Below is an update/discussion on the proposed building at 2027 Rhode Island Ave NE and notes from the meeting held Nov 1 where we heard from the developers.
This will be on the agenda at the next meeting of the full Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C meeting which is scheduled for this Wednesday, November 16 at 7pm at the New Woodridge Library.
One aside: also note on the agenda will be a resolution to protest the renewal of SIP Lounge at 1812 Hamlin Street NE. I expect the ANC to join the neighbors in opposing this establishment.
About the proposed building at 2027 Rhode Island Avenue:
The owners of this property are proposing a 42-unit residential building with approx 5,000 square feet of retail space fronting Rhode Island Avenue. The current plan calls for the current building to be demolished and a new one built over this lot which sits between Dudley’s and St. Francis Catholic Church. The building that sits there is the old ‘Langdon/Woodridge Bank’ and is at least as old as 1920s, though I heard reports it went back to 1900 after the meeting.
At the meeting, the owners expressed the likelihood the units would likely be apartments, though some neighbors pushed for condos instead. They are mostly 2-bedroom units, some one bedroom and a couple “penthouses” on the top floor.
The owners expressed a strong desire to attract people who would be living without personally owning a vehicle. The building would have 7 parking spots for residents, accessed from the alley in the rear, all of those would be reserved for car-sharing services (zipcar, car2go, etc). The owners also said they be doing other incentives like including credits for uber/lyft as a monthly rebate on rent.
Because there is not room for a dumpster, the owners state there will be an interior trash room and trash will be taken out daily. Of course timelines are always subject to revision, but they are currently looking to complete this building and folks moving in fall of 2018.
The exact zoning ‘relief’ the owners are looking for is a few things:
- The property is ‘split-zoned’ meaning that the back 35-feet of the property sits in residential, while the front portion is in the commercial district on Rhode Island Ave.
- The alley is technically too narrow for the building. it is 10-feet and the law recommends 12-feet for one way and 20-feet for two way alley access.
- An interior court is slightly smaller than required, 585 square feet instead of 875.
I snipped a couple of the renderings below. I put the documents in a public google drive folder. You can access most of the documents relating to this case here. Most of these below are from file named “Exhibit 15”
Meeting report on resident Concerns/Questions:There were a couple dozen neighbors at the meeting on November 1. The owners presentation was met with a mix of skepticism and tentative support. To the chagrin of some neighbors, I did not take a vote of those in attendance.
- Parking – Lots of folks had concerns where the residents of these 42, mostly 2-bedroom apartments would park. The developers insist they are going to attract young folks who won’t want a car or will use the carshare cars in the parking lot. Many neighbors at the meeting were skeptical that all these folks were going to live out here car-free.
- Condos vs. Apartments – The developers preference is for apartments, but neighbors expressed the desire for the continuity that condo ownership would seem to bring. By the end of the meeting they said they’d take another look at condos and the decision isn’t really final until later in the process.
- Historic Building – There was genuine concern for the building itself. It was apparently a bank and a cornerstone in the community for the last hundred or so years. Neighbors asked the owners if they could look at incorporating the old building instead of demolishing it.
- Alley use, including snow and trash disposal – Part of the zoning relief is a slightly narrow alley. This requires daily trash removal, but the concern for more trash remains. Concerns about the impact that kind of building and traffic has on the immediate area, including the church and adjacent streets/alleys. Snow removal also an issue, if the narrow alley isn’t cleared how do these folks get out?