At the Tuesday, Sept. 8 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B, commissioners voted to oppose the Planned Unit Development (PUD) for 1333 M St. SE, stating that they found “the proffered public benefits insufficient.”
The ANC noted that an increase in the public benefits contribution from the $25,000 currently offered by the develeoper to $250,000 towards securing a site for an adult day center (ADC) would meet the required threshold.
The case will be considered by the Zoning Commission (ZC) in a virtual meeting to be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, when ZC Members will decide whether the developer must provide additional contributions to meet the required number of public benefits.
The project is planned for 1333 M St. SE, on the triangle where M and Water Streets meet the Virginia Avenue SE right-of-way. FDG Felice Development Group (FDG) plan to develop a 791,063 square foot mixed-use project, containing 900 residential units and 45,419 square feet retail.
Because the project is a PUD, the developer must mitigate impacts of the project as well as provide items that “benefit the surrounding neighborhood or the public in general to a significantly greater extent than would likely result from development of the site under the matter-of-right provisions.”
The developer commits to these benefits in Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the community, as represented by the ANC. Some benefits currently included are larger, two-bedroom inclusionary zoning at low rates, public space improvements, and improvements to surrounding roadways and bike trails.
Capitol Hill Village (CHV), the local non-profit that helps people age in place on the hill, proposed that Felice Development Group (FDG) subsidize the ADC as one of the community benefits attached to the planned 900-unit development. They initially suggested FDG provide subsidized space for the center in the project, but when met with resistance suggested the developer provide the funding instead.
Some commissioners argued that FDG has not reciprocated ANC efforts at community engagement, including Commissioner Kelly Ward (6B07), in whose Single Member District (SMD) the project is located. “There are a couple of instances where the developer has maybe not made as good a faith effort in engaging with the community as we have made engaging with them,” she said during discussions about the report the Sept 8 meeting.
Waud cited the delayed release of a sound study and the developer’s absence from ANC Committee meetings and discussions about the adult day center as among her concerns with the process.
“This building is going to be a 13-story behemoth that’s really going to change the character of any future direction for that area,” Waud said, noting the proposed building it is 3 to 4 stories above what is permitted in the area. “I think that they should come to the table a bit more.”
At the meeting, Felice representative Leia Batties pushed back against the idea that the developer had been unresponsive to proposals for community benefits. In response to questions about the FDG team’s absence from ANC committee meetings, Batties said that the team had participated in 15 hours of meetings with the subcommittee on the topic, and had nothing substantive to add to the discussion. “The proposal that was presented to us was not acceptable,” she said.
ANC Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Corey Holman (6B06) said that FDG was willing to sever discussion of the adult day center from the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which codifies the agreement between the developer and the community, preserving other aspects of the agreement, allowing the ANC to preserve other aspects of the agreement.
“We’re removing it from the MOU, which is non-zoning,” Holman clarified, “but the very first comment we make as a party to the case, and in our “great weight” as an ANC is that the proffers are insufficient, and this is what they need to do to make it sufficient.”
Interested persons can testify at the virtual public hearing. All those wishing to testify are strongly encouraged to sign up to testify at least 24 hours prior to the start of the hearing on OZ’s website at https://dcoz.dc.gov/ or by calling Donna Hanousek at (202) 727-0789.
The public is encouraged to submit written testimony through the Interactive Zoning Information System (IZIS) at https://app.dcoz.dc.gov/Login.aspx. Written statements may also be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the project public Hearing Notice here
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