Category Archives: Development
1326 – 1330 Montello Ave NE
Most residents that have lived in Trinidad for longer than two years remember the old doctor’s office that stood on the corner of Montello Avenue NE and Oates Street NE. In 2013 the developer, IS Enterprises, began to work on the site and sought variance to build a larger structure with more residential units that are allowed on a lot of that size. They received stop work orders from the District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for illegal construction and exceeding the scope of their issued permits. They did not have a permit to raze the structure but removed all but a few below grade walls.
There are three lots that comprise the now vacant site: 1326, 1328, and 1330 Montello Ave NE. They are fenced in but neighbors at a recent ANC5D06 meeting complained of illegal dumping, access to the site by youth, full portable toilets on site, and trash piled up along the sidewalks and in the alleyway. During the past two years neighbors have worked to clean along the fence line or reported it to the city for trash and weed removal when the sidewalks became impassable.
The Washington Business Journal reported today that permits were issued to begin construction of three two-family units on the lots. No additional information is available at this time but the units should fall within the new zoning regulations (limit of 35 feet; no more than 2 units per lot or 6 total). TNA will provide updates as construction begins if there are requests for variance through the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment.
To learn more about construction issues and housing in DC, there is a consumer protection forum on housing sponsored by the Office of the Attorney General this coming Monday evening at 6:30 pm. The location is the Benning Neighborhood Library at 3935 Benning Road NE.
Zoning Update: 1609 Levis Street
The hearing for the property at 1609 Levis Street was held on September 22nd. The Board of Zoning Adjustment unanimously approved the variance (lot width) sought. Background on the variance requested is in our previous posting.
Help Shape the Future
On September 16th Gallaudet University (GU) held an open community meeting to introduce the 6th Street and new Campus Gateway design competition and to explain how community members can be involved in the Shape Gallaudet process. GU owns parcels to the north and south of the Union Market building and warehouse. Those parcels and areas inside the GU fence along 6th Street (where garages and the motor pool are located along with other maintenance/grounds keeping spaces) are to be redeveloped with mixed-use space designated for retail, creative, cultural, and university use.
While the focus is on the west side of campus, it is important for Trinidad residents to provide insights as GU works to redefine its urban edge and integrate more closely with the surrounding communities. We have opportunity to, or do, interact with the campus environment daily. We live next to, or are, current or former students or staff.
There are two ways to become involved. The first is to enter the competition with a design team. The second is to provide “ideas, inspirations, sketches, images, and videos… The finest of these will be used to inform the briefing to be given to the design teams shortlisted after the first stage.” You can find details on submitting Shape Gallaudet ideas or entering the design competition on the design competition website. The deadline for submissions is October 1, 2015. The more robust the input the more the final gateway design will reflect an open and inclusive character that integrates into the broader neighborhood.
A copy of the presentation is attached to provide additional information (Community Announcement PPT Final) and you can read the announcement here.
UPDATE: Zoning Cases on Bladensburg and Montello Ave NE
There are three updates to zoning cases for Trinidad properties that were scheduled in the September 15, 2015 hearing of the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA).
- The review of parking variance for the proposed dialysis facility on Bladensburg Road was delayed until October 20th. This is case 19004.
- Review of the parking variance for the Thornton Development property at the corner of Florida and Montello Ave NE was delayed until October 27th. This is case 19061.
- Case 19062 for parking variance on the Thornton Development property at 1112 Montello Ave NE, between Eli’s Carry Out and the alley, was reviewed and approved by BZA. Thornton Development requested exception from the width of two standard parking spaces. The 9-unit building has to have 5 parking spaces to meet requirements. Based on lot size, 5 spaces only fit if 2 spaces are sized for compact cars to save 1 foot and 3 inches of space. Interesting points of discussion from the publicly available video of the meeting include:
- DDOT did not have objection if Thornton Development also installed 3 long-term bike racks and 1 short-term bike rack. They agreed to do so.
- ANC 5D did not submit a letter or attend the hearing. The project had been discussed in previous ANC 5D06 Single Member District meetings. There was discussion on ANC 5D, the current “situation with internal conflict”, and difficulties of getting zoning cases on the Chair’s agenda. The Zoning Chair also noted that “They are having some serious issues in ANC 5D.” The discussion continued and the case was voted on without input from ANC 5D.
- There was opposition from a resident in the 1100 block of K Street NE who cited Zone 6 parking issues. He noted that he has had to park as far as three blocks from his house as Maryland residents park on their streets, clients of H Street businesses park on their streets, and the additional parking pressure coming from new condos being built on Florida Ave NE in Zone 6 and Zone 5 will exacerbate the problem. He requested that ANC 6A be consulted on this issue with DDOT and BZA and that the case be delayed until such time and then heard in conjunction with BZA Case 19061. Mr. Anthony Hood, Chair of the Zoning Commission, noted that there has never been an issue with ANC 6A weighing in on projects that border two ANCs in the past. Mr. Lloyd Jordan, BZA Chair, noted that they would continue with the hearing as scheduled. What is important to note here is that ANC 5D, when better placed to react to zoning issues in the future, should also be consulted on projects in the neighborhood across Florida Ave NE.
The transcript of the hearing and other documents related to the BZA cases can be found on the Office of Zoning website. Case numbers cited above can be used to search for documents related to these specific cases.
More Condos on Oates St NE
The Washington Business Journal lists permits for another new condo building to be built at 1157 Oates Street NE. This is a matter of right construction (no variance required from Bureau of Zoning Adjustment) by Redwood Ventures and should follow the new regulations regarding pop-ups as the permit is being issued after the changes went into effect June 2015. They will build a two-unit condominium building in the empty lot adjacent to their other project at 1159 Oates.
UPDATE: BZA Case 19051 at 1609 Levis Street NE
Mr. Richard Gbolahan and Mr. Dominic Chidozie appeared at the ANC meeting on July 14th. The Commissioners did not review application 19051 requesting a 1.3-foot variance on lot width at 1609 Levis St NE as the community was not involved in meetings with the developer to hear information and make an informed decision. The ANC did not have time to properly review and react to the request either so they did not comment on whether they would oppose or approve the application. They asked for an extension from the BZA instead so that the developer could properly conduct meetings in the community.
Mr. Gbolahan and Mr. Chidozie appeared before the Board of Zoning Adjustment on July 21, 2015 in reference to their request. Given that the ANC did not review the application and that the Affidavit of Posting was submitted two days late, the BZA did not review the application during their meeting. September 22nd was set as the new date for the BZA to hear the application for BZA Case 19051. The applicants need to reach out to neighbors and ANC prior to that date.
A video recording of the BZA Hearing can be viewed here: http://view.earthchannel.com/PlayerController.aspx?PGD=dczoning&iID=2856.
The Rumors Are True! Tasting Room Opening Next Month in Ivy City
During the TNA Social at Atlas Brew Works in June, our tour guide noted that another distillery was soon to open in Ivy City in the space above the brewery. There was little information at the time but now there are articles coming out in local publications as the date approaches for the Joseph A. Magnus Distilling Co. to open and start tours in August. One article in the Washington City Paper can be found here. Previous articles from March 2015 can be found here and here.
We look forward to adding a tour to our social outing calendar in the fall.
BZA Case 19074 at 1329 Holbrook St NE
Mr. Alexander Hastings has submitted BZA Case 19074 for special exception from rear yard setback to construct a garage at the rear of the property with a two-story addition, and connect it to the existing house with a covered walkway. The addition will house an accessory apartment. While the process to review each are the same, a special exception is to approve certain uses of land whereas a variance is requesting relief from application of zoning regulations.
The proposed construction would be 24 feet high and there will be a larger than required side yard (5 feet required; lot will have 8 feet side yard). The lot occupancy with the new construction will also be smaller than the maximum. The special exception is requested for the rear yard setback. The required is 20 feet and with the proposed construction there will be a 2 feet setback from the alley. The construction will not be out of character with the alley as there are already several garages built to the same line. There are also multi-story apartment buildings across the street so the building will not exceed houses or apartments in size. The apartment will include a parking space so there should not be impact on street parking. Documents about the case can be found on the Interactive Zoning Information System (IZIS) website.
The hearing for this case will be held on Tuesday, September 29th at 9:30 am. The public hearing will be in the Jerrily R. Kress Memorial Hearing Room, One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street NW, Suite 20 South. Prior to the hearing there should be a Single Member District (SMD) ANC 5D06 meeting with Commissioner Yvonne Buggs and Mr. Hastings to discuss the project. This will precede presentation at an ANC 5D meeting where there will be a vote on whether the ANC will support the project based on the community’s input at the SMD meeting.
Anyone that cannot attend meetings but wants to weigh in on the special exception can submit letters to the BZA for review. These can be submitted on-line. Directions for submission are on the BZA site.
Thornton Development: Board of Zoning Adjustment Cases 19061 and 19062
We have seen changes taking place on the corner of Montello and Florida Avenues as Thornton Development turns the old parking lot by Eli’s Carryout into a condo building. There is more to come to that corner and there are two cases before the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) requesting relief from zoning variances for the properties at 1106 and 1112 Montello Ave NE. Both of these properties are zoned C-2-A for mixed use commercial space and will be built to the maximum height allowed (50 feet).
Thornton Development submitted BZA Case 19061 for the lot at 1106 Montello Ave NE to request variances as they convert the two-story building into a four-story, seven-unit apartment house with renovated and reconfigured ground floor commercial space. This lot covers three addresses: 1140 Florida Ave NE, 1106 and 1108 Montello Ave NE. There are three variances and one special exception requested that the community can review and weigh in on as part of the BZA process.
- Floor Area Ration (FAR) requirements: The FAR maximum and current condition is 2.5. The proposed construction would be a 3.41 FAR, meaning a 0.91% variance
- Lot Occupancy requirements: The lot occupancy is currently 81% and the maximum allowed is 60%. Thornton is seeking to maintain the currently used 81%, for a 21% variance.
- Off-Street Parking requirements: A seven-unit building requires four parking space. Thornton Development is requesting that they do not provide any parking for the building. The variance is the four parking spaces.
- Special exception from the green area ration requirements: Reference was made to this special exception in the case summary but it was not described in the submitted documents available on-line.
Documents for this phase of the project can be found on the Interactive Zoning Information System (IZIS) website.
BZA Case 19062 relates to the building being constructed at 1112 Montello Ave NE, the former parking lot. Thornton Development is seeking variance from the size of the parking space requirements to allow the construction of a ninth dwelling unit to be included in the four-story, eight-unit apartment building. To include a ninth unit, there would need to be one additional parking space. Changing the size of the parking spaces would allow for five spaces total in the space available, 3 full-size (9’x19’) and 2 compact (8’x19’), instead of four. Documents related to this case can be found at the IZIS website.
The applications for both BZA Case 19601 and 19602 were filed on June 2, 2015 and the hearings will be held on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 9:30 am. The hearings will be in the Jerrily R. Kress Memorial Hearing Room, One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street NW, Suite 20 South. The hearings are open to the public. Prior to the hearing there should be a Single Member District (SMD) ANC 5D06 meeting with Commissioner Yvonne Buggs to discuss both projects. This will precede presentation at an ANC 5D meeting where there will be a vote on whether the ANC will support the projects based on the community’s input at the SMD meeting.
Anyone that cannot attend meetings but wants to weigh in on the two variances can submit letters to the BZA for review. These can be submitted on-line. Directions for submission are on the BZA site.
BZA Case 19051: 1609 Levis St NE
Mr. Richard Gbolahan from Colombia, MD submitted a request for variance on 1609 Levis St NE to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) in DC’s Office of Zoning. The variance requested is for lot area and width requirements to build a new three-story, single-family dwelling on an empty lot. The property is on the south side of Levis and is one of two empty lots between the back of Mudrick’s and a row of single family town houses. The lot is zoned R-4, meaning that the building must meet the new requirements outlined to limit height and size of homes in neighborhoods like Trinidad.
Documents and architectural drawings submitted to BZA can be found on the website. The applicant is requesting an area variance of 531 feet in the minimum lot area (1,269 feet is proposed for the lot as is but 1,800 feet are allowable under zoning regulations adopted since the lot was drawn). In addition, the lot is 16.67 feet but up to 18 feet are allowable under current regulations. The applicant requests 1.33 feet width variance. The Office of Planning has stated that they are in agreement with the variance as the lot is nonconforming.
The case was discussed at the recent ANC5D meeting (Tuesday, July 12th) but the ANC could not vote on the issue as there had not been a prior meeting with the Single Member District 5D07, as is standard procedure for cases where zoning variance is being sought. The hearing before BZA was originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday, July 21st. The ANC passed a motion to request a delay until the community is given the opportunity to provide feedback through the ANC. Commissioner Lee should be preparing a meeting with the SMD to receive input in the coming weeks. Please be on the look out for notices about the meeting if you are in the SMD or are a close neighbor and are interested in attending to hear from the property owner/developer.