City Paper Widget

Monday, September 8, 2014

1415 T Street: "This Is Essentially a Pop-up"

A committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle, at a meeting on September 3, heard a proposal to add an extra story on the roof of a row house at 1415 T Street NW. This was the first step on a long bureaucratic journey for the project -- after this meeting, it will be presented to the full ANC, and then to DC's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). After that, it will have to do the entire process over again -- first committee, then full ANC, before appearing before DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA).

1415 T Street
The plan is to add a penthouse and two roof decks to the top of the existing house. Architect Patrick Brian Jones told ANC2B's Zoning, Preservation and Development (ZPD) Committee called the addition a "small roof structure" and said that it would not be visible from any point on the sidewalk of T Street, because it will be set back more than 20 feet from the front of the building.

Commissioner Noah Smith (district 09) asked if the planned addition would be a condo unit. Jones said that it would be.

"This is essentially a pop up," Smith said.

"Yes," Jones said.

1415 T Street is in Smith's ANC district.

The project has a letter of support from an apartment building abutting the property to the east. This building is taller than the existing row house.

The abutting neighbors to the west are Ramon Estrada and Elwyn Ferris, who are, respectively, President of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association and Secretary of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance. Both of these groups pay close attention to development in the area.

The home owner said she had sent an email to Estrada the previous week, but had heard nothing yet. In the absence of any reply, she was considering going ahead with the process.

Members of committee told the homeowner that Estrada and Ferris would almost definitely have an opinion about the plan and advised them not to proceed any further until hearing from them.

Commissioner Smith said he would recommend that the ANC support the project, because it was not visible from the sidewalk across the street and it was not out of character for the neighborhood. However, Smith's support was conditional upon the applicants providing evidence they had consulted with all the neighbors, including Estrada and Ferris, and that there were no objections.

Presenters also told the committee that the project will need to go before the BZA because the building is presently "non-conforming" (i.e., in violation of zoning code) with regard to lot occupancy, meaning the footprint of the building is larger than that envisioned by zoning regulations.

This case may be considered at the next meeting of ANC2B, scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 10, at the Brookings Institution (1775 Massachusetts Avenue).

The project needs to go before the HPRB because it is located in the U Street Historic District. The HPRB case number is 14-633. It is scheduled to be heard by the HPRB within the next month.

1415 T Street has a placard from the HPRB on its front door, notifying the public of the proposed project. This is the first time I have seen HPRB placarding in ANC2B. Read more about placarding for historical preservation projects here and here.

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