City Paper Widget

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

90-91 Blagden Alley: No Parking At All Gets a Go-Ahead

"[T]he neighborhood parking situation will quickly go from bad to much

Proposed view from M Street (from BZA files)
That's a neighbor's comment recently added to a public file of DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) concerning the development of 90-91 Blagden Alley NW. The neighbor was expressing an opinion on the probable result of a request of developers SB Urban for a zoning special exception that would allow construction of a 132-microunit residence there with no parking spaces at all.

However, a committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle decided on October 29 that it could live with no parking. ANC2F's Community Development Committee (CDC) voted 5-2 to recommend that the full ANC endorse the request for zoning relief for parking.

This is at least the second time this project has been before the CDC. At a September meeting, the CDC approved all parts of the zoning relief except for the parking special exception -- see SALM blog post of September 26. The developers then appeared before the full ANC to brief on their progress, including the commitment to invest $75,000 in a bikeshare station -- see SALM blog post of October 7. No vote was taken by the full ANC at its October meeting.

Attorney Cary Kadlecek of Goulston & Storrs once again led the team representing the developers. The package that the team presented was largely unchanged from previous visits. The group agree to put up "No Parking" signs targeted especially at delivery trucks in the alley. There will be a package delivery room on the part of the building that faces 9th Street, near a loading zone. There will be a trash room, with a trash compactor, on the part of the building facing M Street. There were promises that barrels of garbage would never sit out on M Street waiting for pickup.

The developers were "committed to keeping trash inside until the trash truck arrives", one of the presenters said.

Kadlecek also address committee concerns about moving trucks blocking local streets.

"We don't expect tenants to be using moving trucks," Kadlecek said. "It's just not realistic."

The apartments will come fully furnished and stocked with kitchenware, utensils, and other necessities, he said. The minimum lease would be 90 days, and the average duration of residency was expected to be 7-8 months. It was anticipated residents would arrive only with suitcases.

Still, some members of the committee were unconvinced, and one member of the public said: "Zero parking is a bad idea".

It seems possible ANC2F's decision may arrive too late to make any difference. This issue is on the agenda for the November meeting of the full ANC, scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, November 5, at 7pm, at the Washington Plaza Hotel (10 Thomas Circle). On the morning of the same day (i.e., tomorrow morning, 10 hours before the ANC meeting), the BZA is scheduled to have a hearing on the project, according to an October 28 posting on the BZA's website. As reported previously, Goulston & Storrs requested a postponement of the November 5 hearing after the ANC voiced concerns. But the item still appears on the BZA calendar.

A copy of the letter asking for postponement, as well as the recently-added letter containing the comment that started this story, plus other documents related to the request for various types of zoning relief, can be seen by going to the BZA's Interactive Zoning Information System and entering case number 18852 in the search bar.

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