ANC 1A Votes in Support of Central Union Mission Special Exception
The Special ANC 1A Meeting held tonight at the Park View Rec Center ended in a unanimous vote by the commissioners in support of the special exception that the Central Union Mission was seeking. The next step will be for the Mission to go before the Zoning board on September 22nd.
The exception allows the Mission to develop a building over 12,000 sq. ft. on their property at the corner of Newton Place and Georgia Ave.
The meeting did have its moments. The initial concerns raised by residents centered around property values and crime. It was made clear that affordable housing was NOT the same thing as subsidized housing. Several ANC commissioners also cautioned the room that it was dangerous and inaccurate to generalize that low income equals higher crime. That wasn’t to say that there was no relationship.
The housing this project is supposed to serve is for people that can’t afford to live where they work, such as policemen, firemen, government workers, etc. One misconception was that this meant that if a family of four had a household income of $40,000, then a single person would only have to earn $10,000 to qualify. This is incorrect. It doesn’t matter if its one person, a couple, or a family, the household income remains the same since its the total of all the income sources of the household.
All in all, everyone was engaged and many good questions were asked. Representatives from the Mission and DDOT OOP (Office of Planning) were there to answer questions, and even Council Member Jim Graham attended and addressed the assembly.
In short, the outcome of the meeting is:
- The Mission will not build subsidized housing, but can not build anything better than affordable or work-force housing without bringing their non-profit status into question.
- The Mission agreed, and included as part of the application, that they will not seek to ever have a shelter on this site.
- The building they propose to build is 11 ft. shorter than currently allowed by the zoning laws and only includes 60% of the property they are allowed to develop.
- As long as the mission owns the property, it will always be affordable housing. If they are able to find a developing partner, they would only be required to have 8% affordable in perpetuity, but would likely have more. Finding a developer would allow them to include market-rate units.
- The timetable is somewhat nebulous — but within a quick parameter. If the Mission does not get all its ducks in a row by June 2010, it could lose the property through a tax sale. That’s incentive for them to move quickly. The BZA also gives them 2 years to finish, with the possibility to extend for another 2 years if there is significant progress but they are behind schedule. In order to meet these deadlines, a lot has to get off the ground soon.
A last thing to keep in mind is that it is hoped that this development, which would develop several currently vacant lots, may help jump start development on Georgia Ave. The Senior Wellness Center across the street has already broken ground and Ted Trabue’s project, The Green Room, has also been given the green light from the ANC. It is also significant to mention that since this building is entirely planned to be affordable housing, the next project proposed “could be” entirely market rate to balance out the mix of the area.Development comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.