Is the Hebrew Home Redevelopment Project Still On? You Betcha!

Posted January 18, 2019 by Kent
Categories: Development, Historic Landmarks, Housing

Tags: , ,


(Bird’s Eye View of Hebrew Home project from 10th and Spring Rd., NW.)

I’ve had a number of people ask lately if the Hebrew Home project at 1125 Spring Road is still going forward due to the site being quiet for the last several month. The answer is yes!

Here is what the Victory Housing and Brinshore Development team have been doing to get the project shovel ready. They are currently in underwriting with the Department of Housing and Community Development for the historic senior building and have passed the threshold (meaning they are going to underwriting) for the new family development . The property has been subdivided and they’re going through all the normal details required for predevelopment with the lenders/financers/engineering, etc.

As a recap, the plans for the historic Hebrew Home building were approved by the HPRB in January 2018, following Victory Housing and Brinshore being awarded the project in August 2017.

When completed, the development will include the creation of 187 residential units through a mix of townhomes and apartments. The project will include the creation of 88 units of affordable housing for seniors at or below 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI) through the adaptive preservation of the historic Hebrew Home building as well as the creation of 62 units of affordable housing in a newly constructed building at the current site of the Paul Robeson School.

 

Pepco Meets with Community to Discuss Harvard Disstribution Project

Posted January 16, 2019 by Kent
Categories: Pepco, Restoration repair and maintenance

Tags: , ,

Travoris Culpepper, Pepco’s Public Affairs Manager, sharing information and taking questions.

As part of Pepco’s larger efforts to increase service and reliability to the District’s electrical system, Pepco began the Harvard Distribution Project in October of 2018 to provide load shedding to the Ft. Slocum Substation as well as preliminary work to upgrade the Harvard Substation. Thus far, construction has primarily been along W Street, NW, between 13th and 10th Streets. Much of this work has been done and construction should be completed on W Street by the end of January 2019 (weather permitting). While this all sounds good, the construction on W Street has been extremely disruptive, with residents along the project describing extreme noise and vibrations causing cracks in their home’s plaster and mortar. These concerns resulted in Pepco hosting a community meeting on January 15, 2019, to provide an overview of the project’s timeline, address concerns, and  provide a general idea of what to expect in the coming months and years.

In response to feedback Pepco received concerning the work along W Street, NW, Pepco stated it heard the residents loud and clear. They will work with their crews to address noise as much as possible. They confirmed that most of the digging along W Street is completed, but that there are still steel plates in use. To dampen sound, they have begun putting wood chips beneath the plates. As Pepco moves forward, they will also consider excavating smaller sections when they have to cut into the existing pavement.

For the Harvard Distribution Project, the basic timeline, route of construction, and how they are parsed by section can be seen in the illustration below. Construction began on W Street in October 2018, and the project will run through Summer 2019 — impacting Sherman Avenue, Girard Street, 10th Street, and Harvard Street.

All in all, Pepco crews will be installing nearly 8,500 ft. of conduit and 21 manholes along the route illustrated above. Residents along the route can expect:

  • Trenching and temporary steel plates;
  • Installation of duct banks and manholes; and,
  • Installation of cable.

The project will also be used, as part of the Capital Grid Project, to supply the Harvard Substation load in advance of the substation rebuild. Set details about the Capital Grid Project’s timelines were not available at the meeting due to the case still being under review by the Public Service Commission. That said, Pepco thinks the timeline for the Harvard Substation rebuild/replacement will be similar to what is shared below, with demolition happening perhaps by the end of this year, construction in 2020, and completed in either 2020 or 2021.

One significant point that was raised by Darren Jones of the Pleasant Plains Civic Association at the meeting was the concern about power outages. Pepco addressed the need to cut electrical service when the new cables and substation are eventually brought online. Pepco representatives were unable to estimate when the power would need to be disrupted, or even for how many people, but stated that once the Public Service Commission has finished with their review and they have a better idea on that aspect of the project, they would be able to better calculate when the outage will occur and what the size of the area will be. Generally, a planned outage will occur overnight beginning around 11pm and last for 4-6 hours. Scheduled outages are necessary when new cables are hooked up and will be necessary when a rebuilt Harvard Substation is completed and connected to the system.

Pepco restated their commitment to work with the community and provide notice to households that they expect will be impacted. Jennifer Kuiper of the Lower Georgia Avenue Main Streets specifically addressed how service disruptions can severely impact small businesses like the ones on Georgia Avenue and requested that Pepco meet separately with small business owners to help ensure that their concerns are heard and needs met. Pepco stated they would definitely do this.

More information will be forthcoming once the Public Service Commission has finished their review of the Capital Grid Project. For now, it looks like most of the construction will be south of Columbia Road and predominately on Sherman Avenue.

Police District Changes Take Effect

Posted January 10, 2019 by Kent
Categories: MPD, Public Safety

Tags: ,

At last night’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A meeting, Fourth District Captain Sean Conboy — who is new to the Fourth District — briefly discussed the changes to the Third and Fourth Police Districts announced last month and informed the assembly that they take effect today, on January 10th. He also stated that no staffing changes are being made right now, so essentially the same manpower will now be focused in the same PSA geographic areas (though those area’s boundaries have changed). The Mount Pleasant neighborhood moved to the Third District.

To assist with what areas are impacted and what the Police Service Areas boundaries are, refer to the two maps below. You can also find contact information for officers on the Fourth District Roster, available here.

New District Boundaries

New PSA Boundaries

NSO at Colony Club This Saturday, January 12th

Posted January 8, 2019 by Kent
Categories: Art, Music

Tags: ,

In 2019 NSO in Your Neighborhood returns to Georgia Avenue.

For 2019, NSO In Your Neighborhood returns to the neighborhoods of Ward 1. All events are free and open to the public. Seating is limited to the capacity of each venue and available on a first-come, first served basis unless otherwise noted. A full listing of venues and more information is available here.

Of particular interest, NSO will be at our very own Colony Club on Saturday, January 12th in their Community Concert format. Additional details are below:

1–2 PM & 2–3 PM • Colony Club • 3118 Georgia Ave., NW

Sip a beverage as NSO musicians Alexandra Osborne (violin) and Rachel Young (cello) perform solos and duets from 1-2 pm. Beginning at 2pm, join bassist Paul DeNola and violinist Heather LeDoux Green upstairs for a family-friendly performance as they introduce young audiences to some of the greatest music ever written. You’ll never hear a word out of them during the concert, but with instruments in hand and a trunk full of gags, this “silent” comedic tag-team presents a hilarious program of music and mayhem.

 

729 Princeton Place Gets Permits, Potentially Ending 3+ Years of Vacant and Blighted Conditions.

Posted January 2, 2019 by Kent
Categories: Architecture, Development, Housing

Tags: ,

The days living with the vacant and blighted rowhouse at 729 Princeton Place appear to be coming to an end. With a new owner, a new design, and newly approved building permits, the property looks like a go for being completed and back in productive use soon.

As nearby residents may recall, the issue dates to the Spring of 2015 when the then owner constructed a third story addition with no permits to do so (either filed or issued). Making the issue more complicated, construction began days prior to changes in the Zoning Law that would require the as-built addition to require a Special Acceptation and Board of Zoning Adjustment approval. Rather than apply for the appropriate building permit or file a BZA case to seek approval, the owner repeatedly continued to work in violation of DCRA’s Stop Work Orders. Ultimately, this created an impasse leading to the current state the building is in today.

729 Princeton Place as of January 2019.

Now it appears that the days of seeing this property vacant and blighted may be coming to an end. In June, 2018, the property was sold to a new owner. Unlike the previous owner, they have found a solution that will rebuild the third story in a way that is compliant with ZR-16 and will not require a BZA Special Exception (NOTE: the previous owner could have gone this route as well).

According to the plans shared with me and the language in the DCRA PIVS system, the new design conforms to the 35′ height allowed by right, restores a section of the original roof, and allows for the property to be converted into two living units. The third story as currently constructed is higher than the 35′ limit.

The new permit was approved on December 19, 2018, and scope of work is described as follows:

EXPEDITION REVIEW

Complete interior remodel to existing 3 story structure.  Rebuild existing third story addition to comply with zoning and building code requirements.  New rear 3 story addition.  Conversion to a two-family flat.  All new electrical, mechanical, and plumbing.  Exterior work to also include landscaping + new parking pad off alley.

… and here is the newly proposed plan for the building.

Newly proposed elevations for 729 Princeton that comply with ZR-16.

DDOT Planning to Establish No-Right-On-Red at 101 DC Intersections

Posted December 31, 2018 by Kent
Categories: DDOT, Streets and Trees, traffic, Transportation

Tags: , , ,

On December 21st, the District Department of Transportation notified Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners across Washington that they plan to establish No-Turn-on-Red restrictions at 101 signalized intersections across the city. These intersections were identified based on factors and criteria identified in the federally mandated Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the DC Municipal Regulations, which identify factors including an intersection’s complexity, level of pedestrian activity, potential for significant conflicts, and crash history, to name a few.

Intersection of New Hampshire Avenue, Georgia Avenue, and Rock Creek Church Road, NW

In reviewing the list of intersection where DDOT intends to make this change, the areas in and closest to Park View include the following signaled intersections:

  • Georgia Ave., New Hampshire Ave., & Rock Creek Church Rd.
  • Georgia Ave. & Otis Place
  • Georgia Ave. & Randloph St.
  • 14th St. & Columbia Rd.
  • 13th St. & Kenyon St.
  • 14th St. & Kenyon St.

Drivers will want to pay attention to all impacted intersections, though, as intersections further away from the area also will have an impact. I’ve mapped out the impacted intersections based on the DDOT list as many may find the information in map form more useful.

Overall, I like the directly DDOT is going with this as it has been my observation that many who turn right on red are more focused on seeing if the coast is clear of oncoming traffic and not always paying attention to pedestrians and others who are in crosswalks they are turning onto.

That said, I hope DDOT will use this opportunity to evaluate if a better city-wide policy is needed. I’m not entirely convinced that drivers will be able to remember which intersections will allow and which will deny them the opportunity to turn right-on-red. I’m equally doubtful that there is a solid plan for enforcement. For example, the intersection of Georgia Avenue, New Hampshire Avenue, and Rock Creek Church Road already does not allow left-turns at any time and signs are clearly posted — yet I have seen drivers do this with no consequences beyond drivers behind them using their horns and expressing anger as they pass by.

Intersection of Georgia Avenue and Otis Place, NW

 

Holiday Lighting Event Scheduled for Park View/Petworth This Friday on Georgia Avenue

Posted December 4, 2018 by Kent
Categories: Holiday decorations

Tags: , , ,

Last Friday, District Bridges hosted their annual tree lighting at the Columbia Heights plaza. This year, as part of their effort with the Georgia Avenue Main Street, they will be hosting an event on Georgia Avenue (see flyer to the right).

This Friday, December 7th, a holiday lighting event is schedule for Georgia Avenue. The event will begin at 6:30 pm and is at the corner of Rock Creek Church Rd and New Hampshire Avenue, outside the old Sweet Mango.

Last night I caught up briefly with District Bridges’ Jennifer Kuiper who was with volunteers from Howard University wrapping up a day decorating the building in advance of Friday. The photos below give an idea of what to expect.

Jennifer Kuiper going over logistics with a Howard University volunteer.

The old Sweet Mango decked out for the holidays.


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