Daily Archives: February 28, 2015
In DC the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) is an independent, quasi-judicial body. It is empowered to grant relief from the strict application of the Zoning Regulations (variances), approve certain uses of land (special exceptions), and hear appeals of actions taken by the Zoning Administrator at DCRA. Developers or property owners that are seeking variances or special exceptions to zoning are required, among other things, to inform neighbors within a 200-foot radius of their upcoming hearings and to seek support from the relevant Advisory Neighborhood Commission prior to the hearing.
Currently there is a BZA case pending concerning a C2-A zoned commercial property at 1124 – 1126 Florida Ave NE submitted by Pierce Investments (BZA case number18987). No date has been communicated for the hearing before BZA but Pierce Investments will be renovating the former garage into a five story 52-unit multifamily residential building with 8 parking spaces in the rear and 19 in the garage (27 spaces total, all accessed through the alley). Anticipated plans call for 4 – 5 affordable housing units through the Inclusionary Zoning Program. Plans do not specify the level of Area Median Income for these units. There will be a green roof to the front of the structure and HVAC equipment on the back portion of the roof. The size(s) of the proposed 52 units are not specified, nor does it indicate if these are to be rental or condominium units.
While no date has been set for the hearing on the variances or exceptions requested, TNA encourages residents to review documents and to become engaged in the process, as citizen input is important. In addition to information that may be presented in future meetings on the proposed site, documents publically available on the BZA website include architectural site plans, environmental remediation plans, maps, photos, and applicant statements.
The developer is seeking three variances from BZA as conditions present “practicable difficulties” for the developer to meet zoning requirements. The variances requests are for building height, the rear yard space, and residential loading
- The first variance requested is for height and the builder requests permission to exceed allowable height limits by 3 feet. A C2-A property can be built up to 50 feet as a matter of right but the building wishes to construct a 53-foot tall building. The proposed building will also exceed the Floor Area Ration (FAR). In C2-A the maximum is 3.0 and the builder is requesting an increase to 3.5. Reasons given include the large lot size, the unusual shape of the lot, and the need for environmental remediation from the previous use as a gas/oil station and more recently as an automotive repair garage.
- The second variance is for the minimum rear yard space. In C2-A, the requirement is 15 feet. The proposed building will be at 9 feet and 6 inches but overall area would be equivalent, given the unusual shape of the lot.
- The final variance is for the loading berth. A building with more than 50 units should provide a loading dock of 55 feet in length, a 200 square foot platform, and a 20-foot deep loading space. The developer notes that environmental conditions are such that a 30-foot loading dock is proposed instead of 55 as required.
To learn more about the building use links below. TNA will list on the website and list serve any related hearing dates or ANC meetings announced during the review process.
Links and References:
To learn more about BZA visit their website at: http://dcoz.dc.gov/bza/bza.shtm.
To search for specific cases going before BZA, go to The Interactive Zoning Information System website: http://app.dcoz.dc.gov/content/search/Search.aspx. If you do not know the specific case number, you can search by ANC area (click the ANC box in the “Search by” line and enter 5D in the “Search Term” line). This property has been assigned BZA Case Number 18987.
For additional information on DC’s Inclusionary Zoning Program, visit the website at: http://dhcd.dc.gov/service/inclusionary-zoning-affordable-housing-program.
Urban Turf article on the Pierce Investments property on Florida Avenue: http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/52_units_planned_for_site_of_auto_repair_shop_in_trinidad/9576.
To become a member of the Trinidad Neighborhood Association, visit the website at: http://trinidadneighborhood.org.