EMMCA President Riehle Files Objection to Hine Timeline with Historic Preservation Office

EMMCA President Riehle Files Objection to Hine Timeline with Historic Preservation Office

by Larry Janezich

Today, EMMCA President Barbara Riehle sent the following letter to the staff of the Historic Preservation Office, which participates in the review of the historic preservation application for the Hine Development.  The staff will write a report to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on the remaining buildings for consideration.  While HPRB had originally set July 28 to hear from the developers and the community regarding the design of the 7th Street residential building and the C Street residential building, the date for the hearing has been moved to the 4th of August.

Stanton-Eastbanc will deliver their latest drawings to the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) as previously scheduled, Thursday, July 21.  The plans go to the HPRB on Friday and will be posted on the Stanton-Eastbanc website, Hineschool.com.

The ANC has scheduled a special call meeting for Tuesday, July 26, to hear a presentation from the developers on the two buildings remaining for consideration, hear from the community, and formulate a response to the designs for submission to HPO on Wednesday, July 27.

On July 29, the HPO staff will file its report on the buildings with HPRB.

Although the hearing has been pushed back a week, the remaining aspects of the schedule have not changed, so the community will have a very limited window in which to deliver a response to HPO.  To ensure that written comments will be seen by HPRB members, those comments must be filed by July 27.  Members of the community may appear in person during the public hearing on August 4 to make a presentation without filing an advance copy of the remarks.  At the HPRB hearing on June 30, a number of supporters of the Hine project joined EMMCA and other local groups to offer testimony on the project.  For the most part, supporters of the project offered testimony on their perception of how the project would benefit the community rather than on the historic preservation aspect of the project.  To that extent, the testimony of these advocates appeared more orchestrated than spontaneous to some observers.

The letter from Barbara Riehle:

Mr. Steve Callcott and Ms. Amanda Molson

Historic Preservation Office

Dear Steve and Amanda,

The timeline for the Historic Preservation Review Board’s (HPRB) and ANC6B’s consideration of the remaining aspects of the Hine project is deeply troubling. As you know, EMMCA – Eastern Market Metro Community Association – represents more than 100 households in the neighborhood surrounding the Hine site. Ensuring that each of EMMCA’s members has an opportunity to shape EMMCA’s position on issues is an integral part of our organization, and, I believe, sets us apart from groups whose decision-making rests with a select few.

Until now, the Hine developers have been accommodating to neighbors and interested parties in terms of making plans accessible in a timely manner. Regrettably, the current timeline – even with a one week delay by HPRB – is insufficient to permit informed community input.  Much was made, in testimony before HPRB last month by individuals testifying in favor of  the current designs, about not delaying this project any more than it already has been. It is important to clarify that no delays to the project have come from community members.

In fact, the only delays that have occurred were sought by the developers and granted by the City.  Permitting adequate time for the community to review and comment on the plans, which will alter permanently the character of the neighborhood, assures the integrity of the process.

The next phase of the Hine project is the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process.  No schedule or notice for the PUD process has been provided yet, and there is no reason to believe that providing additional time now for community review will have any impact on that next phase.

All the best,

Barbara Riehle

President, EMMCA

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