How The Hine Project Has Changed Since The Plan Was Selected by The DC Deputy Mayor’s Office
by Larry Janezich
Last Monday, the Zoming Commission voted unanimously to “set down” or recommend that Stanton/Eastbanc’s request for a Hine site zoning change – its Planned Unit Development (PUD) application – be afforded a final hearing before the Commission in no fewer than 60 days. Actually, it is more likely to occur in the next 90 or even 120 days.
The PUD process affords the community an opportunity to raise concerns and provides a process for improving the project in terms of its impact on the community. Part of this process involves benefits and amenities and mitigations provided by the developer.
ANC6B has appointed a Subcommittee comprised of certain commissioners and resident members to analyze the PUD process and to come up with a list of amenities and mitigations and to negotiate with the developer on behalf of the community to achieve desired results.
Some of the major concerns of the community include its height and mass and how much the development has changed since the bid for development was awarded to Stanton/Eastbanc by the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Planning and Economic Development. The following chart, created for the ANC Subcommittee by former ANC6B Commissioner Ken Jarboe reflects how the project has changed over time.
Best and Final Offer HPRB Submission PUD Submission Term Sheet 3/1/09 2/25/11 11/23/11
Sq. Feet 401,648 427,530 464,278 405,793
Retail 48,285 45,530 46,699 49,200
Office 213,197 151,350 163,392 211,999
Residential 140,166 230,650 254,187 144,594
No. of Units 150 168 158 132
Parking Spaces 391 270 260 201(The figures under “term sheet” reflect what the developer agreed to provide after being awarded the bid by the city.)
Among the changes Jarboe selected for emphasis in a report to the Subcommittee were the following:
Changed shape of the public space from a plaza mid-C Street to a setback of the residential building at the corner of 7th and C Streets, and access to the interior courtyard (originally accessible to the public it is now reserved for residents and occupants of the building);
Increased height of the 8th and D Street residential building;
Added a 7th story (ten feet) to the commercial building at Pennsylvania Avenue and 7th Street;
Added a 5th story (eleven feet) to the residential building at 7th and C Streets;
Removal from the project of participation by the Shakespeare Theater;
Decrease in parking spaces from 391 to 260.
The height and mass of the project are controversial, with many in the community convinced that the development will dwarf and dominate the historic Eastern Market and ultimately work to the disadvantage of the small independent retailers on 7th Street as well as the residences on nearby streets. Others, some of whom characterize themselves as new-urbanists, support all the density and height the site next to a transportation hub will allow. Both sides speak from a expectation and perception rather than from any clear ability to visualize the finished project. That vision will become more clear in mid-March, when the developer will finally produce a three dimensional model of the project extending to one-half block on each side of the site. It’s perhaps noteworthy that the developer has resisted pressure to produce the model, relenting only after the Office of Planning urged them to provide one. Equally noteworthy, the developer elected to present a single graphic of the Hine development in last month’s Hill Rag showing the project from its lowest perspective, minimizing the perception of both its height and mass.
The city, after alreadygranting the developer a one year delay, is pressuring the developer to begin construction as soon as possible. Some Zoning Commissioners at Monday night’s hearing – as well as the Office of Planning – were skeptical that the project in its current form was ready to move to the final stage. Despite those reservations and with assurances from the developer that the project will be ready by the time of the final hearing when scheduled, the project has moved to the final stages of approval.
ANC6B’s Subcommittee on the Hine PUD will meet next Thursday, February 23, at 7:00pm in Hill Center to discuss a preliminary list of amenities and mitigations with which to begin negotiations with the developer. The meeting is open to the public. The Subcommittee’s website can be found here: http://hineschoolpud.wordpress.com/