Development of 3701 New Hampshire Avenue to be Decided on December 8th

BZA 19099(Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing considering testimony on 3701 New Hampshire Avenue, NW)

Yesterday, the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) heard the case related to the development and related variance requests planned to replace the Sweet Mango Cafe building at 3701 New Hampshire Avenue. After a two hour hearing (watch here), the BZA scheduled a decision date for December 8th and asked the developers to file documents related to the following areas in response to some of the testimony and concerns expressed at the hearing:

  • The 21-unit building is planned to have three affordable units, two at 80% AMI and one at 50% AMI. The BZA requested documentation speaking to the desire by some residents for deeper affordability of the units;
  • The BZA requested more financial data to justify why a 21-unit building was necessary on this site. The implication was that the number of units translates into the number of parking spaces being sought in the variance request;
  • Responses to Exhibit 32 were specifically sought, in which concerns about the future of the Chuck Brown mural, affordability, hiring local labor, and commitment to local businesses were requested;
  • There was a statement that the developers consider the possibility of having no RPP available for the building; and,
  • The BZA wanted to see a plan for the mural.

In addition to residents opposing the development due to concerns related to parking, the Park View United Neighborhood Coalition took a position to oppose the variance request unless the building was denied participation in the RPP program and ANC 4C was split on the issue by supporting the area variance request and opposing the parking variance.

ANC 1A voted to support both variance requests which were also supported by the Office of Planning. The Department of Transportation largely supported the variances with the suggestion that the off-site parking spaces not be free to residents of the new building, but rather that residents pay for the spaces which would discourage car ownership.

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16 Comments on “Development of 3701 New Hampshire Avenue to be Decided on December 8th”

  1. Curious George Says:

    I support this development!!!

  2. K Says:

    I also support the development

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I strongly support this development. Huge improvement over the existing building/use. It’s across the street from the metro. They don’t need a parking spot for each resident. Geez.

    • Sarah Says:

      The building proposal is 21 units and the zoning required only 12. “A parking spot for each resident” is not the zoning standard and never has been.

      In this case the developer proposed zero spaces. If their residents own zero cars, this seems reasonable. Allowing them to build but keep the residents out of the RPP is sensible and won’t hurt anyone who’s going to be using metro, bike, and other non-car forms of transportation.

      I also like that they are asking that the developer actually come up with a plan for the mural and consider providing truly affordable housing. These are all good proposals and will make the project better for the community. I say: good job BZA!

      • K Says:

        My understanding is that the mural has only been there a couple years. Granted it is nice, I hardly see reason to “require a plan for the mural”. Sometimes we make things way to difficult.

      • HiItsNino Says:

        The mural is not of value. Its easily replaced, if people want one (which I don’t). Its really just a diversion and a way to be anti-development

      • OC Says:

        The best way to make housing truly affordable is to build more housing. Requiring parking minimums on a lot with an unusual shape makes it difficult or impossible to provide parking AND make more housing. Furthermore, underground spaces cost $30,000-$60,000 per space to construct, further exacerbating the cost of the housing. Finally, fighting to keep your new neighbors out of the RPP seems very un-neighborly. Current residents get subsidized street parking, but not new neighbors? I welcome new residents, even if it means I don’t get to park directly in front of my house.

      • Anonymous Says:

        As Commissioner Boese stated at the hearing, imposing RPP restrictions is bad policy. It’s not sustainable, as it amounts to nothing more than a restrictive covenant that can (and will!) be challenged by a developer down the road, and will cause a huge problem if/when the restrictions are overturned. All of a sudden, every building that has been developed with these restrictions over the years will have a mass of residents applying for parking at once, with no way to plan around it
        The developer here has proposed zero spaces because it’s physically almost impossible to offer parking on this site (if not impossible). It’s also 100 ft from the entrance to the metro and across from 7 bus routes. This isn’t a case of a greedy developer looking to maximize building footprint by asking for a parking waiver.
        Conversely, you could have 5 converted row homes into multi-unit dwellings that “create” the same amount of spaces that this building should create per code, yet we don’t scrutinize those row homes’ parking requirements. Here we have a developer trying to do a development the “right” way (i.e., not a conversion of a single family home in an otherwise residential zone), and we are going crazy over the parking issue. As Mr. Boese stated, if this building is not granted the zero parking waiver, then none in the city should.
        Lastly, this is park of the GA Ave Overlay, which, as O.P. testified at the hearing, was created with the intent of spurning more retail development on the corridor. This building is consistent with the intent of the overlay district, in that it brings more density to support retail, and contains a ground-floor retail unit.
        I would have more sympathy for nearby residents if this sort of variance were being requested on an otherwise residential street, but this is Georgia Ave., right next to a metro stop and 7 bus lines. I’m sorry, but your perceived right to easily park your car does not trump the neighborhood’s right to more development that will in turn lead to more density to support O.P.’s plan for this corridor.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    If the neighbors want to crack down on parking, how about enforcement of Maryland commuters driving in, parking and then taking the metro downtown? Or Ward 4 residents that live farther north that do the same thing? Don’t get me started about all of the double parking during church on Sunday! You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  5. brandy Says:

    I support this development. Bring it on. More condos, apartments, retail, restaurants. The area around Ga. Ave. metro should be bustling.

  6. Gentrify-u Says:

    Get rid of the mural. And while we are at it, it’s time to raze that Petworth Cafe

  7. For the life of me, I can’t understand why our commissioner unilaterally keeps supporting this development and all of its variances. He knows good and well did not care enough to knock on doors and talk to his constituents about how they feel they will be effected by this so called progress. If he did, he would know nobody supports his opinion. Very sneaky! Time for a change.

    • OC Says:

      You’re wrong on every count. It’s pretty clear that many residents who live in the area support the variance requests. Additionally, a majority of the ANC 1A commissioners support the plan, as evidenced by their vote in support, so its clearly not unilateral. Finally, if you have an issue with a plan, it’s your responsibility to speak up via letter or attendance. Why should a commissioner have to walk to your house and ask what you think?

      • Wrong on every count? I don’t think so. Many residents have a problem with the lot and parking variances. I personally walked door to door throughout my commissioner’s area and spoke with many residents about the issue, with a petition to prove their concerns are valid. His appearance at the BZA hearing does not mean a thing. Do all the ANC commissioners live within a 200-foot radius of the proposed development, and will they be effected in any way? The answer is no. Many more residents than you think have issues with the concessions we have to make for all of the condos being built. There are over 11 condos /apartments in walking distance from my house and all have been granted variances. One in particular has been grandfathered in as a result of a re-build. You may not know me and I may not know you but I am always present and I do write letters. Finally, the question is why should the ANC commissioner walk to my house, because he was voted in and that is one of his responsibilities. If I can get a newsletter, I don’t think it is much of a stretch to get a knock on the door.

  8. […] The BZA will make a decision on the requested lot coverage and exemption from parking variances on December 8th for the redevelopment of 3701 New Hampshire Avenue […]

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