Last night, representatives from Foundry Companies and Holladay Corporation presented a matter-of-right design for a 30-unit residential development to ANC 6E in hopes of garnering support prior to a hearing with the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) later this month.
While many neighborhood commissions and constituents in the city — especially those in historic designations — rue planned-unit developments (PUDs) that request relief to add density and height to new buildings and would prefer something by-right (or, perhaps, smaller), last night’s discussion was in opposition to this narrative.
The development team presented a design by Cunningham Quill that would combine the five vacant parcels at 801 N Street NW (map) into a four-story, 30-unit condominium building with cellar and penthouse levels. The brick building with metal spandrels would require no zoning relief whatsoever and is on the HPRB docket for approval of design and concept.
The commissioners had almost no comments on the building’s design, however. The delivery of five surface parking spaces in the alley beside the development was the point of concern. The development site currently operates as a parking lot.
Chairperson Alex Padro requested that the developers restrict buyers from obtaining residential parking permits, a limitation where the effectiveness is questionable and one that the developers were hesitant to commit to for a non-rental project.
The development team noted that they hoped to expedite the approval process and avoid contention with the community by providing the required amount of parking and requesting no relief via the PUD process, particularly for such a transit-accessible site.
“You wouldn’t have push-back from the community because we would encourage the height, we’ve encouraged the zoning relief, we’ve supported the zoning relief and we’ve successfully gotten the Zoning Commission and the Board of Zoning Adjustment to ignore the recommendations of the Office of Planning on parking,” Padro replied.
Another suggestion from the commission was that the developers negotiate with City Market at O or with those behind the planned 8th and O project to make additional parking spaces available to their buyers.
Ultimately, the commission voted 6-0 with one abstention to request that HPRB delay consideration of the project until the development team is able to return to the ANC with some sort of compromise or solution on parking.
In 2015, the same site, under different ownership, was poised to be developed as a 22-unit condominium project.
FYSA: note that parking is not an issue for HPRB consideration, IMHO if the project is matter of right ANC6E's comments should address only the project height and massing or detailed design elements not parking. Parking requirements have already been set in the new zoning rules issued in Sept 2016.