City Paper Widget

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

1324 W Street: Single-family House to 4 "Probably Condos"

The Design Review Committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street has heard a proposal to turn a single-family house at 1324 W Street NW into a four-unit residence. The presentation took place at the Design Review Committee's regular monthly meeting on November 18.

1324 W Street was built in the mid 1890's.
Jim Shetler of Baltimore-based Trace Architects made the presentation, in search of ANC approval before he takes his project before D.C.'s Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for a concept review. Trace Architects must seek HPRB approval because 1324 W Street is in the U Street Historic District. In addition, the project will need review by D.C.'s Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA).

Not so fast

"The clients are going to be in a hurry," Shetler said.

The clients are going to be disappointed. Design Review Committee Chair Tony Norman (Commissioner for district 10) told Shetler he was going to call HPRB to request the hearing on the project be postponed six weeks, until late January 2014.

Shetler had plainly stated there had been no attempt to contact nearby residents or groups.

"We need to notice it," Norman said, meaning the ANC had to inform the community that the Design Review Committee, and later the full ANC, would have public meetings about the presentation.

"The neighbors were not informed," Norman said. Norman then suggested Shetler start by speaking to the U Street Neighborhood Association, who had a representative in the room.

The proposal 

The house would be converted into four units, Shetler said. They would be "probably condos".

The view of the red-brick rowhouse would remain the same from W Street, but an addition would be added to the rear of the building. From the rear, the new addition of the second and third floors, and a new fourth floor, would be visible. The walls would be made of fiber cement panels with metal-clad wood windows and doors. There would be decking in the rear, supported by steel tube columns and protected by a wire mesh guardrail. There would be a top floor roof deck.

The ground floor would be excavated and a portion of the cellar would be removed to create two parking spaces. Parked cars would be partially protected by the ground floor deck.

In response to committee questioning, Shetler said HPRB recommendations included lowering the height of the proposed addition, reducing the depth of the balconies, and using alternate cladding.

"Have you decided to do those changes?" Norman asked.

"The only issue is the height," Shetler responded.

Norman said the proposal could be considered again at the next meeting of the Design Review Committee, which is scheduled for Monday evening, December 16, at 6:30pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street).

Norman is also the chair of ANC1B as a whole.

See a two-page .pdf document containing HPRB's staff report on the proposed renovation here.

1324 W Street was sold in July 2013 for $1.15 million, according to online records.

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