Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D met on Sept. 11. Commissioners Gail Fast (6D01), Andy Litsky (6D04, chair), Roger Moffatt (6D05), Ronald Collins (6D03), Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06), and Meredith Fascett (6D07) were on the dais. Commissioner Cara Shockley (6D02) was absent.
Representatives of PN Hoffman (PNH) presented plans for the second stage of The Wharf, their $2.5 billion Southwest waterfront project. Construction will commence during the first quarter of 2018, mostly on the water side. The project will deliver by 2022. It consists of close to half a million square feet of office space spread over three buildings, a 235-unit apartment paired with a 117-room hotel, and an 82-unit condominium.
The project incorporates 115 units of affordable housing in bands of 30, 60, 100, and 120 percent of area median income (AMI). In addition, three water buildings will support the live-aboards, marina, and cruise boat operations. Water Building Two will be the home of the new Cantina Marina.
Wharf II scales down as the project approaches the condominiums that line Fourth Street SW. The buffer is a two-acre landscaped plaza adjacent to the existing Waterfront Park. On the land side, the project is set back 20 feet from the street – an additional five feet more than Wharf I – to accommodate both the continuation of the bikeway and increased pedestrian traffic.
As part of the project, the two crosswalks in front of the south facade of Arena Stage will be signalized. An additional 884 underground parking spaces will be provisioned in two garages that each possess two exits.
Commissioners reacted with delight to the proposed design. “Frankly, I think it is the most beautiful part of the project,” stated Chair Litsky. Despite these accolades, they expressed concerns.
Commissioners questioned PNH closely on the issue of a tour-bus parking ban at The Wharf’s new Waterfront Park at Sixth Street. PNH is pursuing a dual strategy for preventing tour-bus parking, representatives stated. First, the company will incorporate a bus ban in the park’s land covenant with the city. Second, it is cooperating with Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen in crafting a legislative ban that will be introduced as emergency legislation in November and then later as permanent statute.
“We want the whole area sprayed with ‘Bus Begone,’” stated Litsky.
PNH agreed to support the commission’s efforts to get the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to extend bus service south to The Wharf. They promised to post a transportation plan for Wharf II on their website and to arrange for bus stops on Maine Avenue and pedestrian-friendly sidewalk pavers. They agreed to ban residential parking permits (RPP) for Wharf residents. They committed to supporting the commission’s legislative efforts to secure additional parking enforcement and a motor coach prohibition.
PNH representatives promised to provision public Wi-Fi on both sections of The Wharf. They agreed to add public restrooms near Waterfront Park.
The commissioners declared their opposition to any digital hoardings in the project, particularly on Maine Avenue. PNH representatives stated they had no intention of provisioning moving digital signs.
Commissioner Fast questioned PNH closely on the construction traffic management plans. She expressed reservations about any egress routes incorporating Seventh or Ninth streets SW, which she pointed out were already overburdened by pedestrian and vehicular traffic from Wharf I. She also expressed concerns about dust and dirt from the site excavation.
Commissioners expressed concern that PNH had not reached an agreement with the live-aboards at the Gangplank Marina. Support for Wharf II would be predicated on PNH living up to its commitments to the slipholders, they stated bluntly. The commissioners also asked that DC Sail be given the option of returning to Southwest at Wharf II.
The president of the Gangplank Marina slipholders expressed concerns about parking during the Wharf II construction. There is no plan yet, he stated. They need a written agreement. He also warned against steep increases in fees that might drive out existing live-aboards. He asked the commissioners to stand by their 2012 agreement with PNH.
Speaking for the commission, Litsky stated, “These developers [PNH] are extraordinary in the commitment they have made to the Southwest community.” However, due to the many outstanding issues, he asked his fellow commissioners to withhold an endorsement of the project until the situation is “in granite.”
The commission tasked Litsky, Fast, and Collins with negotiating a resolution to all its concerns. The commissioners voted unanimously to oppose the project at the coming Zoning Commission hearings.
The commissioners voted unanimously to request the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) to extend existing RPP curbside restrictions to seven days a week between 7 a.m. and midnight. Also, they asked that one side of every block be reserved for the exclusive use of residents.
Litsky opined that this would eliminate nightlife-goers circling on residential streets. Hamilton pointed out that the change would have no effect without enforcement by the DC Department of Public Works. Fascett cautioned that such restrictions might inconvenience guests.
‘No’ to 100 K St. SE
The commissioners unanimously opposed a request for zoning relief for the project planned for 100 K St. SE, which was discussed at length in its September meeting. Fascett, speaking for her colleagues, laid out the opposition, explaining that the project
- would force the conversion of 10 two-bedroom units in neighboring 900 New Jersey Ave. to one-bedrooms, reducing housing stock;
- would adversely impact the light and air around the pool deck at 900 New Jersey Ave.;
- would deprive tenants of 900 New Jersey Ave. of privacy due to the two buildings’ proximity;
- would adversely affect public space owing to the lack of loading space.
Fascett deplored the conduct of the owners of 900 New Jersey Ave., who had not warned their tenants of their “at-risk windows.” The commissioners authorized her to testify at the Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing on the matter.
The Office of Planning’s Ward 6 planner, Andrea Limauro, introduced himself to the commissioners and gave a summary of his responsibilities.
ANC 6D unanimously approved the September minutes, the treasurer’s quarterly report, and the commission’s fiscal year 2018 budget.
It also agreed to the following:
- support for So Others Might Eat’s Trot for Hunger on Thanksgiving Day
- to amend the Capital Yacht Club’s community agreement to increase the number accommodated in its summer garden from 155 to 252
- to support the declaration for Nationals Park at 1237 First St. SE for a new CR license with entertainment and summer garden endorsements
- to amend the community agreement with Shilling’s, 1331 Fourth St. SE, to be identical with those of neighboring restaurants
- to protest the license of Officina, chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s multistory paean to Italian food located next to the Fish Market at 1120 Maine Ave. SW, in the absence of a finalized community agreement
- to submit comments on Title 23 Rule Making, endorsing ABC Chair Coralie Farlee’s recommendations
- to support Forest City’s proposed text amendment, discussed in last month’s meeting, because it will increase the amount of family housing on the Capitol riverfront
- to support the 100-percent-affordable housing project at 1550 First St. SW discussed in last month’s ANC report
- to support a minor modification zoning modification to Riverfront Phase II (aka Florida Rock)
- to support public space applications for Taylor, 1217 First St. SE, and Rasa, 1247 First St. SE
The next ANC 6D meeting will be held on Nov.13 at 7 p.m. at the Capper Community Center at 1000 Fifth St. SE. Visit www.anc6d.org/ for more information.