City Paper Widget

Monday, April 21, 2014

1248 Fairmont Street: Curb Cut Helps Turn Single-Family House to Five Units

1248 Fairmont Street NW is being converted from a single-family home to five units by an addition to the rear. If you are a neighbor and stand to lose sunlight and air from the rear expansion of this house, you still have a chance to make your displeasure known. There is a meeting of the Design Review Committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street scheduled for 6:30pm tonight (Monday, April 21) at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street). The developers converting the property have said they will be there.

As seen from Fairmont Street (Google Street View)
This conversion is a "matter of right", which means that the developers do not have to ask for zoning variances or special exceptions from the D.C. government. A publicly-available letter from D.C. Zoning Administrator Matt LeGrant (.pdf here) confirms no zoning variances or special exceptions are necessary. Nevertheless, the developer told the Transportation Committee of ANC1B on April 17 they would be at the Design Review Committee. They will probably present to the committee as a matter of courtesy.

A representative of the developers of 1248 Fairmont Street NW appeared before the Transportation Committee to ask for ANC1B endorsement of a curb cut. The curb cut is necessary to provide access to the two parking spaces that the zoning will require for the five units. The developers received a conditional endorsement of the curb cut. Now their request moves to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) for final approval.

The building is on the southeast corner of Fairmont and 13th Streets. The proposed curb cut will be on the Fairmont Street side, about 85 feet from the corner of 13th. It will provide access to a two-car covered garage. The representative said LeGrant told him surface parking would not be permitted -- only garage parking.

The curb cut will remove one on-street parking space.

Members of the committee asked if more than two spaces for the five units were possible. The developers' representative said it was not.

How happy are the neighbors?

Commissioner Ricardo Reinoso (district 05) asked if the developers had been in touch with ANC Commissioner for the district Sedrick Muhammed (district 03). The developers had not.

Reinoso also asked the representative if he had been in touch with the neighbors. The representative said he had been in touch with abutting neighbors only. He did not report any complaints from the abutting neighbors.

A person who says "[m]y townhouse is connected to 1248 Fairmont Street", in a March 3 post in a forum of the blog Popville, said that the proposed development will block views and sunlight. The neighbor wished to discuss the situation with the developer. The neighbor, identified on Popville by the user name "comerte", also said he/she could not find contact information about the developer online.

(Google searches for the developer on April 18, 2014, yielded addresses, but no phone number or email.)

It is possible that, in the time between the March 3 Popville post and the April 17 Transportation Committee meeting, all the parties met and came to a mutually satisfactory arrangement.

Other details about the project

The additions are all on the rear of the building.

"The building will look as it is," the representative said. "It will look like it was built in the early 1900s."

The architect is Jennifer Fowler of Fowler Architects.

Plans for the renovation are available online -- six-page .pdf here. In addition to the garage, more basement space will be dug underneath the existing ground-floor patio. Two additional floors will be added over the rear part of the existing house and the proposed garage. The roof of the addition will have a deck. The total square footage of the house will increase from about 3,800 square feet to nearly 6,900 square feet.

On-line information says this house was sold in December 2103 for $990,000.

About the parking

The Transportation Committee was concerned that the placement of the curb cut was too close to the property line. It voted to recommend that the full ANC endorse the request to DDOT for a curb cut, on the condition that it be moved a few feet off the property line to allow optimal street parking. The vote was two in favor and one abstention.

1 comment:

  1. Enough already with the condo conversions!