Tuesday, July 15, 2008

ANC5B Special Meeting

When: 6:30pm Tuesday July 22nd
Where: Joe Cole Rec 1200 Morse Street
What: a special meeting to discuss and vote on approval of the the Gateway Market Residences. The Gateway Market Residences is a mixed use [residential, retail, office] PUD [Planned Unit Development] proposed for the lot located at 4th and Florida NE [catty corner to Two Rivers Charter School]. The developer intends to construct a ten story building with residences on the upper five floors. The development is part of the larger [23 acre] New Town plan put forth by the same developer. I would urge people to attend this meeting because this is a very important development project, and I think we need to make sure we get it right. On Thursday July 24th this matter will return to the Zoning Commission for approval or modification, so this is really a last chance to have a voice in the matter.

For reference I'm reposting my recap of the June 6th Zoning hearing on this matter [as well as some links to past coverage]--

Last Night's Zoning Hearing -A Briefing
June 6, 2008
This hearing was regarding the Gateway Market Residences a proposed PUD at 4th and Florida.

ANC 6C representatives submitted a filing and were present at the meeting [Phelps and Velasco, both in opposition]. Single Member District representatives Bernard and Lawson [both in opposition] were present from 5B. ANC 5B Chairman Shelton [proponent] was scheduled to appear, but was a no-show. The hearing began at 6:30pm and the ANC 5B meeting began at 7:30pm, so there was a scheduling conflict between the two meetings.

Mr. Choi and his representatives were present, as were some spectators. A representative from Harry Thomas' office delivered testimony in favor of the development, and I believe it also contained opposition to granting party status to ANC 6C. No representative was present, due to scheduling conflicts, from Tommy Wells' office, but his office did submit a letter supporting party status for ANC 6C.

The Zoning Commission granted party status for ANC 6C, but refused to grant them great weight without some additions to their filing. They intend to make such additions to obtain great weight.

The Chairman of ANC 5B had submitted a letter of support purporting to speak for the entire ANC, but it was not taken as the official stance of ANC 5B because it was deficient on several grounds, including that it made on mention of a binding vote by the ANC. This is because there was no vote on the issue at the May 1st meeting when applicant last appeared before the Commission. The last time ANC 5B voted on this development was more than two and half years ago. A copy of the letter issued following that vote was attached. The Zoning Commission declined to accept that vote as the official stance of ANC 5B because of its age and the tremendously changed circumstances surrounding the project during that time period. The Commission also stated that the filings in opposition from two commissioners indicated that there was some division in ANC 5B on this project.

The Commission granted a continuance until July 24th. Essentially this means that the Applicant was able to present the plans, and the Commission gave them comments on the presentation. The Commission asked that ANC 5B hold a special meeting with a binding vote prior to the July 24th hearing, and that all representatives, and any other individuals, or groups wishing to testify in this matter appear at the July 24th hearing. The Commission urged both ANCs to speak with the developer's agents to resolve issues before that date to the extent possible. I would urge any interested persons to attend any and all public meetings on this issue prior to the July hearing date.

One of the issues drawing the most interest was that Applicant's plans call for retail to face inward, rather than towards the street. Considering that Applicant's plans also call for windows on most sides of the project this brought up concerns that this would result in the street facing windows being filled with stock rooms.

Zoning: Gateway Market Residences June 3, 2008

Yeah, That's Pretty Much the Problem April 12, 2007

New Town/Market Info [check out the Capital City Market blog for more in-depth coverage and more stories]

Florida Avenue Market Faces Dueling Development Plans DC North September 2007

A letter from Gallaudet May 24, 2007

There's a Stench From the Florida Market
Examiner December 8, 2006

The Insider's Market Washington Post May 3, 2006


poo poo said...


i've been waiting for this to go forward for what feels like AGES!

inked said...

It will go forward, but I think we need to look hard at what is really being proposed here. I think we need to secured commitments from the developer about the process from this point forward [ANC and community imput, and the project overall [orientation of the retail, tweaking design, ect.].

Mose said...

Did the developers explain why they wanted the entrance to be on the other side of the building from Florida Ave.? From a business marketing standpoint, it seems like the businesses would rather be on the Florida side where they could be seen by all the traffic, as opposed to hidden away on a non-thru street. At any rate, I think this development would represent another step forward for the area around the intersection of Florida and New York.

Anonymous said...


I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong about the ANC's wanting to be invovled, and the community wanting input, and desiring "secured committments" etc., from the developer.

That being said, these ANC groups and community efforts can be abused to effectively stall something that a minority (in number, not race) group has a problem with, even if it would be advantageous to the majority of people in the area. Then you can get into a protracted legal battle and it's very difficult for a developer to assert that a community group is "abusing" their right to petition since it's guaranteed by the contitution.
So if you are for just getting a clearer idea of what's going on, then I'm all for it. But if this sort of process is ulimtately aimed at postponing the development, or making it so onerous that the developer loses its taste for the project, I have a problem with that.

--I Street

inked said...

I Street, I don't think anyone would be served by the scenario that you describe. My issue here is that this developer has not been great about community input, and we have not been following the proper procedure in terms of looking to the Office of Planning's Small Area Plan. The developer did recently meet with ANC 6C, something they originally did not want to do. That's a big step in the right direction. This is a PUD, and that comes with certain strings attached, and we need to make sure that the developer follows the rules, because this one hasn't [in my opinion] shown a great willingness to do so. For example, one of their major points is that they shouldn't have to look to the Small Area Plan, because the plan was delayed. But this developer requested that the Small Area Plan be delayed, and that's why it's behind schedule. I don't think we should let them run around circumventing the rules that other developers must follow. For this reason, I feel that we need commitments. That's all I'm asking.

Rob said...

Yeah, and it's a bit disturbing that our council member is all for them breaking the rules.

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to bet many in the surrounding area are just sitting patiently for this to move forward and try to purchase one of these units...I know I'm definitely keeping an eye out on this.

Trinidad homeowner

thom202 said...

I'm skeptical they will do this right. Inward facing retail seems foolish to me even with their grand plan.

I miss the old brick building that used to be there. I would have liked to see that building fixed up and turned into mixed use and lofts.

At this point, I just hope they build something so its not an empty field.

inked said...

Thom202, that is exactly the point. I am concerned about the exact form which this development will take. This is where we are right now, and that is exactly why we need community input on this project NOW. We need to look at this project, not just in isolation, but as a part of the larger whole. That is especially appropriate considering that this developer has other major interests in the Market. Because this project is the first one in the Market, we need to make sure it is a quality project that sets the right tone.

Robby said...

I guess there's got to be a balance between turing the area into another fake Silver Sprung like development and keeping the character of the markets. I am not in love with what's there now. My family stopped shopping there in the 80s because it just seemed really dirty. There are some bright spots, but most of it seem shaddy at best.

Even if the site were all blight, the proper processes should be followed. I think community involvement is great.

Anonymous said...

inked could you please post information on when & where the special meeting will take place prior to the 7/24 hearing? Thanks in advance.

inked said...

The special meeting of ANC5B-
When: 6:30pm Tuesday July 22nd
Where: Joe Cole Rec 1200 Morse Street

The Zoning Commission Hearing-
When: 7:30pm Thursday July 24th
Where: Office of Zoning Hearing Room
441 4th Street NW Suite 220-south