Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B
Minutes of Regular ANC Meeting
November 14, 2006
Commissioners Present: Julie Olson, Will Hill, Antonette Russell, Francis Campbell, Scott Cernich, David Garrison, Mary Wright, and Executive Director, Bert Randolph. Commissioners Ken Jarboe and Neil Glick arrived late.
Commissioners Absent: Sandra Thomas
Chairperson Scott Cernich chaired the meeting and the Commissioners introduced themselves.
There was a quorum for conducting business.
Adoption of Agenda
There were no additions or changes to the agenda. The Chair moved that the agenda be adopted as presented. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Hill. There were no objections and the agenda was adopted as presented.
Jeff Davis, Ward 6 Neighborhood Planner with the DC Office
of Planning announced that they in conjunction with the Downtown Business
Improvement District (BID), are leading a strategy
planning process to develop a new action agenda for
This new agenda will establish a new set of five-year goals
and develop a list of key strategic initiatives that can be initiated over the
next 18-months in order to achieve those goals.
The goals will be accompanied by a series of performance measures to
ensure progress towards those goals. In
addition, this effort expands the planning area to encompass a broader
definition of the center City – an area stretching from
The meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 6, 2006, at
Mr. Davis also announced that the Office of Planning would hold
a Community Charrette for the Pennsylvania Avenue Corridor Land Development
Plan at the
Mr. Patrick Crowley is with the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery, which is located on the corner of Capital Hill. He announced that next year the Cemetery will be celebrating its 200th Anniversary. In conjunction with this event they are planning a big festival for that May and a commemorative event for September. They are applying for grants from the Anacostia Waterfront and the DC Historic Preservation Office’s Grant Program. They are applying for $19,000.00 from the DCHP group and DCPH is requesting letters of support from various community and other groups regarding their grant application. He provided the Commissioners with a packet outlining the grant application, their organization and descriptions of the activities they have planned to celebrate this great anniversary.
The Chair made the motion to submit a Letter of Support in support of their grant application. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Olson. The Chair then asked all in favor of the motion to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (7-0).
Mr. Calvin Gladney, Vice President of the Anacostia
Waterfront Corporation, announced that they will be hold a public meeting to
update the community on the status of predevelopment activities and
implementation of the Hill East Waterfront Master Plan. The meeting will be held on Wednesday,
November 15th, from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm, at the Eastern Senior
High School Auditorium, which is located at
A lady representing the neighborhood group located in
Commissioner’s Glick SMD rose and stated that her neighborhood was experiencing
a large amount of drug trafficking in their neighborhood and she is asking for
advice in help to get the problem cleaned-up.
Additionally, she had a petition and asked those interested in helping
to address the problem and who live on
The Chair asked if she and her group had attended the PSA meetings in her area. She responded that her husband, who is an ex-police office, had and he felt his reception was lukewarm.
Commissioner Glick informed her that the Commission had
requested stop signs for 16th and
Battalion Chief Paul Jones of the Engine 8 at
Community and Commission Announcements
Ms. Patti Shea, a coordinator for PSA 105, announced that due to the increase in car break-ins in the area, they will be holding a meeting on November 18th at the substation, located at 5th and E Street, SE, at 10:00 a.m. to discuss this situation and all interested parties are invited.
Mr. Juan-Jose Garza announced that Mayor-elect Adrian Fenty will be conducting a Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, November 28th, at 6:30 p.m. at the King Greenleaf Recreation Center at 201 N. Street, SW, to discuss the future of the community. For more information, please contact Mr. Garza at 202.478.9214 or www.fentytransition.org.
The Chair announced that DC Community Heritage Project, an
initiative of the Humanities Council of Washington, DC and the DC Office of
Planning Historic Preservation Office will be conducting a December Symposium
on Saturday, December 2, 2006, at 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.. The meeting will be held at the
There is no cost to attend. RSVP requested by November 27, 2006 by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202.387.8391.
Planning and Zoning Committee
The Chair announced that the Commission would first hear the
Megan Walsh of Megan Walsh Architects / Carol
Commissioner Campbell asked if there was any new information. Ms. Walsh stated that there was none. He then asked if anyone in the community had any comments or questions regarding the case. There were none.
The Chair stated that the recommendation from the Committee comes in the form of a motion requiring no second. He then asked all in favor of accepting the Committee recommendation to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (8-0).
PS # 22588, 1391
This is an application for the installation of paving below grade entry plaza, steps, planter, retaining wall, planting areas, railing, fences and up-lighting (Potomac Avenue side) of the project. No one was present at the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on November 9, 2006, thus no action was taken.
Commissioner Campbell asked if anyone was present to represent this case.
Mr. Carlos Bonner with JPI was present. He was asked to provide the Commission with details regarding the project, which he did.
Commissioner Jarboe asked about the plans for the putting a café in the corner of the structure and seating on the outside. He responded that the café and seating were still part of the plans. Commissioner Jarboe then asked about security and lighting in and around the structure. Mr. Bonner responded that there will be security access devices and security lighting on the exterior of the building complex. Additionally, he thought that Harris Teeter would have its own security systems.
After being satisfied with the information presented, Commissioner Olson made the motion to support the public space application. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Hill. The Chair then asked all in favor of the motion to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (8-0).
Eric West, owner and Walter Veney, Contractor appeared before the Committee on October 3, 2006 and at the ANC on October 10, 2006. The ANC took no action on the project because all the paperwork requested was not submitted. The applicant again appeared at this P&Z Committee on November 9, 2006 with the plans of his proposed addition. The applicant did state that he had letters of support from the neighbors and they had been previously submitted to Anne Brockett at HPRB. The applicant was instructed to return to the Full ANC Meeting on November 14, 2006, with additional information; site plans, rear elevation plans and copies of the support letters. Pending the submission of these documents the Committee would recommend the approval of this project to the full ANC.
Commissioner Campbell asked if the representatives were present. Mr. West and Veney rose to address the Commission. Commissioner Campbell asked if they had brought the necessary paperwork as requested. Mr. West responded that he had and presented the information to the Commissioners.
The Chair asked if there was any new information or comments or questions from anyone regarding this project. There were none. The Chair then stated that the recommendation from the Committee comes in the form of a motion requiring no second. He then asked all in favor of accepting the Committee recommendation to raise their hands. The vote was 8-0-1.
Sarah Stauterman is the owner. The owner appeared before the Committee in October 4, 2005 and before the full ANC on October 11, 2005. The project was approved and sent to HPRB, which requested significant changes to the project. The owner and architect then revised those plans significantly requiring their appearance once again before this Committee. The new project is 3 stories in the rear measuring 20ft.by 33ft.at its deepest. The rear wall now uses new designs to create setbacks at each floor with triangular decks at each level covered with open trellises. The owner proposes to build a new structure with a green roof incorporating plantings into the design of the trellis. There is one other significant change. The owner is asking to be allowed to remove a large portion of the gable roof to accommodate the side gable roof. This would not be visible from the front of the property. Although this would result in the removal of a very large portion of the roof, the Committee finds no cause to object, as it again will not be visible or change the character of the front of the house. The owner and architect have submitted alternative plans for the addition and the Committee finds no cause to object to either proposal. Given the applicant’s history and willingness to work with each agency and neighbors in modifying her plans to accommodate their concerns, the Committee has no objection recommending this project to the full ANC for approval.
Commissioner Campbell asked Ms. Stauterman if she had anything new to add to the case. She responded that she did not. He then asked if there was anyone in the audience had any comments for or against the project. There were none. Ms. Stauterman introduced her neighbor who lives on the south side of her. Commissioner Campbell asked him if he had any concerns. He responded that he did not.
The Chair stated that the recommendation from the Committee comes in the form of a motion requiring no second. He then asked all in favor of accepting the Committee recommendation to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous 9-0.
BZA #17537, 740 13th Street, SE
Requesting special exception not meeting lot occupancy and variance from limitation on the number of stories, to construct a 4-story rear addition to a flat (two-family dwelling).
No one was present at the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, therefore no action was taken.
Commissioner Campbell asked if anyone representing the case was present.
Mr. Victor Tabbs, the property owner, rose to address the Commissioners. Mr. Tabbs stated that he was in the process of constructing a 3-story plus a cellar rear addition onto his property when in May an inspector stopped him because it addition went out 4 feet to far. This meant that he was at 64% of lot occupancy. Thus he was instructed to make an application with BZA for lot occupancy exception, which he did.
The Chair asked Mr. Tabbs to explain is case to the Commissioners.
Mr. Tabbs presented the Commissioners with photos of the build as it currently stands. He stated the city submitted a letter to BZA for a variance and to his understanding it should not be for a variance, because the addition does not exceed the height requirement. He stated the property is described as a three-level plus a cellar and he could go up to 40 feet in height and use 60% of the lot occupancy.
Commissioner Campbell asked Mr. Tabbs what was his current lot occupancy with the inclusion of his rear addition. He responded that it was 64% and added that BZA could approve up to 70%. Commissioner Jarboe added that the approval of up to 70% would be as a special exception. Mr. Tabbs went on to say that he was not sure about the need for a variance, thus he was applying for a special exception and not a variance.
Commissioner Jarboe explained that the paperwork received from BZA stated that case was for both a special exception for lot occupancy and a variance for height.
Mr. Tabbs responded that BZA had sent out a correction notice to address this error and provided the Commission with a copy of the notice to review.
Commissioner Jarboe asked Mr. Tabbs what was the height of the new addition to the rear of the structure. Mr. Tabbs responded that it would be 38 feet. Commissioner Jarboe, after looking at the correction notification paperwork, stated that it seem to add the special exception and keep the variance.
Commissioner Olson then stated that one document is dated June 16, 2006 and the other is dated October 7, 2006, which means it supersedes the other. However, Mr. Tabbs stated that city did not change the date on the June 16th document. He went on to say that he was issued the document the first of October, but they did not change the date on the notice provided to him.
Commissioner Jarboe, after looking at the file, stated that the Commission did have a corrected notice, but it is for both a variance and special exception. Commissioner Cernich added that the variance was due to the fact that it was for a 4-story rear addition. Mr. Tabbs responded that the city is telling him that it is a 3-story plus a cellar. Commissioner Cernich then read the language of the BZA notice which did specify that it was for a variance from the limitation on the number of stories under subsection 400.1, to construct a four (4) story rear addition to a flat (two-family dwelling).
Mr. Tabbs responded that the current structure is two-story and he is adding one additional story in the rear plus the cellar, which means it will be 3-stories and not 4-story.
Commissioner Cernich stated that BZA considers the structure to be 4-story, thus the need for the variance. Commissioner Cernich stated that the problem is that the basement (cellar) has such a height that it is being considered a first floor meaning the other floors will make it a 4-story structure.
Commissioner Garrison asked Mr. Tabbs if he had letters of support from his neighbors. He responded that he did and that they were part of Commission’s file.
The Chair recognized Mr. Bryan Cassidy to speak regarding the addition.
Mr. Cassidy stated that he was in opposition to the case and had signatures from neighbors in the area who also are opposed to it. He stated that the new structure would in fact be a 4-story building.
Commissioner Garrison asked Mr. Cassidy if the was arguing that the addition would be higher than the 40 feet allowed. He responded that he was not and that the building was within regulations.
A homeowner who
Commissioner Cernich stated that the applicant has not presented to the Commission any reason why a variance should be supported in this case. It was clear under the special exception rule that the addition would block air and light and there is continuing problem with illegal construction. He went on to say that approving a project after the fact, when someone has already constructed something that does not comply with the law or requires a special exception or variance, continues to concern him and he does not believe the behavior should be rewarded. Therefore, he will oppose the application.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that he does not have a problem with the special exception and is willing to compromise on that because at 64% the Commission routinely allows people to go up to 70% lot occupancy. However, the variance is what troubles him the most. He would strongly oppose the variance because it does not meet the uniqueness that is required for approval.
Commissioner Jarboe made the motion that the Commission approve the special exception, but oppose the variance. He further stated that he was open to an amendment on his motion for those who would like to oppose the special exception. The Chair recommended that the variance and special exception be taken up as separate issues. Commissioner Jarboe then made the motion that Commission oppose the variance based upon the fact that the project does not meet the test for variance. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Cernich. The Chair asked all in favor of opposing the variance to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (9-0).
Commissioner Cernich made the motion to oppose the special exception. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Olson. The Chair asked all in favor of opposing the special exception to raise their hands. The vote was 3 in favor of opposing the special exception and the motion failed. Commissioner Jarboe then made the motion that the Commission supports the special exception. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Russell. The Chair then asked all in favor of the motion to raise their hands. The vote was 4 in favor and the motion failed. Thus the ANC takes no action on the special exception application.
BZA #17548, 430 – 434 First Street, SE, - American Trucking Association –
The applicant seeks a variance from floor area
requirements (FAR) and a variance from nonconforming structure to
construct an addition and undertake a renovation of an existing nonconforming
office building.Kenlie Dumas presented A.T.A.’s request for a variance for a
nonconforming structure. ATA wants to fill in the open office space of the
The H.P.R.B. hearing was on October 26, 2006 and no issues or objections regarding this project were raised. The owners have met with DDOT and with community members and have shown letters of support for the project. The roof deck has been set back approximately 18ft. and is not visible from the opposite side or stoop of the building across the street. It is the recommendation of the Committee to forward this to the full ANC for approval.
Commissioner Campbell asked if there was any new information regarding this case. There was none.
The Chair stated that the recommendation from the Committee comes in the form of a motion requiring no second. He then asked all in favor of accepting the Committee recommendation to raise their hands. The vote was 8-0-1.
BZA #17541, 214 S. Carolina Ave. SE – (Capitol Hill Day School) – Special exception to allow continued operation of private school for 30 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and five (5) faculty and staff members in the basement through the 2nd floor entrance.
Applicant request a variance to continue to use 214, a residence, as a one classroom school for no more than 30 students and approved staff for a period of 10 years. The Committee has no objection to this use as requested therefore the Committee recommends this project to the full ANC for approval.
Commissioner Campbell asked if there was any new information regarding this case. There was no new information.
The Chair stated that the recommendation from the Committee comes in the form of a motion requiring no second. He then asked all in favor of accepting the Committee recommendation to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous 9-0.
BZA #17540, 210 S. Carolina Ave SE.- (Capitol Hill Day School) variance from lot occupancy, rear yard and parking requirements and special exception to allow construction of an addition to the private school
Presenting: Winfield Sealander, Facilities Chair of C.H.D.S.; Architects, David Cox & Jerome Gray of Cox, Gray and Spack; Catherine Peterson, Head of C.H.D.S.; Chuck Schwartz, Chairman of Board; and Jacques DuPuy, Zoning Attorney.
C.H.D.S. has presented plans for variances from lot occupancy, rear yard and a special exception to build an addition to their private school. In summary C.H.D.S. wishes to construct an addition to the DENT School adjacent to the present school building, which was originally approved as a private school by BZA on March 27, 1979, application #12860, and approved August 12,1988 application # 14780, as a private school for 225 students, 38 staff and 20 car parking spaces and 3 bus spaces.
The proposes to build an addition that is to be located on
the eastern side yard of the DENT building between it and 214 but only
connected to the DENT building. It will
include 3 stories and a basement level that is to be constructed 17ft. below
ground. This will include a
multi-purpose room and a small stage with removable seating for 250. The 1st floor will have the
entryway, lobby, administrative office and 2 classrooms. The second floor will have administrative
offices and one classroom. The 3rd
floor will have 3 classrooms. Due to the
steep grade change between the existing property and 214, the 1st
floor is lower than the rear yard of 214.
There is currently a 10ft. retaining wall separating the properties in
the rear. A fire exit will be
constructed in the rear of the addition to access the rear yard. The rear parking lot will be restructured,
dropping to the rear grade as the existing alley necessitating removal of the
rear retaining wall between the rear yard and alley. There will again be no physical connection
between the addition and
Specifically the variance test is:
1) The property must be unique because of size, shape, topography or other extraordinary or exceptional situation or condition inherent in the property.
2) Applicant must demonstrate that it will encounter practical difficulty if the zoning regulations are strictly applied.
3) The requested variances will not result in substantial detriment to the public good or the zone plan. Further to prove the “practical difficulty” the applicant must demonstrate that compliance with the area restriction would be unnecessarily burdensome and that the practical difficulties are unique to the property.
The school has no plans to increase enrollment, faculty or
staff with this proposal, and thus there is no adverse impact because of the
number of students or staff. The hours
of operation will not change from Monday through Friday 8:00am to 6:00pm. Regarding meetings held at the facility,
there are approximately three per month and no more than occasional weekend
activities with no more than 6 per year total.
The addition is to be located on property owned by the school with a
large section located underground. The
first floor will be at grade and below
the rear yard of the 214 property, and thus no imposition to adjacent properties
on the square. The second and third floor additions are set back comparable to
the rear of the back porch of the row houses east of 214.
Regarding the lot occupancy, presently the DENT building is at 42% and they are seeking an increase to 67%. Regulations state that private schools are allowed only 40% lot occupancy but public schools, row houses, churches on properties in the CAP/R4 are allowed 60% occupancy. C.H.D.S. sites that their facility, though is not public or charter school, is identical in all aspects and therefore should be allowed the maximum use of the lot occupancy as public or charter schools have, up to 70% and as they are only asking for 67% should be granted the variance.
Being that the property is small and that the Dent building was built in 1900 and remains on the same lot it occupied In comparison to modern schools, CHDS lacks space for modern play grounds or playfields. Owing to the historic nature of the building, CHDS is restricted in the area and no playfield can be constructed. With the footprint of the proposed building, the front will be contiguous to the exiting row houses and the rear first floor will be below grade of the adjacent homes and invisible to them from their rear yards. Thus, the applicant argues that any potential impact is minimal or non-existent and as such the variance should be granted as it will not impact these properties.
Lastly, the applicant argues that the rear yard depth variance should be granted as the addition at the first floor would be below grade relative to existing properties, and that the second and third floors only extend to the same distance as other properties on the square Further, no structure exists behind the school that would prohibit the addition where the 10ft rear yard is proposed and as a result of the buffer created by the alley the proposed addition would not adversely affect properties located in the rear of the school across the alley. It is based on these conditions/facts that the Committee recommends this proposal to the full ANC for approval.
Commissioner Campbell asked if there was any new information regarding this case.
Mr. Sealander stated that there was new information based upon the request that Commissioner Jarboe made for them to present any case law that established a precedent for the granting a variance. He also stated that when they presented at the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting there was some confusion regarding their 255 student cap. They are allowed 30 students in the 214 building and 225 students in the Dent (210) building and he would like to clarify those numbers. He then turned the discussion over to their attorney Mr. DuPuy.
Mr. DuPuy stated that they did find two (2) institutional
uses in the R-4 on Capitol Hill in which lot occupancy variances were granted
by the BZA. The first was the
application of the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill, Application No.
14113, located at
Commissioner Jarboe stated that in one of the earlier cases there was a finding by the BZA that the site was unique. Mr. DuPuy responded that it was the application by the Day School for parking variances, which included variances to provide smaller spaces than would normally apply. The variance under the requirement would be for the screening of the parking areas and that each parking space would be directly accessible from the street or alley. Currently the spaces are stacked, and the finding was that the lot was exceptionally small. Commissioner Jarboe asked Mr. DuPuy if he was using that fact as the means of meeting the test of uniqueness. Mr. DuPuy responded that it was one of the reasons. The other was the building itself is either unique or an exceptional circumstance because of its configuration, age, condition, and structure.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that in the previous case (BZA #17541) the Commission support was simply a ten (10) year extension of the existing rules. The existing rules allowed for no more than 30 students to be in the 214 building at anytime. He went on to say that his understanding from what BZA gave the Commission as the description was a special exception to allow the continued operation of a private school for thirty (30) students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and five (5) faculty and staff members in the basement through the second floor. What puzzles him was that the proposed conditions that were submitted last week referenced eight (8) faculty in the 214 building and then the proposed conditions for the combined project refers to 35 faculty in the new structure and the Dent building and no more than 43 faculty in the combined buildings. Commissioner Jarboe’s question was where did the additional three (3) faculty come from.[DFG1]
Mr. DuPuy responded that the total number of faculty for the school remains the same. Commissioner Jarboe then asked Mr. DuPuy what was the actual number he was referring to. He responded that it was 43. Commissioner Jarboe then stated that that was his problem because the last time he checked the total number of faculty was thirty-five (35) in Dent building and five (5) in the 214 building, which is a grand total of 40. Mr. DuPuy responded that there should be 38 in the Dent building. Commissioner Jarboe stated that it must have been a typo because that is not the number that was in the proposed set of conditions that was given to the Commission at the Planning and Zoning Committee Meeting. Mr. DuPuy stated that it may be a typo and that he had in fact rewritten the proposed conditions with respect to that item to make it clear that there is a limitation on the 214 building and that there is a overall aggregate limitation so that there is no confusion in the future about the issue. Mr. DuPuy went on to say that he thought the problem was that when the 214 was approved, the Dent building had been approved years earlier, so that was not revisited or analyzed. The application was only for 214 and as Commissioner Jarboe had indicated the Commission had approved the 30 staff and five (5) faculty members. Now they want to make it clear that what BZA should approve and the community should know about is the overall aggregate as well as the limitations on 214.
Commission Garrison stated that he wanted to focus on the student count side of the issue. He said that according to his understanding of the BZA cases that are relevant. the CHDS had gotten approval from BZA at one stage to go from 200 to 225 students, and that was approved when the parking situation was resolved. He went on to say that that was the last time BZA spoke to the size of the student body for the school and based upon his reading of the records. Commissioner Garrison said that he could find no evidence in the BZA record that the number of students in the 214 building (30) was to be added to the School’s cap of 225 for the overall number of students in the school. It is his understanding that the maximum number of students should be 225. Therefore, Commissioner Garrison wanted to know if the School was requesting an increase in the cap for the total number of students in institution from 225 to 255.
Mr. DuPuy responded that they disagree with Commissioner Garrison’s analysis because the application itself is for thirty (30) students and five (5) staff in to 214. He further stated that Commissioner Garrison was correct in that the condition does refer to the maximum number of students in the building at one-time, but the application itself is for thirty (30) students and five (5) staff members, so they read this as always being the intent and that is what BZA approved. His reasoning was that the 214 case came years later than the last case involving the Dent building. BZA looked at each case independently and did not look at them in aggregate.
Commissioner Garrison stated that his concern was about the School’s desire to increase the student cap for the school. He said it had been his understanding that it was the School’s plan to use the 214 building for additional classroom space. He did not believe that there was any indication that they had made any presentation to BZA that they will have a school with 255 students and he does not see anything in the record regarding this one point.
Mr. DuPuy responded that they disagree with his assessment. In fact, it has been known by the community what the overall cap was and they had talked about it (the cap) in their neighborhood quarterly meetings.
Mr. Sealander stated that since he has been a member of the board they have operated under the assumption that they had a 255 student cap. He added that since 1995 they have gone from a high of 244 students to a low 222 students and they have always operated under the understanding that there cap was 255 students. He went on to say that it was the first time he had heard any discussion that the cap may be in question.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that in reviewing his records, he did find the additional three (3) staff persons, so the cap on the faculty in the Dent building is 38 and five (5) in the 214 building for a total of 43 total faculty members.
Commissioner Garrison asked about the landscaping that is
Mr. Cox, the architect, reviewed the various graphical drawings (site plans) that illustrated the landscape treatment that will be put in place. He stated they have not yet picked the specific type of plants that will be placed in the area, but their objective is to have plants in place to block headlights from intruding into neighboring property. He added that the whole idea of rearranging the parking is to allow for the cars to be pulled head in so that the headlights are facing toward the building.
Commissioner Garrison asked Mr. Sealander to elaborate on
their plans for utilization of
Mr. Sealander stated that part of their cooperative efforts with the neighbors, it was brought up that if they were going to be allowed to enhance their property then they should in turn enhance the park, which they use for student recreation and he believed that it was a very valid point. Capitol Hill Day School uses the park everyday Monday thru Friday, so they plan to augment their existing $5,000.00 per year support by increasing it to a $10,000.00 a year stipend for the park. They also looked at ways that they could strengthen the park going forward and it was decided between them and some of the members of The Friends of Garfield Park, specifically Bill Phillips, that what is really needed at the park is a master plan. So they are proposing that some of the $10,000.00 would go toward developing a master plan for the park.
Commissioner Olson asked Mr. Sealander if he was proposing that they give $10,000.00 per year to the park and also allocate funds for a master plan.
Mr. Sealander responded that at this point the proposal is a total of $10,000.00 for the park, which includes funding for a master plan. They are not sure yet what the master plan process would cost.
Commissioner Campbell asked if there were any members of the audience that had additional information they would like to present.
Mr. Albert Cantril who lives at
Mr. Harold Brazil stated that he was a neighbor, but not an immediate one, and both of his children had attended Capitol Hill Day School and he wanted to voice his strong support for Capitol Hill Day School and the outstanding job it has and is doing in educating the children on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Brad Pine rose and addressed the Commissioners. Commissioner Campbell recognized Mr. Pine and informed him that the Commission had received his letter, which is part of the permanent file and was aware of his opposition to the plan. He asked Mr. Pine if there was any additional information he would like to add.
Mr. Pine stated that the references to precedents as mentioned by Mr. DuPuy, in both the Palmer and Gil Morton case were tried in the DC Court of Appeal for zoning cases. He argued that it was determined by the court that each zoning case should be considered and decided on its own merits. He argued that there were no particular set of precedents that should apply here. He went on to say that both of these cases are not comparable in terms of the scope and size of the percent variance. Mr. Pine stated that it is his estimation that the parking area is approximately 1500 square feet less parking area as the new structure will take up part of the current parking area. Therefore, he could not understand how the School could increase the number of parking spaces while reducing the square footage for parking and he believes that this fact should change the scope of the project. Mr. Pine disputed that there is a requirement to have an elevator in the building to make it handicap accessible.
Mr. Pine stated that, regarding the discussion the rights of a public schools, he feels that the Capitol Hill Day School is an excellent school, but it is a private school. The Board of Zoning Adjustment many not consider a given use as another use and that it may not hypothesize about what a building might be if it was something else or what it might get in regards to lot occupancy or variances if it was something else. He went on to say that he did not think it would be appropriate for the Commission to consider that as it makes its decision regarding the case. Mr. Pine then stated that home schools do not get 70% by right, they get 60% by right and if they want to go over 60% they must be shorter than 20 feet, which is what they have been asking in this case.
Ms. Pine stated the impact on neighboring property of such a project should be minimal or non-existing. His view is that the School proposes to move 40 foot or more closer to his property, as well as closer to the entrance in the front, closer to the kids, faculty, and visitors coming to the school.
Mr. Pine then asked to review the graphics of his backyard view. He wanted to know if there would be a window on the side and a rear entrance on the extension next to his property. The architect responded that there would not be any windows or doors facing him on the side and that the entrance and windows would be in rear of the proposed building next to his property and he stated that this was a direct request they made. Mr. Pine concluded his comments by stating that he would like to see this project as being fair and balanced for all involved.
Mr. Stan Kolbe, who lives at 215 E Street, SE, stated that for 30 years he has represented the large construction industry. He stated that at the last meeting there was some discussion regarding the fact that there were a lot of names on the petition opposing the expansion, but they were not in attendance at the meetings. He reasoned that most people in the neighborhood were of the belief that the expansion could not really happen in their neighborhood. Secondly, construction experts he knows in the city and in the historic district were of the opinion that this expansion would not happen in this residential neighborhood, so many residents were very complacent. Finally, he stated that some people in the city government, which will remain unnamed, off the record said that there were so many variances it will not happen. He also voiced some concern about potential collapse of building while doing excavation near historic building as another concern of neighbors. Mr. Kolbe then expressed his concern regarding the potential collapse of the retaining walls during the construction process.
The Chair informed Mr. Kolbe that he understood his concern regarding the various issues he has raised, but none of them go to the issues that are before the Commission that it must decide in regards to the standards related to granting the variances. He then asked Mr. Kolbe if he had anything that would have direct bearing on the issues before the Commission.
Mr. Kolbe voiced some concern regarding the potential noise associated with the HVAC unit that will be mounted on the roof. He then referenced that fact that the National Cathedral wanted a huge addition to their athletic center, but the neighbors say no. National Cathedral decided to go down 60 to 65 feet down into the ground and built a world class facility that does not impede the view or upset the structure of the neighborhood. He further stated that they had suggested doing something similar at this project, and that was not seen as a creditable suggestion.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that everything the Commission had heard during the meeting was how the people who opposed the expansion did not want the excavation and how disruptive the excavation would be and now he was telling the Commission that he wants to go down 60 feet to build the expansion. Commissioner Jarboe went on say that it appears that Mr. Kolbe wants to have it both ways and that is impossible.
Mr. Jay Ellison, a member of the Board of Trustee with Capitol Hill Day School, stated that he was in favor of the case as well as the recommendations of the Planning and Zoning Committee. He stated they have over 200 students and they could have brought signatures from a vast majority of the parents on a petition to support the school’s expansion efforts, but they have voiced strong support of the project. Additionally, the school has been in consultation process for over the past 18 months and they have held ten (10) meetings, and they have made every accommodation feasible given the means of their school. He finished by stating that he believes this is a living and growing project and he asked the Commission for its support.
Commissioner Russell stated that the school is not ADA
compliant at this time and in order to make it compliant and remain a
functioning school they would need to add an elevator, which would mean the
lost of building space in a building that is already existing in a limited
space environment and there would be a need to add an elevator shaft on the
roof and it would obstruct the view of the neighbors. Additionally, their accreditation is up for
renewal next year and without the building being
After much discussion between the Commissioners regarding the case, Commissioner Jarboe then addressed the applicants and stated that to make the record clear, when the Commission voted on the special exception for the townhouse (214), it was on extending the existing special exception with the same exact conditions that applies to that special exception now. Therefore the Commission did not accept the school’s proposed conditions for that particular special exception. Commissioner Jarboe stated that, regarding the conditions the applicants proposed for the Dent building, he would make an amendment that they be incorporated into the Commission’s proposal regardless of the outcome of the final vote. Commissioner Jarboe stated he would like to slightly change some of the conditions because the townhouse was always meant to be temporary. This was due to the fact that the first special exception was granted and the BZA case specifically states that “they are granting it because it is a temporary nature”. The first approval was for five (5) years and the next one was for ten (10) years and now we are looking at a request for another ten (10) years. He further explained that the way the proposed conditions are worded now, it puts all 255 students in the entire school. It is currently now 225 students at the Dent building and 30 at the townhouse (214 building). If at some point the townhouse exemption goes away and that goes back to being a residential unit, he does not want the 30 students to be transferred over to the Dent building. Specifically, he does not want that to be a backdoor way of increasing the cap on the number of students in the Dent building. Commissioner Jarboe made the motion to amend the Committee Report with a proposal that the Commission accept the proposed conditions that were passed out at the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting with the change that number 2 be amended to say “the number of students shall not exceed 255 provided that no more than 225 are in 210 S. Carolina Avenue (Dent building) and 30 in the adjacent building at 214 S. Carolina Avenue. Additionally, the first sentence in number 4 be amended to read “No more than thirty-eight (38) faculty and staff shall be employed in the premises.” Commissioner Garrison seconded the motion.
The amended conditions are as follows:
The Chair then asked all in favor of Commissioner Jarboe’s motion to amend the Planning and Zoning Committee Report to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (9-0).
Commissioner Garrison commented that being a new commissioner, he was very impressed with both the way in which the school approached the process and the fact that they have been open and forthcoming about all aspects of the undertaking and he is also impressed with the fervor of many of the people, and especially those who expressed opposition. He went on to say that a number of letters sent in have been quite thoughtful and expressed strong emotions about the issue. However, his understanding of what the Commission is doing today is the requirement of the three (3) part test that Commissioner Campbell read in the Planning and Zoning Committee Report. His reading of those facts as applied to the situation leads him to conclude that the school has met the burden. He went on to say that many of the issues raised tonight and that are raised in the many letters to the Commission are not relevant to the issue in front of the Commission tonight. Thus, construction noise has never been a relevant matter in such cases even though one may wish them to be. He further stated that he feels strongly that the schools are huge assets to neighborhoods, and our city and that we need to do what we can to provide a full range of choices for families. He does not buy the argument that because this is a private school it should not be thought of as an asset to the community. He stated that it was important to have the school stay on Capitol Hill to serve Capitol Hill children. In conclusion, he stated that for those various reasons he is also supporting the proposal.
The Chair stated that the amended recommendation of the Committee comes before the Commission in the form of a motion requiring no second. He then asked all in favor of adopting the Committee’s recommendation to support the variances to raise their hands. The vote was 7-2.
ZC Case #06-33, Text Amendment – Parking for Historic Buildings
This case is seeking to clarify parking requirements for historic landmarks and buildings contributing to an historic district. The proposed clarification is important to prevent multiple interpretations of the zoning regulations and provide consistency in enforcement of parking regulations.
Under current rules buildings in historic districts or historic buildings may not be required to have any additional parking on them if they change uses or expand. The Zoning Commission wants to change the rules so that as long as such a building changes use or expands, additional parking requirements can be imposed upon them.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that since this case did not come as a Committee Report, he moved that the Commission support the text amendment. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Russell.
The Chair asked all in favor of supporting the motion to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (9-0).
Committee reports and announcements
Approval of Commission Minutes
The Chair stated that all Commissioners had received a copy of the October minutes prior to the meeting. He then made the motion that the Commission adopt the Commission’s minutes as corrected. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Olson. The Chair asked all in favor to raise their hands. The vote was unanimous (9-0).
There was not further business and Commissioner Hill made the motion that the meeting be adjourned until its next meeting date of December 12, 2006. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Russell, and the vote was 9 to 0.
Prepared by Bert Randolph