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ANC 6A Offers Conditional Support for H Street Development

At the April meeting of ANC 6A, commissioners voted to support special exemption relief for a new development at 1000-1016 H St. NE —but with two conditions.

First, they want a no objection clause that included in the construction agreement between the applicant and neighbors removed. Second, they want assurances that natural gas will only be used for emergency power, as opposed to running residential appliances.

But the no objection clause in particular came in for the ire of commissioners. The clause states that “[t]he Neighbors will not sue, challenge, contest, testify, or file any documentation in objection; whether administratively, judicially, or publicly; in connection with the Owner’s application, approvals, permits, or other development rights granted by the Board of Zoning Adjustment or DOB in connection with the Property. The Neighbors shall make their best effort to support the zoning relief before the ANC and the Board of Zoning Adjustment.”

Resident Emily Price expressed concern about the developer “asking for trust where there is no transparency” regarding the wording of the draft agreement. She said she remains concerned about parking of vehicles during the construction process.

Commissioner Shapiro agreed and remarked that the proposed agreement made her “question the nature of the relationship with the community and with the ANC.”

“I find this language quite onerous and I think it sets the wrong tone,” Shapiro said.

But community member Adam Ezring spoke in support of the development project citing the number of vacant buildings along H Street NE and their contribution to an uptick in crime.

“They’ve addressed the retail concerns, they’ve addressed the concerns about appliances and it sounds like we’re getting somewhere on the neighborhood concerns,” Ezring said. “This commission should be supporting growth, development and revitalization in our neighborhood because it’s sorely, sorely needed.”

The applicant requires special exception relief from zoning requirements to provide minimum vehicle parking, access requirements in the alley and from certain requirements as a result of the fact that the development is over 6,000 square ft. When commissioners first heard the application at their March meeting, they were concerned about the implications of both construction and the addition of this development in the neighborhood and gave the applicant a month to address these issues.

Representative for the applicant Meredith Moldenhauer outlined ways the project had been changed to do just that. There has been an increase the amount of retail space and modified storefront design. They’ve also met with and drafted construction management agreement with the neighbors. There have also been “several concessions” based on feedback from the community, including a later 9 a.m. construction start time on Saturdays hiring a rodent management company and designating a project representative to address resident concerns throughout the construction process.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 6A) met via WebEx on March 9. Commissioners Keya Chatterjee (6A01, vice chair), Mike Velasquez (6A02), Roberta Shapiro (6A03), Amber Gove (6A04, chair), Robb Dooling (6A06) and Steve Moilanen (6A07) were present. Commissioner Laura Gentile (6A05) was absent.

The next meeting of ANC 6A is at 7 p.m. May 9. Get details on committee meetings and how to join online at anc6a.org.

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.

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