Posted tagged ‘DCRA’

Saga of 469 Luray Place Continues

July 22, 2011

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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Update on 469 Luray Place, NW

June 17, 2011

Stop work order at 469 Luray Place, NW

A month ago on May 18th I posted about 469 Luray Place … a property that originally needed some TLC and repairs. But rather than do that, the developer that purchased the property decided to go another route and has created quite the problem property. In fact, I see no way for this property to recover.

Last month I was perplexed because the bay windows of the property had been removed. Since that time, the open wall and all the windows on the west (Warder St.) side of the building have been completely cinder blocked in (see photo below).

In contacting DCRA to find out just what is going on at this property, the following is the report I received in reply:

[An Inspector] has been to the property four times in an attempt to make contact with the contractor. The first time was on 4/13/11 when a Stop Work Order was posted for not obtaining a Plumbing Permit.  The Plumbing permit was obtained the next day for installation of interior fixtures. The next three times the Inspector was  investigating  the masonry wall constructed on the side after removal of the bay window.

Permit B1104274 was issued on 2/28/11 for “Interior Work Only”.  [The] Inspector … has attempted to obtain a copy of the approved plans to verify exactly what construction was permitted. The demolition of the bay window and construction of the masonry wall should appear on the approved plans.  Often the description on the permit does not include everything approved for the project. However, we have not been able to obtain a copy of the plans nor has the contractor been at the site to view the approved plans.

There is a Foundation permit in review , but no permit has been issued for the foundation.  At this point, the Inspector … issue[d] a [Stop Work Order] for working beyond the scope of the permit, since he cannot verify what has been approved. The owner will then be able to appeal the SWO by reviewing the approved plans with the Hearing Officer at the Administrative Hearing.

469 Luray Place, June 15, 2011

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Sweet Mango Fence Retroactively Getting Approved

November 10, 2010

The fence at Sweet Mango was erected in May, 2010

Back in May, Sweet Mango erected a fence on the public space along Rock Creek Church Road without permits. After receiving a stop work order, DCRA issued a permit that allowed them to finish. However, DCRA inappropriately issued that permit without the approval of DDOT, which has authority over public space.

Last night, ANC4C took up the issue of voting on the public space permit application for the fence that has already been built. As expected, the discussion centered on the lack of process and the oddity of seeking approval for something that has already been done.

Chief among the concerns discussed were the fence’s compliance with DDOT regulations and how much sidewalk currently exists between the fence and the loading bay. Several residents expressed concern that the sidewalk currently is so narrow that it is difficult for strollers to pass and may even be too narrow for wheelchairs.

After a significant amount of discussion, the commissioners voted to approve the application with the provisions that the fence meet with DDOT guidelines and the sidewalk be deemed compliant with ADA guidelines.

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