Update on 3701 New Hampshire Development

Proposed 21-unit building at 3701 New Hampshire Ave, NW.

Proposed 21-unit building at 3701 New Hampshire Ave, NW.

Yesterday, the post-hearing statement for the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) case related to the redevelopment of the former Sweet Mango property was filed (read in full here). 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 NW.

While there were several concerns expressed by those testifying in opposition the the new 21-unit building, the chief concern boiled down to parking and its impact on the surrounding residential blocks. In response to this, the developer is agreeing to restrict residents in the building from participating in the RPP program. The language from the filing is as follows:

The Applicant considered the Board’s request and further studied public comments related to providing an RPP Restriction in the Project. Based upon this, the Applicant is agreeing to restrict application for Residential Parking Permits, although tis transportation consultant found that the Project’s Transporation Demand Management Plan (“TDMP”) is sufficiently robust to address the parking and traffic mitigation concerns on its own and DDOT confirmed the robustness of the TDMP and the Hearing … (although the Applicant believes there will be a chilling effect on the marketability of the Project as a result).

With regards to the requests to relocate the mural, provide additional affordable housing, and local hiring and local retail tenant placement. The statement continues that “such items are typically found in public benefit and amenities packages in Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) applications … and are not applicable to a BZA variance case.” This being the case, the developer restates their commitment to recreating the mural, that they are providing more affordable units than required by law, and is committed to not leasing the retail space to a convenience store.

The case will be decided on December 8th.


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14 Comments on “Update on 3701 New Hampshire Development”

  1. JS Says:

    The reason that parking issues exist on the surrounding blocks is due to the fact that Ward 4 RPP residents use Rock Creek Church Rd, 8th St NW, Quincy, etc. as free park and ride lots for the Petworth Metro. As a former resident of RCC, I witnessed this on a daily basis. Furthermore, as Ken previously pointed out, many, many homes on the surrounding blocks have under utilized rear parking pads. I don’t see why development should be halted just because some nearby residents don’t want to park at the rear of their residences.

    • Chris Says:

      Sounds like this one will be going through, just without the residents ability to have a zoned RPP sticker, although I’d like to see some clarification as to what they mean by “restrict”.

      • Anonymous Says:

        I don’t understand nor sympathize with the parking. its across the street from the freaking metro. Give me a break. Agree that people using the Petworth metro as a “park n ride” is 100% true. I see it every day as well. However, if s Brightwood resident has a Ward 4 parking permit, then technically it’s legal. Maybe that needs to be changed. This whole parking this is still over blown. People use it as a means to an end to stop any and all development. Has ANC Commisioner Timothy Jones ever supported one development along Georgia?! Georgia Ave would be a barren wasteland if it were up to him.

  2. Sarah Says:

    If the developer is concerned that the won’t be able to market apartments without parking access, they clearly believe a large number of residents will own cars. If this has been their view from the beginning, they should have come up with a plan for providing parking (either on the lot or by permanently purchasing off-street parking), rather than planning to let the public subsidize their project by providing free street parking.

    I frankly don’t understand the argument that because there is already parking pressure on a street, that is an excuse to put in more units without parking. Yes, lots of people are already parking on Rock Creek Church Road. That is a good reason to strengthen off-street parking requirements, not abandon them.

    • JS Says:

      Except street parking isn’t free – it’s $35 a year. We can argue that that price is too low, but it’s not free.

      Frankly, I don’t see why the city should protect someone’s perceived right to park right in front their house at all times, especially when that property mostly likely has an un- or under-utilized off-street parking spot behind it.

      • steve Says:

        Except your are mistaken about street parking not being “free.”

        According to Yelp reviews of living at a condo nearby, parking spots cost about $175/month at the Park Place apartment building. Saying that something which costs $35/year is “not free” when a comparable private option is $2100 a year is quite disingenuous. Street parking is basically free.

        And Sarah is RIGHT ON. The developer is playing both sides of this issue – claiming that parking isn’t cost effective to build, but then claiming that not having access to parking will reduce the marketability of the product. If parking was necessary to selling to project, they can build it rather than exploiting the lower density single-family rowhouses of the surrounding streets to provide their residents parking in front of those other people’s homes.

        Basically they are saying that access to the street parking is an amenity that they are selling. I’m all for allowing the developer more density and more units at this site. Because, and this is crucial, more people there will mean more foot traffic, more metro users, and bikers and bus users and retail users. Car users have an outsize impact on our public-transit (originally streetcar) oriented homes. Driving a 1-ton vehicle around pedestrians occasionally results in tragic consequences.

        Our city choose to allow developers to build dense and tall next to the metro for a reason. Don’t let developers greed undermine our vision for DC.

      • JS Says:

        I must have missed the part of DC code that states public right of way in front of each particular home is reserved for the sole use of the homeowner. Can you point me to the DC law that says that’s the case?

        Also, if you can show me how $35 = 0, I will gladly admit to being mistaken about street parking being “free.”

  3. OC Says:

    “Park View Residents Welcome New Neighbors”

    Pretty disappointing to see the developer forced to cave to row house car owners.

    The reasons this decision is unfortunate, reiterated:
    – The lot does not allow for both a ton of parking and a bunch of new units. (it’s 40 feet from a metro! we need more homes!
    – Underground parking is super expensive (affordability is still an issue in the neighborhood, right?)
    – Parking IS available behind rowhouses, but it’s cheaper or easier for current residents to just pay $35 and park on the street.
    – Lack of enforcement exacerbates parking issues.

    In sum, these lucky new residents will get the experience of paying taxes to subsidize the maintenance of a street their neighbors wouldn’t let them park on.

    • steve Says:

      The street parking we are talking about providing them access to is almost all going to be in front of the single-family row houses of their neighbors. The 21 units don’t have the street frontage to park in front of their building, and what frontage it will have will be used for metered street parking by the commercial ground floor. (based on the current parking restrictions)

      This developer is choosing not to use the land for parking. That’s fine, but it’s inconsistent to say that parking for other people is available on their yards and therefore they should just park there. This is about trading the right to the developer to build more units than by right next to the metro in return for less access to street parking for the residents, thereby encouraging the higher-density-than-by-right building’s residents to not own a car. What’s so bad about that? The developer is still going to make a profit here, the people are going to freely choose to buy a unit, and the impact on the community residents who previously committed to the community will be limited in an incredibly important regard – availability of street parking.

      • OC Says:

        Group B residents shouldn’t lose the right to on-street parking just because Group A was there first to complain about Group B, particularly when Group B will be heavily subsidizing a resource only Group A is allowed to use.

        There are plenty of alternative ways to solve this problem. RPP prices could be increased to the point where spaces are open on the street. Current parking rules could be enforced. The area could receive a sub-zone.

  4. K Says:

    I am all for parking availability but if there ever was a case to not require parking this would be it. It is across the street from the Metro, numerous bus lines, Zipcar and CABI bikeshare.

    We harp about lack of development on GA but hold this up on a few parking spaces and re-creation of a 2 year old mural!

  5. Dave Says:

    This is a great project in my opinion. I hope the BZA rules for the Applicant.

    I walk RCC Road daily to get to the Metro station and I can support JS’s observations. I too have seen non-RCC Road residents but Ward 4 residents with RPP stickers use RCC Road as a park and ride lot.

  6. Gentrify-u Says:

    Nobody cares about that ugly mural

    • Neb Says:

      The point is that residents already have their own private parking via their own space and the alley access for which the alley is there for.

      Residents simply feel entitled to the street space, which it is not.

      There should be far more developments that happen without parking required and this should be fine. I as a resident without a car but who also pays property tax would like to see more of our public parking street space be used for green, trees, curb extensions and so forth. Perhaps we can do that in exchange for these residents being allowed to live in the new sense surroundings without parking for their oil guzzling, traffic producing cars

      If we tried half as hard to improve quality of life in this neighborhood as those do to save their precious parking we would be living in a much better city. Good grief

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