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Michigan Park Citizens Association
12 January 2017
Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library
Members gathered at a special meeting at Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library to review and vote on the association’s position to inform our position and testimony on the proposed development of the property surrounding the Saint Josephs Seminary, 1400 Barnum Street NE.
President David Conrad opened the meeting at 07:05 pm and first addressed some routine business. Roxanne Carter reported on her efforts on behalf the Association to support a needy family identified by the Principal of Bunker Hill Elementary during Christmas. This year, a family of four children, three boys and one girl, was selected. Ms. Carter accompanied the mother to Walmart where they selected clothing and one toy per child. As the family just moved into a new apartment, the mother also was able to procure new bed sheets for all the children. Roxanne noted that the mother was deeply touched. A total of $314.16, tax included, as spent.
President Conrad related that a joint meeting was sponsored by Queens Chapel Civic Association and Michigan Park Citizens Association at the Union Wesley AME Zion Church, 1860 Michigan Ave NE, on Monday, January 9, 2017. Ms. Ann E. Chisholm, Government Relations Officer for the District of Columbia and Officer Tomika M. Holmes, Metro Transit Police Department, were present and answered members questions.
Mr. Ralph Bucksell noted that the city has changed the street lighting of several blocks in our neighborhood to 4,000 Kelvin LED lighting. LED lighting provides greater light with less cost than conventional lightning and the city is testing the lighting to help deter crime. However, he noted that the AMA recently issued a report that the 4,000 Kelvin LED lighting can have negative impact on people, animals, birds, and trees. The AMA recommends that LED street lighting should not exceed 3,000 Kelvins. Several cities (Phoenix and Los Angeles) who had put in 4,000 Kelvin LED lights are now replacing them with 2,700 Kelvin LED lights. The 2,700 LED light provides the about the same amount of lighting as the 4,000 Kelvin LED light but the light from the 2,700 Kelvin lights provides a different hue which does not negatively impact people, animals, or trees as the 4,000 Kelvin LED lights.
Should residents wish to view the new 4,000 Kelvin LED lights in our neighborhood, Mr. Bucksell suggests that if they go to Monroe and 15th Streets NE (Monroe going towards South Dakota Avenue). Take a right onto 15th Street and travel north on 15th Street towards Rhode Island Avenue. You will note that the lights illuminate the blocks that they are on so that it appears to be daylight. Please make the trip after dark and drive until you pass under all of the high intensity lights. We have found that the lights cause eye pain that lingers for a short time. Try it, and see if what you experience. Mr. Bucksell notes that several ANCs in the city where the lights have been place are asking to remove them and replace with the lower Kelvin lighting.
President Conrad presented a written, draft proposal to members. The proposed was reviewed and discussed. A motion was moved to accept the position with changes. Motion was passed (posted February 2, 2017).
Mr. Conrad thanked all in attendance for their participation and adjourned the meeting at 08:35 pm.
Michigan Park Citizens Association
24 January 2017
MPCA sponsored a community meeting focusing on traffic as affected by the St Joseph’s PUD. The meeting was held on Tuesday, January 24th at the Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library.
We had presentations from Mr. Rodney Foxworth of DDOT Community Outreach on their review process for development proposals such as the EYA Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the St Joseph’s Seminary property.
Mr. Foxworth described a variety of potential traffic calming measures. These measures such as, speed humps, raised crosswalks, bulb-outs etc are listed and defined in DDOT’s Traffic Calming Assessment Application. This document can be found at:
DDOT’s role is to review the traffic implications of development proposal and report to the DC Zoning Commission. Since they are responsible for project review, to avoid conflict of interest, they must recuse themselves from participation in project design.
In the second half of the meeting Evan Goldman of EYA and their traffic engineer consultant, Dan van Pelt of Gorove Slade reviewed their traffic report and engaged in discussion and Q & A.
The report can be found at: http://12thandallison.com/12th
January 17, 2017
Michigan Park Citizen’s Association (MPCA) Position in opposition to the Proposed EYA development of the St Joseph’s Seminary property.
MPCA respects and values the work and mission of the St. Joseph’s Seminary. We consider them good neighbors and wish for them all the best. Nevertheless, the density proposed by the EYA Planned Unit Development (PUD) and the resulting exacerbation of existing traffic problems, lead us to reluctantly come to the conclusion that, for the long term good and health of Michigan Park, we cannot support the current PUD application.
a. MPCA has been continuously active in Michigan Park since its founding in 1917. Many members are decades-long residents.
b. The property is prominently and centrally located within MPCA’s boundaries. We have a strong and vested concern in its proposed development. Its development is of considerable consequence to our community.
c. We recognize the Josephites’ need and their right to realize the value of their investment in their property.
d. We trust that a development design can be found that benefits the Josephites, safeguards neighborhood well-being and character and is a net positive for all concerned.
2. Open Space and Historic Preservation
a. As noted in the Comprehensive Plan (Chapter 24, Section 10), there is a dearth of publicly-owned open space in Ward 5. The loss of privately-held open space such as the yards of St Joseph’s is significant to the entire neighborhood. We would prefer the DC Government would rise to this and other opportunities to purchase privately-held open land to augment the inadequate stock of public open land in Ward 5.
b. We applaud the intention of St Joseph’s to apply for Historic Preservation Landmark status for the seminary building. We similarly welcome placing easements on the front and side yards of the Seminary building. The dedication of these yards to open space and to public use in perpetuity is a welcome and significant contribution to the public good of our neighborhood. It is our expectation that these easements will be permanent and irrevocable.
3. Zoning and Architecture
a. The current zoning of the property is R-2. The introductory section of Chapter 3 of the 2016 Zoning Code reads in part:
“300.4 The purpose of the R-2 zone is to:
(a) Provide for areas with semi-detached dwellings; and
(b) Protect these areas from invasion by denser types of residential development.”
In considering this PUD and its impact on our neighborhood we urge the Zoning Commission to keep in mind this primary intention of the Zoning Code.
b. The neighborhood in the immediate vicinity predates the 1958 zoning and exceeds its density; specifically, the row house groups exceed the current R-2 standards and is an exception to current zoning (grandfathered).
c. The PUD proposal for row dwellings in the north yard of St Joseph’s is out of context and in excess of even the existing housing stock, which is a mix of single, duplex and grandfathered triplexes.
d. We oppose the change in zoning to R-1A as being inconsistent with the goal to protect existing R-2 zoned areas against denser types of residential development.
e. EYA has chosen a contextual approach to the architectural design of the project.
–i. However, this deference to context is limited to surface matters and stops short in terms of the development’s density and number of stories in building height.
–ii. Arranging the outer rank of dwellings in groups of one and two with yard space between them is significantly more contextual.
–iii. EYA has emphasized that the proposed height of the dwellings is only marginally higher than the surrounding houses. This needs to be consistent on all three sides of the proposed development.
—-1. However, in significant contrast to the surrounding residential context, the current façade designs present a full three stories to the street. This subverts the attempt at contextual architecture.
—-2. Penthouses and roof decks exacerbate the incompatible height differences with the immediately surrounding neighborhood and should be omitted.
4. Traffic and Parking
–i. Michigan Park currently experiences significant, heavy traffic that worsens at rush hour and hospital shift changes. The dangerous condition has already prompted two requests for traffic calming measures.
–ii. The Gorove Slade traffic study, in its Peak Hour Vehicular Capacity Analysis Results, notes:
—-1. Three instances in which the current level of service (LOS) is rated as unacceptable (Levels 3 and 4).
—-2. The number of unacceptable instances is expected to increase to five without the PUD.
—-3. This bad and deteriorating situation can’t handle even the slight traffic increase that the study expects the development to produce.
–iii. We note that the bulk of traffic issues in Michigan Park are generated by commuters driving to downtown and to local destinations. The extension of Webster Street through to 12th Street alters traffic patterns on 12th, 13th, Allison and Webster Streets.
The efforts by EYA to engage the community to develop traffic mitigation is welcome. We withhold judgment on this issue pending outcome of these efforts. We would encourage a livability study that would take into account the effect of this development’s proposed density with the density of other recent developments on South Dakota Avenue. These other developments will have a major traffic impact on 12th Street that was not taken into account in the Gorove Slade study.
–i. Gorove Slade outlines on pages 8-10 several options for 12th Street on-street parking. MPCA has expressed concerns about the PUD’s guest parking, but on further examination changes such as curbside parking and/or bicycle lanes are being proposed with insufficient attention to Providence Hospital’s needs.
–ii. Any changes along 12th Street must consider and account for:
—-1. Safety and access to the emergency room for emergency and law enforcement vehicles approaching from both the north and the south.
—-2. Clearance and adequate turning space for the extra large delivery vehicles and mobile medical vehicles to the loading docks and parking lots on the 12th Street side of the hospital.
—-3. Any changes to the design of the 4400 and 4500 blocks of 12th Street need the review and approval of Providence Hospital.
MPCA has come to the conclusion that for the long term good and health of our neighborhood we cannot support the current PUD application unless and until the above concerns are significantly and successfully addressed. The impact to open space, historic preservation, zoning, architecture, traffic and parking is tremendous. This development will have an invasive and dramatic change to the character of our neighborhood.
At the November MPCA meeting we discussed a draft position statement regarding MPCA position on the EYA proposed PUD for the development of the Saint Joseph’s Seminary property.
Suggestions from that meeting and other editorial changes are included in the attached document.
At the December MPCA meeting we agreed to call a special meeting in January for final review and voting on the position statement. All MPCA members in good standing are eligible to vote.
The special January meeting will be held Thursday, 12 January, at the Lamong-Riggs Neighborhood Library, 5401 South Dakota Ave NE, Washington, DC 20011, in meeting room #2. 7:00PM.
Please join neighbors of Queens Chapel Civic Association and Michigan Park Citizens Association in a jointly sponsored meeting with Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) representative Ann Chisholm to discuss Safety, Service and Cost of using public transportation.
WHEN: Monday, January 9, 2017, at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Union Wesley AME Zion Church, 1860 Michigan Avenue NE.
The Christmas Potluck was hosted by Anne and Bill Gribbin on Tuesday, 6 December. A short meeting was held (minutes are approved for release during the next business meeting).
Michigan Park Citizens Association
8 November 2016
Ross Auditorium, Providence Hospital
President David Conrad opened the meeting at 7:06 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was made. The draft minutes for October’s meeting were accepted as corrected. Treasurer Beulah Sutherland read the treasurer’s report.
Christmas Fund. President Conrad solicited members for donations to the Christmas fund which goes to the purchase of gifts for the children of a needy family identified by the Principle of Bunker Hill Elementary.
Christmas Potluck. Ms. Anne Gribbin offered to host the association’s annual Christmas Potluck at her home on 13th and Perry Streets NE.
DDOT Invitation. Mr. Conrad is coordinating a special meeting involving EYA and DDOT to discuss transportation issues surrounding the proposed development of the Saint Joseph’s Seminary property. MPCA has not received confirmation for use of Ross Auditorium. Mr. Conrad will check with Bertie Backus or the Library, both on South Dakota Ave, for a room to host the planned meeting.
D.C. Board of Zoning. Ms. Kathleen Sutherland had attended the set-down meeting and gave a quick recap. The set-down meeting is a public meeting but comments from the public are not received. The voting commissioners were not enthusiastic but voted to allow EYA’s application to move forward so that EYA may be added to the agenda for public meetings. Concerns of the commissioners included traffic, density, building heights, building aesthetics, rooftop decks, and affordable (vs. market) rates.
Mr. David Conrad solicited members for their input to a draft of MPCA position regarding the proposed EYA development. The draft was distributed and read. A discussion followed.
The meeting concluded at 09:15 p.m.
Michigan Park Citizens Association
4 October 2016
Ross Auditorium, Providence Hospital
President David Conrad opened the meeting at 7:15 p.m with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Treasurer Beulah Sutherland read the treasurer’s report. The September minutes were approved. President Conrad publicly thanked ANC Commissioner John Feeley, who was in attendance, for the grant of $500 grant toward installation of a water meter and backfill preventer at the triangle park, 12th, Michigan & Shepherd Streets.
GUEST SPEAKER. Mr. Sylvester Bush spoke on behalf of the Coalition to Restore the D.C. Benefit Exclusion. A law enacted by Congress in 1957 allowed retired military and civil servants to deduct $3,000 from their taxable pension income. The benefit is enjoyed by residents in 36 other states. However, the benefit exclusion was repealed by the D.C. City Council in 2014 to help subsidize a new, lower tax bracket on income. This change was recommended by a panel, the D.C. Tax Revision Commission, chaired by former Mayor Anthony Williams. The new law impacts all retired military, DC police, firefighters, teachers and DC civil servants. However, the new law was not widely reported or publicized. As a result of the lack of transparency, many seniors did not know about that the pension exclusion had been repealed until they filed their 2015 tax returns. The Restore the Pension Benefit Exclusion encourages residents to write their councilmember, Mr. McDuffie, to express their support for reinstatement of the benefits exclusion.
WELCOME FLYER. Ms. Kathleen Sutherland edited the flyer intended for distribution to new residents welcoming them to the Michigan Park neighborhood.
D.C. FEDERATION OF CIVIC ASSOCIATIONS. Mr. Paul Wood reported that he had attended the September meeting of the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations at the invitation of President. MPCA is a member of the D.C. Federation of Citizens Associations and is represented by MPCA delegate, Ms. Elizabeth McGowen. Both groups meet at 441 4th Street NE, near Judiciary Square. The invitation was in response to outreach by MCPA earlier in the year. Mr. Wood addressed the Civic Federation members and described many of the issues MPCA shares with the adjoining neighborhood civic associations to include Brookland Civic Association, North Michigan Park Civic Association, and Queens Chapel Civic Association. These issues included crime, traffic, and city services. MPCA members were invited to attend the annual banquet of the Civic Federation planned for October 29, 2016 at the Navy Yard Banquet and Conference Center.
SAINT JOSEPH’S DEVELOPMENT. Members discussed the status of the planned development of the property surrounding the Saint Joseph’s Seminary. The Planned Urban Development (PUD) proposal was submitted in August, 2016. A Set Down meeting, open to the public, is held by the DC Office of Zoning on October 17, 2016. EYA will present during this meeting. Although open to the public, no public comments are accepted at this meeting. Further meetings for public testimony will be scheduled for later this year or early 2017. Mr. Hayden Wetzel is nearing completion of an application for historic preservation of the Seminary building and easement. ANC John Feeley noted that an attorney, Mr. Brown, stated at one of the ANC meetings that the land to the front of Saint Joseph’s will be set aside in perpetuity and that such a step is almost unheard of. The traffic study is completed and is now a matter of record – the 1200 Varnum Street Comprehensive Traffic Review. EYA should be invited along with DDOT to discuss at a scheduled meeting.
President Conrad suggested that MPCA’s Executive Committee draft a position about the proposed EYA development for consideration by members. The draft should address four points: comprehensive plan and zoning, architectural designs, historic preservation, and traffic (to include parking and safety). President Conrad will take the lead with the executive committee.
JOHN FEELEY. ANC5B05, noted that public hearings have been extended for the planned Jamal garage near Brookland/CUA Metro Station.
ANC ELECTIONS. President David Conrad had invited all candidates for ANC office within the boundaries of Michigan Park to address the association members. Four candidates participated: Charles T. Lockett, candidate for 5A02; Benjamin Mossberg, candidate for 5A02; Lionel Gaines, candidate for 5A03; and John Feeley current ANC and candidate for 5B05. Mr. Lockett and Mr. Mossberg were the only two candidates present who were running for the same position, currently held by Mr. Grace Lewis. Each of the candidates introduced themselves to the membership and answered questions. Mr. Locket is a life-time DC resident, Vietnam veteran and retired facilities manager. Mr. Mossberg is employed by the Department of State. Mr. Gaines recently was hired by the Mayor’s Office. John Feeley, who is running unopposed, discussed the planned Jamal garage near Brookland/CUA Metro Station. According to Mr. Feeley, the planned development does not have any backers, either financiers or potential business customers. The period for public hearings for the garage has been extended by the Office of Zoning.
BUNKER HILL ELEMENTARY. Ms. Roxanne Carter noted that she and Mr. Paul Wood set up a table at the Bunker Hill Elementary back-to-school event in September 13, passing out school bags and, for parents, information about MPCA. Principal Kara Kuchemba was very welcoming of our participation.
The meeting concluded by 9:00 P.M.
Please see the attached presentation by the Urban Land Institute for the Howard University School of Divinity, at 14th and Taylor Streets NE. Please see SLIDE #46 for the Conceptual Site Plan of the proposed development on what is referred to as the Howard East Campus.
The presentation was distributed in anticipation of the next ANC 5B meeting on Wednesday, October 26 at 6:30 PM hosted at HSC Pediatric Center, 1731 Bunker Hill Road NE. The ULI presentation covers:
Introduction and Overview Context