Community to Get Benefits from Developers of 3 Projects Near SE Safeway
Projects (plus Buchanan School) Will Bring In Some 1200 New Residents
by Larry Janezich
ANC6B’s Subcommittee on Public Unit Developments (PUDs) met last Tuesday to begin planning for exacting community benefits from developers of three major projects near SE Safeway. The benefits come to the community in exchange for allowing developers to build larger buildings accommodating greater density than would otherwise be permitted by zoning regulations. Joel Lawson from the Office of Planning was present to brief the Subcommittee on the overall PUD process.
The three projects, the developers, and the number of likely residents are as follows:
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, CAS Riegler, multi-story residential retail building – 400 residents
1300 block of E Street, SE, Opal LLC, Watkins Alley residential project – 100 to 150 residents (Watkins Alley is indicated by the large yellow square to the right of “Jordon Alley” on the map above).
1300 block of E Street, SE, Insight Development Group, residential project – 350 to 400 residents
(The nearby Buchanan School Project by Insight Development with some 150 – 250 residents is being built as a matter or right. The developer is seeking zoning relief but is not pursuing a PUD process which would entail benefits for the community. Together, the four projects will add up to 1,200 new residents to the neighborhood, some 850 of them in two blocks adjacent to the Safeway. )
Subcommittee Chair Nick Burger, who also chairs ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee, plans to consider the three projects en bloc, possibly coordinating the benefits for the community from the three projects and avoiding multiple meetings on each project. Burger said the purpose of the Tuesday’s meeting was to consider “What we’d love to see here and is it feasible?”
Only a handful of nearby neighbors of the projects turned out for the meeting. Some of the suggestions which came from a brainstorming session on possible benefits included:
Public green space – especially south of Pennsylvania Avenue
Upgrading the space around Peter Bug Academy
Watkins School swimming pool upgrade
Street scape improvements for Pennsylvania Avenue, E Street, and Ives Street
Lighting for pedestrians on Pennsylvania Avenue
Lawson distributed a handout of information regarding the PUD process, and available on the Office of Planning website (see here: http://1.usa.gov/1G8F3FH ), which listed other items considered fair game in terms of benefits and amenities for the community. Some of these include:
Contributions to DC Public Schools, Libraries, or neighborhood centers
Sustainable green building elements
Services for elderly, handicapped, children
Transportation related measures
Community meeting space
Subsidized retail space for local businesses
Burger’s plan is for the Subcommittee to hold two more meetings to discuss a benefits and amenities package. A July meeting will involve the specifics of a list of detailed proposals. A meeting in September will be held to modify the list. The Subcommittee negotiates with the developers to formulate a final package to take to the full ANC for approval.
During its consideration of the developers’ request for zoning changes, the Zoning Commission will consider the list and ensure that the benefits are things that the developer is actually providing. The developer is required to provide a detailed synopsis of the benefits and how they will be accomplished. The package is then incorporated into any Zoning Order granting the change in zoning requested by the developer.
Burger urged attendees at the meeting to reach out to nearby neighbors and urge their participation in future meetings. CHC will provide notification of the meetings as they are scheduled in the regular Sunday posting, “The Week Ahead.”