Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B
Minutes of Regular ANC-6B Meeting
Tuesday September 14, 2004
Chairperson Julie Olson chaired the meeting and the commissioners introduced themselves.
There was a quorum for conducting business.
Changes in the agenda. Julie – Under item Presentation – Transporting Hazardous Material will be moved to be Item #5. Commissioner Jarboe requested that Budget be added under the Committee Reports section and under the Planning and Zoning Section add, Discussion - Potential Funding for Eastern Market Plaza Redesign also add Zoning Commission Roundtable – CBRFs in CM Areas. Commissioner Sheldon wanted to add to the agenda an EMCAC Update, which the Chair suggested placing as Item # 8 after the ABC Committee.
Commissioner Will Hill made the motion to accept the changes and additions to the agenda and the motion was seconded by Commissioner Sheldon. The vote was unanimous, 8-0-0.
No comments from the community.
Community – Mike Barnes with Court Services announced that on September 30, 2004 they will be conducting a citywide forum with the focus on Violence, Public Safety and Offender Reentry Updates. He’s hopeful that Council Member Patterson will be there to talk about some legislative issues regarding these areas.
Commission – Ken Jarboe referenced another meeting on the Sound Barrier constructability and the freeway. The meeting will be September 23, 2004, at 7:00 p.m. at the Waterside Mall in the EPA Auditorium. There will be an Open House and presentation to inform the community if they can or cannot construct a sound barrier along the freeway.
The DC Housing Financial Agency
will be conducting a Home Renovation Fair on Saturday, September 18, 2004 at
DC Department of Health, Restaurant Division – Ronnie Taylor, Inspector
Mr. Taylor was not present.
DC Citizens United For Clean Energy – Carla Dellamaggiora and Chris White
No one was present to make the presentation.
Transportation of Hazardous Material – Charlie Doctor, ANC 6C
Charlie Doctor was not present, however Commissioner Jarboe explained that recently a featured television broadcast on the issue of transporting hazardous materials via train and truck through Washington, DC, and the safety issues associated with this practice. There is a bill bending regarding this issue and Mr. Doctor is leading the charge on this issue and he was planning to be here to make a presentation to us regarding his action. Commissioner Jarboe made the motion to postpone until later in the meeting and if he does not make it to reschedule him for the next meeting. The Chair agreed to do so.
BZA # 17224 – JPI Development, L.P.
JPI’s Contract Purchaser for the Boy’s Town Property was the presenter. The contract on the property is expected to close within the next three (3) weeks. He is seeking the approval of some variances in order to move forward with the project.
Review of Project:
The project will be a 4-story basement apartment community with 3,500 square feet of retail on the ground floor. One (1) parking space for residential unit was proposed and about 280 units. The project was been well received by the community. There were positive comments and one was the desire for more retail space and specifically a grocery store. He stated that providing retail space for a grocery story was a great challenge. However, after much discussion and work, they are in the process of firming up arrangement to have a tenant for the grocery store. Unfortunately, at this time he can not reveal who it is, but it is a first-class grocery store.
JPI has also acquired the
rights to the first two (2) townhouses on
The grocery store will be on
the corner of
He provided the audience with a very complete overview of both the design for the retail and residential spaces and their specific parking facilities. A key part of the design considerations is to maintain the rowhouse appearance of the project, thus the naming of Jenkins Row Development. The project will utilize a lot of brick and glass in its construction.
JPI is seeking the approval for the following variances:
Commissioner Jarboe reviewed the September 7, 2004 Planning and Zoning Committee Report:
At the meeting, the developer raised three issues.
1) BZA # 17224: Request for variances
JPI Development is seeking two possible variances: a variance from the lot occupancy requirement (section 772) and from the 15% residential recreation space requirement (section 773).
First of all, the Committee is extremely pleased that the project now includes a large grocery store. The inclusion of such retail at this space has been a neighborhood goal for many years. The developer is to be commended for listening to and acting upon the neighborhoods’ desires.
The request for the variance from the lot occupancy requirements stems directly from the decision to include the grocery store. Under zoning regulations, 100% lot occupancy is allowed for a commercial building in this C-2-B zone and 80% lot occupancy for residential buildings. As proposed, the first floor of the building will contain the grocery store, other retail, and the lobby (and incidental space) for the residential portion of the building. The upper floors will contain the residential units. In essence, the building is a commercial building on the first floor and a residential building on the remaining floors. The residential floors will surround a courtyard and occupy a footprint of 72% lot occupancy. The commercial ground-level first floor will not include the courtyard, as a matter of necessity to accommodate the grocery store, and will occupy a footprint of 96% lot occupancy.
Thus, if the building were treated as two separate buildings – a one story commercial building and a 4 story residential building – each building would satisfy the requirements of section 772. However, it is unclear at this time whether the Zoning Administrator will rule that this is the case. Hence, the desire of the applicant to prepare to seek a variance if necessary. Note that the case is tentatively scheduled to be heard by the BZA on October 26.
The second variance is for the residential recreation space. Under the current requirements, 40,131 sq ft of recreational space is required – 20,075 of which must be outdoors. The applicant proposes 22,550 sq. ft, of which approximately 17,800 sq ft would be outdoors.
The test for zoning relief in the form of a variance is threefold: extraordinary or exceptional situation or condition; hardship or practical difficulty; and that the relief does not create harm to the public good or the zoning plan.
The Committee believes that the proposal meets the test for a variance on both issues.
On the lot occupancy issue, the developer finds themselves in an extraordinary situation due to their attempt to meet neighbor needs and desires for additional retail at this location. Had the developer simply gone ahead with a residential building, as originally proposed as is their right under law, the lot occupancy issue would never have arisen. As everyone is aware, the neighborhood has long and vociferously argued the importance of this site for retail as well as residential use. We have consistently pointed out that this site is the key to the revitalization of the neighborhood – and without a retail/residential component, further development and regeneration of the neighborhood would be harmed. Thus, it is neighborhood’s needs that have placed the developer in an extraordinary situation.
In addition, each portion of the building – commercial and residential – separately complies with the requirements under section 772. An extraordinary situation arises from the combination of the two uses in one building.
The application also meets the tests of practical difficulty and hardship. If the requirement for 80% lot occupancy requirement is strictly imposed, a practical difficulty would be created for the developer in utilizing the first floor as retail and for the placement of a grocery store in that space. As a result a hardship for the neighborhood would also be created.
Concerning the issue of recreational space, the Committee believes that the provision of over 22,000 sq ft of recreation space is sufficient, especially in the amount of outdoor space provided. Given the shape of the property, the inclusion of more recreational space would result in the loss of either residential or retail space. Additional recreational space would also de an additional, extraordinary cost. The result would be a financial hardship for the applicant and a loss to the neighborhood.
It is also the Committee’s understanding that the BZA routinely grants variances for residential recreation space. We have asked the applicant to provide to the full ANC citations that would indicate of this – which would indicate that the BZA believes such requests meet the variance tests.
In the case of a variance from the requirements in both sections 772 or 773, the Committee believes that no harm will come to the public good or to the integrity and the goals of the zone plan. In fact, the Committee would argue that not granting the variances will cause harm to public good and to the zoning plan. The proposed development is exactly the type of mixed-used development that the neighborhood needs and that the zoning plan calls for.
On a technical note, the Committee notes that both sections 772 and 773 pertain to building that are “devoted” to residential uses. Under the section 199.2, the term “devote” has the meaning as described in Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. According to Webster’s Unabridged, “devoted” means “dedicated” and “to give over or direct (as time, money, or effort) to a cause, enterprise, or activity.” As described in Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary, “devote” means “to give up to wholly or chiefly”. One can question whether a building that has almost 1/4 of its floor space and over 1/3 of its parking spaces used for commercial purposes is “wholly or chiefly” a residential building. We believe that this is clearly mixed-use building and therefore the proposed development clearly meets the spirit of zoning law, and that a strict interpretation of sections 772 and 773 should not apply.
The purpose of the BZA process is to insure that the letter of the law does not constrain or conflict with the spirit of the law. Thus, the Committee recommends that the ANC support the request for variances from section 772 and 773.
2) Bay windows on
The current building design
uses a mixed façade approach. Facades
The Committee believes that
the use of bay windows along the
3) Tax abatement
Legislation is pending before the City Council for certain tax abatements from the city for this project. These tax abatements appear to be directly connected with the financial incentives needed to locate the grocery store at the site. While the Committee is highly supportive of the use of tax incentives to bring a grocery store to this location, details of the legislation where not available at the Committee meeting. The Committee therefore requests that the developer renew its request for support for the financial package when it meets with the full ANC.
Commissioner Glick stated that he really likes the project, but want to know about the amount of parking space for the residential units. His concern was that one space may not be sufficient for the units. However, the JPI representative stated that their space allocation is higher than required, and based upon the size of the units themselves it would adequate.
Commissioner Sheldon asked if any traffic studies have been conducted regarding the project. The JPI representative stat that a study had been performed and the current intersection traffic is running at 40 to 50% of capacity, and the level of service at the intersection would stay at about the same level.
He also asked if the developer had provided the residents in the adjourning properties with certified written notice of their plans for the property. JPI responded that they were adhering to the 200 yards notification requirement. Additionally, he stated they are working hard to keep in constant contact with all effected by the project.
Commissioner Hill wanted to know about the timelines. When will the contract on the property be closing? When will the demolishing phase begin? When will the actual construction phase begin? JPI responded that they anticipate the closing to occur in October and the demolishing will begin in November. Construction of the apartment and garage will begin in March. The retail space is projected to open up about 18 months after that, and the project finishing about 24 months after the start date.
Commissioner Smith asked when they expect to survey the area regarding the project and if he expects it to be done prior to the demolishing work. JPI stated that the demolish work will take only a few day. They expect to conduct the survey after the demolish phase, which will put it sometime in January.
A lady in the audience asked
about the traffic study and what it said about the project’s impact on traffic
Regarding the traffic study
findings associated with
Regarding the issue of changing the residential units from apartment to condominiums, adding the grocery space, which is a loss leader in revenue generation and looking at the market for apartment versus condominium space, the project is much more financially feasible as condominiums, thus the change.
Chair Olson asked the representative
to discuss the Tax Abatement Issue. He
stated that grocery store use of property in
JPI explained that recordation, transfer and property taxes funds up to the amount of the cost for the construction of the parking spaces for the grocery store will be used to offset the added costs. Once the upper cost limit has been satisfied, the property will revert back to the normal taxation assessment rates.
Commissioner Sheldon recommended that the developer look at expanding the 200 yard notification area to include those properties in at least a two (2) block radius of the project to limit any future community problems. He also stressed the importance of looking deeper at the potential traffic problem associated with the school.
Commissioner Campbell also voiced his concerns about the potential of students from the school being injured by big truck and traffic entering and leaving the property. He suggested they look at installing some type of traffic signals or other devices to limit the potential problems.
After more discuss by the commissioners and community, Chair Olson ended the discussion and set the issues to a vote.
The variance for residential recreation space was put to a vote. The vote to support the variance was 10-0-0 (unanimous).
The variance for lot occupancy space was put to a vote. The vote to support the variance was 10-0-0 (unanimous).
The variance for bay windows
Tax Abatement Issue
Commissioner Cernich expressed that he had an issue with the Tax Abatement issue and the ANC getting involved with this type of issue and having the ANC get involved in each and every proposed project and having to consider the merits of supporting them, which could get to be very political. He made the Friendly Amendment that ANC support the use of tax abatements to encourage desirable development with in the community to include such facilities as grocery stores. Additionally, those tax abatements should be limited to actual cost associated with the construction of those type facilities.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that he was of the opposite opinion. He stated this is a bill before the Council and it is not an administrative matter that deals with taxes and revenue. It is a bill before the Council and it is part of the Commission’s responsibility to comment on bills pending before the Council that affects ANC 6B, and therefore he believes this part of the ANC’s job.
Commissioner Sheldon stated that he was of the opinion that the abatement will happen one way of the other, give the level of this project. He further stated that he was generally in agreement with it, because the project’s addition will have a positive impact on the community.
Chair Olson stated that she agrees with Commissioner Jarboe in that it is an important issue and when the Council seeks the ANC’s input that the Commissioners should do so.
Commission Hill made the motion that the Commission supports the Tax Abatement for JPI.
Commissioner Jarboe offered a Friendly Amendment that on the condition that is caped at the cost of building of the additional parking spaces, and if the building reverts to residential space with out the commercial space (grocery store) on the first floor.
There was some discussion about tabling support of the bill until the actual language of the bill can be reviewed, Commissioner Campbell stated that he community wants a grocery story in the area and since this proposal will provide what they want, he believes the Commission should vote to support the Tax Abatement.
Commissioner Glick offered a Friendly Amendment that ANC 6B has not seen the legislation, but we support Tax Abatement equal to the cost of the parking lot as long as there is a grocery store.
After more discussion Commissioners Jarboe, Glick and Cernich withdrew their amendments.
Commissioner Hill moved that the language from JPI as stated on the tape be used at the motion regarding the tax abatement issue, which states: The Commission supports in concept the granting of tax abatement relief and the aggregate does not exceed 4 to 6 Million Dollars in conjunction with the construction of this facility that includes a grocery store.
Commissioner Jarboe seconded the motion. The vote to support the motion was 10-0-0.
Commissioner Jarboe made to motion to authorize Commissioner Sheldon prepare and submit the Commission’s decision regarding the Tax Abatement Issue to the Council. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Glick.
The representative from JPI
stated for the record that they are under contract to purchase the property at
Transportation of Hazardous Material
Presenter, Charlie Doctor, ANC 6C Commissioner
Mr. Doctor stated that ANC 6C and ANC 6D were approached in the beginning by the Sierra Club when the bill was introduced back in October and the Council held hearings in January. However, nothing has happened. The bill was sponsored by Kathy Patterson, Carol Schwartz and David Catania. The bill has been in committee for some time. There was lot of testimony from CSX. Carol Schwartz has been negotiation with the Department of Homeland Security for quite some time. He showed a couple of photographs in which trains carrying various chemicals (ammonia and chlorine) were being transported through the city.
He showed the Commissioners a photograph depicting an explosion of hydra-ammonia in which with normal wind currents the phloem would go 14 miles and be about 2 miles wide and would include all of ward 6. He is trying to get the ANCs to get organized and involved in creating some attention and action on this critical issue as quickly as possible.
Commissioners Sheldon and Olson stated that the CSX trains pass within a few feet of their homes. Commissioner Sheldon stated that 4 years CSX widened the size of trains that can use the tracks by 4 feet, which means they can transport a larger variety of chemicals on the line. He further stated that the location could be a prime spot for someone to take a pot shot at one of the trains.
Commissioner Jarboe offered the following Resolution:
Whereas: Hazardous materials are routinely transported through and around Capitol Hill and ANC 6B by truck and train, creating a danger to public health and safety;
Whereas: ANC 6B, and residents of Capitol Hill, have previously expressed concerns over the transportation of hazardous material through our community; and
Whereas: Legislation is
pending before the Council of the
Be it therefore resolved that:
ANC 6B urges the quick enactment of legislation to limit the transportation of hazardous materials in and around Capitol Hill.
Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be submitted to the Mayor, all Councilmembers and that ANC 6B staff and all Commissioners are authorized to contact Councilmembers to express the support of ANC 6B for limiting the transportation of hazardous materials in and around Capitol Hill.
Commissioner Glick made a Friendly Amendment that the Resolution be submitted to the Chief of Police, Park Chief of Police, Chief of Capitol Police, Architect of Capitol and the Department of Homeland Security.
Commissioner Jarboe’s motion was seconded by Commissioner Campbell. The vote was 10-0-0 (unanimous) to support.
Mr. Doctor invited members of the Commission to join him in contact the Council in opposing the transportation of Hazardous Material in and through the City. He can be reached by phone at (202) 628-6800.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that the redesign plans have been reviewed and are at the Board and they are asking the community for comments. There is a DDOT program for the nomination of projects for Transportation Enhancement Funding, which is out of the Transportation Equity Act of the 21 Century. It is for beautification type projects. As the request of Commissioner Sheldon, he checked to see if it could be used for Sound Barriers and unfortunately the answer was no.
Commissioner Jarboe moved that the ANC submit the Eastern Market Plaza Redesign to the Office of the District Department of Transportation for possible consideration for the Transportation Enhancement Act.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wright.
Commissioner Sheldon wanted to know if any of the trees would have to be removed. Commissioner Jarboe stated that some may be removed, but that was the purpose of the redesign to make it as attractive as possible. He further stated that it would be good to make his comments regarding the trees at the hearing.
The vote was 9-0-0 (unanimous). Commissioner Glick had left the meeting.
Zoning Commission Roundtable – CBRFs in CM Zoning areas
Commissioner Jarboe announced that the Zoning Commission would hold a hearing on September 23rd to discuss the possible of expanding the use of Community Based Residential Facilities specifically, Community Correction Centers, which are large halfway houses in the CM Districts.
Mr. Henry’s – Application No. 1107, License #259, Class CR 02
Commissioner Cernich stated that Mr. Henry’s did not appear before the ABC Committee and no one objected to the renewal of their license. He further stated that he understands that Mr. Henry’s removed his placards, 3 days before he should have. ABC came out and stated that they had to start the process all over again. Therefore, he is again requesting the ANC’s support of his renewal. There was no one in the audience who opposed the renewal.
Therefore, Commissioner Cernich made the motion that the ANC not oppose the renewal of Mr. Henry’s license. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wright. The vote was 10-0-0.
EMCAC (Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee)
Commissioner Sheldon reported on the shed that it was to have been completed by August 30th. It is now scheduled to be completed by September 30th. One of the reported problems is that the steel beam was not ordered early enough. The other thing is the downspouts are not installed properly and water is not being removed properly. The contractor is currently making the necessary corrections and is paying liquidated damages, which is about $100/day. They are now looking to have the downspout problem resolved by October 30th.
The project manager of this project is not being charged damages.
Additionally, the lighting does not work and will not work until the entire shed project is completed.
Litigations – the litigation with EMV (Eastern Market Ventures) and the City has been resolved and EMV has signed a leases with is retro back to August of last year, and they have 3-year leases.
The new leases will be for 3-years with automatic renewal for 5-years.
EMV has started a dialogue with EMCAC to look at the policy development and specifically to look at outdoor vending and how that interacts. EMCAC will setup a more community based process where more input is received from the community.
The following are a few of the questions they want to answer:
What is EMCAC’s view on adding new partners to the line on Saturday?
Can we do it non-competitively? If so, how?
What about specialty farm products?
What about specialty hotbox items?
He also reported that he now has EMV’s financial statement for the last 3 months, and they are to be held in confidence. However, they have established a special committee to look at financial issues and will be looking at income and expense associated with the operation.
The Treasurer, Commissioner Jarboe reported that budget reflects that ANC is now paying for a staff person and it also reflects that the ANC does not have to pay Workman’s Compensation, which we have been paying, but should not have been because the City made the mistake. The budget also shows a little increase for certain thing like office supplies and etc. since Bert is actively working in the office. There are some funds leftover from last year’s budget for the purchase of office equipment, and this budget is authoring an addition $500.00, which is basically for a new copier. We are slightly over budget on office supplies and telephone services. The telephone increase for installing a DSL line which means we had an upfront cost, but our overall cost should decrease on a monthly basis.
The third page of the budget is the Resolution to authorize retroactively the additional expenditures of $200.00 for office supplies and $400.00 for telephone in the current fiscal year.
The budget he is proposing is for the upcoming fiscal year starting October 1, 2004.
Commissioner Jarboe moved the Budget and Resolution for additional expenditures, which was seconded by Commissioner Glick.
Commissioner Sheldon has a question regarding ANC 6D’s ability to spend $10,000.00 to have an attorney on retainer to assist on handling ANC matters. He also inquired at to how ANC 6A has a grant program that gives money away to needy organizations. Commissioner Jarboe’s response was that they do not have staff. He further stated that the ANC has been building up funds and in the future may be able to have grant programs or hire an attorney.
Chair Olson asked the Commissioners to vote on the Budget and Resolution and the vote was 10-0-0 (unanimous).
There was no further business and Commissioner Hill made the motion that the meeting be adjourned until its next meeting date of October 12, 2004. The motion was seconded, and the vote was 10 to 0.
Prepared by Bert Randolph