loading...

SB-Urban’s Blagden Alley Project Delayed Again

by Lark Turner

image
Rendering of proposed Blagden Alley development.

SB-Urban has a new challenge to its proposed no-parking micro-unit development on Blagden Alley.

The design, which has cleared hurdles at the Historic Preservation Review Board and seemed poised for a go-ahead on Tuesday, was instead delayed when a group of neighbors showed up to contest the project’s lack of parking in front of the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). BZA Chairman Lloyd Jordan, citing the project’s previous public meetings, initially denied the group’s application for party status and would not allow them to submit supplementary material rebutting SB-Urban’s claims that the project won’t have an impact on parking congestion in Shaw. He relented after angry neighbors spoke passionately about their opposition to the project.

The neighbors said the developers could easily build parking underneath the development. SB-Urban disputes that.

The 121-unit building is proposed for 90 and 91 Blagden Alley (map). Residences would be micro-units split into two buildings connected by an open pedestrian bridge over the alleyway. SB-Urban has changed the project’s address to ensure that the building residents would not be technically eligible for Residential Parking Permits and proposed several methods intended to mitigate residents’ need for a car, including providing free car and bike share memberships and installing a Capital Bikeshare station.

The company is at work on a similar project in the Patterson Mansion on Dupont Circle, also with no parking, and a third with little parking for the Latham Hotel in Georgetown. All three projects will consist exclusively of furnished, rental micro-units.

As we reported in December, the Office of Planning, the District Department of Transportation and ANC 2F have supported the plan, but zoning board members previously seemed concerned that the ANC’s support came in a split 4-3 vote.

Jordan told SB-Urban to submit documents formally refuting the neighbors’ claims in preparation for another hearing about the project.

See other articles related to: zoning, sb-urban, microunits, micro-units, micro units, bza, blagden alley

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/sb-urbans_blagden_alley_project_delayed_again/9455

1 Comment

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 6:22 pm on Tuesday January 27, 2015:

    The BZA has been generally lenient about parking variances for so many years that developers have started to think it’s routine, even if their site doesn’t meet the legal standards. Which, although subject to interpretation, aren’t so complicated. In summary, to be granted a variance, the site must have an “exception condition” from which flows a “practical difficulty” in meeting the “strict application” of the zoning regulations, and granting the variance shall not harm the “public good” nor the “intent of zoning.”  The latter standards (public good/intent of zoning) can sometimes be met via the sorts of things SB-Urban is offering (Bikeshare etc.), but the former standards rarely lend themselves to the Let’s-Make-a-Deal approach.

    In this case, the developers don’t even need to go underground—the existing historically-contributing building was originally automobile use and could easily convert back.  It’s visible in the rendering, the one-story portion under the left end of the pedestrian bridge.  Its openings, in the rendering, even look like garage doors, which is what they originally were! 

    Doubtless the developer would rather use it for something more income-producing. I might prefer it, too, on the basis on enlivening the alley, but neither of those are valid BZA arguments. 

    Possibly the developer MUST use the space for higher-income purposes, in order for their budget to work.  That, in BZA terms, would be a “self-created hardship,” and should be grounds for quick denial. BZA doesn’t exist to fix the financial missteps of developers, especially savvy developers like SB-Urban, who can hire the expertise needed to price their acquisitions correctly. 

    Alternatively, it could be that the developers can afford to provide parking, one way or another, but are hoping for a BZA decision to boost profits.  Fair enough for them to try, but much as the BZA doesn’t exist to save developers from their mistakes, it doesn’t exist to boost their profits either.

    I don’t write this out of any malice to this particular project, which seems pretty great.  It looks like it would be an excellent addition to Blagden Alley, filling a couple of holes in the urban fabric with a stylish, well-designed extended-stay hotel.  But “pretty great” is not the legal standard for BZA.

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.



DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾