Meeting report and update on 2027 Rhode Island Ave NE

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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”

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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.

Concerns:

  • 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?
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SMD Meeting – Wednesday, May 25 – New apartments at 1904 Irving St NE and more!

We’ll be having a community meeting this Wednesday, May 25 at Langdon Rec Center at 7:00 PM.

1904 irving rendering

 

There are currently two items on the agenda:
  • New 12-unit apartment building proposed for 1904 Irving Street NE – This long-blighted, vacant home was recently bought and the owner is seeking to tear down the existing single-family home and build on the lot a 12-unit apartment building.This will go before the Board of Zoning Adjustment, as it will require a “Special Exemption” and the ANC has power to weigh in on such applications. The owner/developer will be on hand to present and answer questions.
  •  Moratorium on new liquor licences around Queens Chapel nightclubs – The Langdon Park Community Association is leading the process to establish a moratorium on new liquor licenses for the area around Queens Chapel and Bladensburg Road (around EchoStage, Stadium Club, etc). This would mean no new liquor licenses could granted within a certain proximity of that area. LPCA will be presenting and and have next steps. The deadline to ask to testify at the public hearing is May 30, and the public hearing for this is June 1st at 10AM.  More information is available on Alcohol Beverage Regulatory Administration website: http://abra.dc.gov/event/abc-board-seeks-public-comment-queens-chapelbladensburg-roads-ne-moratorium-petitions
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Final Protest Hearing coming up for liquor license at 2066 Rhode Island Ave

Regarding the application for a liquor license for 2066 Rhode Island Avenue NE. The Protest Hearing that originally scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed until Wednesday, February 17 at 4:30 PM (at the Reeves Center at 14th and U Street NW).

This is the final hearing where we will make our case to the DC Alcohol Beverage Control Board and they will decide to approve or deny this application. In order to prepare the protest hearing, we’ll be having a community meeting on Wednesday, February 3 at 6:30 PM, location TBD (somewhere in the neighborhood).

There are a few things to note as we get ready for the protest hearing:

  • We need to submit all our evidence – in an orderly fashion – 7-10 days prior to the hearing. They will not accept one-off items from the public, it all needs to be gathered and submitted 7 days in advance. Please bring any such evidence to the meeting on Feb 3.
  • Gather evidence! Mostly this means keeping an eye on the other establishment the applicant owns, SIP Nightclub, the one across from the new Woodridge library construction site. If you are out late (or early) and see people being disorderly around SIP, take out your phone and get a video. Same for litter or other quality of life issues. Part of our case to the ABC board will be that the applicant has not been a responsible business owner at his current location.
  • Only people who signed the protest petition are were granted status are able to submit written or verbal testimony. Unfortunately if you weren’t a part of the process at that point, you are not a part of the party that is bringing the protest (in the eyes of the ABC board).
  • Are you a Notary or do you know one who would volunteer for us? Ideally, we would have that person at the meeting on Wed, Feb 3 and they can notarize the letters right there at the meeting.

So the two meetings to be aware of:

Community Meeting to plan for protest
Wednesday, February 3
6:30 PM
Location: TBD (in the neighborhood)
This is a meeting to coordinate the case we’ll bring at the protest hearing

Alcohol Beverage Control Board Protest Hearing
Wednesday, February 17
4:30 PM – until late
Location: Reeves Center, 2000 14th Street NW (At U Street NW)
This is the protest hearing that will determine if the application is approved.
St. Francis de Sales Church is generously sponsoring a bus from the neighborhood to the protest hearing. Details to follow.

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