City Rushes Discussion of Supportive Housing on Reservation 13

Residents Say They Just Want Opportunity to Give Input

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A rendering of the proposed build on Parcel F1 of the Reservation 13 development. Image: Donatelli Development.

The city has scheduled a meeting to discuss a contract for 100 Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units proposed to be included in the F1 parcel of the Reservation 13 development. The meeting, announced late Monday evening, will take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13 at St. Mathew’s Lutheran Church (222 M St. SW) immediately following the Ward 6 Comprehensive Plan meeting.

UPDATE: the location of the meeting on the PSH Reservation 13 contract has been changed to Eastern High School (1700 East Capitol St. NE). The Ward 6 Comp Plan meeting will still take place at St. Mathew’s Church.

Meetings have also been scheduled by two Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC)s. ANC 7F, where the development is located, will hold a Special Call meeting Thursday, Nov. 14. The ANC 6B Hill East Task Force (HETF) will hold a meeting about the contract Monday, Nov. 18, their second meeting on the topic.

Reservation 13 is technically located in Ward 7, bordering residential neighborhoods of Ward 6.

Residents and commissioners say they are frustrated by the lack of conversation and the what they see as a rush by the DC Council to approve the deal. The contract came to light Nov. 1. ANC 6B held a meeting of the HETF on Nov. 4 to get answers before the Council vote; although city and developer representatives attended that meeting, attendees said they got few definite answers, and so scheduled the Monday meeting.

The discussion focuses on 100 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless residents to be constructed on Reservation 13. The contract with developers Donatelli and Blue Skye includes subsidies of $3.1 million a year for 15 years. The 100 units are all one-bedroom, one-bath units averaging 600 square feet and intended for single people.

Curbed DC Editor Andrew Giambrone tweeted Nov. 1 about the contract, noting that it was on DC Council’s Nov. 5th consent agenda and so would not require debate or discussion. Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D) had the item pulled from the consent agenda, citing concerns voiced by Hill East residents. It will now be considered by the council on Nov. 19.

 

The city meeting was announced late Monday night.

Commissioner Denise Krepp (6B10) chairs the Hill East Task Force (HETF), said that no one from the city contacted her to provide information about the planned units prior to the Council vote, and that she learned of the contract through Giambrone.

“What’s the rush?” Krepp said of the push to finalize the contract. She said the hurry was particularly disconcerting, since neither representatives from the city nor Donatelli could provide concrete facts to the 60 residents at the Nov. 4th community meeting convened by the HETF.

Residents who attended that meeting said they just wanted an opportunity to express opinions on the development of Reservation 13.

Krepp has announced another meeting of the Commission’s Hill East Task Force, scheduled for Monday, Nov. 18 in order to get answers from the city about the contract. The task force meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at St. Coletta (1900 Independence Ave. SE), although as of press time no city agencies had confirmed attendance.

A special call meeting has also been scheduled by ANC 7F, where the development is located, for 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 at Benning Stoddert Recreation Center (100 Stoddert Place SE). As the area lacks residents, there is no commissioner for the Single Member District (SMD) in which Reservation 13 is located.

The city meeting’s Nov. 13th is scheduled for the same date as a forum on DC Justice that will be held in Hill East. Councilmember Allen is set to attend the forum, which Krepp noted was likely to preclude his attendance at the city meeting regarding Reservation 13 development.

Krepp also said the fact that the city’s meeting is also being hosted in southwest, far from the neighborhood, demonstrates a lack of concern. “They’re not going to give concrete answers,” she said. “It’s a check-the-box kind of thing. They don’t want community input.”

“We need affordable housing, absolutely,” Krepp added, “but the manner in which this thing went down is awful.”