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28-Unit H Street Project with No Parking Gets Go-Ahead from Zoning

by Lark Turner

image
A rendering of the building by PGN Architects.

A 28-unit building proposed for the east end of the H Street Corridor received the green light from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) on Tuesday despite objections from the Office of Planning.

The commission granted developer Mehari Sequar a variance from the 21 parking spaces that would normally be required of the project, which will be built on a triangular-shaped site at 1401 Florida Avenue NE (map). The development also received a variance to exceed the floor area ratio (FAR) normally permitted by zoning regulations. Because of the shape of the lot, Sequar said it was unique enough to warrant zoning relief. He suggested the vacant site would not be developed by anyone without the relief requested.

The Office of Planning disagreed, saying in a pre-hearing statement that the building was not “so unique or unusual that it results in a practical difficulty in providing a building of a conforming scale with a reasonable service core. … The large number of buildings designed and constructed on a variety of sites that meet the applicable FAR regulations indicates that this should be possible on this site.”

DDOT supported the request for a parking variance. Unlike other projects that have received similar approval for buildings without parking, 1401 Florida is more than a mile from a Metro station, though it will be easily accessible to the as-yet unfinished H Street streetcar.

Jeff Goins of project architect PGN tells UrbanTurf that construction on the project should get underway by the end of the year.

If you are curious about the many other residential projects on the boards for the H Street Corridor, see our full rundown here.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/28-unit_building_on_h_street_with_no_parking_gets_go-ahead_from_zoning/9487

4 Comments

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 7:24 pm on Wednesday February 4, 2015:

    Although I generally feel that BZA and OP have become too lenient about parking variances, this site actually fits the legal requirements.  And even without the streetcar, the good ol’ X2 bus connects H Street with downtown DC every 10-20 minutes.

    I don’t really understand the BZA’s rationale for additional height and FAR, but I’m in no way unhappy about the building.  Provided that the architects and developers understand that this kind of architecture requires good materials and careful detailing, it could be very appealing.  One particular item of concern is windows—the sophistication of PGN’s other projects around town has dramatically advanced over the past few years, but so far this improvement doesn’t seem to include their window selections.  A quality window with good sightlines and frame depth/shadowline will be crucial to the success of this project.

  1. Former Hill Dweller said at 9:56 am on Thursday February 5, 2015:

    While I generally support the idea, I would hope DC can figure out a way to match addresses when people apply for parking permits.  My guess it that this will bring in 15-20 cars to the neighborhood. Those cars will then encroach on the streets north and south of H.  Developers should have to include some parking.  The idea that this is Manhattan now is a freaking joke.

  1. Payton Chung said at 1:53 am on Friday February 6, 2015:

    Almost all of DC’s household growth (from 2010-2012, 8 out of 9!) is of car-free households. What professional knowledge is “My guess” based upon? Or should legislation be based on hearsay and hunches?

  1. DC225 said at 11:27 am on Friday February 6, 2015:

    Payton, where’s the source for that data? I’ve known many people who have moved to DC during that time period, and I would guess that about half of them (if not more) brought cars. Last time I was at the DMV, I was told that they’ve been swamped like crazy over the past year with so many new residents registering their cars.

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