it is a good opportunity for 501 (c)3
working in the area to connect kids to the river in whatever way possible. You may even have multiple ways of getting
kids involved by physically taking them out onto the water or promoting
environmental educational programs or river cleanup and/or public awareness and
enjoyment of the river. The grants range
from $1,500.00 to $25,000.00 and the program must be implemented in the
calendar year of 2006, before December 31, 2006. Submissions are due on Tuesday, April 4,
2006, by 5:00 p.m., to her attention (Melissa McKnight) at their headquarters,
She then announced that for the first time they have three (3) high school fulltime paid internship positions. The program is an opportunity for youth from the AWC project areas to gain experience working in fields such as community/communications, economic developing, urban planning and design. The high school students must be currently in their junior year or senior in the fall of 2006. The must come from Wards five, six, seven and eight. Students are paid $8.50 per hour and will receive community service hours. Applications are due by May 1, 2006, by 5:00 p.m. Selected applicants will be notified before May 25, 2006. She provided application to the Commissioners and to some in the audience. She also left application on the entrance desk for those interested.
Gary Willoughby was unable to attend and John Deatrick, Deputy Director – Chief Engineer, DDOT was present to take his place.
John Deatrick informed the Commissioners and audience that
he was present to answer any questions regarding the
He stated that the draft document will be available the first or second week of April. He also informed everyone that based upon the release date there was still time to add their comments that will be incorporated into the draft document, and that they will respond to all comments they receive. He also provided the website: www.11thStreetBridgesEIS.com
Mr. Deatrick stated that the main idea of this project is to replace the existing bridges and to separate the traffic so that the interstate traffic is on a different bridge from the local traffic, so that if you want to get on the interstate you will be able to get on the interstate including the northbound access to 295 north to eliminate the Wilson Connection and also include an inbound exit from 295 south to the 11th Street Bridge. Currently a lot of people go through local neighborhoods trying to make these connections. Two of the goals of this projects are to eliminate the through neighborhood traffic and to reduce the problems on the existing spans where the local traffic has to crisscross the interstate traffic.
stated that the upside of the project is that the traffic volume should drop
dramatically on the east of the freeway between
Commissioner Jarboe stated that he understood that they had not gotten complete traffic flows done yet. He wanted to know when he anticipated they would have them and if he could bring them back to the ANC when they did get them. Mr. Deatrick stated most definitely. It was also stated that the upcoming draft will have the various traffic volumes included in it when it is released in April. Additionally, everyone will have 45 days to review and comment on it.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that the information he has reviewed in the MAX Study indicates that traffic in the area will be dramatically reductions. He went on to say that it is his understanding that the PM rush hour traffic of 2,600 cars per hour at Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenue outbound without the bridge will be reduce to 1,400 cars per hour with the bridge. Additionally, he stated that the thing that worried him when he sees these numbers with the MAX Study, he does not see numbers for 11th Street, he sees a few numbers for Independence Avenue, numbers for Pennsylvania Avenue, but he does not see number for Independence Avenue, Constitution, East Capitol and don’t see some of the others, so he requested that Mr. Deatrick make sure that those streets are included in the study to make sure traffic is not just being shifted from one set of streets to another set of street. Mr. Deatrick stated that in their interagency meeting that morning they had discussed the coordination of Capitol Hill Traffic Study and overall with the AWI Master Plan. They will be releasing, hopefully the first part of March, the Draft Mobility Study that addresses AWI mobility issues.
Jarboe also mention that in the MAX Study he noticed that the outbound traffic
that comes up 17th and makes a right on Independence and heads out,
that he sees that it drops from 1,100 cars without the bridge to 200 with the
bridge, which is a dramatic reduction in outbound. But he noticed that the inbound AM traffic
Russell asked about indication on his map that
Deatrick announced that DDOT has an internship program and they are looking for
any students registered in any engineering program they can come work for DDOT
during the summer and get 40-hour of work per week. If there are students registered in local
program at Howard,
Someone in the audience asked what specific skills are they looking for. He responded that they are looking for civil, environmental and potential electrical engineers and planners. For further information regarding the internship program or anything else, he provided his contact information. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 202-671-2800 and fax: 202-671-4710.
Planning and Zoning Committee
The Vice Chair turned the meeting over the Commissioner Campbell, Chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee to make his report.
HPA # 06-121. 406 A St. S.E. Remove and replace existing rear addition.
Raymond Prince is the owner of record of
At present there are no concerns voiced by the committee and no concerns from neighbors presented. The committee therefore recommends this project for approval to the full ANC.
Commissioner Campbell asked if there was any new information on the project from Mr. Prince or anyone representing him.
Mr. Prince rose and stated that there had been a change based upon discussion with Historic Preservation staff, who requested that they remove the rails from the top of the addition to retain more of a porch-like appearance. He has agreed to make the requested change.
Commissioner Campbell asked Mr. Prince if he had anything in writing from HPRB regarding their request. He responded that he did not because the discussion was via telephone, however he had, the previous day, sent them a copy of the revised plans. Commissioner Campbell asked if he had a copy of the revised plans that he could leave with the commission and his response was yes.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that he had had an e-mail conversation with HPRB about this case and they also indicated to him, pending ANC approval, they were will to give the case staff signoff.
The Vice Chair stated that this case comes before the Commission as a Committee recommendation and as such needs no second. He then asked all in favor to raise their hands and the vote was unanimous (8-0).
Owners Todd and Mara Mitchell want to build a 20ft. rear addition to the present SFD. The addition will consist of a family room on the first (1st) floor and two small bedrooms on the second (2nd) floor. The addition will be limited to 20ft. and the owners are will to remove a tree at the rear of their property to address “air and light” issues from the neighbor on the affected side. The present lot coverage is a 40% and the addition would increase the lot coverage to 55% with the present garage.
In opposition to the project are the owners of
Michael Fernandez who stated the addition is too big and it would severely impact their light and air and would require them to remove the cypress trees on the opposite side of their property to mitigate this issue. They also believe that the proposed addition is out of keeping with the neighborhood. They would like to see a smaller addition to lessen the visual impact on their property. There also exist some concerns that once the cypress trees are removed, this addition will be visible from 5th street through the gap at the rear of “Jimmy T’s “ and the apartment house.
Larry and Patricia Molumby reside at
As their exist concerns regarding the size of the project, the visual impact on the view from 5th Street, and issues of light, air and privacy for the adjourning neighbors, the committee recommends that the applicants attempt to work with the affected neighbors to address their concerns to create an alternative plan – which could be presented to the HPRB and the ANC in March 2006.
Commissioner Campbell stated that he recognize that the own is present and that he had received an e-mail stating that he had working out with the others.
Mr. Mitchell confirmed that he had and he had copies of the revisions. He went on to say that the day after the last meeting his wife had their baby, one-month early, and both are doing fine.
He passed out the revised plans to the Commissioners and stated they had made two important changes based upon conversations with HPRB, CHRS, their neighbors and the Planning and Zoning Committee at the ANC. The first change is that the roofline of the addition has been reduced by a total of 4 feet in height, stepping it down for the existing house. Second, they eliminate the small attic storage and relocated the mechanical systems into one of the bedroom. They also changed the French doors and the transoms above the French doors from a semi-circle shape to a rectangular shape. He also stated that he had submitted the plans to the neighbors on both sides (503 and 507). He went on to say that he had met with Larry Molumby that day to talk about some drainage issues that they will address concerning runoff going onto their property and he had assured him that he would take the necessary steps to address his concerns.
Commissioner Campbell asked to confirm that he had met with HPRB and CHRS and they were happy with the changes, to which he said yes and that he would be having a formal meeting this Thursday (February 16th) with them.
Commissioner Campbell asked if the neighbors were present and Jessica Berman and
Michael Fernandez rose and they were asked if they had any comments. Their response was yes and they were invited to come forward to discuss their issues.
Jessica Berman stated that they had made their comments and the Planning and Zoning Meeting last week, but they had some additional comments to make. She stated they had just the revised plans that morning, so they are not sure exactly what changes have been make to the plans. She stated that the only changes she could tell were the reduction in the reduction of the attic, which the Capitol Hill Restoration Society had suggested and the change in the windows. She further stated that in her opinion it is not a step-down in the seen as CHRS had recommended. CHRS had recommended that there would be an actual step-down within the addition from two-stories to one-story. She then stated that this (plan) does not accomplish that. It also does not accomplish making the wall in smaller than it was. The 20 ft. that occurs behind both houses is still 2-stories tall all the way the 20 ft. Thus, they have the exact same objection as before. She stated that she would be happy to read the same letter to the ANC.
Commissioner Olson asked if they thought they would be able to workout some type of compromise with the neighbor. Ms. Berman responded that they have not actually heard from them, and she recognizes that they have had their baby and may be that explains why. She went on to say that they would be happy to set down with the architect or them, but she feels that they really need to talk about the reduction in the length of the 20 ft. wall and a real reduction in the upstairs storage, perhaps they may need to relocate on of the bedrooms. She stated that suggestions have been made that the dogleg could go a little bit wider on the second story so that they could make the extra bedroom larger. She went to say that she think there a lot of ways to make it happen so that they would have three (3) bedrooms without going back 20 ft. She also stated that she would be more than happy to have her architect meet with their architect if that is appropriate, but they have not heard from them and their architect that make a conversation possible.
Commission Olson asked Commission Campbell if the Committee was asking them to pull their case from HPRB for this month and to reschedule it to come back the next month (March). Commissioner Campbell responded yes and that would have to be to Mr. Mitchell. At that point, Commissioner Campbell asked Mr. Mitchell if that would be something he and his wife would be will amenable to that. Mr. Mitchell responded that certainly he would, however he added that they are not asking for a special exception and that they have limited it to the scope of the project to the smallest possible, which will allow them to do what they want to do and to have it be economically feasible for them. He went on to say that they have lowered the roof by 4 ft. and he thinks that is a substantial change and as he stated last week, they are willing to remove the tree to add more light, they are willing to provide a masking credit to allow them to improve the landscaping, if they want to do so. He further stated that they have made a number of concessions and they feel they have made the scope of the project small enough that it allows them to get what they believe they needs to stay on the property, while not going to maximum the could do, so to be asked to move it back more and take away a bedroom they think is asking too much, because they are already limiting the size of the project. He went on to say that they could go an additional 10 ft. according to their calculations and they are not and he hopes that is taken into consideration throughout the process.
Mr. Fernandez stated that it is his understanding that you have to be between 20 ft. from the back of the house and garage, according to their reading of the regulations. He does not think they will be able to go 20 ft. back, but they might be able to go10 ft. more in terms of square footage to met maximum lot occupancy.
There was a discussion regarding potential options by the Commissioners and Jessica Berman and Michael Fernandez, when Mr. Mitchell stated that you can look at the plans, but what is economically feasible to them is very different from what they could do when looked at in a vacuum, they things being discussed would substantial more construction to their house, which added to the house. He went on to say that if money was no object, they would may be dig out the basement and other things, but it is not the case unfortunately, so what they are trying to do is a project that works within their means that is not to big and allows them to have two (2) additional bedrooms. He stated that because of the dogleg they have a very skinny house were the bedrooms are, so it is very difficult to make those rooms into bedroom, he has tried several different way, but it just will not work. So the discussion about moving over the dogleg is just not economically feasible and it is something that is well within their Right, they will have to draw the line because they are not made of money and they are not going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to change something they feel they have the right to do and it is a small project and they are willing to leave the Hill if necessary.
Commissioner Campbell then asked if he would be willing to postpone his case until March. Mr. Mitchell responded that he was not sure there was going to be a solution between now and March that is any different from what they have proposed, because they have proposed the smallest possible project within their property that they feel they are allowed to do and he does not know if any additional changes he can make, because they have made a number of changes based upon recommendations from a number of different groups. He get the feel that they are not going to do a one-story addition, so nothing is going to change between now and March, it is not economically feasible to put a one-bedroom on the back. He went on to say that waiting until March anything is going to change. He said that he does not want to lie and say, sure let’s go to March, when he knows deep down nothing is going to change because it would become a project they don’t want to do. He went on to say that he and his wife will leave the Hill if they can not do the project and that would be a shame because he has lived there since 1990, and he has owned two (2) properties on the Hill and does not want to leave and he wants to raise his family there. He wants to be able to spend his live there and this project would allow him to do that.
Commissioner Olson asked Mr. Mitchell what is the square footage of his house currently and how much square footage will he be adding. He responded that he did not have that handy, but it could be figured out.
Mr. Molumby rose and stated that he was the neighbor on the other side of Mr. Mitchell and he was not present to promoting the proposal, but he had done the math and it is well within the 60%. He went on to say that he is not thrilled with it, but in a perfect world, he just assume to not have it. But as he told Mr. Mitchell that morning, one of the down sides is that the Bermans will take down their trees and Mr. Mitchell will take down his only tree, meaning a deficit of all trees being removed from the whole block. However, he acknowledges fully that he has the right to do the project, so he does not came tonight to say that he is opposition of the project. He further stated that in a perfect world he would just assume that he not do it, but he has a right to do it.
Mr. Molumby did state that he has fears with drainage issues. He referred to the plans and indicated that plan is to pour concrete over the entire backyard, which would mean that the entire ground would be cover and would not allow for proper absorption of rain water. However, he stated that Mr. Mitchell has agreed to work with him to develop some type of alternative that might improve this situation.
Commissioner Olson mentioned to Mr. Mitchell that by him putting his entire patio area in concrete would be quite expensive and may call a drainage issue for the neighbor and she asked him if he had considered stone dust, which could save him some dollars. He responded that he had along with some other alternatives. He is willing to do what ever to resolve the problem that is environmentally sound and pleasing to his neighbors.
Ms. Berman stated that she wish Mr. Mitchell was at least as willing to address their concerns on their side because she feels they have some reasonable concerns about the extent of the top, because she can see why it has to go 20 feet. She went on to say that she thought it could easily be cut somewhat and she do not see why they could do some type of relocation of space. She would like to see them have time to meet and discuss the alternatives.
Mr. Mitchell responded that he understand the need for communications, but communications are a two-street and he understands that letters were written against it, but he wish those concerns were brought to them in the same manner the were brought to the HPRB and the ANC. He went on to say that when you look at the original plans and the new plans, you can see that he has tried to work with them in making modifications, therefore he does not believe they can be accused of not making changes.
At that point, Commissioner Campbell called for questions. Commissioner Campbell again asked Mr. Mitchell if he had tentative approval from CHRS and HPRB, and he responded yes. Commissioner Campbell went on to say that because the project is under the 60% lot occupancy, that Ms. Berman and Mr. Fernandez understand that this is a matter-of-right, there is little the ANC could do oppose that, Commissioner Olson stated that that had been found to be untrue in the pass, therefore the Commission will have to take a vote tonight. Ms. Berman then asked if the Commission is dropping its recommendation to ask for a delay. Commissioner Campbell responded that that is correct because the Commission has not choice because he (Mr. Mitchell) is not willing to delay it before HPRB, which currently has it listed on its calendar for action. He went on to say that the Committee’s recommendation is only a suggestion and can not force him to delay going before HPRB. This is within his right.
The Commission ended public discussion and when into Commission discussion. The Vice Chair asked for comments from Commissioners.
Commissioner Glick stated that it was obvious to him that they have a lot of neighborhood issues, problems with the neighbors. He felt it would be better if Mr. Mitchell that he sat down with the neighbors on both sides of him to see if they reach a win-win solution for everyone involved, and that is what he would support from the ANC.
Commission Olson stated that she would like to see CHRS’ comments because if it is true that CHRS does not think that the second story should go out a far on the first story, she would be willing to defer to them because CHRS carries much more weight than the ANC with HPRB. She went on to say that the Commission has gone down this road before with problems with neighbors and the Commission can not always solve them. She added that she can see that this addition is going to be so intrusive, but what really worries her the most is that they are cutting down all of the ever tree and that they are mortaring the entire yard. She further stated that she usually votes in favor of the neighbors and she is leaning, in this case, but she does not believe it will make as big of an impact and the neighbors thinking.
Ms. Berman provided the Commissioners with a copy of the CHRS letter.
Commissioner Olson read the letter as follows:
Committee comments on 505 East Capitol, SE
· The other element of the design that could be reduced is the height of the western elevation – we usually like for the additions to step down from the original building and this one increases by about a foot, according to the measurements although not in the drawing. There appears to be space for storage in the attic – that wall should be reduced to the minimum necessary for the bedrooms.
· On design issues, the circle top feature above the doors on both the south and east elevation would be more in keeping with the simple nature of the historic house, if they were rectangular transoms as is shown in the back of the original house.
· The other possibility that was mentioned to deal with the large wall would be to introduce some decorative element (fish scale “shingles” was mentioned as a possibility). I can’t, at this moment, think of any example on the Hill t look at for inspiration. We don’t usually have frame walls of this size and visibility. With the step-back solution, this may not be necessary.
· A word of caution to the Berman on the west – resist the temptation to put up a fence along the frame side of the house – hoping that it will help shorten the wall. It may but it will also most likely provide a delightful rat run.
Commissioner Olson then stated that she would be more inclined to agree with CHRS and ask that those elements be include and would be opposed the design as presently designed, which was presented as a motion. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Russell.
The Vice Chair asked if there were any other comments. Commissioner Jarboe that he would be one of
those to oppose the motion because this is a HPRB case and he believes it is a
matter-of-right case. He went on to say
that he thinks that it is unfortunate that that is going to go back further
than the others and the only grounds for a historic viewpoint to oppose this,
that the view coming off 5th Street.
The irony is that is always going to be an issue, not because of the
people who are doing the building, but the neighbors who will be cutting down
the trees to get more air and light. He
stated that he was torn on this case and he wish there was another design, but
the Mitchells have said that they want 2 bedrooms on their property. Yes, it obtrudes, but it does not obtrude to
the point of denying them the right to do that, so he will oppose the
motion. He further stated that he would
support one of CHRS’ suggestions is to do something about the decorative design
of the feature on the wall that will face
Commissioner Campbell stated that as he sees this, this is a matter-of-right and he understand everyone’s position and because Mr. Mitchell has gone back in good faith and talked with the neighbors and tried to get some of the features added to the design, he is going to support it.
Commissioner Russell stated that if the Commission allows every case to go by because it is a matter-of-right, we will all have the right to do just about everything we want to do. She went on to say that we all have to realize there are sacrifices to living on Capitol Hill. She wanted to know when will the Commission draw a line on matter-of-right issues.
The Vice Chair stated that there is a motion to oppose the design as presently designed and asked all in favor to raise their hands and the vote was 3. He then asked those opposed to raise their hands and the vote was 4. He then asked all abstaining to raise their hands and the vote was 1. Thus the motion failed.
Jennifer Fowler is the architect and Ricardo Rivera is the owner. This was an abandoned property with a two-story addition. Current lot occupancy is 40% and with the addition will increase to 60%. Presently there is a temporary rear wall and they are seeking HPRB approval to remove this to build out the rear two-story addition which will be 22.6ft back and 19 ft across, the full width of the property. The owner has made contact with adjourning owners.
At present there is no known opposition to this project and no concerns from committee members except to recommend that the owner get letter of support form neighbor to present to the full ANC at its next meeting. With this condition met the committee recommends this project for approval.
Committee Chair Campbell asked if the applicant was present. Mr. Rivera and his architect, Ms. Fowler, rose and addressed the Commissioners.
Ms. Fowler stated that they had attempted to make contact with the neighbors in an effort to secure letters of support. They were asked when they could expect to receive the letters. Mr. Rivera stated that they letters were given to them, but he has been unable to make contact with them, so he’s not sure when he can get them.
Commissioner Jarboe asked if they have received anything back from their neighbors regarding their support or concerns or any opposition with their plans. According to Todd ????, who was present to assist Mr. Rivera, they met with the neighbors on the south side to review the plans, the neighbors to the north, they didn’t have the actual plans when they met with them, but they physically walked the property with them and explained their intentions, she was concerned that the new addition would block her light because her property is semi-detached so she will always have a problem. She has windows all along her property line between her property and Mr. Rivera’s so she is concerned that she will lose some light. The neighbor on the other side she was somewhat concerned about the light because she only has a sliding door that opens to Mr. Rivera’s property, so she would have a wall in front of her sliding glass door.
Commissioner Campbell asked if he was correct in saying that the neighbor on the west side has a small dogleg, because the house is not adjacent to the property line. Ms. Fowler responded that on the north side they share a side yard. She went on to say that that neighbor has windows all along that wall, which they technically are not supposed to be there because they are not legal.
Commissioner Glick stated that he would like to have letters from the neighbors or a petition or to come to the meeting to either supporting or opposing the addition, otherwise he would be inclined to vote against the addition.
Commissioner Campbell reminded Mr. Rivera and Ms. Fowler that at the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting they were advised to bring back something in writing from their neighbors stating their position (support or opposition) on their rear addition, therefore without that documentation the cannot move forward.
Commissioner Olson asked Mr. Rivera if he could ask for a continuance of one-month to allow time for him to get his neighbors to appear before the Commission or for him to secure his neighbor’s written comments regarding his addition. She went on to stress that the Commission does not feel it is proper to make a decision without giving his neighbors to the opportunity to express their feelings regarding the rear addition to his property.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that the concern is that they (his neighbors) are properly brought into the process because this is the one shot they have to express their thoughts on something that may affect their property for a very long time. In the end, the Commission may end up vote to support or oppose their comments. It is important that they be part of the process and that they know they have to right to appear before the ANC or HPRB to express their support or opposition.
Mr. Rivera stated that they are scheduled to appear before HPRB at the end of the month and wanted to know if they would need to return to the ANC after that for a decision.
Someone in the audience asked if neighbors don’t say one way or the other, will that impact the decision. Commissioner Campbell responded that the issue is that if the Commission makes to decision to support Mr. Rivera’s case, his neighbors will have lost any opportunity to object to the rear addition.
Mr. Randolph suggested that Mr. Rivera send both neighbors a registered letter outlining the situation and requesting their comments regarding the rear addition, also stating that if they do not respond in writing by a specific date, prior to the next Planning and Zoning meeting (March 7, 2006), it will be assumed that they have no opposition. If he receives no comments, he can submit a copy of the letters along with the postal receipts for the registered mailings, which will prove he attempted to get their comments. This will allow the ANC to issue its opinion on the case.
Commissioner Campbell asked Mr. Rivera would be willing to ask HPRB to delay their case for one-month to allow them to get the written comment from his neighbors.
Commissioner Jarboe made the motion that Mr. Rivera request that HPRB grant him a one-month postponement to allow him time to attempt to secure written comments from his neighbors.
The Vice Chair asked all in favor of the motion to raise their hands and the vote was unanimous (8-0).
BZA # 17427 – 221, 223 & 225 11th St. SE - Variance minimum lot requirement for conversion of three (3) contiguous row dwellings into three (3) separated apartment houses/condominium having three (3) units each.
Owner, Fred Davis, is requesting a variance to convert the
properties at 221, 223 &
Applicant proposes two (2) bedrooms, two (2) bathroom units on each floor (nine units total) with a roof deck and storage facility on the roof. As part of his submission to HPRB, the Historic Preservation Office has requested sight lines to show the roof view. At this time no such rendering accompanies the application. As there would be only three units there would be city pickup of the trash
Per the owners written submissions, these were originally two (2) family dwelling and as shown in the build permits, two (2) unit apartments. As stated this is an R4 district and as a matter-of-right the owner is permitted two (2) units per each building.
As a matter of record two of the buildings, 221 & 223 have been vacant and gutted for a substantial number of years resulting in actions by community members to attempt to have them declared abandoned properties with a history of contentious actions between the owner and the community.
Counsel to the owner, Eric Bock, has provided the Committee with six (6) letters of support from neighborhood members. The Committee also acknowledges that 3.6 ft. of the steps intrude into the public space but this was allowed when the property was built in July of 1904.
The applicant is seeking a variance (under Section 3103.2 of the Zoning Regulations) from the lot size limits (Section 401.3) to convert from two (2) to three (3) units with no other relief. Section 401.3 requires that there be at least 900 square feet of lot size per unit. The proposed 3 units per building would be approximately 600 square feet per unit.
It does not appear to the Committee that this application meets the variance test and that any true hardship would be incurred by not granting this variance.
There are three tests for a variance: uniqueness, financial hardship and the integrity of the zone plan.
As these lots and units are typical and/or similar to other units on the Hill, there does not exist sufficient or significant variation to make these unique to qualify under the variance rules.
No financial hardship exists because the applicant has a matter-of-right option to sell the buildings either as is, restore them as single family dwellings (with or without a basement apartment) or convert them into two (2) unit condos. In the existing real estate market, any one of these three options is likely to result in a financial gain for the applicant.
The applicant cites negative “cash flow” as a financial hardship in this case, arguing that the current size of the units make it difficult to rent. However, the applicant has repeatedly stated his intention to turn the apartments in condos for sale. So any problems concerning rental cash flow appears not to be relevant.
There is also the concern that granting this variance could set a bad precedent that would undermine the purpose of the area’s R-4 zoning. While the applicant cites a number of buildings in the area that contain 3 or more units, most of these apparently predate the zoning regulations and are “grandfathered.” Creation of more such non-conforming buildings would go against the purpose of the zoning plan.
There also exist significant issues other than the zoning variance test, which have to be addressed. With nine (9) total units, the Committee has concerns regarding parking as well as trash containers and their placement. Of considerable concern is how the parking issue has been addressed by the owner as to possible impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Also it is noted that the buildings are already quite large (as the applicant cites a reason to divide the building into three (3) units) but now proposes to enlarge the present structure by adding a roof top deck and storage facility.
Of note, there exists considerable opposition to this project from numerous neighbors submitted in writing, copies of which accompany this report.
Therefore the Committee recommends to the full ANC to oppose this project.
Commissioner Campbell asked if there was any new information concerning the project.
Mr. Davis stood and approached the Commissioners. Mr. Davis stated that they have asked BZA for a postponement in their hearing date and he had asked that they send a copy of his request to the ANC for its records. Commissioner Campbell stated that the Commission had in fact received a copy of his request from BZA, which is on file. Mr. Davis stated that his intent for requesting a postponement is three-folded; 1) HPRB has asked for the additional draws and they are process, but he does not have them and will not have them for the scheduled BZA hearing date. Additionally, it is his understanding that before going before the BZA he would need to get the HPRB to render an opinion on his case. 2).They are to appear before CHRS on Thursday night the 16th, which needs to be done prior to appearing before BZA. 3) They also want to ask for an additional variance to allow for two (2) parking spots for each building as opposed to one (1). He went on to say that the last time he appeared before the P&Z Committee, they were 2.28 inches shy of the required width to have two (2) parking spaces as opposed the one (1) for each building, they have plenty of depth. He stated that they have listened to the concerns of many of their neighbors, parking is a real concern, and he feels they have an excellent opportunity of obtaining the desired variance to address this issue. Additionally, he stated that should they be successful in obtaining the variance, they will be providing one (1) additional parking space than is normally required, which will be a plus. Mr. Davis stated that he would like, if at all possible, to have the ANC decision postponed until he establish a new date with the BZA, which will allow for the additional variance for parking and to allow for him to provide for HPRB the additional drawings.
Commissioner Campbell informed Mr. Davis that he had his e-mail regarding his request for a deferment in which he has requested the new dated to be in either April or May and he wanted to know if he had a preference of dates. Mr. Davis responded that he hoped the BZA date would be after he has resolved the issues with HPRB and CHRS. He also mentioned that he had letters of support from two (2) additional neighbors supporting his case, which he has provided to Commissioner Campbell.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that as he understands it, the granting of a postponement by BZA is not automatic and it will require Mr. Davis to go before BZA and give the reason for the postponement. It is a much more formalized and structured process than the HPRB process, where both sides can just say, we will take it off the calendar. He stated that his concern is that should the Commission grant a postponement and not vote it tonight and then BZA decides in fact that it is not going to grant a postponement or to do it (the case) by the scheduled hearing date in early March which is before the ANC’s next meeting, the Commission will have waved its right to act on the case. He went on to say that the issue is not parking, the issue is whether or not this meets the variance test and he thinks the Committee Report was very clear in saying that they did not believe this does not meet the variance test. Additionally, he stated that he would be happy to support the postponement, but only under the consideration that the Commission vote tonight that should the BZA not grant the postponement that the Commission in on record opposing it. He also stated that the Commission has been dealing with these properties for twenty years and two of these properties are currently under review by the Board of Condemnation. There is an open case on one and a pending case on the other. The Board of Condemnation is basically waiting for this BZA process to go through because if Mr. Davis gets what he wants he will fix them up accordingly and if he does not get what he wants it is unclear what is going to happen next and the Board of Condemnation will have to do its own thing regarding these properties. He is not again giving another month or two delay, but it will be the last one he will support. The other part is the question about HPRB and BZA, which is something the Commission has gone back and forth with and back and forth, the Commission have had a number of cases where HPRB wanted to look at it first and it would go to BZA and they have had several cases where HPRB have said they wanted BZA to look at it first because they don’t want to waste their time on it until BZA actually deals with the zoning issues. So, it is not clear which should be dealt with first. Therefore, he would strongly oppose any actions that would mean that the Commission not vote on the issue tonight. If new information comes after the vote, the Commission can always reconsider the vote. He went on to say that the Commission has to be on record, if just to save its options.
Commissioner Jarboe made the motion that the Commission that the Commission amend the Committee Report stating that the Committee is in opposition to this variance, but would support a postponement. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Russell.
The Vice Chair stated that the motion had been moved and seconded to amend the Committee’s Report to oppose this variance to raise their hands. The vote was 7-0-1.
The Vice Chair then asked all in favor of the Committee’s recommendation to oppose this case with the support of BZA for a postponement. He then asked all in favor the motion to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (8-0).
Commissioner Jarboe informed Mr. Davis that he would be attending the BZA meeting and would support his request for a postponement.
Committee reports and announcements
Approval of January 2006 Minutes
Commissioner Olson made the motion to approve the January, 2006 Minutes, subject to typographical errors. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wright.
The Vice Chair asked all in favor to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (8-0).
There was not further business and Commissioner Hill made the motion that the meeting be adjourned until its next meeting date of March 14, 2005. The motion was seconded, and the vote was 8 to 0.
Prepared by Bert Randolph