Redevelopment of Park Road Church Property Gets Board of Zoning Adjustment Support

Posted July 23, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Architecture, Development, Housing, Zoning

Tags: , ,

Perspective 1 625 Park Road(Rendering by Arcadia Design)

Yesterday, July 22nd, the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) considered the zoning variances requested to redevelop the former New Community Baptist Church property located at 625 Park Road while incorporating the historic church structure. After hearing testimony from the applicant, the Office of Planning (which opposed the relief), representatives from Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A (supporting of the project), and residents the BZA voted unanimously to support the BZA application. This is a significant step forward for this development. Prior to the BZA hearing, ANC 1A voted unanimously at its July meeting to support the project. (You can read a related post on UrbanTurf).

The core issue related to this property has been to balance the competing needs of preserving the historic church with the desire to add density and more housing to the area. The plan as approved achieves this, as the new building along with adaptively reusing the former church will create a 38-unit development (the ANC had previously considered and supported a 41-unit project).

Since first presented to ANC 1A, the front of the building has been set back a few more feet, the third level is now in line with neighboring rowhouses, and the three units along Park Road will now have individual entrances facing the street. As the church structure is set back from the street, this also creates a grassy court that otherwise would not exist. (Those interested in watching the BZA hearing can do so at this link).

The redevelopment of 625 Park Road will significantly help revitalize that section of the community.

Perspective 2 625 Park Road(Rendering by Arcadia Design)

Park View Rec Center Helps Feed Hungry Children During Summer Months

Posted July 22, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Children

Tags: , ,

Hunger2-1024x682(Eight-year-old Chalyn Wright enjoys lunch with her friends at Park View Rec Center. Photo by Margaret Myers/NewsHour)

Thanks to a neighbor who brought this to my attention, I’m sharing a PBS Newshour article that was published on July 16th titled Why summer is the hungriest season for some U.S. kids.  The article focuses on children who rely on free and reduced-price meals when school is in session and how the summer — when schools aren’t in session — become a time of great risk for many of these children in terms of hunger.

According to the article, “this year the problem is expected to be particularly severe after recent reductions in the Food Stamp program in late 2013 left many families skipping meals or buying low-cost junk food at the grocery store to make up the difference.”

To assist hungry children during the summer months, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation manages more than 200 feeding sites throughout Washington, including the one at the Park View Recreation Center. These sites offer free, healthy meals between June and August.

I’m happy to see that our Rec Center is participating in such an important and meaningful manner to the future of so many local children. I encourage folks to read the full article to learn more about this program and see more photos of it in action at Park View Rec Center.


Candidates Still Needed in Many Advisory Neighborhood Commission Races

Posted July 21, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Elections

Tags: , , ,

As of today, Monday July 21st, there are 16 days left for those interested in picking up and returning nominating petitions to run for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs). The deadline to turn in petitions is Wednesday, August 6th.

After the first 10 days, 240 candidates had picked up petitions to put their names on the November Advisory Neighborhood Commission ballot.  Of those picking up petitions so far, the number is split almost equally between incumbents (121) and “non-incumbents” (119).  Four ANCs (2C, 5B, 7C, and 8A) have candidates for all of their Single Member District (SMD) races.  However, a little more than one-third of all the SMDs (109) do not yet have a candidate. If you have ever considered being involved in your community by serving on an ANC, this is a good time to check with the Board of Elections to see if  your community needs a candidate come November.

Thus far, within Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A, 9 potential candidates have picked up petitions to run for seats in 7 of the 12 SMD races. This leaves 5 SMDs with no potential candidates thus far. You can see the names of potential candidates and the SMDs they are interested in as of close of business on Thursday, July 17th, below:

ANC 1A candidates as of July 17

In reviewing the list of interested candidates for ANC 1A, I noticed that the areas in most need of candidates are largely west of 14th Street and/or in the southwest section of the Commission area (see map below). Two of the races — SMD 1A08 and SMD 1A09 — show multiple potential candidates. However, until nominating petitions have been successfully circulated and turned in to the Board of Elections we won’t know who the final list of candidates will be.

If you know of anyone who has ever expressed an interest in serving on the ANC — especially someone living in the areas shaded in blue below — this would be a great time to encourage them to pull petitions and get on the ballot for the November elections.
ANC 1A map July 20 election(As of close of business on July 17th, no candidates had expressed interest in running for the Single Member Districts shaded in light blue).


Update on 625 Park Road Project (Former New Commandment Baptist Church)

Posted July 18, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Architecture, Historic Landmarks, History, Housing

Tags: , , ,

A lot has been happening on moving the redevelopment of the church property on Park Road along lately. Since the last time I posted about this in June, the Historic Preservation Review Board has considered the landmark nomination (staff report here) and voted unanimously to add the building to the inventory of historic structures at their June 26th meeting. In saving the building and adding it to the redevelopment mix, this triggered a request by the owner for some zoning variances, which ANC 1A considered at their July meeting and voted to support unanimously.

The next steps will be for the Board of Zoning Adjustment to consider the variance requests and the and the Historic Preservation Review Board to review the proposed design, both of which are scheduled for the week of July 21st. Should everything remain on track, the path will be clear for building permits to be issues and the project to move forward. When completed, the new building will include as many as 31 living units.

I’ll post a follow up after the BZA and HPRB meetings next week. You can review the overall plan being considered here.

McMillan Reservoir’s Circulating Conduit Building

Posted July 17, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Architecture

Circulating Conduit Building in the McMillan Reservoir.

Circulating Conduit Building in the McMillan Reservoir.

I’ve renewed an interest in Washington’s water infrastructure, which I’ll write about in the future.  But before I do, I wanted to revisit the small brick building in the middle of the north end of McMillan Reservoir, which I’ve learned is the circulating conduit building.

It was designed in 1904 and is designed — like many of the other buildings at McMillan — in the  Georgian Revival-style. The building  is only accessible by boat.

Typical of the other period buildings at McMillan Reservoir, the Circulating Conduit features Flemish bond brick walls, hipped roofs with brick corbelling, and orange-red interlocking terrace cotta roofing tiles. The building rests on an arch of concrete over the pipes which debouch water into the basin at this point.

A concrete conduit along the basin floor extends from the East Shaft Gatehouse — located at the southwestern end of the reservoir — to the Circulating Conduit Structure. This ensures that the water entering the reservoir enters at the western end of the reservoir and is subject to the maximum setting time before being pumped up to the filter beds at the eastern end of the reservoir.

The other structure in the reservoir is a cylindrical turreted structure located over Smith Springs, an important early source of water for the city.  You can read more about Smith Springs at this earlier post.

Circulating conduit(Circulating Conduit building in foreground, with the Smith Springs turret in the distance).

1895 Loeffler Sausage Advertisement

Posted July 16, 2014 by Kent
Categories: History

Tags: , ,

Here’s a nice old ad from 1895 for Andrew Loeffler, manufacturer of sausages. The ad clearly shows that Loeffler sold his provisions locally at the Centre Market, Northern Liberty Market, O Street Market, and the Western Market. I also like that it notes his residence was on Seventh Street Road.

I’ve posted a brief history of Loefflers Sausage and Provision company before, which was located roughly on the southwest corner of today’s Georgia Avenue and Quincy Street — just across the street from the Georgia Avenue Metro station.

Andrew Loeffler

Introducing Ward 1′s New Community Planner — Joshua Silver

Posted July 15, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Office of Planning

Tags: ,
Josh Silver, the Office of Planning's new Community Planner for Ward 1

Josh Silver, the Office of Planning’s new Community Planner for Ward 1, at the GACDTF meeting.

Since the departure of Tarek Bolden from the Office of Planning last year, Ward 1 has been without a permanent Community Planner. That changed on June 2, 2014, when Josh Silver was hired to take on the roll. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to meet Mr. Silver twice. Not only did he attend and introduce himself at the July 14th Georgia Avenue Community Task Force meeting, but he also joined me on a walk through the Park View community on Saturday morning, July 12th. We walked a good amount of the neighborhood and Josh took several notes on his observations of our planning challenges.

My initial impression is very favorable. While his background is impressive, what I like most is how engaged he is. Much of the outreach he has done so far has been self-initiated. With just over a month in the role, he has already done a significant amount of outreach and values communication and accessibility, meaning he is approachable and interested in partnering with the community on our planning challenges.

As you can read from his bio posted on the Office of Planning Web site and below, I’m also encouraged by his experience with historic preservation.

Bio from the OP Web site:

Mr. Silver comes to the DC Office of Planning from the Montgomery County Planning Department of the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission, where he worked for seven years in the Historic Preservation Section. His work at the planning department focused on historic preservation, design review analysis, and land use planning. Mr. Silver holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University at Albany, State University of New York. Mr. Silver is a District resident and looks forward to serving the residents of Ward 1 and commuting to work by bicycle.

I’m looking forward to working with Josh in the coming year — especially as the District’s Comprehensive Plan is revisited next year.


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