The V (3557-3559 Georgia) Makes It Past BZA Process

The future "V" at 3557 Georgia (corner of Otis Pl)

The future “V” at 3557-3559 Georgia (corner of Otis Pl)

For those wondering what the outcome of the January 15, 2013, Board of Zoning Adjustment (“BZA”) hearing  on 3557-3559 Georgia Avenue (“The V”) was, I finally have that answer. BZA did not make a decision until February 12 and sent me a copy of that decision on Friday. The long and the short of it, “The V” has passed the BZA process with the support of ANC 1A, Councilmember Graham, and the Office of Planning. It can now move forward. You can also become more familiar with the project by reviewing the presentation materials from the January 9, 2013, ANC 1A meeting.

The primary concern with the application was its request to be exempt from providing parking. According to the Summary Order”

The District Department of Transportation (“DDOT”) submitted a memorandum, dated January 8, 2013, stating the Application has a negligible impact to the transportation system and that the agency had no objection to the requested variances provided that the Applicant installs a minimum of 20 bicycle parking spaces and implements the recommended transportation demand management (“TDM”) measures.

Further on in the Summary Order, the “TDM” measures were enumerated as the following:

  • A member of the property management team will be designated as the Transportation Management Coordinator (TMC). The TMC will be responsible for ensuring that information is disseminated to tenants of the building.
  • The TMC shall provide a packet of information identifying programs and incentives for encouraging retail and residential tenants to use alternative modes of transportation. The packets shall include information regarding Capital Bikeshare, ZipCar, Commuter Connections Rideshare Program, Commuter Connections Guaranteed Ride Home and Commuter Connections Pools Program.
  • Links to and shall be provided on the property management websites.
  • The Applicant shall provide at least 20 bicycle spaces in the building. Convenient and covered secure bike parking facilities shall be provided.
  • The Applicant shall provide the first occupant of each residential unit, upon closing of a sale or signing of a lease: a car sharing membership at a value of $100.00, or a Capital Bikeshare membership at a value of not less than $150.00; or a Smart Trip card at a value of not less than $200.00.
  • There shall be no permanent garbage dumpster in the rear yard.

With car sharing membership one of the options included in the TDM measures, it suggests to me that converting some of the parking meters on Otis Place for Zipcar use would make a lot of sense. When I meet with Zipcar to discuss their plans to increase service in Park View, I’ll be sure to discuss this potential location.


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22 Comments on “The V (3557-3559 Georgia) Makes It Past BZA Process”

  1. Jeff Green Says:

    Does the zoning variance/approval exclude this development from the RPP program?

    If not, residents of this building will be able to apply and receive permits.

  2. Cliff Says:

    I ride my bike to work nearly every day, but I am not a fan of this cities strategy to force everyone into bikes by making it inconvenient to own a car. When I was chair of ANC1A I had a meeting with Gabe Klien (former head of DDOT) and Harriet Trigoning (OOP) where I commented “the best way to get people to use mass transit is to make it more convenient and faster”, but Gabe Klien totally missed my point and went off talking about how they will time the street lights during certain hours to make traffic move slower.

    My take is they are intentionally making it harder and less desirable to own are car. I think they are just making it less desirable to live in the city. I don’t know how OOP feels about Mr. Kliens strategy, but they seem to be supporting it. I know he is the DDOT director in Chicago now were he is doing the same thing.

  3. Kyle Says:

    Thanks for the update, Kent, and especially the last paragraph regarding Zipcars.

  4. pvhipster Says:

    What is the time table for construction? If one is available? Also, how do those residents who live directly behind the proposed building feel about the loss of sunlight, etc.? This is great for the neighborhood but if I lived next door and lost natural light I would be a tad upset. Mainly because sunlight in a DC rowhouse is at a premium unless you live along Park Place. Any clues as to the “bodega” or diner which will be on the ground floor?

  5. JS Says:

    I don’t think refusing to subsidize parking = forcing everyone onto bikes. If you want an easily accessible parking spot, pay for one.

    • Cliff Says:

      Who said anything about subsidized parking? There are a required number of parking spaces for buildings, but developers keep getting waivers so they don’t have to build them, thus making it difficult to own a car. I have a driveway and garage, so I’m covered but I do hear all the complaints about people not being able to park. It makes it difficult for people who have lived here a long time who need the space on the street, as you add more density it will only get worse.

      • JS Says:


        It’s only difficult to own a car if you expect someone else to subsidize the cost of ownership, i.e. the city to provide you with free street parking. One of the reasons that DC is so desirable is that we refuse to give huge chunks of the city over to vehicle storage.

      • JM Says:

        I concur with Cliff on this one… living without a car is a nice idea, but there are lots of valid reasons to own a car in DC and doing so shouldn’t need to incur excess expense. We need true multi-modal transit options, and cars should be part of the mix.

      • JS Says:


        Cars are already the dominant transportation mode in DC. I’m not sure how trying to make the roads more accomodating to other uses equates to taking away the option to drive a private car. You might not be able to park directly in front of your house in the public right of way anymore, and you may have to share the road with other uses (buses, bikes, etc.) and it may take you two minutes longer to reach your destination, but you still have that option.

      • Cliff Says:


        The “free space” outside someones house is paid for by a specific impact fee, and then yearly via property taxes and car registration fees.

        Granting developers waivers is just poor planning, and an overburden to tax payers because chances are people who move into those building have buy cars.

        I agree with you that biking, walking, and metro are great options for transportation (along with cars), though.

      • JS Says:


        So property taxes fund road construction? The renters in that building will be paying the landlord’s property tax, so why shouldn’t they have the same right to park on the street? People parking their cars on the street overburdens taxpayers? I don’t see the connection.

        RPP fees (what I assume you mean by ‘specific impact fees’) are comically underpriced. For $35/year I can leave a car on the street 24/7. I’d be willing to bet a lot of money there’s not an equivalently cheap option at any other parking facility in the city. One might even say that the city is subdizing parking by keeping the RPP price so low.

  6. Cliff Says:

    JS, they should, but they are getting a special privilege that others have had to provide….thats what the waiver on the parking requirement is. Good night.

  7. neb Says:

    The developer seems to have asked for a waiver on the parking minimum requirement, that is a far cry from the city having a policy to make people not have cars (incidentally, nearly 40% of residents don’t own cars). In fact, I would like to see more developments in the area get rid of parking requirements. We can reserve space for parking on streets and the like, but we need not require every development to have parking. The costs of providing parking on this small site would have likely been very high to the number of units and that would have the non-car owners in the building likely subsidizing the car storage residents as well as driving up the overall cost of housing.

    • Chris in Eckington Says:

      Parking minimums increase the cost of housing by forcing the developers to generally provide expensive underground parking. By eliminating parking minimums they are bringing down development costs which will hopefully be passed on in the form of lower rents/sales prices.

  8. […] having made it through the BZA process in February of this year, the proposed The V planned for the vacant lot on the corner of Otis and Georgia has […]

  9. […] I’ll continue to watch the permit applications and keep folks posted when I see something concrete. If you don’t remember what was proposed for the site, I’ve included the rendering for the approved project below and you can read more from when it passed the BZA in February 2013. […]

  10. […] signage has been posted for “The V”, a mixed residential and retail project that was approved back in February 2013. According to Streetsense, which is handling leasing inquiries, (see below) the 20 unit building is […]

  11. […] appears to be preliminary work to clean up the site prior to construction of “The V” (see details here). New signage for the development was posted along Georgia Avenue at the end of November. All signs […]

  12. […] project — named the “V” — received approval from the BZA in January 2013, so its good to see this one finally get […]

  13. […] I checked in on the progress at 3557-3559 Georgia Avenue (southeast corner of Georgia and Otis) recently and am happy to report that the development still shows signs of progress. I last check at the beginning of January and found a pile driver on the site.  Now, much of the site has been excavated for the foundation and basement (see photos below). The project — named the “V” — received approval from the BZA in January 2013. […]

  14. rc helicopter stunts world Champion 2013

    The V (3557-3559 Georgia) Makes It Past BZA Process | Park View, D.C.

  15. […] review of the 2013 details of the project show that the building will have 20 new apartments along with 3,440 sf of retail space evenly split […]

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