NRP Developer Proposes Affordable Project Near Union Market

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NRP Development Associate Chris Marshall presents a fully-affordable concept for 301 Florida Ave. NE at the November meeting of ANC 6C. Screenshot: Webex/ANC 6C

The following ANC 6C commissioners were present at the Nov. 10th meeting: Christine Healey (Secretary, 6C01), Karen Wirt (Chair, 6C02), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (Vice-Chair, 6C04), Joel Kelty (6C05, Treasurer) and Drew Courtney (6C06).

At their Nov. 10th meeting, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C endorsed a letter supporting the concept behind a proposal for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) at 301 Florida Ave. NE. The proposed mixed-use project will include 115-120 entirely affordable units, said NRP Development Associate Chris Marshall.

Marshall said that the team seeks support at this very early stage, prior to discussing form and design, so they can apply for funds from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD). Marshall said the ANC’s support is necessary as part of a PUD application to the Office of Zoning (OZ).

The site is four blocks from Union Market and two blocks from NoMA Metro station, across the street from several developments in various stages of completion. Given its proximity to amenities, Marshall said the site is a “once-in-a-career opportunity.”

ANC 6C Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZ&E) Committee Chair Mark Eckenwiler (6C04) said that the site was the subject of a PUD application approved in 2016. That PUD included 56 units with four affordable units and ground floor retail.

In addition to the 120 units at 30-50 Area Mean Income (AMI), the proposed project will include some Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). The project is set to include a number of family-sized affordable units. Marshall said the developers increased family-sized units to 21 percent three-bedroom and 26 percent two-bedroom after a conversation with Commissioner Drew Courtney (6C06). 10 percent will be studio and 43 percent one-bedroom units. Marshall showed charts indicating the annual mean wage of essential workers in DC, connecting them to the affordability levels of the proposed units.

Although no concept designs were presented at the meeting, Marshall said the project will be at about equal height to other buildings on Florida Avenue, with ground floor retail but no parking.

The set down hearing, at which the Zoning Commission decides whether the application meets the standards for a PUD, could be as early as February 2022, Marshall said, after which the team would pursue further discussion about application with the ANC.

Comments on Cannabis Legislation

The ANC voted to send comments to the DC Council on the Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2021 and the Comprehensive Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Act of 2021, both of which had Council hearings Nov. 19. Eckenwiler said such legislation was inevitable, but said he thinks changes should be strongly urged.

As written, the legislation prohibits licensed premises from being within 400 feet of a school or recreation center. Eckenwiler suggested there should also be a requirement for 400-foot separation between all types of licensed sellers, to avoid clustering and the creation of a perceived drug market.

The bill prohibits micro and off-premises sales in residential zones including R, RF and RA zones. Eckenwiler said that he believed that sales should also be prohibited in neighborhood mixed-use (NC) zone, but compromised, proposing the exclusion of the NC Housing Sub-District on H Street from Second to Seventh Streets.

Eckenwiler said the city cannot rely on the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to deal with unlicensed operations. Eckenwiler said the act legalizing sales should incorporate provisions from emergency legislation proposed by DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) that includes additional provisions to penalize illegal sales.

Consent

Commissioners unanimously supported the following matters on consent:

  • to unanimously oppose a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application for a special exception to construct a rear addition and conversion to a four-unit apartment house at 622 I St NE. The application has been opposed multiple times since September 2020, and opposition was reiterated on earlier grounds, including privacy and the length of the extension which is well past the by-right maximum.
  • to support a BZA application to rebuild an existing rear two-story deck at 621 A St NE to replace the aging structure.
  • to support a BZA application to add a second story addition on top of a previously constructed one-story addition at 103 Fourth St NE. The new addition would fit entirely on the old footprint.
  • to submit comments to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) on proposed rulemaking on daytime school parking zones. DDOT is working to implement DC Council legislation passed in 2018 which gives the option for an ANC to request a daytime school parking zone where staff could park around the school.
  • a letter supporting a traffic calming measures, including light high visibility crosswalks and curb bump outs in addition to a speed bump on the 1100 block of Seventh St NE. A DDOT traffic safety investigation found calming measures unnecessary, said Transportation Public Space (TPS) Committee Chair Christy Kwan, but added they would install a speed bump if the ANC requested it. Commissioners say DDOT is using bumps instead of more meaningful measures.
  • a letter to DDOT expressing concerns about construction on the 300 block of M Street NE and asking the agency to enforce the site safety plan. There are concerns about a lack of safe accommodation for cyclists and pedestrians at the construction site, which extends to 1200 Fourth St. NE. Work has closed off access to the sidewalk and the two-way cycle track on Fourth St.

In Other Business the ANC:

Unanimously supported a proposed restriction on trucks weighing more than 1 and 3/4 tons on G Street NE between Second and Sixth Streets. Commissioner Eckenwiler said a community member raised the issue. While commissioners could not cite a recent concern with large trucks in the area, they saw no problem with the proposal.

Commissioner Christine Healey (6C01) said she wanted to make commissioners aware that the Supreme Court is blocking truck traffic on Second Street NE and has erected barriers on the 200 block of A Street NE without public notice or community involvement. Although expected, neither the Supreme Court Marshall nor a representative attended the Nov. 10th meeting.

Healey said she had met with the Marshall in October to raise concerns, and DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) wrote a letter the same month to ask the Chief Justice about new policy. The letter notes that Norton and neighbors had strenuously opposed a permanent security barrier. As of Nov. 10, Norton had not yet received a reply. Healey said she would extend another invitation to the Supreme Court to send representation to the December meeting.

ANC 6C generally meets on the second Wednesday of the month. The next meeting of ANC 6C is scheduled for a Thursday, 7 p.m. Dec. 8. Get the latest information on how to attend at anc6c.org/hot-topics/.