Proposal to Renovate Southeast Library Advances
by Larry Janezich
Posted Novemb er 3, 2021.
Last night, ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee, chaired by Commissioner Corey Holman, held a virtual meeting and voted unanimously to support both the Historic Preservation and the Zoning Adjustment Applications for the renovation of Southeast Library. The applications now move to the full ANC and will be taken up at their November 9th meeting for what will likely be a swift endorsement. The renovation will expand the existing library from 8,500 sf to 19,925 square feet.
Prior to the vote, commissioners raised some issues for the design team and DC Public Library personnel. Commissioner Samolyk sought assurances that the concerns of the Friends of Southeast Library had been resolved. The Friends group, headed by Neal Gregory, had protested that the renovation would leave them without space to organize for the popular monthly book sales to benefit the library.
Martha Saccocio, Director of Community Engagement at DCPL, assured the ANC that the DCPL had come to an agreement with the Friends regarding the allocation of additional space and that the Friends had expressed support for the proposal.
Commissioners Jerry Sroufe and Steve Holtzman expressed concern that the proposed emergency exit and staff entrance on D Street would serve as a gathering spot for the habitués who frequent the corner of 7th and D Street. The design team said they were aware of that potential and would look for ways to address the problem in addition to the security camera which would monitor the entrance/exit.
With respect to the time line, the renovation process is approaching the midpoint of the design phase which will continue through mid-2022. Construction will begin in 2022 and reopening is anticipated in 2024
Consideration by the ANC is the first step in agency approval. The plans for the renovation now move to the Historic Preservation Review Board and the DDOT Public Space Committee on November 18. Next comes a review by the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment February 22, 2022. Then reviews by the Commission on Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission in the winter of 2022.