The Week Ahead…. And News from the Past Week

Sean Ruppert (standing) of Opal LLC, hosts meeting on development of E Street Residential Project

Sean Ruppert (standing) of Opal LLC, hosts meeting on development of E Street Residential Project

The Week Ahead…. And News from the Past Week

By Larry Janezich

Details Emerge on Development of 46 Units Near SE Safeway – Opal LLC Meets with Community

On Monday, March 23, developer Sean Ruppert, Opal LLC principal, held the first community meeting regarding the planned construction of 46 residential units at 1309-1323 E Street, SE, near the SE Safeway.

The purpose of the meeting was to get input from the community regarding community benefits and amenities Opal will provide to ameliorate the impact of the increased density for the site which will be sought through the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process.  The PUD process provides a way for a developer to change the zoning of a construction site to allow greater height and density for a project than would be allowed under the site’s current zoning.  The process provides that the developer gives something back to the community – in the form of “benefits and amenities.”

New details of the project emerged during the meeting.  The project anticipates 46 units – most will be three and four bedroom townhouses – which will be for sale, not rentals.  The developer said some of the units would be multi-family, two over two, and there could be 8 of those units.  Under inclusionary zoning, 10 percent of the units will have to be “affordable”– some at 80% of Average Median Income (AMI) and some at 50% AMI.  Since the plans have not been finalized, the developer could not give an exact number (for more on “affordable” see CHC posting here:  There will be 46 below grade parking spaces, one per unit.

Former councilmember Sharon Ambrose, who attended, voiced the sentiments of many in the crowd, saying she was “so happy to see a development of other that micro units – the trend is for housing for the most transient members of the community.”

Time line:  Ruppert said they could break ground six months to a year after the PUD application is filed.  It appears that the project will go up in stages, with a final completion date depending on how fast the units sell.  According to the developer, if three units are sold per month, the project will be built out in two years.

Opal LLC will file a PUD application in the next few weeks.  Ruppert asked those attending Monday’s meeting for suggestions as to what benefits and amenities might be suitable.  A number of suggestions – including those Opal had received from Watkins School – concerned items that properly falls under the city government and the DC school system.  Some of these included:  A crossing guard for the school, bike racks, upgrade street lighting, upgrade street scape, trees, upgrade Watkin’s gardens, street striping, year round bathrooms for Watkin’s field, upgrade park near Peter Bug’s Shoe Academy, and making units senior friendly.

Ambrose urged residents and the developer to avoid recommending benefits that city agencies are responsible for before checking to see if items have been provided for in the city’s budget process.  There is a lengthy period between filing the PUD and the Zoning Commission’s “Set Down” hearing, where the plans are finalized; there is no urgency to compile a list of benefits and amenities in the next few weeks.

Once a list of benefits is compiled as the process continues to unfold, ANC6B will conduct the negotiations with the developer on behalf of the community.

Construction of CAG HQ at 15th and Independence, SE, To Begin

Community Action Group (CAG)  planners held a community meeting on Thursday, March 26 to update residents on plans for construction of CAG HQ at 15th and Independence, SE.  Bureaucratic issues have stalled the project and neighbors have complained that the neglected construction site and the huge empty pit on 15th Street has been a nuisance.  The CAG flyer offering details on the construction plan and contact information, previously distributed by ANC Commissioner Denise Krepp is here: CAG+neighborhood+report+03272015-2

ANC6B Revamps Website with Useful Information for Residents of ANC6B

In 2010, a group of reformers challenged and took control of ANC6B which, to many observers, had become insular, secretive and opaque (ANC6D take note).  One of the campaign issues for reformers was increased transparency, and one of the remedies proposed was to make the ANC’s website a useful tool to bring information to the community.  That project, spearheaded by then-Commissioner Brian Pate and his Community Outreach Committee, and current Commissioner Brian Flahaven is becoming a reality.  Pate and his committee made the website functional.  Flahaven has undertaken the task of posting relevant information to the site.  For any resident

Among the information available on the site is the following:

Map of ANC6B, list of Commissioners and their contact info; ANC6B Bylaws, ANC6B Standing Rules, List of Committees and Taskforces, List of Resident Members of Committees and Taskforces, reports of committee meetings, details of settlement agreements with bars and restaurants, ANC6B letters and resolutions, financial statements, minutes of ANC6B meetings, and commissioner’s testimony before government agencies.  Also, one can find here the meeting materials for ANC6B meetings, which are posted prior to the monthly meeting.  The link to the website is here:

The Week Ahead…

ANC6B  Executive Committee Meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center to set the agenda for the April regular meeting of the ANC, on Monday, April 20 (note change in date).

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