Saga of 469 Luray Place Continues

Excavation at 469 Luray Place showing plumbing and forms for impending foundation work

During the course of this week, work has continued at 469 Luray Place even though there are some serious problems that need to be addressed. The chief issue being how much of the lot can be covered based on the occupancy standard.

After contacting DCRA, I confirmed that the project, as now designed, does not meet the maximum 40% lot occupancy standard in the applicable R-4 District for this type of structure on a corner lot. If the structure was a row dwelling or a flat, which it is not because there are not buildings on both sides, the lot occupancy standard would be 60%.

Currently, the estimated lot occupancy of the current development as designed, again according to DCRA, is 52%.  In order to go beyond the 40% limit the developer would need to have the property reviewed and approved by the Board of Zoning Adjustment. This they have not done.

DCRA has made the developer aware of the building requirements, and reports back that:

[they] understand that the applicants, now that they have been made aware that the project requires BZA approval, may re-design the project to meet the applicable maximum 40% lot occupancy standard.

Yet, work has continued with the originally planned excavation and it looks like the developer is getting ready to pour the foundation. While a permit has not been issued for the building, one was issued for the foundation on June 15, 2011.

What concerns me is that this looks like its going to be another 3577 Warder Street. It makes no sense to allow the foundation work to continue — permit or no — if the building itself has not been approved. Furthermore, if the foundation work is allowed to continue, the developer will likely argue that it would be a hardship for them to remove an already poured foundation and the BZA is more likely to grant permission. This sick cycle that circumvents the intended process of zoning requirements must stop.

The application as it currently stands is to build an addition along side of the existing single family house, extending it over to the property line abutting the side street (Warder Street), and then convert the enlarged building into a three unit apartment building.

UPDATE (9:24 am) — this just in from DCRA

Current permits are for below grade work only. If you observe any above grade construction let the DCRA’s Illegal Construction Unit, at (202) 442-STOP (7867) [or call 311 during non-business hours and you will be routed to an on-duty inspector] know immediately so a Stop Work Order can be issued.

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4 Comments on “Saga of 469 Luray Place Continues”

  1. Helder Gil Says:

    Below is an email sent this morning from the Zoning Administrator to ANC Commissioner Boese:

    I wanted to clarify that the foundation permit FD1100026 was issued subject to the following restriction:

    THE SCOPE OF WORK APPROVED BY THE ZONING DIVISION INCLUDES FOUNDATION TO GRADE CONSTRUCTION ONLY. NO USE OR BUILDING SETBACKS HAVE BEEN REVIEWED OR ARE APPROVED UNDER THIS PERMIT.

    This is printed on the permit (see attached). The applicant is proceeding with this clear direction so no walls or roof above grade is allowed and that ultimately, if above ground construction is not approved, he is left with a slab on grade only–of which he could use for something like a patio.

    Therefore, the scenario of retroactively approving a building because significant investment had already been made cannot occur here as long as above ground construction (which, again is not approved) does not proceed.

    If you observe any above grade construction let me AND the DCRA’s Illegal Construction Unit, at (202) 442-STOP (7867) [or call 311 during non-business hours and you will be routed to an on-duty inspector] know immediately so a Stop Work Order can be issued.

    Finally, you are correct that if the developer intends to cover more than the 40% of the property they must go through the BZA process.

    Regards,
    Helder Gil
    DCRA

  2. Cliff Says:

    Kent – they are doing to you exactly what they did to me when I was ANC commissioner on every project that occurred without the correct approval. They are going to allow each permit for the scope of work to inch along until its done and nothing can be done. I recommend the ANC stepping in an insisting work stop until approved, and get as many city leaders as possible to step in. DCRA is the most corrupt,inefficient branch of government in DC. I was disgusted with Argo’s leadership but horrified when it became Majett..


  3. Apparently the DC Water truck was in front of this house this evening. It’s pure speculation but maybe this had to do with the ongoing construction?

    DC Water reports a water outage at 400 Blk of Luray Pl btwn Warder St and Park Pl NW and Park Pl btwn Luray Pl and Lamont St NW. DC Water is working on (2)8″ water mains are off to make necessary repairs to the main. approx. 50 homes and 2 hydrants are affected. Restoration time is 6-8 hours.

    Sent by DC HSEMA to e-mail, cell phones….powered by Cooper Notification RSAN

    – You received this alert because you registered for AlertDC.

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