City Paper Widget

Monday, July 7, 2014

1820-1822 Jefferson Place: Long-delayed Expansion to Move Forward

It was seen by DC's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) in 2009 and got approval from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) in 2010, but the project to expand 1820-1822 Jefferson Place NW is only now under contract. So it was necessary for the owners to go back to HPRB for review. They also had to request that the BZA extend the special exceptions they had received for rear yard requirement and lot requirement, which had expired in May 2014.

From HPRB case document
So, attorney Cynthia Giordano of Saul Ewing LLP had to visit the June 11 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle to request a letter stating the ANC had no new objections to the project. The ANC had endorsed it several years ago.

The two addresses are actually a single conjoined office building. They were separate buildings when built 125 years ago and still have two separate entrances.

The proposal is to build a six-story (plus basement) office building to the rear of
the historic building. There will be not effort to make the addition blend into the existing structure -- it will look like a different building.  

The property today
The ANC unanimously agreed to accept the project as presented, except to agree with a recent recommendation by the Dupont Circle Conservancy that the proposed roof decks on the structures be set back.

According to BZA documents, special exceptions were granted for insufficient rear yard setback and for failure to provide sufficient parking spaces given the increase in the size of the building. Rear yard setback was granted in part with the rationale that considerations of privacy, light, and air to the neighbors to the rear were not important in this case, as the buildings to the rear are not residential. They are office buildings or buildings converted to retail uses, like nightclubs or liquor stores.

According to zoning regulations, the developers should have to provide nine parking spaces. They will only provide three. The parking exception was given on the rationale that additional parking could not be provided without substantial hardship to the developers, meaning, they would have to excavate in a small space underneath a historic structure.

See the letter that ANC2B sent to the BZA and HPRB endorsing this project here.

See the HPRB report on this project here.

The documents concerning this project's zoning application can be viewed by following this link and putting case number 18064 into the case bar.

ANC2B's Zoning, Preservation and Development (ZPD) Committee will have its regular monthly meeting tonight, July 7, 7pm, at the Dupont Circle Resource Center (9 Dupont Circle). On the agenda will be the controversial project by St. Thomas' Parish Episcopal Church (1772 Church Street) -- see most recently the SALM blog post of June 27.

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