Capitol Hill Restoration Society Endorses Hine Project, With Reservations – Final Report Backs Away From Previous Criticism of Height and Mass
by Larry Janezich
CHRS has released testimony it will present to the Zoning Commission on Stanton-Eastbanc’s application to change the zoning on the Hine site. The final report of the CHRS on the project states, “In the main, CHRS supports the application but still has concerns about some elements of the plans….”
The report then takes issue with the design of the 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue building, calling it “inappropriate and incompatible with the historic district.” And, “CHRS strongly urges that this building’s design be revisited and made more compatible with historic Capitol Hill.
The report goes on to express reservations about the connecting structure between the two buildings fronting Pennsylvania Avenue, which it calls “completely incompatible with the historic character of Capitol Hill, and in particular, of Pennsylvania Avenue….” Further, “CHRS insists that this structure be redesigned.”
While the report reiterates criticisms of the design of the 7th and Penn office building and the connecting structure which CHRS raised before HPRB in April, oddly, the report is silent on the size and massing of the project. In testimony before HPRB last April, CHRS called the 7th and Penn building “too big, too tall, and too massive” and asked “that the seventh floor be dropped and the sixth floor set back at least as far as the seventh is now.” Subsequently, ANC6B negotiators were successful in reducing the height of this building by removing the mechanical penthouse and eliminating the top set-back floor – less than what CHRS called for in April. The April testimony concluded with a request that HPRB revisit and reconsider its earlier decisions regarding the height and mass of the portion of the development between C Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
In another part of the report, CHRS states that they believe the preservation of the flea market has been adequately addressed by Councilmember Wells’ Eastern Market legislation working its way through City Council, stating flatly, “The Trust will close 7th Street to provide for the flea market.”
Finally, the report slams last week’s DDOT Transportation report which recommended a substantial reduction in the project’s underground parking, calling it flawed and a “great disappointment.” The report goes on, “Unfortunately DDOT…has decided to wait until just a few days before this hearing to throw a hand grenade into the room.” CHRS has long supported the substantial parking provided by the developer which was subsequently approved by the city council. The report states, “It is astonishing that DMPED and the Ciy Council can approve the parking and then DDOT, at the eleventh hour, can veto it.” It calls on the Zoning Commission to disregard the Transportation Report.
Gary Peterson, Chair of the CHRS Zoning Committee, will present the report to the Zoning Commission.
Tonight, 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 at 6:30pm at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street, NW, Washington, DC. The hearing is open to the public and likely to be well-attended. It will be webcast live at dcoz.dc.gov. Click the second button from the bottom on the right column.