United ANC6B Wants Change in C Street Building but Endorses Latest Hine Plans; Divided ANC Passes Second Memo Listing Remaining Concerns
by Larry Janezich
In a rare unanimous vote, ANC6B asked Stanton/Eastbanc, developers of the Hine Project, to move the 5th floor of the project’s C Street residential building farther toward 7th Street in order to address the concerns of 8th Street residents whose two story homes the building would overlook. Apart from this, ANC 6B generally expressed support for Stanton/Eastbanc’s latest drawings. The action came on a measure sponsored by Vice Chair Ivan Fischberg and Commissioner Brian Pate. Both received plaudits from Commissioners Garrison and Metzger, who have often found themselves at odds with the ANC majority.
In addition, the ANC declared they had no issue with the height and massing of the Plaza residential building (formerly referred to as the 7th Street residential building), urging only additional symmetry in the C Street façade of that building. The ANC praised the west façade, calling it “well designed.”
The action came at an ANC Special Call meeting on Tuesday in preparation for the hearing before Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) August 4th for height, massing, and design approval of the C Street residential and the plaza residential buildings and for the project’s landscape design.
The final recommendations passed on a 9-0 vote. Commissioner Campbell was absent. The project’s other two buildings were approved by HPRB on June 30.
The united front of the Commission dissolved once Commissioner Brian Pate called up a second memorandum expressing concerns with the historic review process for the project, concerns with the overall project itself, and concerns with the overall lack of guidance and precedent on the construction of sustainable projects and transit oriented development in historic districts.
Regarding the process, the memo criticized HPRB’s decision to review the historic application in pieces, undermining the ability to look at the whole project at once. The “exceedingly short timelines for review” were also singled out for criticism.
During the discussion, Frischberg joined Chair Neil Glick and others in voicing concerns on the lack of time for review. When Frischberg pressed Eastbanc developer Joe Sternlieb on why the HPRB review could not be delayed for a month to allow more time for input, Sternlieb replied that filing for the Public Unit Development process cannot be done until after the HPRB review, hence a delay would reverberate beyond the HPRB process alone. Stanton/Eastbanc “has a team of people we’re paying,” Sternlieb told Frischberg, and “without HPRB approval, [architect] Amy Weinstein can’t go ahead.”
The memo listed the ANC’s remaining concerns with the overall project as follows:
- Need for reduced height or a set back at entrance of 8th Street residential building;
• Need for further design work at roofline and on windows of 8th Street residential building;
• “The building at 8th and D, especially in the context of the 7th and PA Ave building is not acceptable. We must reinforce that we believe the design falls short of the distinctive and Hill appropriate architecture that this space deserves”;
• Need for continued efforts to reduce the visual impact of mechanical penthouses;
• The evolution of the courtyard from open, public space to closed private space and attendant negative impact on massing pedestrian access and potential future programming of the space.
Finally, the memo called upon HPRB to elucidate principles for large scale, sustainable developments in historic districts. The memo suggests the Historic Preservation Office staff partner with historic preservation organizations and smart growth oriented urban planning organizations to discuss formulation of principles.
The memorandum passed the ANC on a vote of 5 – 2 – 2. Voting for: Critchfield, Frischberg, Green, Glick and Pate. Against: Flahaven and Metzger. Abstaining: Oldenberg and Garrison.
As previously reported on emmcablog, at its Tuesday night Special Call meeting, the ANC6B recommended as part of its first memorandum, agreed to unanimously, that HPRB consider ways to accommodate more of the flea market than the 68 tents which the current plan anticipates for the plaza. That language, sponsored by Commissioner Brian Pate, stimulated action the next day on the part of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) in support of the flea market. When Donna Scheeder, appointed by Council Member Tommy Wells and current chair of EMCAC, gaveled the Wednesday night meeting into session, EMCAC members proceeded to authorize sending letters to the City Council, Office of the Deputy Mayor, and the Historic Preservation Review Board to urge that the Hine development accommodate a number of spaces equal to what is currently available for the weekend market – more than twice the number in the Stanton/Eastbanc plan. Representatives of EMCAC are seeking a meeting with Stanton/Eastbanc, the project’s developer.