RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT IN ZC #16-26, 4620-24 WISCONSIN AVE, NW
- Wisconsin Owner, LLC, a subsidiary of Urban Investment Partners ( “Applicant” or “the Applicant”), seeks to build an 8 story mixed-use development (“Project”) at 4620-24 Wisconsin Ave, NW (“Property”). The Project would include adaptive reuse of existing structures.
- The Applicant has applied for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) and map amendment to enable it to build the Project. The proposed map amendment asks the Zoning Commission (“ZC”) to rezone the Property from MU-4 to MU-7.
- Although the height and density sought for the Project are substantial for our neighborhood, the Property is less than two blocks from a Metro station and is situated entirely within a Mixed-Use Medium Density Residential / Moderate Density Commercial Development zone on the Comprehensive Plan’s Future Land Use Map (“FLUM”).
- Accordingly, in our view, the height and density sought for the Project are appropriate if the Applicant provides amenities and mitigation of harms commensurate with the Project’s scope. We believe the Applicant has met that burden.
- The primary potential harms associated with development of this scope are traffic increases and parking shortages. Here, the Applicant’s traffic study shows a decrease in traffic predicted from the Project relative to the existing buildings it would replace. Although ANC 3E views such assertions with a critical eye, in this case the assertion is credible, because the Project would switch the use of floors above ground level from office to residential.
- The Applicant has also committed to (a) a loading plan to minimize disruption from deliveries and (b) a transportation management plan that should reduce car trip generation beyond the mitigation provided by the switch from office to residential use, including the following elements:
- A member of the property management team will be designated as a Transportation Management Coordinator;
- The property website will include information on multiple local forms of transportation;
- An electronic display (Transit Screen) will be provided in a common shared space in the building and provide up to the minute information on local transportation options;
- Convenient and secure bike parking facilities in excess of the minimum required by zoning will be provided.
- Per the District Department of Transportation’s report filed in this matter on September 15, 2017, the Project would include more parking than is required by law. Likewise, the block on which the Property is located is not eligible for Residential Permit Parking (RPP). Moreover, the developer has agreed that leases for the Property will prohibit tenants from obtaining RPP permits upon pain of mandatory lease termination, in the unlikely event that RPP should become available to the Property.
- The new residences and attractive retail space the Project will afford will enhance the vibrance of the neighborhood. Furthermore, the Project consists of a mix of unit sizes, some of which should be suitable for small families as well as singles.
- The Applicant has committed to provide a substantial suite of additional amenities, including the following:
- Provide 25% more affordable housing than would be required by law, including at least one affordable unit with two bedrooms (like most of the District of Columbia, our neighborhood needs more affordable housing, and especially affordable housing suitable for families);
- Rehabilitate an historic building in Ft. Reno for community-serving use (the building has been an abandoned shell for decades and multiple attempts to have it rehabilitated outside the context of this PUD have failed);
- Reconfigure a hazardous street layout at Brandywine St., 42nd, and River Road, and build a small park, as recommended by the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Rock Creek West II Livability Study (although the Livability Study recommended this change more than five years ago, DDOT has been unable itself to fund implementation of the recommendation);
- Devote 3500 ft.² of retail area solely for use as a sit-down restaurant, even if other prospective tenants offer to pay more rent (although the neighborhood has attracted many fast casual restaurants, it has had trouble attracting new sit-down restaurants, which residents keenly desire);
- Agree not to lease commercial space for certain uses many members of the community find undesirable, such as a chain stores (provided that the developer may seek relief from these restrictions from the ANC for individual tenants);
- Underground utilities in front of the Property as well as in front of several adjoining properties if the owners of those properties consent;
- Achieve LEED Gold certification;
- Taken together, the combination of amenities and mitigation proffered by Applicant are exemplary, and justify the relief sought given the Project’s location in a Medium Density zone.
- We note that the FLUM designates most of Wisconsin Avenue within our ANC as Moderate Density, and this Project’s scope should not be considered as precedential for development in Moderate Density zones.
- The Applicant has embodied the foregoing promises and others in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed contemporaneously with this resolution (attached hereto), and has agreed to ask the ZC to embody the terms of the MOU in any ZC order regarding this matter.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
- In reliance on the promises contained in the attached MOU and materials submitted in connection with the above-referenced application, ANC 3E supports the application, and respectfully joins the Applicant in asking the ZC to incorporate each and every provision in the MOU in any order issued in connection with the above-referenced application.
- ANC 3E authorizes Commissioners Jonathan Bender and Tom Quinn to testify for the ANC at any proceedings connected to the above-referenced application.
The resolution passed by a vote of 5-0-0 at a properly noticed meeting held on September 19, 2017, at which a quorum was present, with Commissioners Bender, Ehrhardt, Hall, McHugh, and Quinn in attendance.
by Jonathan Bender