City Paper Widget

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

1315 T Street Renovation Twice Fails to Get ANC1B Endorsement

A routine-seeming renovation and improvement on a row house at 1315 T Street NW failed not once, but twice, to obtain endorsement from Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street at their regular monthly meeting on September 5. The matter will now head to DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) and Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) without ANC comment either for or against.

1315 T Street NW
The request seemed ready for routine approval. The ANC1B Design Review Committee had, at its previous meeting, unanimously recommended the request be approved. Zahra Jilani, the ANC Commissioner for the district (12) where the house is located, had endorsed the project. (Jilani was not present at the September 5 meeting.) The homeowners had letters of support from several neighbors, including two who lived directly behind them on Wallach Place.

The problem seemed to start at the September 5 meeting when Commissioner James Turner (district 09) asked if the homeowner and his representative had met with an association of homeowners on neighboring Wallach Place.

The homeowner and representative said they had not met with Wallach Place homeowners.

A community member who resides on the 2300 block of 14th Street urged the homeowners to reach out to Wallach Place homeowners prior to getting ANC approval.

Commissioner E. Gail Anderson Holness (11) said the ANC should wait to vote until after the homeowner had met with Wallach Place residents.

Commissioner Jeremy Leffler (02) made a motion to support the homeowners' petition contingent on approval from a committee of residents of neighboring Wallach Place. It failed -- two votes (Leffler and Turner) in favor, four against, three abstentions.

If the motion had passed, the homeowners would have had six business days to attempt to find, convene, and convince the Wallach Place neighbors before their renovation is scheduled to be reviewed by the HPRB on September 24.

Google searches for the name "Wallach Place Homeowners Association" and similar variants yield no evidence that an official organization of exclusively Wallach Place residents exists.

After the first motion failed, Commissioner Tony Norman (10) made a motion to support the Design Review committee recommendation, which was to endorse the application with no stipulations. This motion also failed.

Norman is chair of both the Design Review Committee and the ANC as a whole.

Three ANC Commissioners, including Jilani, were absent from the entire meeting.

The BZA hearing on the renovation is scheduled for Tuesday, 22 October.

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