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ANC 7D Talks Hill East Development

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 7D met April 11 via WebEx. Commissioners Siraaj Hasan (7D01), Wendell Felder (7D03, chair), Ebony Payne (7D05), Marc Friend (7D06), Brett Astmann (7D07, treasurer), Brian Alcorn (7D08, vice chair) and Ashley Schapitl (7D09, secretary) were in attendance. Commissioner Milton Hardy (7D04) resigned from the commission on April 7, 2023. Single Member Districts 7D02, 7D04 and 7D10 are vacant.

In 2021, Mayor Muriel Bowser selected R13 Community Partners (https://eastoftheriverdcnews.com/2021/11/02/mayor-selects-developers-for-reservation-13-phase-ii/) to lead team a team that includes Frontier Development & Hospitality Group LLC, BRP Companies, H2 Design Build, Broughton Construction, A. Wash & Associates and U Street Parking to develop a section of Reservation 13.

Their proposal includes a Mariott Hotel, 1,246 residential units in total, with 407 deeply affordable units, 334 middle income units, 500 market rate units, and 5 units reserved for building superintendents –1,116 rental units and 125 for-sale units.

The proposed hotel includes approximately 150 rooms and about 60,000 square feet of retail space. A triangular park celebrating the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy is envisioned A History and Cultural Walk is also planned to recognize the history of Reservation 13.

R13 Community Partners briefed commissioners on the Hill East development project at their April meeting. A third of the planned residential will be affordable, a third workforce and a third at the market rate.

“We see this as a community hub,” stated landscaper Sharon Bradley of Bradley Site Design. “That’s the aspiration for this where everybody would feel welcome people of all ages, from all over Ward 7 and the neighborhoods adjacent, so we would like to design it with a lot of community input.”

“I’ve had some experience in the past where developers have come in had similar situations and then magically what actually gets built has been [significantly less] affordable housing,” Commissioner Friend said. “So, I just would like to appreciate your commitment and hope you will continue to stay true to that commitment.”

Commissioner Schapitl questioned the project’s timeline, given the significant required utility work. Construction is slated to begin in a year and a half, and is predicted to take about two and a half years to complete, R13 confirmed.

Community member Francis Campbell questioned the sufficiency of planned off-street parking particularly for the hotel the height of the proposed development.

“I’m concerned about the skyline and looking at it from the concrete canyon viewpoint,” Campbell said. “[This] is one of the issues that we’ve had for years with this project being built.”

The commission held no vote on the matter.

Mayor Bowser Visits

DC Mayor Muriel Boswer (D) attended the meeting to discuss her FY 24 budget proposal with both commissioners and community members. Bowser emphasized her “firm [belief] that the renaissance of [Washington DC] has been tied to investments in public safety and public schools” highlighting funds allocated to an agreement with teachers, capital improvements for schools, increasing number of police officers in the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to 4,000 officers and “the full spectrum” of violence prevention services.

The Mayor took several comments and questions related to the proposed improvements at the RFK campus, proposed cuts to the Circulator bus service across the city, specific traffic enforcement and safety issues on Ward 7 streets, several recent shootings and carjackings in the neighborhood and the proposed increase in traffic enforcement cameras across the District among other concerns.

Bowser expressed concern about the issues raised by attendees and spoke about several tough decisions made throughout the budget process as the District reports a downturn in revenues, while simultaneously experiencing an increase in costs, for the first time since 2009. Representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and members of the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS) plan to follow up with commissioners and residents regarding specific concerns and updates.

The proposed budget, Bowser explained, is focused on “the basics” and her mission to deliver on projects and programs that have been long promised to Washingtonians.

Protected Bike Lanes for 19th Street

Representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) provided an overview of the proposed 19th Street NE redesign project which aims to expand protected bike lanes for cyclists.

A portion of these protected cycle tracks have already been built along 19th Street NE between D and East Capitol Sts. NE. The section in discussion has a left side bike lane which would be modified by the project to be a protected bike lane and would include a cross over into a “more traditional” right side bike lane.

The public comment period for this project is open to the community for the next month. Representatives expressed interest in feedback specifically pertaining to where the best location to have the left side lane cross over to a right side lane.

Other Matters

The commission appointed community members were approved to serve on its five committees: Housing, Economic Development and Economic Justice, Transportation and Public Space, Grants and Community Outreach, Environment and Public Safety. Chair Felder invited other residents to consider joining a committee.

The commission has posted a draft of their bylaws to www.7d0761.wixsite.com/anc7d-1. It will solicit feedback next month.

ANC 7D will meet next on May 9 at 6:30 p.m. via WebEx. Learn more about the commission and register to attend the meeting here.

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

This meeting took place April 11, 2023.

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