ANC Committee Nixes 100% Affordable Housing for Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Club, Eastern Branch Building, 261 17th Street, SE

Boys and Girls Club, Eastern Branch Building, 261 17th Street, SE

ANC Committee Nixes 100% Affordable Housing for Boys and Girls Club

Wants DGS to Issue a New More Flexible Request for Proposals

by Larry Janezich

Last night, ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee voted to send a letter to the Department of General Services, the Mayor, and City Council members flatly opposing the agency settling on a development proposal from Dantes Partners/Menkiti Group to convert Hill East’s former Boys and Girls Club to 100% affordable housing units for seniors.  The draft letter, crafted by Commissioner Denise Krepp on behalf of the ANC, states in part:

“We are opposed to DGS settling on the Dantes Partners/Menkiti Group proposal.  We respectfully request that the current RFP be amended and re-issued with an extended lease period and that DGS work far more closely with ANC 6B to address neighbor concerns with the property.”

The letter states that the ANC had hoped the DGS would relax terms of the original Request for Proposals in connection with a call for Best and Final Offers (BAFOs) to allow the two bidding developers to “better address resident concerns.”  Instead, the letter says, “DGS further tightened the terms of the flawed RFP, including doubling-down on the 25-year lease restriction.”  The result was that the call for BAFOs eliminated a proposal for market rate housing put forward by Century Associates which many in the community favored over the Dantes/Menkiti 100% affordable housing proposal – though it was clear that the same percentage of the community preferred a mixed income project over either of the two bids proffered.

DGS, for its part, subsequently dismissed concerns raised by Commissioner Krepp after the BAFO’s had been made public.  In an email which read, in part, “. . .while the ANC is an advisory body, it does not participate in the deliberative process. The ANC’s role is certainly to provide comments to which the District is obligated to give “great weight” to decisions affecting its boundaries, but this is limited to areas that directly affect the ANC and its constituents, such as advising on the appropriateness of a facility, whether it supports the health and well-being of a community, and does not run counter to or disrupt community goals.”  It appeared to some observers that the statement reflected the long history of dismissiveness with which city agencies have treated the ANCs.

Commissioner Brian Flahaven, Chair of the ANC’s Hill East Task Force, called the response, “absurd” – saying that there is “no way the community is not affected” and that the ANC does not have the ability to “opine and weigh in.”  Flahaven said that the community has a 30 day period to respond to the BAFO, before DGS awards the bid and urged that a new modified RFP be issued because the “original RFP was flawed, because the community was left with only one choice, and because DGS did not provide flexibility in the RFP when it had an opportunity to do so.”

The Committee subsequently voted 11 – 0 – 1 to send the letter to the full ANC for consideration at its meeting next week with a recommendation of support.  Commissioner Oldenburg was the one abstention.  Oldenburg did not respond to an email asking her why she abstained.


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2 responses to “ANC Committee Nixes 100% Affordable Housing for Boys and Girls Club

  1. DCFYI

    Could someone chime in and explain why this development is a problem. I’m in my early 40s but Can see the value in a 100% affordable housing for seniors is a good use of the property.

  2. Check the income requirements for affordable housing in a previous Capitol Hill Corner report.