Community to Get Benefits from Developers of 3 Projects Near SE Safeway

Up to 1200 new residents could be headed for the highlighted areas.

Up to 1200 new residents could be headed for the highlighted areas.

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

Affordable housing

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: ), 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.”


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7 responses to “Community to Get Benefits from Developers of 3 Projects Near SE Safeway

  1. freeaire

    As they say, “the devil is in the details”. As a resident, I am very interested in the specifics of how these developer interpret these categories. For example,
    * affordable housing: What kind of annual income for a family of 2 (2 adults) is affordable housing? What kind of annual income for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) OR (1 adult and 3 children), etc.
    * transportation related issues: It’s probably safe to say, ANC 6B residential parking is already tight. What are the developers offering so as NOT to add to the tight parking situation? Current residents look to their ANC 6B representation to insure this situation does NOT get worse.
    * “Upgrade the area around Peter Bug Academy”: As ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ — so too “upgrade” is embraced for those that ‘reap the benefits’ while on the other hand, “upgrade” is lamented by those whose rent rises and eventually they cannot afford their place anymore. There are neighborhood services in that “area around Peter Bug Academy”. Is this “upgrade” some euphemism for ‘getting rid of those neighborhood services’?

    That’s all for now. Thank you for the reporting.

  2. Nancy Vogt

    Echoing a part of another comment: 1200 new residents? How many NEW and dedicated parking spaces from the builders? And don’t tell me they will all only ride bicycles, do car-shares and take metro. I’m not anti-development but please be realistic about people wanting to have cars, and needing to plan accordingly.

  3. Joel kelty

    Regarding what the city considers affordable, that information is published on Search for dhcd Rent and income program limits.

  4. Paxton

    Nice map graphic. Very useful.

  5. Gerald Sroufe

    Collective community amnesia must be afflicting Capitol Hill. Rather than looking to developers as benevolent providers of community needs, the ANC should be focusing on the nature of the zoning exemptions being sought. As evidenced through the Hine project, the community benefits associated with the PUD will evaporate and the zoning exemptions will escalate.

    Lucy will never hold the football for Charlie Brown.

  6. ET

    I guess I never realized how many new residents would be in the relatively small area. That doesn’t even count the almost finished project at the end of Pennsylvania.

  7. Beth

    that is way too dense for that area. where are people supposed to park their cars? the problem is these investors have no real interest in the city besides money. we need to take a stand to stop all of this over development.