Reduced Height, Open Space, Child Care, Dominate Hine Subcommittee Meeting
by Barbara Riehle
About sixty neighbors met last night at Brent Elementary School with ANC6B’s Hine Subcommittee to hash out what constitutes “benefits and amenities” when it comes to the redevelopment project proposed for the Hine School site.
After hearing suggestions from Subcommittee members and residents alike, Subcommittee Chairman Ivan Frishberg asked for a show of hands, asking, “If the Commission is able to get the best package of benefits we can which includes everyone’s ideas but the height stays the same, would you support the PUD proposal?” Four of the sixty people assembled raised their hands. Most of the remaining fifty plus made clear that the proposed heights are unacceptable no matter how many of the neighbors’ requests wind up in the final benefits and amenities package. A handful abstained.
Frishberg opened the meeting by calling on Commissioner Dave Garrison to define “benefits and amenities” as well as “mitigation” according to the city zoning regulation. Garrison quoted Section 2403 of the regulations (Title 11, Chapter 24) for these definitions and suggested that reading recent PUD filings could be instructive. He noted, however, that “these things are all idiosyncratic” and added that in recent decisions public meeting space appears to have become an additional benefit. (ANC6D may have received office and meeting space through a PUD.) http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/FinalAdoptionHome.aspx?RuleVersionID=3643822 Click on “View Text” near the bottom of the screen to see the regulations Garrison quoted.
Garrison reminded the audience that Stanton-Eastbanc, the city-selected developers for the Hine School site, has claimed reopening C Street, affordable housing, LEED certification, value to the city tax base, flea market space, and support for the comprehensive zoning plan as the benefits and amenities package it is providing to the neighborhood.
Beginning last Friday, January 27, the Subcommittee made available an online tool for giving input. So far, the survey garnered 300 responses from about 100 people for Question #1 about benefits and amenities. There seemed to be general agreement among the commissioners that all of the responses will be posted on the subcommittee’s website at a future date.
The survey remains open until at least February 10, leaving readers about a week to ten days to have their opinions included in the survey. Click on the following link to enter your opinions: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/774055/Hine-Development-Community-Input-Online-Form
Bill Pate, a subcommittee member representing the Hine School North Neighbors (HSNN), did the hard work of capturing and alphabetizing by topic the 19-page list of benefits and amenities suggested so far.
Then Subcommittee members were asked to enumerate the benefits they seek.
The Stanton Park Neighborhood Association’s voice on EMCAC, Monte Edwards, requested outdoor community meeting space.
At-large subcommittee member Ken Jarboe repeated his call for underground access to Metro from the North side of Pennsylvania Avenue.
EMMCA’s subcommittee rep, Roger Tauss, repeated EMMCA’s long-standing desire to see services to children at that site. “Perhaps,” he said, “a child care center, which is sorely needed in this neighborhood filled with young children, should be included.”
A community meeting room as well as office space for community organizations were Garrison’s suggestions.
Commissioner Brian Pate recited a thorough list including: child-care, improved design at 8th and D, enough outdoor space for the existing weekend Flea Markets and other issues.
Steve Sweeney, who represents Eyes on Hine, raised the idea of a mini-museum and electric car charging station.
Planning and Zoning Committee Chairperson Francis Campbell repeated his long-held call for 24-hour child care and a City Services Center.
Frishberg weighed in for child care, open community gathering space, 60 percent local retail, an internet hot spot, improved design for 8th and D, use of geothermal and solar energy.
Finally the floor was opened up to comments from the neighbors. The first speaker set the tone for what was to come, asking for more open space and decrying the “gated courtyard” proposed for the development. Person after person repeated support for open space and child care. Other suggestions included more use of universal access in apartments, including elevators in two-story units.
Repeatedly, neighbors decried the shortcomings of the design to date in terms of aesthetics, compatibility and charm.