Editorial: The ANC6B Vote on Hine Tuesday Night
by Larry Janezich
Tuesday night, ANC6B will vote on its conditional support of the Hine Development. It will be the last opportunity for public input at the community level before the Zoning Commission hearing on the issue on Thursday. Despite the Eastern Market residential community sending ANC negotiators back to the developer with instructions to take more height off the 7th and Penn Office building and despite wider community concern about the fate of the flea market, the negotiators were unable to get further concessions from the developer on either of these issues. It appears, in fact, that the flea market didn’t come up and that the ANC is relying on a speculative legislative solution proposed by Councilmember Wells which purports to make the flea market a non-issue before the ANC and the Zoning Commission.
What the community is getting from the developer in return for the impact of the development on the neighborhood is precious little: a minimal height concession on the 7th and Penn building, $50,000 in landscaping for Metro Plaza, and a subsidized childcare center somewhere for a minimum of 24 children. It doesn’t seem like much, and it isn’t. The developer appears to believe that by providing the benefit of 34 additional affordable housing units above what is required that they have done enough – maybe more than enough.
Unless the community can convince the ANC otherwise, it is likely to vote to endorse the project, despite recent letters from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing raising concerns about specific transportation and affordable housing issues, and despite the reservations of the once-Stanton-supporting Capitol Hill Restoration Society.
Ideally, ANC6B would vote down the conditional endorsement of the project and go to the Zoning Commission without a position and say that the developer has failed to address the major concerns of the community and ask the Office of Planning to require mediation by an outside mediator before any zoning change.
By not requiring more of its ANC representatives – who after all, were negotiating on behalf of Councilmember Wells, who pledged to support whatever position the ANC takes – the community has shortchanged itself. It can redeem itself Tuesday night at the 7:00pm ANC6B meeting at Hill Center.