1167 Morse Street Next on the Block for Condo Conversion
A developer is seeking special variance to convert the single family home at 1167 Morse Street NE into an apartment home with three units. The structure proposed would rise to 34 feet, just under the 35 feet allowed, but with the penthouse roof shown in plans the building would be nearly 40 feet in height. The building will also be extended back significantly but the plans do not indicate how many feet beyond the neighboring single family homes this will extend.
While the regulations are that the dormers, which are architecturally significant to the existing building, be retained the developer is seeking special variance to remove those from the roof line. This would be a break in the uniformity of buildings on the block. The developer also cites that the third story addition will not have an impact on light, air, or privacy of neighboring homes.
The application also notes that the developer would extend the chimney at the neighboring house at 1165 Morse Street. One parking space will be provided for the three units.
Trinidad residents can access all plans and documents submitted for this project on the Board of Zoning Adjustment website. The case number 19326 has been assigned to this project and will be needed to search for information or to include in any letters written to the BZA concerning this project. Details on how to submit written or oral testimony about a project can also be found on the BZA website.
To request variance the developer should appear before the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5D06 to seek input and explain the project to neighbors. They also need to appear before the full ANC 5D to present the project. Neighbors have opportunity to weigh in at these meetings, may submit written testimony about the project, and/or can attend the hearing at the BZA once a date has been set for the case to be reviewed.
Zoning Case Updates
Do you remember the ongoing development projects on Holbrook Terrace NE? There were hearing at the Board of Zoning Adjustment on May 17th. Summaries of discussions are below for those that have been following the projects.
The first is BZA Case Number 19168 at 1258 Holbrook Terrace NE for conversion to an eight-unit apartment building. The hearing has been postponed to July 12th. The Board noted that this applicant has requested extensions on 3 previous occasions as they needed more time to work through issues with neighbors and ANC. For this case hearing the applicant waited until after earlier vote on the same day to submit paperwork for extension and did not show at hearing. They noted that this will be last extension and the case will be dismissed if they fail to appear again.
The second is BZA Case Number 19173 at 1264 Holbrook Terrace NE and covers conversion to an apartment building. There have been numerous meetings with the community about this project and several hearings before the BZA. At this hearing the two sides were given time to meet as they had not finalized agreements in the time provided at the last hearing. Once the hearing started, they moved to agreement on the project.
Highlights of the agreement, many of which focused on construction management, include:
- Request to have housing accommodation for adjoining neighbor (up to 30 days at $100 per day).
- Install barriers to contain/prevent dust/debris from contaminating neighboring properties.
- Liability of damages to be spelled out with neighboring properties. This includes a walk through to assess current and unintended damages.
- The immediate neighbors’ roof will be replaced by the developer.
- There were some set back concessions for an adjoining neighbor and no windows will be placed along the adjoining property.
- The Inclusionary Zoning lower-income housing units were lost with the changes to the project, which has a smaller footprint than the one originally proposed that included 3 IZ units.
The Holbrook Terrace Alliance representative noted that special exception the developer is seeking is better for community than the by-right option that they could build. They had hired an attorney to work with the developer on the final negotiations and withdrew their party status to protest the project with concessions made by the developer.
DDOT had no objection and no one else attended the hearing in support or opposition of the project. There was some discussion on the status of the ANC and whether or not the Board could issue a final ruling without and official letter from the full 5D ANC. The Board decided to proceed with a vote for a summary order given the time to hear the case and lengths the developer has taken to work with the community to modify plans. The motion passed 4-0-1 (one member was not present).
All orders and documents on the cases can be found the BZA website.
BZA Case Update: 1264 Holbrook Terrace
On April 19th the developer of the property at 1264 Holbrook Terrace, ANC Commissioner 5D02 Keisha Shropshire, and concerned neighbors and citizens representing the Holbrook Terrace Alliance appeared before the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for a hearing on the proposed development under review (BZA Case 19173). There have been several community meetings about the proposed project and extensive negotiations between the developer and immediate neighbors. The hearing can be viewed on-line at the BZA website. There are two sections to the video. The first is prior to the late arrival of the party status group. The second lengthy section (over two hours) covers the discussion on the project.
(Photo from the BZA website documents)
The project has been significantly revised since it was first proposed and discussed with the neighborhood. After feedback from the Office of Planning and discussions with the community, the developer no longer seeks an 8-unit building but to subdivide the lot into lower density row developments that reflects the character of the street. There are two lots that would then be developed as matter of right development under the R-4 regulations (under 35 ft in height is one of the regulations, for example) and one lot requires relief to have a three-unit building (2,700 sq ft lot).
One item of note in the changes is that in the previous plans for an 8-unit building there would have been 3 inclusionary zoning units, or affordable housing units. With the new plans presented to the BZA on April 19th there will not be inclusionary zoning units as there will be fewer overall units and the developer is looking at three separate buildings instead of one larger building.
Some items requested at the end of the hearing are noted here along with new dates for a continued hearing.
Items requested by the BZA:
- The developer will submit a revised shadow study from the same angle.
- The developer is also to present clearer design plans to show that the project is a conversion to a multi unit dwelling and not a new building.
- They are also to present by right plans so that the community and BZA board can have all information for a clearer understanding of the project and its implications on neighbors. The BZA board noted that the community cannot get everything they want and if a matter of right building is constructed on the space there will likely be greater adverse impact on the community and immediate neighbors. They also noted that the neighbors will not be involved in the process nor consulted if a by right construction happens.
- Side elevations of the existing property and proposed building was also requested.
- The neighbors have been asked as a community to list and prioritize what the top priorities are for the development and to work with the developer to come up with a scenario that all can agree with or live with going forward. This list is to be shared with the developer and the BZA Board.
- Photographs that can be uploaded onto the website to show neighborhood character and existing buildings was also requested.
New dates for the continued hearing are:
May 5: The community priorities would need to be submitted to the BZA
May 10: Materials from the developer in response to the priorities would need to be submitted to the BZA
May 13: Any community responses on the new drawings would need to be submitted to the BZA
May 17: The continued hearing before the BZA
TNA will post news we have of any additional meetings leading up to the next hearing date. We hope that everyone keeps informed and stays involved in developments in our community.
Meeting Tonight re: 1264 Holbrook Terrace NE
Tonight at Trinidad Recreation Center there is a meeting about the development at 1264 Holbrook Terrace NE. Please see information below from Commissioner Shropshire.
Sending a friendly reminder about the meeting this evening with the BZA Applicant 19173 (1264 Holbrook Terrace NE) at Trinidad Rec Center at 7 pm. We are meeting with them so that they can share their proposed changes based on community feedback.
BZA Applicant 19168 will not meet with us this evening. This applicant indicated that they have interest in withdrawing their BZA application which requested special exemption for additional 4.2 feet, and they plan to renovate by right within the permissable 35 feet based on community feedback. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Keisha L Shropshire
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, 5D02
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.
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.
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.
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.