ANC6D Lambasts EventsDC/Nats Park and Jair Lynch/Maine Ave Projects
by Larry Janezich
Posted September 22, 2022
Representatives of EventsDC and developer Jair Lynch representatives must have wondered what hit them as they reeled away from an encounter with ANC6D at a Special virtual meeting on Monday night.
Events DC came seeking the ANC’s endorsement for a proposal to reduce by 64% the amount of retail around the ballpark which the Zoning Commission (ZC) ordered 16 years ago as a condition of receiving a Certificate of Occupancy (COO) for Nats Park. The retail was never built. The COO was set to expire at the end of September and renewal was promising to be problematic before the Mayor stepped in and extended it for a year. Now EventsDC is playing catch up by downsizing the retail commitment. They are proposing an expedited procedure under which the ZC would grant the request for reducing the retail requirement.
ANC6D was having none of it. They unanimously passed a resolution offered by Commissioner Andy Litsky calling on the ZC to hold a Zoning hearing on the proposed reduction where the existing Zoning Order can be “discussed properly and testimony can be provided in full sunshine… and concerned residents will have an opportunity to provide further comment on the merits of this case.”
The meeting then segued into consideration of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the Jair Lynch development at 899 Maine Avenue, SW. (A PUD allows a developer to increase the size and density of a building which would not otherwise be permitted under current zoning restrictions. As part of the process, the developer provides compensatory benefits to the community.)
Commissioner Marjorie Lightman – in whose SMD the project lies – moved that the ANC not support Jair Lynch’s PUD application on the following grounds: the PUD violates the spirt and intent articulated by community residents within the Southwest Small Area Plan; it violates the vision of Maine Avenue incorporated into the Small Area Plan; it would deleteriously affect the social and economic diversity of the community; and would create traffic conditions detrimental to the community with no adequate plan their amelioration; and it offers no significant community benefits to warrant an extraordinary exception to alter the Small Area Plan. Lightman added, “The offer to the Jefferson school is an insult in relation with the profits over the next decade or so to be gained by the PUD.”
Litsky said it was “too big a building on too small a space and a too dangerous space and would have a negative impact on the neighbors. Unless the building is completely redesigned, there is no way in hell I’d support this.”
The motion passed unanimously.
ANC’s are empowered to issue advisory opinions on zoning matters, and city agencies are required to give those opinions “great weight.” The effect of the ANC6C6D actions remains to be seen, and will play out over the weeks ahead.
Ed. Note: A previous version of this story said the Maine Avenue project lies in Commissioner Kramer’s SMD. It is in Commissioner Lightman’s SMD.