I’m happy to report that the nuisance property located at 805 Rock Creek Church Road was evicted yesterday. This property has long-been a know problem due to its use as a drug marketplace. Back in March MPD executed a search warrant at the place which resulted in MPD seizing multiple quantities of controlled substances as well as a loaded firearm. Three adult males were also arrested inside of the location. In September a judge finally granted an eviction for those using the property, and that was carried out yesterday.
Posted tagged ‘Petworth’
Back at the end of July 2016, Petworth’s Chez Billy closed to “refresh the decor” and launch a new “concept.” Now, four months since, it appears that we have a clue as to what a refresh of the decor actually means. I was very disappointed to see that the exterior of the building is being painted an interesting shade of green with the covering or removal of the handsome Tudor elements.
Personal tastes aside, the transformation of the exterior is particularly disappointing as the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009 (read nomination here) due to the site’s association with Billy Simpson’s House of Seafood and Steaks — which was historically significant for playing a notable role in the social and political culture of the District of Columbia’s African American community. The restaurant was frequented by many notable people in politics and government, and the owner, William W. “Billy” Simpson, was an avid supporter of civil rights and anti-war causes.
When the building was renovated for Chez Billy, the exterior was tastefully restored to be in keeping with the site’s history. Now it appears that all that will remain will be a plaque alerting passers-by that the building is on the African American Heritage Trail with a brief paragraph of explanation.
The photo below shows what the building looked like before the refresh.
Evictions Headed for Nuisance Property on Rock Creek Church Road – Yesterday a judge ruled at landlord/tenant court that a writ of repossession be issued at 805 Rock Creek Church Road, NW, to rid the community of another drug nuisance property. The next step will be to serve the occupants with an order to vacate (Petworth News).
Woman Kidnapped from Petworth Bus Stop – A woman was kidnapped around 1 p.m. Tuesday as she was waiting for a bus outside the Georgia Avenue Metro Station at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and Georgia Avenue. Two men forced her into a vehicle, asked her where she lived and then drove to her Hyattsville, Maryland residence where the suspects stole valuables and cash from the residence and then fled (NBC4, WTOP, WJLA).
Union Drinkery Now Open – The long anticipated Union Drinkery has opened at 3216 Georgia Avenue. From the same folks behind A&D in Shaw and Park View’s Small Fry, Union Drinkery is a self-described “no-frills neighborhood bar” (Borderstan, New Columbia Heights)
Concerns Over Adams Morgan Hotel Project’s Hiring Requirements Has D.C. Officials Reviewing Tax Incentives – After a week of reviewing a hotel developer’s failure to date to hire residents for construction jobs under the terms of a $46 million tax break, D.C.’s finance officials are preparing to pull the benefit if the company doesn’t make up for its shortfalls in the near future (Washington City Paper).
Last night, a woman riding a bicycle was the victim of a hit and run at the intersection of Rock Creek Road and 7th/Warder Street which occurred around 5:30 p.m. In speaking with neighbors, I’ve been told that the cyclist was conscious after the accident but seriously injured and left in an ambulance. Neighbors also relayed that the vehicle had Texas plates, and they suspect may have been stolen as the driver fled the scene on foot after the collision. Police had the area blocked off and were redirecting traffic for a time following the accident.
The Washington Post also provided some details of the event, which can be read here.
Yesterday, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development’s (DMPED) Office released the Request for Proposals to redevelop the old Hebrew Home site at 1125 Spring Road. The submission deadline is October 14, 2016, giving interested parties three and a half months to respond to both DMPED’s and the Community’s desire for the site.
The second OurRFP meeting on the future development of the old Hebrew Home property at 1125 Spring Road has been scheduled for Thursday, June 2nd, at 7 p.m. Like the first meeting, it will be held at Raymond Recreation Center (3725 10th Street, NW).
The purpose of this second engagement is to reconnect with the community about its ideas shared at the April 9th Workshop and Online Engagement Forum. Residents will also be provided an opportunity to further prioritize their preferences for the redevelopment of the site. RSVP in advance at 1125SpringRoadOurRFP.eventbrite.com
The first OurRFP meeting was held on April 9th, and you can read my report from that meeting here.
The first of two OurRFP public workshops focused on redeveloping the former Hebrew Home at 1125 Spring Road got off to a good start on Saturday, April 9th. The meeting began shortly after 11 a.m. with words from Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd and Brian T. Kenner, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. Vann-Di Galloway (Chair, ANC 4C) and Kent Boese (Chair, ANC 1A) were also recognized. ANC 1A Commissioners Matthew Goldschmidt (1A04), Richard DuBeshter (1A06), and Darwain Frost (1A07) also participated in the workshop.
Residents who were unable to attend the meeting can learn more about the project as presentation materials and future meeting dates are posted on the OurRFP 1125 Spring Road Web site and can fill out the online engagement forum questionnaire here.
Preceding the public group discussions, a brief presentation provided information on the OurRFP process, a site analysis, and a framework for the workshop. The RFP timeline will consist of two workshops — the April 9th meeting followed by another workshop in May. DMPED anticipates releasing the RFP solicitation in June 2016.
Some key data shared during the presentation included:
- The lot is 144,400 sq. ft. in size;
- The site includes three buildings. The development will not include the small building at the western edge of the site;
- The former Hebrew Home structure is historic, but the Robeson School is not and can be razed;
- The property has good access to transportation. It’s near the Georgia Avenue Metro station, numerous bus lines, and Capital Bikeshare stations; and,
- The site has a walk score of 93 and a bike score in the 80s.
Additional ideas where presented on what the massing of new construction could look like if it were by right vs. part of a Planned Unit Development (PUD).
Following the presentation, each of the 13 working groups discussed what they would like to see on the site. Each table had a facilitator and a scribe who wrote down key ideas which were later shared out at the close of the workshop. Participants were encouraged to frame their conversations around three topics:
- The former Hebrew Home site;
- The Robeson School; and,
- Public Space and Sustainability.
While these discussion topics were helpful for framing the discussions, it was difficult to discuss each of these without an understanding of the entire project. For example, there seemed to be a general consensus in the room that affordable housing is a high priority as well as housing for seniors. There is also concern about traffic and parking and more than one group requested that DDOT perform a traffic study. But these issues apply to the entire project rather than its parts.
Within my working group, there was general agreement that the RFP should start from the position of including a strong affordability component, and then let the financing drive the configuration of affordable and market rate housing to a balanced level. There was an understanding that the economics of development will have an impact on what can be financed and that, at the end of the day, the development must become a reality for any housing to exist.
We also discussed the massing of the new construction on the Robeson site. Some suggested that a by right approach would be more in keeping with the neighborhood and better fit in. I countered that I would prefer a PUD process for three reasons. The first is that it would allow for a slightly larger building. The existing Hebrew Home building is one story taller than allowed by by right, and I think that an additional story on the new construction that matched the height of the historic building would not be out of place, especially as it would be located between the Hebrew Home site and the Raymond School & Recreation Center. Secondly, this would result in more oversight and community opportunities to participate. Thirdly, the building as zoned is residential, yet the existing Hebrew Home building has a space on the first floor with a separate entrance that could support a small store or possibly another use such as an early childhood development center. These options should be vetted by the community to see if they are a good fit for the neighborhood rather than not discussed.
It is clear that people want the new construction to fit into the neighborhood context. Personally, I’m agnostic with regards to the style of architecture (i.e. traditional, modern, contemporary, etc.). However, I strongly voiced that the resulting new building should be architecturally compatible with the neighborhood’s character by pulling inspiration from the architectural vocabulary that surrounds it. This can be done through materials, massing, or architectural details. The group also agreed that we want a quality building, a place where residents want to live and that will enhance the community for years.
With regards to the living units, we discussed the need for family sized units and apartments for seniors. Within this context, we briefly discussed the two parts of the project and where these types of units might fit within the development context. I also added that I would like to see every unit (if possible) be ADA compliant. With this I am thinking more long-term. As units become vacant in the future it would be ideal if any resident in need of housing would be able to move into the building and not be prevented due to the units configuration.
One of the last things the group discussed was the public space and sustainability. As part of this discussion, we talked about trees, benches, green roofs, and other possible uses for the existing green spaces. As this is an opportunity to enhance our natural environment, I also mentioned that we should advocate for all trees and landscaping to be native plantings. The green space between the small building at 1131 Spring Road and the Hebrew Home is also large enough for a small park or other type of public space. With this in mind, I believe that the property can help meet several of the goals in the Sustainable DC Plan. These goals are:
- Goal 2.1: Plant 8,600 new trees citywide per year until 2032;
- Goal 2.4: Require trees and green space on all new development sites;
- Goal 2.5: Stipulate use of native plant varieties for District government plantings and landscaping; and,
- Goal 3.5: Create small parks and green spaces in areas with inadequate open space.
With all of this in mind, I’m looking forward to continuing the dialogue at the May meeting, and encourage everyone to participate as time allows.