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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).

  1. The review of parking variance for the proposed dialysis facility on Bladensburg Road was delayed until October 20th. This is case 19004.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Thornton Development: Board of Zoning Adjustment Cases 19061 and 19062

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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.

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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