Zoning Commission Gives Preliminary Approval to Hine Project – Final Action Scheduled for October 15
by Larry Janezich
Last night the Zoning Commission brushed aside community concerns about the height, density, and available flea market space of the proposed Hine development and voted 4 – 0 to move the project forward. The Commission will take it up again on October 15 and issue its final order.
The Commission had only minor reservations about the project. The future of the weekend flea market was not among them. The commission was satisfied that the developer had made a reasonable accommodation for a flea market on C Streets and believes that the use of 7th Street for expanding that accommodation is not within their purview.
Commissioners were also not troubled by the proposed private ownership of C Street, which was characterized as a benefit to the community in the long run. The issue of whether the zoning of the site should be reduced to C2-A was dismissed with the assurances that the greater density would also be beneficial to the city in the long run. The commission felt the height had been dealt with sufficiently by the reductions on 7th Street and on Pennsylvania Avenue negotiated by ANC6B. Regarding the complaint of some in the community that the public benefits and amenities were not comparable to those realized by the community in other projects, Chair Hood stated that the Commission needed to determine if an appropriate balance had been achieved, and speaking for himself, he said “I’m fine with it.”
Commissioner Turnbull summed up the opinion of several of the Commissioners, saying, “In the long run, the pluses outweigh the negatives.”
The minor issues which will require further attention of the developer and/or the Commission include:
- Accommodation for 55 foot trucks in the loading dock of the South Building;
- Re-examination of the parking and traffic impact after the building is 50% occupied to make sure that accommodations are sufficient;
- Expanding the mitigation fund to include all houses in the 200 block of 8th Street;
- Completion of construction employment agreements;
- Moving North Building trash pickup to the 7th Street end of the east-west alley;
- Revised calculation of floor area ratio;
- Identification of items from the memorandum of agreement negotiated by ANC6B with the developer which will be included in the final Zoning Commission order.
Despite the considerable resources various neighborhood groups invested in the Zoning Commission process, no significant gains for the community came as a result.