City Paper Widget

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

14th & Wallach: +60 Apartments, 9 Parking Spaces, 5 Zoning Reliefs

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1B/U Street will soon act on multiple zoning relief requests for a new multi-story, mixed-use building to be situated on the northeast corner of Wallach Place and 14th Streets NW. ANC1B Design Review Committee heard an initial presentation by the developer at its regular monthly meeting, held on Monday, August 19, at the Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th Street NW.


How the Building Will Look
Wallach Place and 14th Now
Developers Madison Investments and PGN Architects told the committee that there will be only nine parking spaces for more than 60 apartments. To go ahead with so little parking will require special permission, or "relief", from DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). Under current rules, a developer might be required to provide more than 25 parking spaces. However, there are plans to change DC's zoning rules to eliminate this requirement as part of a major rewrite.

Sia Madani of Madison Investments told the committee that tenants are less likely to want a car, and more likely to require bike parking.

Some discussion at the meeting centered on requiring that tenants agree not to apply for a residential parking permit, perhaps as a term of their lease. No request was made by ANC1B to require this, and the developer did not offer to do so.

This is the second major proposed development near 14th Street in the last few months to have very little parking planned and to discuss the possibility of requiring tenants to pledge not to apply for a residential parking permit. At a recent ANC2F meeting, there was some discussion about whether such a requirement would be enforceable or even legal.

Other zoning relief

The building will require five separate zoning reliefs. Among other issues that will require zoning relief are building setback, total space usage, and the location and design of the loading dock.

The building setback as currently designed meets setback requirements in most respects, the developers said, except for one upper floor.

The loading dock was a matter of long discussion at the meeting. It might face 14th Street and present an impediment to vehicular and bicycle traffic.

The building height will exceed 100 feet, but will not require zoning relief. It will have retail space on the ground and second floors. Above that, there will be more than 60 new apartments (down from an initial plan of 75 smaller apartments), averaging about 600-650 square feet each. Thirty percent of these will be efficiency apartments, 50 percent one-bedrooms, and 20 percent two-bedrooms.

The developers told the committee that they plan rental units, not condos, and they are planning to be the long-term owners of the building.

"We are not looking to flip," Sia Madani said.

Next Steps

The presenters pledged additional community consultation. They said they had already consulted homeowners on Wallach Place, who were concerned about what type of retail establishments might inhabit the first two floors. A Wallach Place resident said the residents favored, for example, a hardware store, rather than a restaurant or a bar, in the building.

The developers will make an official presentation at next month's meeting of ANC1B's Design Review Committee. The meeting is scheduled for September 23 at 6:30pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center. At that time, the committee will vote on whether to recommend that the full ANC support the multiple zoning relief requests.

The full ANC will then vote on the matter, probably at its following meeting, scheduled for October 3 at 7pm at the Reeves Center (U and 14th Streets).

Both meetings are open to the public.

ANC Commissioners present at the meeting were Design Review Committee Chair Tony Norman and Zahra Jilani. Norman is the Commissioner from district 09, and is also the chair of ANC1B as a whole. Jilani is the Commissioner for district 12, in which the planned building is located.

UrbanTurf has also written about this meeting.

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU, SALM, for the work you've been doing in covering these meetings and community developments. Esp since the beloved Borderstan exited, your work here is very important. Thank You.