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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Zero Parking Affordable Development Questioned

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 8F (ANC 8F) met on April 23. Commissioners Nic Wilson (treasurer, 8F01), Rick Murphree (vice chair, 8F02), Brian Strege (secretary, 8F03) and Edward Daniels (chair, 8F04) and Clayton Rosenberg (8F05) were in attendance. This was the commission’s second hybrid meeting. was absent

NRP Group (www.nrpgroup.com)and the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization (MHCDO, www.mhcdo.org) plan to build an apartment building on the corner of Tingey Street and New Jersey Avenue SE, behind the US Dept. Transportation. The 12-story structure will house 127 units and 2,5000 square feet of ground floor retail. It sits directly to the west of an existing historic structure slated for retail development. 32 percent of the apartments will be three-bedroom units appropriate for families. The project is 100 affordable with a mix of units reserved for renters whose incomes qualify at 80, 50 and 30 percent of Area Medium Income (AMI).

The parcel is governed by the terms of the 2003 Planned Unit Development (PUD), which foresaw a one-story 4,000 square foot retail structure, which was never built. NRP and MHCDO asked the commission’s support for a change of the PUD that would rezone the parcel MU-9 to allow high-density, mixed-use development. In addition to the zoning change, the developers are asking for relief from several regulations. First, the project will provide zero parking for residents and no onsite loading, both usually required. Lastly, the site yard will only be five rather than the 21 feet.

NRP and MHCDO plan to seek the approval of the DC Zoning Commission for the project in June or July.

The District’s budget crunch has made the development of affordable housing much more financially challenging, stated NRP Vice President of Development Chris Marshall. The elimination of parking significantly reduces the project’s cost, making it fundable. Moreover, the parcel has no curb cuts. The developers are currently in conversations with DDOT to resolve loading issues, he stated. They are asking for a Pickup Drop Off (PUDO) be provisioned next to the adjacent historic building. The project will provision substantial onsite bike parking.

Vice Chair Murphree loved the project, considering it a good use of space. However, he remained concerned about the zero parking. Where are residents going to park given the absence of curbside parking on the surrounding streets? he asked. Family units generate more vehicles, he pointed out. “Love the family units, but this is a complex one to figure out,” he stated.

The transportation aspects of the project are a challenge, Chair Daniels agreed. How are For Hire Vehicles (FHVs) going to drop off residents? Where does a US Mail or UPS truck pull up? he asked. “There is absolutely no place to stop in that area,” he pointed out, delivery services currently park in the travel lanes.

Strege was not as concerned about the transportation challenges as his colleagues, citing the future availability of Nats lots for residential parking needs.

Commissioner Rosenberg advised the developers to give serious attention to their building’s future security arrangements, given the issues in other Navy Yard buildings. He suggested they “think out of the box.” NRP and MHCDO have a great deal of experience in property management of affordable residential communities, Marshall replied. They are planning community building amenities including an indoor playground and a career training center on the ground floor.

No construction traffic plan has been finalized with DDOT, stated Marshall.

Marshall pledged to return to the commission’s May meeting with more details about the project’s parking and loading

The commission took no vote on the matter.

TOPP Continues to Spin
Commissioners commented on the Dept. of Transportation’s (DDOT) Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP, www.ddot.dc.gov/page/traffic-operations-and-parking-plan-baseball-park), which governs traffic on game and event days at both stadiums. Chair Daniels asked colleagues for their general observations, which he proposed to gather into a memo to be sent to DDOT.

Chair Daniels began with his observations. Given the District’s and DDOT’s commitment to encouraging alternatives to automobiles, he did not understand the practice of Traffic Control Officers (TOCs) employing government vehicles to travel to from DDOT’s Navy Yard headquarters to their game day assignments. Those cars are typically parked illegally in bike lanes obstructing traffic.

Three of the intersections traversed by the new protected bike lanes on M Street SE still lack controlling signals, Chair Daniels pointed out. This creates dangerous conflicts between car drivers and cyclists.

The Thompson Hotel’s valet operations are creating chaos on game days, Chair Daniels stayed. The issue is the ill-defined PUDO.

Chair Daniels requested the “streetery” DDOT licensed in front of Blue Jacket be removed, since it blocks a loading zone. Trucks are parking in the travel lane to unload, creating dangerous road congestion, he stated. At the intersection of New Jersey Avenue and H Street SE, he suggested adding flashing lights to the stop signs to increase their visibility.

Vice Chair Murphree objected to the lack of planning for deliveries on Vann Street SE. He suggested the road be made a one-way and provisioned with a PUDO and a loading zone. He also requested the assignment of TCOs to the street. Murphree also complained about the blocking of the alley next to the Public Storage facility at 1230 S Capitol St. SE, which is forcing residents to make a complicated detour to enter their parking garages.

Secretary Strege advised the replacement of the flex posts protecting two-way bike lanes with concrete bollards. Cars are running over the flex posts to illegally park, he stated.

Lastly, the Chair complained about event manager Live Nation. The firm is ignoring the TOPP completely in provisioning its support trucks, he stated.

The commission unanimously voted to empower the chair to send a memorandum to DDOT incorporating their concerns.

Public Safety

Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Lieutenant Kenneth Taylor and Captain McCall Tyler briefed the commission on public safety. Crime is in general substantially down, the two reported. Police are following up the ransacking of the CVS by teens and adults, they said. Police will be organizing Apple Airtag and club giveaways.

Chair Daniels complained about the failure by property management companies to fix broken garage doors in large apartment buildings. Police are also concerned, stated Captain Tyler. Officers are conducting conducting safety assessments of apartment buildings, starting with the Harlow.

The commission supports Brookfield Properties for Parcel F time extension for developing an office building. The office market is contracting. So it is hard to get a tenant.They are asking for a two year extension.

Other Matters

Commissioners met with the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) to explore interim uses for their vacant land. DCHA believes no development will take place on the three parcels, Strege stated. Commissioners requested DHA open the two surface lots currently employed as Nats and event parking to residents and workers for daily and monthly parking. They also urged DHA to adequately maintain the third fenced parcel. The Capitol Riverfront BID is exploring alternative uses for that land, Strege reported.

The commission voted to:

  • support the MS Walk on April 28;
  • write to the new ambulance company Emergility advising them to respect parking regulations.

ANC 8F’ s next meeting is scheduled for May 14 DDOT Headquarters at 250 M St. SE at 7 p.m. For more information, visit anc8f.org.

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