A Divided ANC6B Endorses The Hine Project – Developer Makes Additional Benefit Concessions
by Larry Janezich
A divided ANC6B gave conditional endorsement to the Hine project on Tuesday night, voting 6 – 4 to agree to a package of benefits and amenities negotiated with the Hine developers by Commissioners Frishberg and Pate.
Those supporting: Frishberg, Pate, Garrison, Oldenberg, Metzger, and Flahaven.
Those opposed: Critchfield, Glick, Campbell, and Green.
Additional benefit concessions made by the developer since the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting last week include $75,000 to support a playground in the park bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue, 8th Street, D Street, and 9th Street, SE. In addition the developers agreed to allocate no less than 2,000 square feet of non-subsidized space for community oriented non-profits. Finally, the developer agreed to provide subsidized office space for the ANC. The latter has been a pet project of Commissioner Garrison, who groused at last week’s Planning and Zoning Committee meeting that he didn’t understand why negotiators had failed to win this benefit for the community.
Hine Subcommittee Chair Frishberg moved to approve the benefits package and endorsement, stating that the process had not been ideal, but had been dictated by what the city did. “DMPED (Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development) got a great deal for city – not so great for neighbors.” He said he still believed this will be “a benefit to the community and the benefits package is fair and more productive than others I’ve seen.” He cited inclusion of an on-site day care center for at least 24 children, $50,000 improvements to Metro Plaza, as well as ANC meeting space and allocation of space for non-profits.
Subcommittee Vice Chair Brian Pate supported the deal saying, “I’ll stand by the benefits package and continue to work to mitigate the impact of the development on the community.”
A broad spectrum of the community – some 50 residents – beyond what has been characterized as the nearby neighbors, turned out for the meeting. Seventeen rose to express concerns ranging from the height and mass, how candidates for child care would be selected, traffic, parking, and the flea market. Two attendees spoke in favor of the project.
Among the commissioners other than the negotiators, Garrison and Flahaven voiced their support for the project, both saying they regretted the reduction in height at 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue achieved by the negotiators and cited the need for the ANC to have a strong voice before the Zoning Commission hearing on Hine on Thursday. Flahaven said the benefits package was a good balance between the interests of the neighbors and the interests of Capitol Hill. Commissioner Metzger cited the need for more density and neighbors. Commissioner Oldenberg said she had been disappointed in the initial benefits package unveiled last week, but as revised by the additional concessions of this past week, she could support it.
On the other side, Commissioner Glick announced his opposition saying the benefits package for the community fell short. Francis Campbell said the project “is too damn big – it is too much in too small a space.”
Frishberg had the last word wrapping up the debate by acknowledging community unhappiness with the agreement and the project. He noted that he had not supported this developer – that he had favored the “campus plan” among the finalists who bid for the development. But, he said, “the City Council voted for (Stanton-Eastbanc).” He expressed frustration that the ANC had beaten its head against the HPRB and gotten “almost nothing,” noting that it was they who are supposed to safeguard the community. “This is not the (benefits package) I would have written…but if we walk away, we don’t know what we’ll get. I don’t think I can walk away because there is a risk on the other side.”
After agreeing to support the package, the ANC voted to reject a request from Frishberg to authorize the expenditure of $2,500 for legal advice to help negotiate the Construction Management Agreement between the developer and the community. The motion failed on a 5 – 5 tie.
Those who supported the motion: Frishberg, Pate, Critchfield, Flahaven, and Campbell.
Those opposed: Garrison, Oldenberg, Metzger, Glick, and Green.
Thursday night, the Zoning Commission holds the first of what is likely to be two hearings on the application of Stanton-Eastbanc for a change in zoning for the Hine site. The meeting will be 6:30pm at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street, NW, Washington, DC.